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  *Public Stat

Benjamin Crump files lawsuit against Waffle House Corp.: ‘If you won’t respect our Black women, then don’t expect our Black dollars… read more…



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…


Minnesota Prison Ends “No-Touch” Policy

July 19, 2019

 In an article in the Star Tribune, Liz Sawyer recounts how an inhumane policy at Shakopee women’s prison in Minnesota finally came to an end. The prison’s “no-touch” policy, a policy that the Minnesota Department of Corrections often denied was in place, proscribed all contact between incarcerated people. read more…



When We Fight, We Win: Charges Dropped

July 19, 2019

A Jefferson County prosecutor has decided not to press charges against Marshae Jones, the woman who was arrested for manslaughter after another woman shot her, killing her fetus. Lynneice O. Washington announced that it would not be “in the interest of justice” to follow through on the Grand Jury’s indictment. read more…