Prisoner Advocacy Network

Who We Are

We are a network of California activists, family members, formerly incarcerated people, legal workers, law students, and attorneys.

Who We Support

Our focus is narrow and specific – supporting people in California’s solitary confinement and similar conditions of isolation such as security housing units (SHUs), administrative segregation, and gender-based segregation. We prioritize advocating for jailhouse lawyers and those engaged in political activity.

What We Do

Provide non-litigation advocacy for incarcerated people experiencing discrimination, retaliation, and rights violations. Gather evidence documenting conditions and trends of treatment in the exceptionally repressive prison environments of solitary and other forms of segregation. We do not provide referrals.

You may submit a request for an advocate here.

Our Objectives and Goals

To strengthen movements on the inside and their corollaries on the outside by providing advocacy for activists on the inside. We seek to eliminate the use of solitary as punishment for people who are discriminated against due to their political perspectives and those who advocate and organize on their own and other prisoners’ behalf.

Goals of the Prisoner Advocacy Network include:
1. Support prisoners (particularly activists) in securing more humane conditions and protect their rights as activists and prisoners.
2. Support and protect the rights of loved ones – including their visiting rights, their right to advocate on behalf of their loved ones without fear of retaliation against them or their incarcerated loved ones, and protection from stigma or targeting in their communities as a result of their advocacy.
3. Identify trends in prisoner and loved one experiences to build and support campaigns, identify advocacy targets and policy interventions and/or support the work of other prisoner organizations and prisoner organizing.
4. Use information gathered (aggregated data) to write and release reports that expose the conditions and treatment of prisoners and their loved ones.

Why The Need For PAN Volunteers

Following California hunger strikes, loved ones of people suffering from solitary confinement alerted the NLGSF to the need for individualized ad- vocacy. Though a recent settlement agreement in the Ashker v. Brown suit will result in many transfers, we know CDCR will continue to deny appropriate care and conditions, involuntarily segregate, mistreat, and retaliate against people.

What An Advocate Does

Tasks include mail correspondence with people inside, phone calls and letters to prison and health care officials, assisting with filing administrative appeals, filing complaints, providing resources from the web or other sources, public records requests and possibly prison visits. Our scope does not include litigation.

The Volunteer Commitment

Volunteer advocates will need to fill out this form, attend a 3-hour training, and provide a confidentiality agreement. Email with questions about volunteering.

How Advocates Are Supported

The NLGSF office will administer the program. Staff will coordinate intake forms and advocate matching, mail, provision of educational and technical resources/guides, training and templates. Attorneys experienced with prisoners’ rights and litigation will be available as mentors.