Explainer: What is Jail Mail?

While every facility’s rules are different, this article provides a good overview of what “jail mail” rules usually look like.

Explainer: Can I Get A Passport With A Felony?

If you have a felony conviction, you may have trouble getting a passport. And, even with a passport, you still might have trouble traveling.

Explainer: The BOP FSA Time Credits Auto-Calculator

The BOP says that its FSA time credits auto-calculator is up and running. That’s news to everyone who uses it.

Explainer: Did California really make prison calls free?

Earlier this week, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law SB 1008, a bill that makes prison calls in the state free.

Will A Court Always Accept A Plea Deal?

While plea deals are very common, a court does not have to accept a plea deal. If a judge refuses to accept a deal, the case moves forward.

Here To Help: Learn To Respect A Prisoner’s Wishes

People who take time to communicate with incarcerated people deserve credit. But they also need to learn to respect a prisoner’s wishes.

Explainer: Can I Get A First Step Act Time Credits Lawyer?

A new federal court case out of Wisconsin demonstrates when you may get a court-appointed lawyer in a First Step Act time credits case.

Explainer: What is Deflection?

When it comes to alternatives to the U.S. justice system, people usually think of diversion. But deflection is making headlines.

Explainer: Forbes Article Highlights BOP’s FSA Time Credits Mess

The BOP’s implementation of First Step Act (FSA) time credits has been a mess, and it’s getting worse.

Explainer: The Case for Community Service Sentences

Community service sentences are an alternative to incarceration that benefits the defendant and the community.

Explainer: Do Prisoners Really Pay $249 Per Day?

Some states charge prisoner $249 per day for their incarceration. Almost always, they won’t have the money to pay it back.

Here to Help: Exhaust Your Administrative Remedies

There are a lot of questions about FSA time credits, but one thing is clear: you must exhaust your administrative remedies.

Explainer: Unanswered Questions About FSA Time Credits

There are a lot of questions about FSA time credits out there right now. Here’s the best information we have in less than 1,000 words.

Here To Help: Your All-In-One “Offender Search” Database

If you have a loved one in prison, you’ll use an “offender search” website eventually. Here’s an all-in-one database of those websites.

Explainer: Do Cops Really Use Baby DNA To Solve Crimes?

Earlier this week, Wired Magazine reported that cops in New Jersey used baby DNA to charge the child’s father. It’s as crazy as it sounds.

News: A Dozen People Have Died In Rikers This Year

A dozen people have died in Rikers in 2022, a tangible statistic that represents the facility’s horrific conditions. Will anything change?

What Are The Possible Outcomes On Appeal?

In a criminal case, there are usually three possible outcomes on appeal: affirmed, reversed or affirmed in part and reversed in part.

When Can You Appeal?

Most people know that you can appeal after trial and sentencing, but there are other rules you need to know about appeals too.

What are Prior Record Variables?

Some states like Michigan base their sentences on prior record variables. Make sure your PRV score is correct at sentencing.

What is an Offense Variable?

Some states like Michigan base their sentences on offense variables. It’s crucial that you make sure your OV score is correct at sentencing.

What Do You Have To Tell Police During A Search?

During a search by law enforcement, you do not have to tell the police much. At most, you will have to identify yourself.

How Do You File A Motion For Resentencing?

There are situations in which you can file a motion for resentencing, but those situations are limited in criminal cases.

How Long Can You Be Held In Jail Before You’re Arraigned?

You can be held in jail for up to 72 hours (and sometimes even longer) before you are arraigned in a criminal case.

What Are Sentencing Guidelines?

Whether you’re in state court or federal court, the sentencing guidelines will play a role in your sentence no matter what.

Can You Depose Witnesses In A Criminal Case?

You can depose witnesses in a criminal case, but it is not as common as it is in civil cases and often requires judge approval.

Who Can You Call As A Witness In A Criminal Trial?

There are three types of witnesses in a criminal trial: a lay witness, an expert witness and a character witness.

What is a Presentence Investigation Report (“PSIR”)?

The Presentence Investigation Report has a huge impact during sentencing, but its impact extends far beyond that.

When Can You File a Bivens Action?

You can file a Bivens action any time your rights are violated, but violations of the Fourth, Fifth and Eighth Amendments are most common.

Are Juveniles Held in Adult Prisons?

Thousands of juveniles are currently housed in adult prisons across the U.S. even though we know the practice is harmful.

Am I Entitled To An Expert Witness In My Criminal Case?

A defendant in a criminal case is not entitled to an expert witness. But, if one is necessary, the judge should allow you to have one.

What Kind Of Discovery Is Available In A Criminal Case?

In a criminal case, defendants are usually entitled to discovery. However, states like Virginia have very limited rules.

What is Insufficient Evidence?

Courts can dismiss charges against a defendant in a criminal case if there is insufficient evidence presented by the prosecution.

What are the Hearsay Exclusions?

A declarant-witness’s prior statement and an opposing party’s statement are hearsay exclusions. This means they are “not hearsay.”

Can A Person Choose To Which Jail Or Prison They’ll Go?

A person cannot choose which jail or prison they will go to. Instead, authorities consider a variety of factors to determine placement.

When Can Police Search a Person’s Home?

Police can only search a person’s home in certain circumstances. But, if you consent to a search, those circumstances don’t have to apply.

What Are The Sex Offender Registry Housing Restrictions?

If you’ve been convicted of a sex-related offense, you’ll likely be on a sex offender registry, which comes with housing restrictions.

What Are Your Fifth Amendment Rights During A Search?

Your Fifth Amendment rights include the right to remain silent, even during a search prior to an arrest and prior to a trial.

What is a Bivens Action?

A Bivens action is a lawsuit against a federal government official who violates someone’s constitutional rights.

Do You Need To Disclose Prison Time On a Job Application?

Whether you have to disclose that you’ve been to prison on a job application depends on what state you are in.

When Can Police Search a Person?

Police can search a person in a number of different situations, but the Fourth Amendment provides some protections.

What Are Your Rights During A Traffic Stop?

The Fourth Amendment includes rights that a protect you during a seizure, which includes during a traffic stop.

When Can Police Search a Person’s Car?

Police can search a person’s car with a warrant or with consent. But you don’t have to consent to a search under any circumstances.

What are your Fifth Amendment Rights During a Traffic Stop?

Several different Fifth Amendment rights apply during a traffic stop, including the right to remain silent.

When Can Police Pull You Over?

If police see you commit a traffic violation, they can pull you over. After that, police may ask to search your car. You can say no.

Do You Have The Right To A Lawyer On Appeal?

The Sixth Amendment protects your right to a lawyer on appeal, but that right only extends so far. Then, you’re on your own.

What Are Your Rights During A Search?

The Fourth and Fifth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution provide you with several important rights that apply during a search.

What are the Hearsay Exceptions?

In general, courts don’t allow you to present hearsay. But there are a lot of hearsay exceptions. In federal court, there are 23 of them.

Can You Contest The Charges Against You?

In every criminal case, you can contest the charges against you. But you don’t have to. You can also plead guilty or no contest.

ICYMI: Lawsuit Filed Against Clark County (Indiana) Sheriff

A lawsuit against the Clark County Sheriff and other jail officials says they accepted a bribe in exchange for access to female detainees.

What is Hearsay?

Hearsay is an out-of-court statement offered by a party to prove the truth of the matter asserted in the statement.

What Is A Bivens Claim?

A Bivens Claim is the kind of lawsuit you bring when a federal official violates your constitutional rights.

What Is A Public Defender?

Public defenders are a key part of the criminal justice system and our Sixth Amendment right to counsel. Learn more here.

What Is The Difference Between An Attorney And A Lawyer?

A lot of websites will tell you that there’s a difference between a lawyer and an attorney. But is there really a difference?

What Are Your Fifth Amendment Rights During Trial?

Several Fifth Amendment rights apply during trial, including the right to remain silent and the double-jeopardy protections.

How Do You Find Newly Discovered Evidence From Prison?

You can find newly discovered evidence from prison, but it’s not easy. You’ll likely need help from at least one other person.

What is the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)?

The Freedom of Information Act can help you win your wrongful-conviction lawsuit, but every state’s rules are different.

What Are Good Time Credits?

If you’re in BOP custody, you can earn 54 days off of your sentence per year through good time credits.

What Do You Have To Tell Police During A Traffic Stop?

There is only one thing you have to tell police during a traffic stop: your name. Other than that, you can remain silent.

How Can You Get Released Early Under The CARES Act?

People in BOP custody can be released early under the CARES Act. But the BOP and federal courts haven’t made it easy.

Explainer: What Overturning Roe v Wade Means For Criminal Justice

Earlier this week, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade, and its decision could have several impacts on the criminal justice system.

Explainer: The Supreme Court Decision in Concepcion v United States

In Concepcion v United States, the Supreme Court ruled that district courts can consider many factors when deciding a First Step Act motion.

Are There Standards That A Lawyer Must Meet?

Every lawyer must meet a set of standards. These standards are known as the Rules of Professional Conduct.

What is the First Step Act?

The First Step Act of 2018 was arguably the most significant criminal justice reform in decades. Here, we summarize what it did.

How Can You Get Your Record Expunged?

You can get your record expunged in many states, but it depends on a lot of different factors. Some states, however, don’t allow it at all.

I’ve Been In Your Shoes: Are You Ready to Return Home?

Everyone in prison waits for their end-of-sentence (EOS) date. But are you really read to return home? It depends.

What Happens If The Jury Can’t Reach A Verdict?

When the jury can’t reach a verdict, it is known as a “hung jury.” But a judge will make the jury deliberate more before ending the case.

President Biden’s Executive Order Explained: Prison Conditions

President Biden’s Executive Order impacts several parts of the criminal justice system, including prison conditions. Learn how.

President Biden’s Executive Order Explained: First Step Act

President Biden’s Executive Order addresses several topics, but one of the most important ones is First Step Act implementation.

Courts Finally Push Back on BOP’s Approach to FSA Time Credits

For months, federal courts have approved of the BOP’s approach to FSA time credits without pushback. But a new decision is changing that.

President Biden’s Executive Order Explained: Law Enforcement

President Biden’s May 25 Executive Order includes several provisions on law enforcement accountability. Here’s what you need to know.

Everything You Need To Know About RDAP (Part One)

The RDAP program is offered in federal prisons across the United States by the BOP, but you must qualify for it.

Everything You Need To Know About RDAP (Part Two)

To qualify for RDAP, a drug abuse program coordinator must have documentation of a drug abuse disorder.

What is Cruel and Unusual Punishment?

The Eighth Amendment prohibits cruel and unusual punishment. But what constitutes cruel and unusual punishment?

When Can Police Arrest You?

Before police can arrest you, they must have probable cause. This probable-cause requirement comes from the Constitution.

How Does The Fifth Amendment Apply When You Get Arrested?

The Fifth Amendment applies when you get arrested. It states that you can’t be forced to be a witness against yourself.

How Does The Fourth Amendment Apply When You Get Arrested?

The Fourth Amendment protects you when you get arrested. If police violate it, courts can suppress evidence. You can also file a lawsuit.

What Do You Have To Tell Police During An Arrest?

During an arrest, you may have to tell the police your name. But, other than identifying yourself, you have the right to remain silent.

What Is A Motion To Dismiss In A Criminal Case?

In a criminal case, a defendant has the motion to file a motion to dismiss, asking the court to drop the charges against you.

How Soon Can You File A Lawsuit For FSA Time Credits?

You can file a lawsuit for FSA Time Credits any time you want. But courts have been dismissing them as too early no matter when you file.

News: The Impact of Overturning Roe v Wade on Criminal Justice

The Supreme Court will overturn Roe v Wade in the near future, and the impacts on the criminal justice system are clear already.

What is a Conviction Integrity Unit?

Across the U.S., prosecutors and district attorneys are adding a Conviction Integrity Unit to their office. What does it mean for you?

I’ve Been In Your Shoes: The Housing Nightmare After Prison

Finding housing after prison is a nightmare. But lawmakers and officials can change things. Do they want to?

Should You Talk To A Police Officer?

If you talk to a police officer, they can use what you say against you, your loved ones and others. But you have rights that protect you.

Explainer: Courts Can’t Make Up Minds About FSA Time Credits

Courts have been providing guidance on challenging the BOP’s calculation of FSA time credits. So far, it’s been useless.

What Do I Do If My FSA Time Credits Aren’t Calculated Correctly?

The BOP started applying FSA time credits earlier this year, but what if they haven’t calculated your time credits correctly?

What is the Residential Drug Abuse Program (RDAP)?

If you’re going to prison, one of the things you might not know about yet but will want to is the Residential Drug Abuse Program (RDAP).

What If You Go To Prison For A Crime You Did Not Commit?

If you’ve been convicted of a crime that you did not commit, you need help. Exoneration and innocence projects can do just that.

How Does The First Step Act Impact Compassionate Release?

The First Step Act changed compassionate release for the better. But has it actually led to more compassionate releases?

What Is Civil Commitment?

Prosecutors don’t only work in criminal cases. They also represent “the People” or “the State” in involuntary civil commitment cases.

Explainer: The Supreme Court’s Decision in Thompson v Clark

In Thompson v Clark, the U.S. Supreme Court held that plaintiffs need only prove they weren’t convicted to bring a Fourth Amendment claim.

Explainer: Courts, Prisoners and Forced Vaccination

In essence, courts have forced prisoners to get the COVID-19 vaccination. But you won’t see that on social media or in the news. Why?

Explainer: The Supreme Court’s Decision in Ramirez v Collier

In a case called Ramirez v Collier, the U.S. Supreme Court delayed an execution based on a prisoner’s religious-freedom rights.

Explainer: New Bail Law In Indiana Locks Up Extra Poor People

A new bail law in Indiana was passed in the name of safety, but all it’s likely to do is lock up more poor people.

News: USP McCreary Enters Exclusive Deal with Books N Things

USP McCreary has a deal with Books N Things to become its exclusive book and magazine provider. How? Why? Help us learn more.

Will Federal Courts Fix The BOP’s Calculation of FSA Time Credits?

You have probably earned a lot of FSA Time Credits by now, but challenging the BOP’s calculation of those Time Credits will be hard.

What Is The Difference Between Felonies and Misdemeanors?

The differences between felonies and misdemeanors focus on the seriousness of the crime and the potential punishment.

Explainer: The Deshaun Watson Case Goes to a Grand Jury

Deshaun Watson will be the subject of a grand jury proceeding on Friday. If the grand jury decides to charge him, he could be in trouble.

Explainer: The Supreme Court Decision in Wooden v United States

In Wooden v United States, the Supreme Court addressed mandatory minimums under the Armed Career Criminals Act.

For My Habeas Petition, Am I In State Or Federal Custody?

If you plan to file a petition for writ of habeas corpus, you may need to know whether you are in state or federal custody.

What’s The Skinny On Prison Food?

You will have the option of eating three meals in prison. Prison food menus follow a national calendar. The menu changes daily.

News: Report Says Plea Deals Now Limit Compassionate Release

A new NPR report states that prosecutors in the U.S. have been using plea deals to stop compassionate release from prisons.

What Do You Need To Do To File A FSA Time Credits Lawsuit?

The biggest thing you need to know about filing an FSA Time Credits lawsuit is that you need to go through the BOP grievance process first.

Q&A: How Do You Know If The BOP Will Apply FSA Time Credits?

The BOP has started to apply FSA Time Credits. But many are still waiting. Here’s a Q&A from someone who has been in your shoes.

What Is A No-Knock Warrant?

After police shot and killed Amir Locke, the term “no-knock warrant” started making headlines again. Here’s what you need to know.

Can Noncitizens Earn First Step Act Time Credits?

We’ve received many questions about if noncitizens can earn First Step Act Time Credits. The answer is no, but you can earn other incentives.

Less Than 1% of People on CARES Act Release Reoffended So Far

There are 9,000 people out on CARES Act release right now. Only 1% of those 9,000—less than 10—have committed serious violations.

Getting The BOP To Apply FSA Time Credits: From A Lawyer

The BOP started to apply FSA time credits last week, but you may not get every credit you’ve earned. Hear one expert’s thoughts…

Getting The BOP To Apply FSA Time Credits: From Someone On Home Confinement

The BOP started to apply FSA Time Credits last week, but you might still be waiting, including if you’re already on home confinement.

Prison Rules: What Are Minor Infractions In Federal Prison?

Following all the prison rules is essential. Even the smallest of infractions can result in disciplinary action.

Can You Send Text Messages In Prison?

The new TextInmate.com system allows inmates to send and receive text messages in prison. It is quicker than letters or email.

Does The BOP Have To Provide First Step Act Time Credits Today?

The BOP has until January 15, 2022, to provide First Step Act time credits. Today is the deadline. Will the BOP follow the law?

What Does Today’s Big FSA Time Credits News Mean?

This morning started with some huge FSA Time Credits news. Here’s everything you need to know about it in less than 600 words.

Prison Rules: What are Major Infractions in Federal Prison?

It is important to follow the prison rules. Major rule infractions involve more serious consequences. You’ll go to the SHU if you break rules.

What Are the Four Phases of the Residential Drug Abuse Program?

The Residential Drug Abuse Program (RDAP) has four phases. These phases are orientation, core, transition and aftercare.

What’s the Difference Between General Mail and Legal Mail in Prison?

There are two types of mail in prison: general and special mail. Officers conduct a visual inspection of all mail for contraband.

Everything You Need To Know About First Step Act Time Credits

The First Step Act is coming up on an important deadline for its time credits system. Here’s what you need to know.

I’ve Been In Your Shoes: What Is A Downward Departure In Federal Court?

Most sentences in federal court fall within a sentencing range, but you can also get a downward departure. But is it worth the risk?

What is Visitation Like in Federal Prison?

Visitation in federal prison has changed immensely since 2020. Visitation was prohibited because of COVID-19.

Why is Mass Incarceration a Public Health Crisis?

Mass incarceration is a public health crisis. This was true before the COVID-19 pandemic and will be true afterwards as well.

What Kinds of Jobs Can You Get in Prison? 

Having a job in prison is not only a requirement, but it can also be a great way to pass your time. There are different jobs available to work while you are in prison that can serve as experience once you are released. 

I’ve Been In Your Shoes: What Are Your First Days in Prison Like?

The first days in prison aren’t any different from your first day at work, school or any other place where you begin a new routine. There are new people, a new landscape and a new setting. It may feel a bit different and strange at first. You may feel lonely and miss your family and friends.

Should You Accept A Plea Agreement? 

The decision whether to accept a plea agreement is one for you to make and depends on your specific circumstances.

Can Nursing Homes Refuse People With A Criminal Record?

Nursing homes can refuse to admit someone because of their criminal history, but they must be careful when doing so.

What The CARES Act Home Confinement News Means To Me: Richard McDonald

This is what the decision to allow those released to home confinement under the CARES Act to stay put means to Richard McDonald.

Breaking News: Biden Administration Agrees to #KeepThemHome

For months, we haven’t known if the Biden Administration would #KeepThemHome. Yesterday, we got our answer: Yes!

What Happens When You Self-Surrender to Prison?

When you self-surrender to a federal prison, it means that you are not forcibly taken to prison. Instead, you are told when and where to appear at prison to begin your sentence. 

I’ve Been In Your Shoes: Who Works in a Prison and What Do They Do? 

When you’re going to prison, it’s important to know who you will interact with during your time there. While you will be spending time with other incarcerated people, you will also be interacting with different members of the staff. Who is in charge in prison? What does each person do?

How Do You Keep Busy In Prison?

Yes. While you’re in prison, you’ll want to keep busy. Depending on the prison you’re assigned to, there are different ways that you can stay occupied.

Can You Get Life Insurance In Prison?

You can by life insurance when you are going to or in prison. But most insurance companies don’t sell coverage to incarcerated people.

The Role of Incarcerated People in the Kentucky Candle Factory Tragedy

Incarcerated people are “working their tails off” to help after the Kentucky candle factory tragedy, but the media narrative stays the same.

News: 17 Attorneys General Call On SCOTUS Not To Limit First Step Act

SCOTUS is on track to decide what courts may consider for relief under the First Step Act. Now, 17 attorneys generals are weighing in.

Do You Need  To Prepare Financially For Prison?

Yes. It is a good idea to prepare financially for prison.  There are resources to help you get your finances in order before you go to prison.

Is Communication With Your Attorney Important?

Communication with your attorney is important to ensure that they are able to represent you in the best way possible.

Can You File For Unemployment Benefits After Time In Prison?

You can’t receive unemployment benefits while you are in prison, but you can receive them after your release if you qualify.

What Is The Purpose Of A Plea Deal?

The purpose of a plea deal is simple: certainty. It’s the only way for you to guarantee the outcome of your trial and your sentence.

Is Your Loved One Earning First Step Act Time Credits Yet?

If you have a loved one in prison, you’ve likely heard about the First Step Act, but can your loved one earn time credits under the Act yet?

What Is Bail? How Does Bail Work?

Bail is an amount of money you give the court to be released from jail before trial. If you don’t follow the rules, you can lose that money.

What Programs And Activities Qualify Under The First Step Act?

Incarcerated people can earn time off their sentence under the First Step Act, but what programs and activities qualify for time credits?

I’ve Been In Your Shoes: Will Asking For a Lawyer Make You Seem Guilty? 

If you’re wondering if asking for a lawyer makes you look guilty, take time to read this perspective from someone who has been in your shoes.

Can You Get 54 Days Off Your Sentence Per Year For Good Time?

Under federal law, you can get 54 days off your sentence per year for good time. But does that mean you really get the full 54 days?

I’ve Been In Your Shoes: What To Do If You’ve Been Arrested

If you’ve been arrested, you probably have a lot of questions. This is your chance to hear someone’s perspective who has been in your shoes.

What Does Beyond A Reasonable Doubt Actually Mean?

In a criminal case, the prosecution must prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. What does the term “beyond a reasonable doubt” mean?

What Is It Like Trying To Get An ID After Leaving Prison?

When you’re released from prison, you’ll face challenges. But if you’re leaving prison with an ID, some of those challenges aren’t as bad.

Will People Released Under the CARES Act Have To Go Back?

Thousands of people were released from prison under the CARES Act, but will they have to go back to prison once the COVID-19 pandemic ends?

What is the PREP Act? – How To Justice

The PREP Act aims to give every prisoner education opportunities no matter what facility they’re in, and it benefits everyone involved.

What Workplace Protections Exist for Incarcerated Workers?

There are a variety of workplace protections in place for workers in the United States, but none of them have helped incarcerated people.

What is Qualified Immunity?

Qualified immunity is something that judges created to make it harder to sue police officers, prison guards and other government officials.

What Rights Do You Have When Police Knock On Your Door?

When police knock on your door, you probably know you have legal rights that protect you. But do you know which ones?

Do Your Rights Help With Climate Control Problems In Prison?

Climate control problems are common in prisons, but your Eighth Amendment right against cruel and unusual punishment can help.

How Are Civil And Criminal Cases Related To Each Other?

Civil and criminal cases are separate in the United States justice system, but the two concepts are still related. Understand why.

What Measures Are Prisons Taking To Slow Spread Of COVID-19?

Because prison guards have largely refused to get vaccinated, prisons have taken other measures to slow the spread of COVID-19. Do they work?

Do Police Have To Tell You If You’re Under Arrest Or Free To Go?

When you interact with police, several different legal rights apply. Some of the rights depend on whether you are under arrest.

Resource: List of Dog Training Programs at Florida Prisons

Prisons have dog training programs, as well as programs for cats and even wild horses! These programs benefit both the animals and the people.

I’ve Been In Your Shoes: A Survivor Speaks: “Why Judge, Why?”

By Jesalyn Lewis Surviving domestic violence is more complicated than many can imagine. There are many turbulent twists, reckless waves, dangerous curve balls, and sometimes unintentional interceptions involved.

What Is The EQUAL Act? How Could It Impact You?

Two U.S. senators recently proposed the EQUAL Act, a law aimed at ending the sentencing disparity for crack and powder cocaine.

What Constitutional Errors are “Harmless”? How does it Affect you?

Some constitutional violations even though errors are not erroneous. Those are harmless constitutional errors. As per this rule, courts do not consider unimportant errors occurring during a trial. It means that not all constitutional violations can get you a dismissal, a new trial or appeal otherwise.

Should I Fear Other Incarcerated People?

No. You should not “be afraid” of other incarcerated people. Violence and harassment do occur in jails and prisons, but fear will not protect you from either. Fear can actually make you a target. Fear of fear itself At his inauguration in 1933, Franklin Delano Roosevelt “First of all, let me assert my firm belief […]

How do You Remove Your Name from the Sex Offender Registry?

It is possible to remove your name from a state sex offender registry. Each state has its timeline and eligibility criteria. Here is how you can apply.

I’ve Been in Your Shoes: “Have You Ever Been Convicted of a Felony?”

It is important to be truthful and hopeful when an employer asks about your criminal history. Here are some tips.

What are the Possible Sentences You Could Face After Conviction?

The courts decide a sentence according to the offense and the law governing it. There are various types of sentences you might get. Here is how courts decide a sentence.

How Does A Sex Offender Registry Work In Most States?

If you or your loved one has been convicted of a sex crime. You may need to get yourself registered under the sex offender registry. It is also known as Megan’s law in most states. This is for public information purposes. A registry is a database that consists of your basic information and whereabouts. It is mandatory to register under the registry once you are out of prison or move to another state.

Can Your Sentence In A Criminal Case Change After It Starts?

If you’re convicted of crime, a judge will sentence you. But your sentence can change after the judge chooses it in some circumstances.

How Could A New “Watershed Rule” Impact Your Criminal Case?

There are some legal terms that could significantly impact your life but aren’t commonly understood. The watershed rule is one of those.

Is The Food In Prisons And Jails Safe To Eat?

Food in jails and prisons is supposed to be safe. But that doesn’t always mean it is. Without set rules, food safety is not guaranteed.

How to Subpoena Witnesses for Your Trial

In some cases, you may want to bring a witness or an important document to the court to prove your claim. You or your attorney can do so by issuing a subpoena to a person or institution to testify or produce the requested documents. A subpoena is a court command that compels a person to do what is requested.

How Do You Know If Your Lawyer Is Doing A Good Job?

You have a constitutional right to a lawyer in criminal cases. But how do you know if your lawyer is doing a good job?

How to Challenge a Prison’s Decision not to Give you a Diet Consistent with your Religion?

If you or your loved ones are denied a diet consistent with your religion in prison you can challenge it in court. There are constitutional as well as legal protections to challenge it.

How Can You Overturn A Wrongful Conviction?

If you were convicted of a crime despite being innocent, you suffered a wrongful conviction and can take steps to have it overturned.

What Do You Do If a Prosecutor Strikes Jurors Based on Race?

A prosecutor might try to exclude a juror on the basis of race or other discriminatory grounds. You can object to this by raising a Batson challenge.

What Is A Motion For A New Trial In A Criminal Case?

If convicted of a crime, you can appeal. But you can also file a motion for a new trial in the court where your criminal case happened.

What Does It Mean When A Prosecutor Commits A Brady Violation?

A Brady violation occurs when prosecutors withhold evidence that would help the defendant, and they can result in overturning a conviction.

What Can You Do If You Think Your Judge Has A Bias?

You have the right to a fair trial under the Sixth Amendment. This includes the right to a fair judge who does not have a bias against you.

How Do You Know What Caselaw Applies to Your Case?

If you are facing a trial, the final decision in your case may be based on rules of law created by previous cases. “Caselaws” or “precedents” means the rules established by those previous cases. The judge cites the caselaws as an example to justify their present case decisions.

What is an Examination in Court?

In a witness examination, attorneys from both parties can ask questions. Such witness examination can take place in both civil and criminal trials. There are two types of witness examination: direct-examination and cross-examination.

Can You Win An Appeal For Ineffective Assistance Of Counsel?

The most common argument on appeal in criminal cases focuses on ineffective assistance of counsel. But can you win with that argument?

What Arguments Can You Make In A Criminal Appeal?

If you’ve been convicted of a crime, you’re probably already thinking about what arguments will work best to appeal in your criminal case.

How Do You Prove An Alibi Defense in Court?

A defense of alibi protects a person who is misjudged as a criminal, when in fact they were present somewhere else when the crime took place.

What Rules Apply To Your Criminal Court Case?

If you’re charged with a crime, certain rules apply to your criminal case. Which rules apply depends on what court your case is in.

“JPay Sucks.” Here’s Why You’re Not the Only Person Who Thinks So.

If you’re visiting How to Justice, you’ve probably already said it: “JPay sucks.” You’re not alone, but it’s a hard problem to fix.

What Makes Evidence Inadmissible in Court?

In a criminal case, a party to the case can present evidence in the form of written documents, witnesses, photos and videos. When evidence is incompetent, prejudicial and irrelevant to the case a judge can disregard it. Such evidence is inadmissible in court and must be removed from the case.

I’ve Been In Your Shoes: What Happens If Police Arrest A Minor?

Are you a minor who has had interactions with the police. Want to know what to expect? Hear from someone who has been in your shoes.

What Are The General Rules For Hearsay Evidence?

You normally can’t testify about what someone else said. That’s called hearsay evidence. But there are some exceptions that might apply.

Will A Lawyer Take Your Wrongful Conviction Case For Free?

If you’ve been wrongfully convicted, you may be considering hiring a lawyer. But will a lawyer take your wrongful conviction case for free?

I’ve Been In Your Shoes: What Does Justice Impacted Mean?

Tears almost came out of my eyes, thinking about what being justice impacted has meant for my family and me. Justice Impacted means…

What Are “Tough On Crime” Laws? How Do They Impact Your Case?

Since the 1980s, “tough on crime” laws have spread throughout our criminal justice system, and they impact your case more than you know.

When Can You Appeal To The US Supreme Court?

It’s possible that you could appeal your criminal case to the US Supreme Court. But how do you do it? And is there a chance you can win?

What Is The Difference Between State And Federal Courts?

If you’ve been charged with a crime, one of the first things you need to do is understand the difference between state and federal court.

What Is Prosecutorial Discretion And How Can It Impact Your Case?

Prosecutorial discretion is the power prosecutors have to make charging decisions. This power is huge and can have a big impact on your case.

What Is The Post Conviction Relief Act And How Does It Help?

If you or a loved one has been convicted of a crime, you’ve probably heard about the Post Conviction Relief Act. But what is it?

How Do Officials Handle Detoxing In Prison?

More than two million people in U.S. prisons have opioid addictions. What are prisons and jails doing to help people detox?

Does “Giving Yourself Up” Or “Turning Yourself In” Really Help?

If you have an arrest warrant, police may ask you to come in voluntarily. Does “giving yourself up” or “turning yourself in” really help?

How Can You or a Loved One Apply for Clemency?

There are a lot of ways to try to get released earlier, but clemency is one that doesn’t involve a court or your prison making the decision.

Did Compassionate Release Change During COVID-19?

COVID-19 has overwhelmed prisons across the country, but compassionate releases have been hard to come by in certain areas.

What It Means to be Justice-Impacted: Armor, Labels and Education

The term justice-impacted can be applied to any individual that has been directly or indirectly affected by the justice system. Every individual feels the effects and struggles with the labels placed not only by society but the labels they place on themselves.

What is Post Conviction Relief in a Criminal Case?

After a criminal conviction, you face sentencing and can appeal. But you can also file for post-conviction relief as well. Learn more here.

What are Mandatory Minimums in Sentencing?

If you’re convicted of certain crimes, you could face mandatory minimums. It’s important to understand these “one size fits all” sentences.

What are Three-Strikes Laws?

Three-strike laws are also known as “habitual offender laws.” They are federal and state laws that convict a repeat offender, with three felonies. This law can increase your prison time by many years or imprison you for life.

Should You Talk To Police If They Say It Will Help?

It’s a straightforward but complicated question: Should you talk to the police if they say it will help? Almost always, the answer is no.

Does Your Defense Attorney Have Access To Experts?

You have the constitutional right to present a defense in a criminal case, and your attorney should be able to access an expert to help.

What Happens If You Can’t Pay Your Court Fines, Fees And Costs?

If you’re convicted of a crime, you’ll face a legal financial obligation. What happens if you can’t pay your court fines, fees and costs?

Can You Choose Your Court-Appointed Lawyer?

Under the Sixth Amendment, you have the right to a lawyer, but, in most cases, you don’t get to choose who your court-appointed lawyer is.

Do You Have A Right to Represent Yourself At Trial?

You have the right to a lawyer under the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, but you can also represent yourself at trial.

What Is A Petition For Writ Of Habeas Corpus?

A petition for writ of habeas corpus is one of the most significant legal ways to get released from prison or other relief.

What Conduct By The Prosecutor Is Allowed During Trial?

A prosecutor’s conduct during trial is governed by rules of evidence and criminal procedure. They also can’t commit prosecutorial misconduct.

What Comes After an Appeal in a Criminal Case?

If you’ve lost on appeal in a criminal case, it might feel like you are out of options. But you’re not. What comes after an appeal?

How Do You Access Court Transcripts From Cases?

If you or a loved one has been convicted of a crime, you may want to access court records and transcripts. It can be easy to do so online.

What Are Your Rights When Pulled Over by Police?

You need to know your rights when you are pulled over by police. Some include the right to remain silent, to refuse a search and to a lawyer.

What Are Your Rights to Use the Legal Library in Prison?

In the United States, many prisons have a legal library. In most cases, you can use the books and other information in this library to help you with any legal matters you may have. But your rights to use the legal library in prison can be a little complicated.

How Should You Interact With Prison Staff?

It’s important for justice-impacted people to realize that prison guards are typically very different fro police. With that in mind, how should you interact with prison staff?

What Are Your Rights During a Preliminary Hearing in a Criminal Case?

A preliminary hearing is similar to a regular criminal trial. The prosecutor presents evidence to a judge. Your attorney can cross-examine that evidence. Both sides can call witnesses. But there are some key differences.

What Rights Do You Have During an Arrest?

During and after an arrest, you do have rights. These rights are mostly protected by the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Amendments.

What Is Probable Cause In A Hearing or Investigation?

For law enforcement, probable cause allows them to get warrants. Probable cause for prosecutors means they have enough evidence against you to hold a hearing

What Does an Acquittal in a Criminal Trial Mean?

Acquittals can also happen for some charges in a case, but not for all the charges. But, an acquittal is not the same as a not guilty ruling.

What is an Arraignment in a Criminal Court Case?

An arraignment is the first formal hearing in a criminal case. The judge will read the charges against you, and you will enter a plea.

What Constitutional Rights Exist During Sentencing?

Your constitutional rights still exist during sentencing. Knowing those rights is important at this late stage in your case.

What Is a Dismissal of the Charges Against You?

A dismissal of the charges against you means your current criminal case will end. But, this does not mean the charges go away for good.

What is the Difference Between a Guilty Plea and a Not Guilty Plea?

At the beginning of a criminal case, you have three choices when you enter a plea: guilty, not guilty or no contest. How do you decide which?

What are Criminal Charges in an Indictment?

An indictment is an official document someone receives when they get accused of a crime. Indictments are usually reserved for felony-based charges.

What Are Your Rights To A Trial in a Criminal Case?

The Bill of Rights outlines a number of rights that everyone has during a criminal trial. These rights help to ensure that people have a fair legal process.

I’ve Been In Your Shoes: Getting Home Safe and Knowing Your Rights

Knowing your rights doesn’t always mean that they will be honored.

What Are Miranda Rights and What Happens When You Invoke Them?

“Miranda rights” are your right to be informed of your Fifth Amendment rights. Under the Fifth Amendment, you have the right to not incriminate yourself. This is also known as the right to remain silent. You also have the right to have an attorney represent you.

What is the Felony Flow Chart?

The first step in the felony flow chart occurs before arrest. This is when a crime is committed or reported.

Where Can You Go for Help with Finding Housing After Release?

You may have trouble finding housing after release. But doing so is an important part of staying out of prison. You do have resources to help you.

How Can You Restore Your Right to Vote After Leaving Prison?

Only Maine, Vermont, and the District of Columbia let you vote from prison. In all other places, you will lose the right to vote after you get convicted. But in many cases, you can restore your right to vote back after leaving prison.

How Do You Restore Your Rights After You’ve Been to Prison?

If you get convicted of a felony, you may lose some of your rights. But after you leave prison, you may be able to restore some of those rights. Whether you can or not depends on a few things.

What Kinds of Violence and Harassment Can Happen in Prison?

It is true that different kinds of violence and harassment do happen in prison. But they aren’t a certainty. If you go to prison, you may experience these things.

Where Can You Get Your Medications Filled After Leaving Prison?

While you are in prison, the prison supplies the medication you need. After you leave prison, you are responsible for your medications.

What Does It Mean to Be Exonerated Of a Criminal Charge?

A court can find you guilty or not guilty or a crime. But being exonerated of a criminal charge is different.

Which Rights Are Lost While You Are In Prison?

Some of your rights will get lost when you go to prison. Other rights are very limited while you are incarcerated. But you don’t lose all of your rights.

Can You Get Medicaid After You Get Released From Prison?

Medicaid is a public health insurance program in the United States. You may be able to get Medicaid after leaving prison. You can also apply before leaving.

Top 10 Laws To Know Before Going To Prison

If you’re going to prison, there are many laws and legal rights you want to know. How to Justice put together this “top 10” list to help.

How Do You Get Health Insurance After You Get Released From Prison?

Based on how long you were in prison, your previous insurance plan may still be active when you get out. If not, getting health insurance after you get released from prison can help you control medical costs.

Everything You Need To Know About Your Fourteenth Amendment Rights

The 14th Amendment affirms your rights and guarantees equal treatment under the law. But does that change after you’ve been convicted?

Everything You Need To Know About Your Eighth Amendment Rights

Your Eighth Amendment rights protect you from unreasonable punishment by the government. How do they change after a conviction? Read more.

How Do You Get a Driver’s License After Incarceration?

You can get your driver’s license back after incarceration. But it’s not always easy. Getting your driver’s license back can often take many steps. It can also cost a lot of money.

Everything You Need To Know About Your Sixth Amendment Rights

The Sixth Amendment lays out your rights to a fair trial and legal representation. Does it still protect you after a conviction? Read more.

Can You Own or Have a Gun if You Have a Criminal Record?

Whether or not you can own a gun with a criminal record depends on a number of factors. The type of convictions on your record plays a big role. Your state’s laws are also important. It also matters whether or not your record has been expunged.

What Happens When You Violate Probation?

There is a very wide range of violations. The punishments for those violations also vary. Overall, what happens when you violate probation depends on several factors.

Can You Transfer Your Probation Supervision To Another State?

Probation consists of rules and guidelines you must follow and complete. But during this time you may want or need to move from your current state. In some cases, you can transfer your probation to another state.

Everything You Need To Know About Your Fifth Amendment Rights

The Fifth Amendment protects your rights in civil and criminal legal cases. But how do they change after you’ve been convicted? Read more.

Everything You Need To Know About Your Fourth Amendment Rights

Your Fourth Amendment rights protect your privacy. But what happens to those rights when you’re convicted of a crime? Read more inside.

Everything You Need To Know About Your First Amendment Rights

The First Amendment protects your rights related to speech, religion, and assembly. But how does a criminal conviction affect those rights?

What Is Work Release from Prison, and How Does It Work?

Work release comes in many different forms. Where you are incarcerated, what your crime was and other factors can play a role in how work release looks for you.

10 Ridiculous Prison Laws

There are a few ridiculous prison laws that don’t make a lot of sense. Some feel pretty ridiculous, but have logic behind them.

What Happens After You File an Appeal in Federal Court?

You have the right to appeal a court’s decision. But what happens after you file an appeal in the federal system? Learn more inside.

Do Justice-Impacted People Have the Right to Utilize Benefit Programs Such as SSI, SNAP, Public Housing, and Grant Programs?

Time behind bars is hard, but the real world can be just as hard if you have a felony conviction. That’s because felons can’t use many programs that help people get back on their feet.

What Rights Do Prisoners Have in Supermax Prisons?

You do not lose your constitutional rights in supermax prisons. But these facilities place many restrictions on your life. These prisons limit your movement.

Will You Face Job Discrimination After Prison?

Some forms of job discrimination after prison are legal, while others are not.

How Do You Request a Pardon or Commutation?

A pardon frees someone from their legal consequences. But how do you request a pardon or clemency?

Do Any Companies Emphasize Hiring Formerly Incarcerated People?

There are many companies that look to hire formerly incarcerated people. Some make a point of it. Other companies may not ask about your criminal record as policy. But even companies that hire justice-impacted people sometimes still check your criminal record.

What Is Administrative Segregation in Federal Prison?

Administrative segregation is when prison staff separates one inmate from other inmates.

How Can the Prison Rape Elimination Act Impact Your Sentence?

In 2004, Congress enacted the Prison Rape Elimination Act. This act is also known as the PREA. The act aims to address the problem of sexual abuse in U.S. prisons.

How Do You Meet with a Pastor or Chaplain in Prison?

You still have the right to practice your religion in prison. This is true regardless of your religious views. You can also meet with a pastor or chaplain in prison.

Are There Resources to Help You After You Get Released From Prison?

Resources help you and your family once you are released. Knowing these resources can help you make a smooth transition out of prison and into the community.

What Can Your Loved Ones Find Out About You While You’re in Prison?

Your family can only find out some information without speaking to you when you’re in prison. Some of your information is available to the public. But some of your information stays private.

Can Your Family Pick You Up From Prison On Your Release Date?

A friend or family member may be able to pick you up from prison on your release date. It depends on the terms of your release and the rules of your prison. Planning ahead can help you ensure a smooth release date.

Can You Bring Anything to Prison with You When You Go In?

Yes. If you’re heading to prison, you can bring certain items. There are also items that you can’t bring and that you shouldn’t bring.

What Prison Records are Public Information?

You don’t have a lot of privacy when you’re in prison, and that’s true for information as well. What prison records are public information?

What Is Reentry? How Is It Different From Reintegration?

when it comes time for reentry, reintegration programs can help you start a new and independent life. Understanding these terms and how to prepare for the processes can help you make a successful transition.

Are There Housing Restrictions on Former Prisoners?

When you get released from prison, you may still have a lot of limits on your life. But are there housing restrictions on former prisoners?

Can You Pay For Your Loved One to Get Better Healthcare in Prison?

If your loved one is in prison, you may worry about them getting the care they need. You might wonder if you can pay for your loved one to get better healthcare while they are in prison. However, no matter who pays for healthcare in prison, only the BOP can provide those services.

Will Prison Provide Substance Abuse Treatment After You Get Released?

If you want to seek substance abuse treatment after you leave prison, you have options. You may even be required to enroll in a program. Treatment may be one of your conditions of release.

What Do Prisons Provide Justice-Impacted People During Release?

As you transition from being incarcerated to being newly released, will the prison provide you with anything when you leave? Yes, but what they actually provide will differ based on the prison.

What Is a Plea? What Is a Plea Deal? Should You Accept One?

A plea is the response you give to charges, and a plea deal is an arrangement made by you, prosecution, and the court. But what exactly do pleas and plea deals entail?

How Can You Obtain a Lawyer? What Happens If You Can’t Afford One?

A lawyer can help you navigate a criminal case from arrest to release. There are lawyers in every state willing to take on criminal cases and who can represent you in court.

Why We Don’t Use the Word “Inmate” on This Site

We don’t use the word “inmate” on this website. That’s because we recognize it is more than just a word for survivors of the criminal justice system.

Can Schools and Employers Check Your Criminal History?

When you get released from prison, people might treat you differently. But can schools and employers check your criminal history?

What Happens If You Violate Parole, Probation or Supervision?

What happens if you violate parole, probation or supervision depends on your specific case, but you could end up in prison.

What Can You Do to Clear Your Record and Criminal History?

In some cases, you have ways to clear you record. But this isn’t the only option if you want to keep your record private. You can also ask to seal your record. This makes it private for the general public.

Do You Have a Right to See Your Kids After You’re Released from Prison?

When you are getting ready to go back into your community, there are a lot of legal questions that may arise. Do you have a right to see your kids after you’re out of prison? Do other people now have a say in your custody and parental rights?

Will You Face Harassment and Violence in Prison?

Most people do not face harassment and violence in prison. But incarcerated people experience these at a much higher rate than people outside. You are more likely to face these issues in prison.

What Is Healthcare Like for Your Loved One in Prison?

The BOP website says that prisoners get medical, dental and mental health services. Prisons decide which services are essential for which people. Prisoners get routine checkups for new or pre-existing conditions they may have. People in prison also receive dental care.

Can You Seal Your Criminal Record While You’re Still in Prison?

Most people probably hope to seal their criminal records as soon as possible. You may not be able to do that while you’re in prison, but you can learn the process.

Can You File a Lawsuit for Your Loved One in Prison?

Unless you are a licensed attorney, you have no legal standing to file a lawsuit on behalf of your loved one.
Usually, there are only two people that can file a lawsuit for someone–the person whose rights were violated or their attorney. And even then, it can be difficult.

Will You Have Access to Outside Information in Prison?

There are some limits on how you can access outside information in prison. But you will have several ways in which you can get news and other information while you are incarcerated.

What Are the Differences Between Prison Work and Work Release?

There are more differences than similarities between work release and prison work. They are both jobs and you are in custody in both situations. However, that’s about where the similarities end. There are several important ways in which they are different.

Is the Medical and Mental Healthcare in Prison Safe?

Healthcare is sometimes safe in prison. But there are many documented cases of problems.

Does the Government Ever Investigate Prison Living Conditions?

The government has a few ways of dealing with prisons that don’t meet standards. How they handle it varies depending on the state and the agency. It also depends on how poor the conditions are.

Who Can You Contact at Your Loved One’s Prison with Questions?

Prisons almost always have general phone numbers on their websites you can call for general questions. When you do not have you loved one’s status or current location, there is still a way to locate them through prisoner lookup tools.

What Is the Difference Between Probation and Parole?

Many people use the terms probation and parole to mean the same thing. They are both a form of custody. But in reality, they are different concepts.

How Can You File Your Tax Return If Your Spouse Is Incarcerated?

If your spouse is in prison, You have to do many things on your own. How can you file a tax return if your spouse is incarcerated?

How Do You Go About About Filing Taxes When Incarcerated?

Your obligations keep going — even if you’re in prison. With tax season in full swing, how do you go about filing taxes when incarcerated?

I’ve Been In Your Shoes: Life After Prison: Why It’s so Difficult for Returning Citizens to Rebuild

When your release date approaches, you have mixed emotions. On the one hand, you’re excited about your upcoming release. On the other, you’re anxious about how the “free world” has changed and what your place will be in it.

What Can You Do to Improve Your Loved One’s Living Conditions in Prison?

If your loved one is in prison, you may be worried about their living conditions. Prisons and jails can be difficult places to live. Life is not comfortable in these facilities. But there are some things you can do to help.

How Do You Report Harassment and Violence in Prison?

There are a few ways that you can report harassment and violence in prison. How you report it depends on who hurt you. And you may not always want to report it.

Can You Refuse to Work a Job When You’re in Prison?

Yes, unless they have a valid reason not to. People in prison with disabilities will be assigned jobs that they can manage. The BOP considers work to be part of the rehabilitation process.

Can You Travel Abroad If You Have a Felony Conviction?

In most cases, ex-felons can travel abroad and get a passport after being released, but there are exceptions.

What Is Restorative Justice and How Does It Help?

Restorative Justice brings together all parties of conflict with a trained facilitator. The goal is to address, repair, and prevent the harm that crime causes.

What Legal Options Do You Have to Help a Loved One in Prison?

If you have a friend or family member in prison, you want to help. But what legal options do you have to help a loved one in prison?

Can You Marry Another Person on Probation While You Are on Probation?

Although a long list, one of the general rules of probation is that you cannot be around someone else who is on probation. So, if two people on probation started dating, let alone be near each other, that would already be a violation of probation.

How Can You Make Sure Your Bills Are Paid in Prison?

Your bills don’t stop coming just because you are in prison. If you don’t prepare, you might leave incarceration with massive debt. But there are ways that you can make sure your bills are paid while you’re in prison.

What Is Work Release from Prison, and How Does It Work?

Work release comes in many different forms. Where you are incarcerated, what your crime was and other factors can play a role in how work release looks for you.

What Can You Do If a Prison Guard Is Being Violent?

Prison systems allow guards to use force to control prisoners. But laws do not allow for the use of “excessive force.” The line between what is acceptable force and excessive force is not always well-defined.

Should I Tell My Employer About Expunged Criminal Record?

If you get your record expunged, you’re bound to ask yourself this question: Should I tell my employer about my expunged criminal record?

Will I Get Furlough If My Loved One Dies While I’m Incarcerated?

Furlough is when an incarcerated person is allowed to leave prison and return during their sentence. Prisons grant furlough for specific reasons, such as going to court or seeing a doctor. But you can also get furloughed for personal reasons.

Can You Stop the Termination of Parental Rights While in Prison?

Even in prison, you’re responsible for the care of your children. What can you do to stop the termination of parental rights while in prison?

Can You File a Lawsuit for Criminal Conviction Discrimination?

If you have a record, you might face discrimination in housing, employment and more. Can you sue for criminal conviction discrimination?

Clearing Your Record: Does Expungement Really Work?

If you have a criminal history, you’ve probably thought about trying to clear your record. But does expungement really work?

Do the Guards Read Your Mail in Federal Prisons?

When you go to prison, you lose a lot of your privacy, including in your communications, but do guards read prisoner mail?

What Type of Living Condition in Prison Is Required?

If you’re going to prison, you likely have questions. One is simple but important: What type of living condition in prison is required?

How Do You Know What Prison You Will Go to After Conviction?

After a guilty verdict or sentencing hearing, you may go straight to prison. But how do you know what prison you will go to?

Who Are the People Who Need to Know You’re in Prison?

It’s hard to know who to trust, especially if you’re going to prison. Who are the people who need to know you’re in prison?

Privacy of Incarcerated Individuals: Are Prison Records Public Information?

When you go to prison, you feel like you lose your right to privacy. What public information is available about you as an inmate?

Will You Go Straight to Prison After You Are Convicted?

If you’re convicted of a crime, you may be sentenced to prison. But whether you go straight to prison depends on your specific case.

Can a Probation Officer Make You Move or Quit Your Job?

On probation, you lose control of many parts of your life. Sometimes, your probation officer can even make you move and quit your job.

How Do You Get Your Civil Rights Restored After a Felony Conviction?

When you get out of prison, you’ll want to make sure to have your rights restored after a felony conviction. How can you make that happen?

What Rights Do Prisoners Have During Disciplinary Hearings?

There are not many rights that prisoners have during disciplinary hearings, so you need to know what ones you have to prepare ahead of time.

What Is Compassionate Release in the Prison System?

Compassionate release goes by other names depending on the system. Some call it “medical parole” or “geriatric parole.” But the idea remains the same. That some people are too sick or too close to death for prison. Or that the need for them to be at home is greater than for them to be in prison.

What Happens After You File an Appeal in Federal Court While in Prison?

You have the right to appeal a court’s decision. But what happens after you file an appeal in the federal system? Learn more inside.

What Services Does JPay Offer and How Do You Use It?

JPay is a private company that provides services for prisoners to use in the United States. The company charges fees to use their products. It offers services related to communications, money and entertainment.

Can a Probation Officer Keep You Away from Your Spouse?

Probation usually comes with a lot of restrictions. But can your probation officer really keep you from seeing your spouse? Read more inside.

Are Probation Officer Cell Phone Searches Allowed?

The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects you from unreasonable search and seizure. More specifically, the amendment makes sure your property is safe unless there is a warrant. But, technology brings up new questions and complications

Can You Choose Which Halfway House You Go To?

A “halfway house” is a loose term for a residential correctional facility inside a community. In these places, prisoners serve some time between prison and full release. When you are there, you will live with other people in a similar situation. The concept of a halfway house is similar to parole.

Can You Challenge Your Conditions of Release?

You can challenge the conditions of your release at any time. Your first chance will be at your release hearing. Depending on where you are in custody, that could be a parole, probation or supervised release hearing.

Do You Disclose Your Record? When Is the Right Time to Tell Someone About Your Charges?

You shouldn’t be defined by your charges or your record. However, most of the time, if you don’t disclose your record from others, they will accuse you of being deceptive. and/or their overall ability to trust you will be damaged.

What’s the Difference Between a Sealed and an Expunged Record?

When your record is sealed or expunged, most people won’t be able to see it. Neither will show up on a background check. The key difference between a sealed and an expunged record is that a sealed record still exists.

Can You File a Lawsuit over Solitary Confinement Conditions?

Yes. You can file a lawsuit about the conditions in solitary confinement. Even in solitary, you still have rights. If someone violates your rights, you can sue.

“You Must Exhaust Your Administrative Remedies.” What Does This Mean?

f you’re a prisoner and thinking of filing a lawsuit, there are a few things you should know. The Prison Litigation Reform Act put some rules in place that may make it harder to file a lawsuit. One thing the law requires is that you must exhaust your administrative remedies. Before you file, you should understand what that means and how to do it.

Can You Sue Your Probation Officer?

Technically, you can sue anyone for any harm they do to you or your property. But since your probation officer has legal power over you, the right to sue is even more important

Does Someone Convicted of a Felony Have Parental Rights?

In most cases, yes. A convicted felon will have parental rights. You cannot lose these rights simply because you went to prison. However, there are some situations in which you could lose your parental rights.

Can You Go To Work Or School While You’re On House Arrest?

“House arrest” is a blanket term. It refers to a type of supervised release in which you will have your movements monitored. Under house arrest, you will not be able to travel freely.

What Is the Prisoner Reentry Employment Program and How Does a Justice-Impacted Person Use It?

It can be hard to find a job when you get out of prison. Even though employers are not supposed to discriminate, some fields cannot hire felons. Others may not hire those with past drug crimes.

What Rights Do Foreign Prisoners Have in U.S. Prisons?

Foreign prisoners mostly have the same rights as U.S. citizens in prisons. The major differences involve your legal right to stay in the United States. If you are not a citizen of the United States, the laws are different.

Can You Refuse Medical Treatment While Incarcerated?

For the most part, you can refuse medical treatment in prison. Most medical treatment is only given with your consent. But that’s not always the case.

Can Your Probation Officer Monitor Your Social Media?

Yes. Your probation officer can monitor your social media while you are on probation. This is becoming more and more common in the age of social media.

Where Can You Get Help with Employment After Incarceration?

In many cases, finding employment after incarceration might be a condition of your release. But going to prison can carry a large stigma. Many people have trouble finding work after a prison sentence.

What Happens If an Offender Violates a Rule Within the Prison?

Prison violations can result in new charges, loss of time credits, and more. It’s important to know the rules for your prison and follow them.

What Happens If an Offender Violates Terms of Release?

In many cases, you can be released from prison before your sentence is complete. Whether it’s probation or parole, they both come with rules. In either case, if an offender violates these terms of release, they can face serious consequences.

Out of Prison and College — with a Lot More I Want to Accomplish

“I have no other alternative but to sentence you to the Department of Corrections.” May God be with me? “Where are these people about to send me?” I wondered. “ I’m a college kid,” I said to myself.