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LexisNexis Legal Launches Initiative to Improve Legal Access for Inmates

March 30, 2022

LexisNexis Inmate Law Library 

LexisNexis Legal & Professional recently announced two major initiatives aimed at improving inmates’ access to current legal information and new developments in the legal system.

Inmate Litigation Reporter is a quarterly digest analyzing new legal developments affecting the rights of people in prison. Created by LexisNexis to provide exclusive and relevant legal content written and developed specifically for incarcerated people.

Additionally, LexisNexis has partnered with third parties to license plain language legal content that is relevant to people in prison and jail, most notably the well-known and established Jailhouse Lawyer’s Handbook. This title will now be made available electronically in thousands of correctional facilities across the U.S.

Inmate Litigation Reporter

Generally, people in prison lack formal legal training and often have limited access to representation despite facing complex legal issues. LexisNexis has long recognized the need for prisoners to be able to access case law and legal content and has developed a broad range of solutions for legal research in jails and prisons in response.

Senior Director of Corrections Solutions at LexisNexis, Anders Ganten, says the Inmate Litigation Reporter was specifically developed to make our services even more relevant to and accessible for incarcerated people as they work on their legal matters.

“Having visited correctional facilities in different states and observed LexisNexis team members train inmates in legal research, we saw a need for legal resources designed for the unique needs of these vulnerable users” says Ganten. “LexisNexis has long made available the most authoritative sources on the market, but we understand that it is challenging for non-lawyers to know where to even start their research or follow long, academic and heavily footnoted discussions on topics such as conditions of confinement, habeas corpus or probation and parole.”

The Inmate Litigation Reporter is arranged topically into 60 common subject matters ranging from the Americans with Disabilities Act to the use of force, making it easier for inmates to identify cases that are relevant to their situations.

Each issue includes dozens of articles breaking down recent legal developments. All articles are written in plain and engaging language by specialists in correctional law and contain direct links to the cases discussed for those who wish to go deeper. Coverage goes back to 2018, is current through spring 2022 and will be updated quarterly starting in June 2022.

Former Secretary of the South Dakota Department of Corrections Dennis Kaemingk notes that the Inmate Litigation Reporter is a pathway for people in prison to better understand the laws surrounding their cases. 

“Inmates are constantly searching for new developments affecting their situation,” says Kaemingk. “This will be a real help to guide them through the enormous volumes of new cases issued each year. Additionally, by improving the understanding of what types of cases typically have little chance of success, it has the potential of reducing the number of meritless lawsuits thus reducing the stress on both inmates and administrators.”

Jailhouse Lawyer’s Handbook

LexisNexis has also licensed trusted and accessible sources that are relevant to incarcerated people, most notably the well-known and established Jailhouse Lawyer’s Handbook, which will be made available electronically for the first time in thousands of facilities under an agreement with its’ authors–the Center for Constitutional Rights and the National Lawyers Guild.

The Jailhouse Lawyer’s Handbook has been a staple in prisons and jails for decades and will now reach an even wider audience directly. 

Other new sources added as part of this initiative include the Prisoners' Self-help Litigation Manual by Daniel Manville and John Boston and a collection of criminal justice books that will be added later in 2022. Access to these and all other sources in inmate law libraries is always free to incarcerated people.

“This important initiative reflects the core mission of and commitment by LexisNexis to advancing the rule of law. Improving access to and understanding of the law is a cornerstone of a well-functioning legal system,” said Teresa Jennings, head of rule of law development at LexisNexis.

About LexisNexis Legal & Professional

LexisNexis is the leading provider of correctional law libraries in the U.S., providing online and offline legal information solutions that combine our advanced and intuitive technology with exclusive content such as annotated statutes in all states, constantly updated case law, Shepard’s® citation service analysis and leading treatises on a broad range of subjects.

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