Defending Human Rights



The Human Rights Defense Center is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that advocates on behalf of the human rights of people held in U.S. detention facilities. This includes people in state and federal prisons, local jails, immigration detention centers, civil commitment facilities, Bureau of Indian Affairs jails, juvenile facilities and military prisons. HRDC is one of the few national opponents to the private prison industry and is the foremost advocate on behalf of the free speech rights of publishers to communicate with prisoners and the right of prisoners to receive publications and communications from outside sources. HRDC also does significant work around government transparency and accountability issues by filing and litigating public records and Freedom of Information Act requests at the state and federal levels.

HRDC's advocacy efforts include publishing Prison Legal News, a monthly publication that covers criminal justice-related news and litigation nationwide. HRDC publishes and distributes self-help reference books for prisoners, and engages in litigation, media campaigns and outreach, public speaking and education, and testimony before legislative and regulatory bodies. HRDC also maintains separate websites for Prison Legal News and the Prison Phone Justice campaign.

HRDC is financially supported by individual donations, earned revenue, foundation grants, and subscription and advertising income. Donations to HRDC are tax deductible to the extent permitted by the IRS.

This website contains an overview of HRDC's activities and accomplishments. For a summary of the national depth and breadth of our work and advocacy efforts, please review our annual reports and the HRDC/PLN in the News page.

Thank you for your interest in the Human Rights Defense Center!


HRDC Projects:

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HRDC Publishing

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