The Prison Advocacy Network (PAN) is a volunteer network of activists, attorneys, legal workers, and law students. We began our efforts in 2013 in response to needs identified by hunger strikers and their loved ones. We officially launched in November 2015 and have been steadily increasing our services. We are supervised by attorneys and thus operate under attorney-client privilege and can use legal mail. PAN is an advocacy network, not a litigation team.
Who We Are
We are an all-volunteer organization. We have 5 volunteer attorney mentors who train, mentor, and supervise advocates. The advocates are responsible for working directly with correspondents to meet identified needs and contacting prison or state officials. Many advocates have very little experience with the criminal system or CDCr’s many challenges, and are generally not attorneys. No experience with the criminal or legal system is required to become an advocate. We view this work as a partnership, where we utilize outside resources available to us, and you educate us about your experiences and knowledge of the prison system. We do not share personal information or contact prison officials on our inside-partners’ behalf without explicit permission. PAN does not charge for services. PAN will cover most, if not all, mail costs and fees for accessing records.
Who We Work With
There is a huge need for advocacy work in CDCr, but we seek to work with people facing the worst conditions while still fighting for their and others’ rights. We only work with people in CDCr, not in other prison systems or jails. We prioritize people in any kind of isolation (including disciplinary, administrative, and gender-based segregation), jailhouse lawyers, those suffering retaliation as a result of their activism, and those with serious unmet medical needs. We also support family members of those on the inside who are also experiencing retaliation. PAN calls the individuals on the inside who we support correspondents.
What We Do
Our volunteers are trained in advocacy strategies and can assist with: requesting C-FILE and medical records; performing basic legal, medical, or similar research; assistance with internal appeals; writing letters to the Warden, Ombudsman, medical staff, and Inspector General; classification issues especially related to solitary or ad-seg status; overturning wrongful 115s; property issues; help preparing for parole; psych reports; making copies; calling prison officials; keeping copies of documentation of prison abuses; and supplying resources and information.
Referrals often come through people on the outside who have direct contact with potential Correspondents. We have an intake form on our website that people can use to make referrals: Intake Form. We also have a paper intake form that people on the inside can fill out and mail to us in order to refer themselves or another person. If you would like an intake form, write to us at the address above and request one. We train and pair people twice a year (September and February). Occasionally, we are also able to match people during other months of the year. Due to the nature of the mail system, and because we usually review cases and match correspondents only twice a year, there will be delays in communication with PAN until you are matched.
For more information, read our brochure or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.