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 72-page monthly publication that covers prison-related news and litigation nationwide, and Criminal Legal News, a monthly publication that covers the criminal justice system beyond incarceration. 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 maintains separate websites for Prison Legal News, Criminal Legal News and our other projects, including the Prison Phone Justice campaign, Stop Prison Profiteering campaign, Prison Ecology Project and Private Prison News.
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 has been working since 1990 to make things right in the United States' criminal justice system. It's a tough job. We need heavy equipment to bulldoze the Prison Industrial Complex, and our equipment comes in the form of funding to support our mission to advocate for the rights of people held in prisons, jails and other detention facilities, including immigrant detention centers.