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Prisoner Education Guide

Welcome to Criminal Legal News!


Criminal Legal News (“CLN”), a project of the nonprofit Human Rights Defense Center (“HRDC”), is a 40-page monthly magazine that reports on criminal justice issues and related civil litigation topics.

CLN focuses on individuals’ constitutional rights as they relate to interactions with the criminal justice system and the persistent expansion of the police state in America.  In addition, CLN provides case summaries of the latest state and federal appellate court decisions of importance for anyone with an interest in the most recent developments in substantive criminal law and criminal procedure.

Specifically, CLN’s coverage of criminal justice issues includes, but is not limited to, police brutality, prosecutorial misconduct, abuse of power, habeas corpus relief, ineffective assistance of counsel, sentencing errors, militarization of police, surveillance state, junk science, wrongful convictions, false confessions, witness misidentification, paid/incentivized informants, search and seizure, Miranda warning, and due process rights.

CLN is the companion publication to Prison Legal News (“PLN”), which is widely recognized as the preeminent source of information and advocacy for prisoners' rights and associated legal issues.  In 2013, PLN received the First Amendment Award from the Society of Professional Journalists.  

Both CLN and PLN serve as vital resources for prisoners who otherwise don’t have access to current legal and prison-related news and information.  

The Human Rights Defense Center is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit human rights organization that zealously advocates, educates, and litigates on issues pertaining to people’s constitutional rights, especially on issues affecting individuals at all stages of the criminal justice system from initial police-citizen encounter to post-incarceration release.

To search CLN’s articles and other content, click “Search Content” on the top menu bar.  For recent news articles that mention CLN, PLN, and HRDC, click “In the News” (which also includes press releases from across the entire HRDC organization).  For HRDC’s litigation project, which tracks our First Amendment lawsuits, public records cases, and other legal actions, click “Litigation.”

CLN’s monthly magazine is a subscription print and online publication.  Our core subscriber base are prisoners incarcerated nationwide and members of the legal community who are interested in the latest criminal law-related court decisions and criminal justice news.

We also offer website subscriptions that provide full access to all content on our website (most of our news content is free, but a subscription is required to access some of our legal content).  For subscription options and fees, please click on “Subscribe” on the menu bar.

CLN also distributes numerous criminal justice, legal, and self-help books through our book store. Plus we do much more—for a better understanding of everything we do, please review our Annual Reports (also available under the “About” tab). 


Sample CLN Issues

More issues

  Recent CLN Articles

Community Funds, Federal Legislation Challenging Bail System from Different Angles

by Christopher Zoukis

Kalief Browder was a 16-year-old arrested in New York City in 2012 on charges of stealing a backpack. The charges were later dismissed, but not before he sat in jail on Rikers Island for three years--part of which was spent in solitary confinement--because he couldn’t afford to ...

Ohio's Adam Walsh Act Registration Provisions Are Not Retroactive

by Mark Wilson

The Ohio Supreme Court held that amendments to the state's sex offender registration law do not apply to defendants who committed their crimes before January 1, 2008.

In 1996, the Ohio legislature enacted Megan's Law, establishing a comprehensive system of classifying sex offenders into three ...

Absurd, Abusive, and Outrageous: The Creation of Crime and Criminals in America

by Christopher Zoukis

The U.S. is a world leader in the jailing and imprisoning of its own citizens. The FBI estimates that local, state, and federal authorities have carried out more than a quarter-billion arrests in the past 20 years. As a result, the American criminal justice system is ...

Study’s Data Show Racial Disparity in Plea Bargaining Outcomes

by Derek Gilna

The Spring 2017 issue of Justice Quarterly published a report titled “Race, Plea, and Charge Reduction: An Assessment of Racial Disparities in the Plea Process,” which explores the perceived discrepancy in the outcomes for criminal defendants in the plea bargaining process. According to the report, the ...

California Mom Paid $6.7 Million after Police Broke Her Ankle during Warrantless Entry of Her Home

by Derek Gilna

A San Jose woman, Danielle Burfine, won a settlement of $6.7 million for a federal civil rights lawsuit from the city of Santa Clara. Police body cam footage shows that on April 12, 2016 cops with the city’s police department, without a warrant, kicked open her ...

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