Prison Law Office

Prison Law Office is a nonprofit public interest law firm based in Berkeley, California that strives for fair and humane treatment of people who are in prisons, jails, and juvenile facilities and who are on parole. With a small staff of attorneys, investigators, litigation assistants, and support personnel, Prison Law Office engages in class action and other impact litigation, advocates for policy  and law changes, assists individuals in administrative actions and lawsuits, educates the public, creates and distributes self-help information, and lends technical assistance to other attorneys. (Note: the Office generally does not handle criminal appeals or habeas corpus petitions challenging criminal convictions.)

Founded in 1976 by Michael Satris and Paul Comiskey, the Prison Law Office originally focused on conditions of confinement issues in California state prisons. Over the years, we have expanded our reach to advocate for people in California state prisons for adults and juveniles, Arizona state prisons,  and  California county jails and juvenile halls. Issues tackled by the Office include failures to provide adequate medical, dental, and mental health services, lack of reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities, use of excessive force, racial discrimination, overcrowding, unsanitary living conditions, prolonged extreme solitary confinement, and due process violations.