OUR LEGAL WORK
The National Council’s legal work focuses on ending the harm caused by the incarceration of women and girls. We use every legal tool possible to dismantle the prison-industrial complex policy by policy, statute by statute, case by case until all our sisters are home.
We speak truth to power by including the voices of incarcerated and formerly incarcerated women in all of our legal work.
Ma’at, the Egyptian Goddess of Justice
|*Fowler v. Benson, Amicus Brief Submitted to the Sixth Circuit Supporting Rehearing en Banc in a case aiming to end suspension of driver’s licenses in Michigan for failure to pay fines and fees. In partnership with Dēmos.|
Tennessee Legislature Passing the Primary Caretakers Bill
|*Testimony of Executive Director Andrea James Before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.
|*Public Statement by Executive Director Andrea James to the Department of Justice on Implementation of the Risk Assessment Tool in the First Step Act.|
Welcome to the National Council’s Blog, Reimagining Justice
May 24, 2019
National Council’s new blog, Reimagining Justice, will provide updates on efforts to turn the criminal legal system into one that deserves to be called the criminal justice system. We look forward to celebrating the work and achievements of this community and calling out harmful policies and exposing the cruelty of the current carceral system. read more …
|Prison Book Censorship Is on the Rise
May 31, 2019
“Don’t attribute to malice what can be explained by incompetence.”
When it comes to prison officials and books, it is hard to believe that saying is true. Every day there seems to be a new story about prisons refusing to accept book donations to incarcerated people. In the last few months alone, Pennsylvania, Washington, and Ohio have enacted book bans. read more…
|The National Council Is Taking Back the Legal System
June 7, 2019
In January, the National Council expanded its activities to include legal work under our guiding principle: nothing about us without us. We will amplify our message of prison abolition by engaging in impact litigation, giving testimony before Congress and state legislatures, filing administrative complaints, and any other activity that will enable us to vindicate the rights of those ensnared in the criminal legal system. read more…
|Man with Dietary Medical Need Suffers in Prison
June 14, 2019
In a recent article from the Marshall Project, Peter Inserra describes his particularly horrific incarceration for 14 months in New York state prisons. As a man with Celiac disease, he had to cope with having basic medical needs denied in addition to his loss of physical liberty. read more
|Incarcerated Women Help Draft Legislation
June 21, 2019
In an article from The Appeal, Sarah Lustbader describes how a group of incarcerated women in New York helped to draft a law to protect domestic violence survivors who are incarcerated or facing trial. The Domestic Violence Survivors Justice Act (DVSJA) helps assist “survivor-defendants” by allowing judges to “consider whether abuse was directly related to a person’s crime.” The judge may then accordingly assign the women to “shorter sentences or to alternative-to-incarceration programs. read more