PLS has five offices across New York State in close proximity to New York’s 52 prisons.

Staffed by lawyers with decades of experience in constitutional, civil rights, corrections and administrative law.
Trusted and respected by our clients, their families and loved ones based on decades of investigation, advocacy, litigation, and education on prison issues.
Created by New York State in response to  the Attica uprising, PLS is an independent, non-profit legal services organization representing incarcerated New Yorkers on conditions of confinement.

Complaints of brutality, mistreatment and abuse; failure to provide adequate medical and mental health care; improper disciplinary hearings; denial of educational and vocational programming; wrongful sentence and jail time computations; and suspension or termination of visitation rights.
For release from solitary confinement, restoration of good time, adequate medical and mental health treatment, proper certification of jail time credit, and appropriate education and programming.
For better living conditions, protection of civil and human rights and a pathway to citizenship.
Providing incarcerated individuals with the tools needed to safeguard their civil and human rights and successfully reintegrate into their communities upon release.

Attica - A Cry For Help

For an overview of the reasons why PLS was created and insight into why an organization like PLS is vital to New York State’s system of criminal and civil justice, click on the video.
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About Us

The Number One Attica Reform: PLS

…following the 1971 Attica uprising to ensure that the voices of incarcerated New Yorkers are heard.

…to indigent individuals confined in New York State prisons.

…and advocate for a more humane criminal justice system.


  • the excessive use of force;
  • solitary confinement;
  • disciplinary hearings;
  • access to education, programming and medical and mental health care;
  • jail time credit and sentence computation;
  • child custody and support and family visitation; and
  • immigration and deportation defense.


Experts working
Practice areas
Specialized Programs
1 +
Requests for assitance per year

Information for Incarcerated Individuals and their loved ones


Practice Areas

Please note that staffing and resources impact our ability to accept cases. In addition, each case requires a legal merit assessment. Because of these limitations, the below list is not a guarantee that all requests for assistance within our practice area will be accepted.

Access to Courts

Access to Records

Child Support

Child Visitation

Disability Rights

Disciplinary Hearings


Early Release

• temporary release
• merit time
• work release
• Shock Incarceration
• Willard DTC
• clemency
• parole for deportation only

Excessive Force

Failure to Protect

Freedom of Speech and Religion


Health and Safety


• Removal Defense
• Custody/Bond Proceedings
• Habeas Corpus
• Petitions for Review of Orders of Removal and Stays of Removal

Jail Time Credit

Medical Care

Medical Parole

Mental Health Care


• Denial
• Rescission
• Conditions

Protective Custody


Sentence Computation

Sexual Harassment

Solitary Confinement

Visitation Suspension

PLS Spotlight


  • PLS Response to the Buffalo TOPS Shooting Our hearts are with the families, friends, and community of the victims of the horrific racially motivated massacre at the Jefferson Avenue TOPS in Buffalo. To help the community in Buffalo heal, consider a donation to one of the following organizations***: The African Heritage Food Cooperative Feed BuffaloContinue reading "PLS Response to the Buffalo TOPS Shooting"Read More »
  • National Pro Bono Week (October 23rd – 29th) is a time to celebrate and recognize the dedicated work of pro bono volunteers, as well as to educate the community about the many legal and other issues faced by our clients. PLS is happy to announce that this year we will again be celebrating National Pro Bono Week with an event highlighting our commitment to serving the incarcerated community.Read More »
  • On Tuesday, Karen L. Murtagh, Executive Director of Prisoners’ Legal Services of New York, was invited to speak at the Inspector General’s press conference announcing the results of the IG’sRead More »


  • PLS prevails in challenge to a DOCCS’ decision to remove our client from the work release program following his filing of a worker’s compensation program claim for a prior occupational injury as one that violates Americans with Disabilities Act.Read More »
  • Today the nonprofit organizations Disability Rights Advocates (DRA) and Prisoners’ Legal Services of New York (PLS) filed a class action lawsuit against the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) on behalf of people with disabilities who are incarcerated at Five Points Correctional Facility and have been denied mobility-related accommodations they need to get around.Read More »
  • A civilly detained individual is not a “prisoner” as defined by the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA).Read More »
  • On July 1, 2021, the Second Circuit issued a landmark decision in Brathwaite v. Garland, finding that the imposition of a presumption of finality to state criminal convictions under appellate review was arbitrary and unreasonable.Read More »