About the ACLU National Prison Project
915 15th Street, NW, 7th Floor
Washington, DC 20005
(202) 393-4930 | Fax (202) 393-4931
The National Prison Project of the ACLU is dedicated to ensuring that our nation's prisons, jails, and detention centers comply with requirements of the U.S. Constitution, federal law, and international human rights principles, and to addressing the crisis of over-incarceration in this country.
The NPP is the only organization that litigates prison conditions cases on a national level. Since 1972, the NPP has represented more than 100,000 men, women and children. We have fought and continue to fight unconstitutional conditions of confinement through successful litigation, public education, and other forms of advocacy. We are currently litigating cases from the Virgin Islands to California.
The National Prison Project's priorities include:
Exposing and Combating Domestic Torture
The NPP litigates against supermax prisons that subject prisoners to sensory deprivation and extreme isolation. Much of our work is also devoted to ending abuse, assault, retaliation, and other forms of torture during incarceration. In addition to litigation, the NPP is involved in the StopMax Campaign, devoted to ending extreme conditions of solitary confinement. For more information on the StopMax Campaign, visit www.afsc.org/stopmax
Protecting Health and Safety in Prisons
The majority of NPP's litigation involves claims of deficient medical and/or mental health care. We also litigate excessive force cases. In addition to our litigation, the NPP has on staff an HIV/Hepatitis C/Infectious Diseases Information Coordinator who provides information to prisoners about how to cope in prison and obtain necessary care for such diseases.
Protecting Human Dignity in Prisons
Through our litigation, public education, and other advocacy, the NPP works to ensure that human dignity and human and constitutional rights are respected in prisons and jails across the country. Putting an end to rape and assaults within prisons, promoting equal treatment for all prisoners regardless of gender or race, and protecting the rights of prisoners with mental illness and other disabilities are among our top priorities.
Promoting Access to the Courts
The NPP is committed to preserving the rights of all prisoners to have full, unobstructed access to the judicial system. Amending the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) is the NPP's top legislative priority. Enacted in 1996 supposedly to reduce frivolous litigation by prisoners, the PLRA has proved to be an insurmountable obstacle for many prisoners trying to file meritorious lawsuits in federal court. As a result, countless abuses and constitutional violations go unchecked. The NPP spearheads a bi-partisan coalition with more than 50 members that advocates for amending the PLRA. For more information, visit www.savecoalition.org
Improving Conditions of Confinement for Immigration Detainees
The NPP is committed to improving conditions in immigration detention facilities. We have filed three cases since early 2007 regarding conditions of confinement for immigration detainees. In addition, the NPP has embarked on an aggressive public education campaign to raise awareness about grossly inadequate medical care provided to many immigrant detainees, and has advocated for increased Congressional oversight of immigration detention facilities.
Protecting Freedom of Thought, Association, Belief, and Religion
The NPP works to ensure that religious freedom and freedom of expression are not wrongly curtailed within prisons and jails. Prisons often impose strict rules that prohibit prisoners from exercising their First Amendment rights. The NPP works to expose such abuses and reform restrictions on these rights.
• For specific cases that the NPP is currently litigating, you may find our docket online.