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
Prisoners' Self Help Litigation Manual

The Prisoners' Self-Help Litigation Manual (John Boston & Dan Manville, 4th Ed, 2010, 960 pages, $39.95 + $6 S&H) is an indispensable guide for prisoners and prisoner advocates seeking to understand the rights guaranteed to prisoners by law and how to protect those rights. Clear, comprehensive, practical advice provides prisoners with everything they need to know on conditions of confinement, civil liberties in prison, procedural due process, the legal system, how to litigate, conducting effective legal research, and writing legal documents. Written by two legal and penitentiary experts with intimate knowledge of prisoner's rights and legal aid work, authors John Boston and Daniel E. Manville strategically focus on federal constitutional law, providing prisoners and those wishing to assist them with the most important information concerning legal rights.


PARC Recommended Legal and Educational Prison Books
Protecting Your Health and Safety: A Litigation Guide For Inmates

Protecting Your Health & Safety (Robert E. Toone, 2nd Ed, 2009, 325 pages, $10 + $6 S&H) is an easy to read, plain language guide prisoners can use to identify and litigate federal civil rights claims against prison officials. Over 100 pages are dedicated to the different kinds of constitutional and statutory violations prisoners frequently encounter while incarcerated. Topics discussed include the First to Fourteenth Amendments, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Rehabilitation Act. Each issue, whether it may be First Amendment retaliation or a violation of the Equal Protection Clause, is addressed in laymen’s terms and supported by case citations from federal district courts, federal courts of appeal, and the United States Supreme Court. Difficult concepts like deliberate indifference are simplified in just seven pages, giving you what you need to know to make out a cognizable Eighth Amendment claim. Another 130 pages discuss how to write a complaint, seek in forma pauperis status, ask for appointment of counsel, respond to motions to dismiss and motions for summary judgment, conduct discovery, and even present your case at trial. Even procedural issues such as exhaustion of administrative remedies are addressed, helping to avoid dismissal at the pleading stage. A glossary of commonly used legal terms is also included, along with a directory of addresses where to file a federal civil rights suit in each judicial district.


PARC Recommended Legal and Educational Prison Books
The Disciplinary Self-Help Litigation Manual

The Disciplinary Self-Help Litigation Manual (Dan Manville, 2nd Ed, 2015, 368 pages, $49.95 + $6 S&H) is designed to inform prisoners of their rights when faced with the consequences of a disciplinary hearing. This authoritative and comprehensive work educates prisoners about their rights throughout this process and helps guide them at all stages, from administrative hearing through litigation. This invaluable how-to guide offers step by step information for both state and federal prisoners and includes a 50 state analysis of relevant case law.


PARC Recommended Legal and Educational Prison Books
The Habeas Citebook: Ineffective Assistance of Counsel

The Habeas Citebook (Brandon Sample, 2nd Ed, 2016, 275 pages, $49.95 +$6 S&H) is a much-needed tool for prisoners who are forced to seek relief on their own. The book is thorough, but simple and readable. It starts with a well-organized listing of hundreds of different types of ineffective assistance of counsel, set forth in the form of citations to court rulings - a novel approach that not only acts as a springboard for further research but also saves the prisoner countless hours of preliminary research. The book is also practical and useful. It provides invaluable resources, including templates and forms, that explain what, when, where and how to file for habeas relief. It contains readable summaries of the relevant laws and rules and plain-English explanations of some of the inherently mystifying concepts of habeas law, such as “procedural default” and “certificates of appealability” and the “AEDPA.” It includes practical advice on what to do and what not to do on issues such as identifying and selecting the claims to be argued; seeking discovery and evidentiary hearings; and seeking the appointment of counsel. And the book consistently offers critical insights on winning court strategies.


PARC Recommended Legal and Educational Prison Books

Pages