Resources: PARC Recommended Legal and Educational Prison Books

PARC corresponds with and mails a directory of these resources to prisoners, their friends and family members. We are often the first point of contact for people to connect with prisoners' rights organizations, community organizations, prison literature and arts projects, family and visiting resources, health care and legal resources, parole and pre-release resources, and the prison abolition movement.

Download a PDF copy of the 2018 Resource Guide.

Resource Category
A Jailhouse Lawyer's Manual

A Jailhouse Lawyer's Manual (10th Ed, 2014, 1288 pages, $30) is a handbook of legal rights and procedures designed to inform prisoners of their rights and how use to judicial process to secure these rights on both the federal and state level, with an emphasis on New York State law. The additional Immigration & Consular Access Supplement (102 pages) contains information about the immigration law consequences of criminal convictions for people who are not U.S. Citizens. The JLM is $30 if shipped directly to prisoners; $105 for all others. The Supplement is $5 for prisoners, $22 for all others. Please note the JLM is available free by individual chapter if downloaded from the above-listed website by an outside source, printed out, and mailed to the prisoner.  Prisoners may also directly order up to three chapters of the 9th Edition of JLM for free. Please note that the 9th Edition was published in 2011 and is not the most recent edition, thus it may contain information that is out of date and no longer accurate. To obtain the order form for the three free chapters, send a pre-addressed stamped envelope to the above address. The 11th edition of the JLM is due out in 2017.

PARC Recommended Legal and Educational Prison Books
Back to School: A Guide to Continuing Your Education after Prison

The Prisoner Reentry Institute (PRI) of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice provides the 63-page Back to School: A Guide to Continuing Your Education after Prison (2015 revision), which is available at no charge. The guide provides step-by-step instructions on getting ready and applying to educational programs after release from prison. It also covers internet basics, resumes, financial aid, transferring credits, obtaining necessary documents, and the various educational programs to choose from. The PRI has other publications available; ask for their list of research and publications.

PARC Recommended Legal and Educational Prison Books
Battling the Administration: An Inmate’s Guide to a Successful Lawsuit

Battling the Administration (David J. Meister, April 2014, 566 pages, $34.95 +$5 S&H) is a self-help manual that guides readers through the complex U.S. civil court system, teaches them how to pursue a lawsuit in the face of the constraints imposed by incarceration, and enables a successful outcome for the prisoner's civil rights lawsuit. The book includes extensive case-law citations and advice on organizing, investigating and prosecuting a case. Know your civil rights and how to defend them in court.

PARC Recommended Legal and Educational Prison Books
California State Prisoner's Handbook

The California State Prisoners Handbook (Heather MacKay & Prison Law Office, 4th Ed, 2008, 1100 pages), is $40 if shipped directly to prisoners or parolees, $182 for all others (including the 2014 supplement). All orders include sales tax and shipping. The Handbook discusses in detail the laws governing prisoner rights and the policies and practices of the CDCR. The Handbook also includes numerous sample forms and model pleadings. The 17 chapters cover: Administrative Appeals, Rights of Prisoners, Classification and Transfers, Determinate Sentences, Time Credits and Release Dates, Life Prisoners, Disciplinary Violations and Segregation, Medical and Mental Health Care, Detainers and Extradition, Early and Temporary Releases and Special Prison Programs, Parole, MDO and SVP Commitments, Workers Compensation and Other Benefits, Immigration Issues for Noncitizen Prisoners, Writs of Habeas Corpus and Mandate, Federal Civil Rights and State Tort Law Actions, Direct Appeals of Convictions, Legal Research and Writing. PLEASE NOTE: This book is offered to prisoners and parolees at a special subsidized price. Those who are not a prisoner or parolee (or are not purchasing the book for shipping directly to a prisoner or parolee) must pay the regular price. Note: This book has not been updated since the 2014 supplement.

PARC Recommended Legal and Educational Prison Books
Exoneree Diaries

Exoneree Diaries: The Fight for Innocence, Independence, and Identity (Alison Flowers, 2016, $17.95 +$2.50 S&H, use coupon code EXONEREE40 for a 40% discount -$10.77+2.50, TOTAL=$13.02). Through intimate portraits of four exonerated prisoners, investigative journalist Alison Flowers explores what happens to innocent people when the state flings open the jailhouse door and tosses them back, empty-handed, into the unknown. From the front lines of the wrongful conviction capital of the United States—Cook County, Illinois—Flowers recounts profoundly human stories of reclaiming life, overcoming adversity, and searching for purpose after exoneration. As she tells each exoneree's powerful story, Flowers vividly shows that release from prison, though sometimes joyous and hopeful, is not a Hollywood ending-or an ending at all. Rather, an exoneree's first unshackled steps are the beginning of a new journey full of turmoil and uncertainty. Flowers also sheds new light on the collateral damage of wrongful convictions on families and communities, challenging deeper problems of mass incarceration and the criminal justice system.

PARC Recommended Legal and Educational Prison Books
Federal Prison Handbook

The Federal Prison Handbook (Christopher Zoukis, 2016, 491 pages, $49.95 +$6 S&H) is the definitive guide to surviving incarceration in a federal prison. This handbook teaches individuals facing incarceration, prisoners who are already inside, and their friends and family everything they need to know to protect themselves and their rights. The thorough information was compiled by someone who has first-hand experience with the federal prison system, as Zoukis is an advocate currently serving time at a federal prison. His insider’s view of this unknown world guides inmates through the mental stresses of confinement. Importantly, this text provides detailed instructions on how prisoners can protect their rights. Importantly, this text provides detailed instructions on how prisoners can protect their rights. The author is a college-educated prisoner who has fought extensively to preserve his rights and the rights of other prisoners.

PARC Recommended Legal and Educational Prison Books
Georgetown Law Journal Annual Review of Criminal Procedure

The Georgetown Law Journal Annual Review of Criminal Procedure (ARCP) 45th Ed, July 2016, 1000+ pages) is $25 if shipped directly to prisoners, $85 for all others. The ARCP provides readers with objective, concise and accurate overview of criminal procedure and recent case-law decisions in the United States Supreme Court and each of the 12 Federal Circuit Courts. The $25 discounted rate is only honored for orders sent directly to correctional facilities. Refunds are not available. Orders are shipped USPS, so please allow 4-6 weeks for delivery. Tax must be included if shipping to DC (5.75%), VA (5.0%), MD (6%), NY (7.0%), TN (7% state & 2.25% local) and PA (6.0% or 7.0% if sent to Philadelphia or Allegheny County.)

PARC Recommended Legal and Educational Prison Books
Inmate Shopper

Inmate Shopper (Fall/Winter 2016-17, 325 pages) is America's largest book of resources for inmate's services plus many other sections of reading and entertainment. Inmate Shopper reviews and rates many of the businesses that service inmates. Their business directory has hundreds of listings for gift shops, catalogs to order, photo sellers, personal assistants, magazine & book sellers and many more. Added sections include Segments From the Arts (writers, poetry, art, music), Criminal Justice News, Entertainment, Sports Schedules, Centerfold (non-nude) and more. Published twice a year with new content in each issue. Order online, phone, email or send a payment for $24.99 (includes priority shipping & tracking) to the above address. Accepts JPay and Corrlinks at MoneyGram also accepted.

PARC Recommended Legal and Educational Prison Books
Jailhouse Lawyers Handbook

The Jailhouse Lawyers Handbook (5th Ed, 2010, 158 pages, free) published jointly by the National Lawyers Guild and the Center for Constitutional Rights, explains how a prisoner can start a lawsuit in federal court to fight against mistreatment and bad conditions in prison. To receive a paperbound copy, mail a request to the above address. Please note the Handbook is also available downloaded from their website ( by an outside source, printed out, and mailed to the prisoner. List of chapter headings: (1) Introduction; (2) Your Legal Options; (3) Your Rights in Prison; (4) Structuring Your Lawsuit; (5) How to Start Your Lawsuit; (6) Legal System & Research; (7) The Legal System and Legal Research; and 12 appendices. Donations of $2 (or more) help offset postage and shipping and are greatly appreciated.

PARC Recommended Legal and Educational Prison Books
Prison Education Guide

Prison Education Guide (Christopher Zoukis, 2016, 280 pages, $49.95 + $6 S&H) is the most comprehensive guide to correspondence programs for prisoners available today. This exceptional book provides the reader with step-by-step instructions to find the right educational program, enroll in courses and complete classes to meet their academic goals. It is perfect for the incarcerated student who lacks Internet access or the ability to attend education classes in person. Prison Education Guide includes a detailed analysis of the quality, cost, and course offerings of all college correspondence programs available to prisoners. In a time when so many academic opportunities in prisons have been eliminated, this book is an invaluable reentry tool for prisoners who seek to further their education while incarcerated, and to help them prepare for life and work following their release.

PARC Recommended Legal and Educational Prison Books