BEYOND BARS: The Jailhouse Lawyer Initiative

Dear Defenders of Justice, Are you currently assigned, or have been (during your current term of incarceration), to the law library as a certified law clerk in a state or federal prison within the United States? Are you known as a “jailhouse lawyer” at your institution? If you answered “Yes” to either of these questions, […]

BEYOND BARS: Revolutionary Greetings

By Jennifer Gann Soledad, CA Dear friends and comrades, Revolutionary greetings from behind enemy lines in so-called California (occupied Chumas and other tribal territory), where I remain in captivity. I would like to introduce myself to fellow NLG members and Jailhouse Lawyers, and tell you about some of my work. My name is Jennifer Gann. […]

BEYOND BARS: To Grieve or Not to Grieve?

Eric Pepke Petersburg, VA It can seem pointless to challenge the deplorable conditions we face in prison, but it is important to do so anyway. Action can make a difference, especially in numbers. Even if one of us fails, many together can succeed. One of the most powerful ways to effect change is the federal […]

BEYOND BARS: Immunity Through the State

Valencia Simms Milton, FL Court rulings such as Hall v. Key and the Supreme Court rendering in Hudson v. McMillian clearly forbade malicious and sadistic abuse of prisoners. The decision in McMillian outlined “excessive force” as prison guards violently imposing not “in a good faith effort to maintain and restore” order, but out of personal […]

BEYOND BARS: Be Vigilant of Your Rights

Patrick Lexis Suffield, CT Allow me to introduce myself: My name is Patrick Lexis and I’m 25-years-old. In my six years incarcerated I was compelled to learn the law. I taught myself to practice law. By reading countless case laws in my cell, I learned how to prove the elements of how my civil rights […]

BEYOND BARS: Woe Please! (Poem)

By Damion Wilson-El Cumberland, MD My jumpsuit fit snugly For the thousands of people who’ve worn it Trying to figure out five years was a warning To teach my drug addiction and possession A lesson Two million people Counting on a blessing Hundreds of thousands Waiting on a suggestion Of right Mass souls Incarcerated tight […]

BEYOND BARS: Education Key to Lower Recidivism

By Jeff Isabell-Taylor New Haven, MI Education reduces crime and lowers recidivism, it’s that simple. So why has there been so much resistance to educating prisoners? Money? The view education is a reward? Let me be blunt, this isn’t some bleeding heart, let’s be nice to prisoners kind of article. I completely understand prison is […]

BEYOND BARS: Suggested Reading for Pro Se Representation

By Jeffrey Vincent McGee Buford, GA Dear Fellow Jailhouse Lawyer Members, The purpose of this letter is to confer information about legitimate resource materials and their use. Many incarcerated individuals who have decided to challenge their cases pro se face common obstacles: finding, understanding, and applying legit legal research and reference textbooks (and not just […]

BEYOND BARS: This is Not Legal Advice, in Honor of René Magritte

By Eric Pepke Petersburg, VA I am not an attorney so this cannot be legal advice. I have just learned a few things in the federal penal system. Here are some. 1. Always appeal: I had a gut feeling I should appeal. I used a free jail phone call to leave a message on my […]