Special Projects & Systemic Advocacy
In addition to our individual advocacy, litigation, and legislative services, PLS has a number of projects and internal committees focused on creating systemic change in regards to specific areas of concern.
Immigrant Detention Conditions Project
The Immigrant Detention Condition Project advocates on behalf of immigrants civilly detained in Massachusetts detention centers. The project aims to improve conditions and address multiple issues faced by detained immigrants, including discrimination, solitary confinement, language access, health care, etc.
Racial Equity in Corrections Initiative
The same racial inequities and the disparate impact that plagues black and brown communities exist within the prison system on a heightened scale because behind the prison walls, there is far less transparency, a dehumanizing culture, and little accountability. REICI is an organization-wide effort to eliminate institutional racism and its impact on black and brown incarcerated individuals in the day-to-day operations of Massachusetts’ prisons and jails.
Prison Brutality Project
The Prison Brutality project was created to address the widespread problem of correctional staff abusing their authority by assaulting those who they are employed to keep safe. PLS conducts in-depth investigations into allegations of brutality and by filing as many meritorious lawsuits as our resources allow.
The women’s project aims to provide direct, trauma-informed legal services and rights education to incarcerated women in order to ensure that necessary medical treatment is provided and that women are protected from predatory assaults.
Healthcare & Disability Committee
PLS helps prisoners with serious medical needs that are not being met. Our Advocates counsel prisoners, attorneys, and family members about their right to adequate health care and how to seek treatment internally. We also advocate directly with jail and prison health administrators over deficient care, and in certain cases, we represent prisoners in litigation to remedy constitutional violations. Mental health care and treatment is a critical component of our work. PLS advocates for care and litigates both individual and class action matters on behalf of mentally ill prisoners.
medical parole committee
Incarcerated people who are permanently physically or cognitively incapacitated or are terminally ill with less than 18 months to live can apply to be released on medical parole. Even those who have sentences with no parole eligibility, including natural lifers, can be eligible for medical parole.
Solitary Confinement Committee
At any given moment, tens of thousands of people across the country are held in solitary confinement, hundreds of them in Massachusetts. These prisoners are locked in small, concrete cells, typically with a solid door that faces a wall over 20 hours a day, a kind of torture. These men and women get their three small meals a day through a slot in the cell door, and see their loved ones only through glass, if at all. In Massachusetts, prisoners can still be held for many years in solitary confinement. Through our litigation, coalition building, and legislative work, we aim to ensure that no prisoner is subjected to this torment.