Prisoners' Rights

Although the state is permitted to deny a person certain rights to liberty and property under criminal justice laws, prisoners retain their rights to other basic protections and freedoms - among these are freedom from cruel and unusual punishment, freedom of religion, the right to legal representation, and the right to due process.

The ACLU works to ensure that conditions of confinement are constitutional and consistent with health, safety, and human dignity.

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Legal Cases

  • Seitz v. Allegheny County
    A federal class action lawsuit on behalf of pregnant inmates held in solitary confinement in the Allegheny County Jail
  • Burton v. Wetzel
    A federal lawsuit on behalf of a transgender woman who has been incarcerated in seven different male prisons by the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (DOC) over the past four years.
  • Davis v. Coleman
    Lawsuit filed on behalf of an inmate whose attempts to get married have been thwarted by both the Fayette County Register of Wills and the State Correctional Institute (SCI) in Fayette.
  • Prison Legal News v. Kane
    Lawsuit seeking to block enforcement of a state law, known as the "Silencing Act," that stifles the free speech rights of thousands of individuals and organizations.
  • Clarifying Law Around Restraining Incarcerated Pregnant Women
    The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania sent Attorney General Kathleen Kane a letter asking her to take steps to eliminate the use of illegal restraints on pregnant inmates in violation of the Healthy Birth for Incarcerated Women Act.

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