In addition to being places of punishment where incarcerated people are removed from their families and communities, prisons are also sites of ideological control. People live under 24-hour surveillance, and their conversation, communication, and reading materials are constantly scrutinized and frequently censored.
As a counter to this totalitarian system that attempts to deny the rights of incarcerated people to intellectual freedom and political dissent, the Abolitionist Law Center works with people and organizations that understand the importance of personal transformation, political knowledge, and social uplift in the struggle against the prison-industrial complex.
Some of our notable litigation around the political rights of incarcerated people include our 2014 lawsuit, Holbrook v. Jellen, which addressed the prison’s confiscation of the mail of Robert Saleem Holbrook, ALC’s executive director who was still incarcerated at the time; and Abu-Jamal v. Kane, which addressed the so-called “Silencing Act,” a law aimed directly at silencing imprisoned journalist and intellectual Mumia Abu-Jamal, while being phrased so broadly as to chill the speech of all incarcerated people and anyone who publishes their speech.
Search for the Topic of political rights on our homepage to learn more.