New Jersey

February 23, 2017:

“I live on a maximum security unit where federal detainees and max-classifed state inmates are held. There are 64 men on the unit. Our unit “Law Library” consists of two computers with WestLaw access and a printer. There are no legal books or journals available. Inmates are issued flash drives with their discovery on them. These drives are typically used for storage of movies, flash games, and pornography. The computers are very rarely used for any type of legal work. It can be difficult to get time on a computer for case research or document preparation due to the myriad of alternative uses for the computer. There is no attorney, paralegal, or librarian assistance with legal work. When I work with other inmates on their cases, most of the work entails preparing statements for sentencing hearings, filing basic motions, researching case law, and writing to attorneys on behalf of the inmate to request or provide information.”

January 10, 2016:

“I have spent the last 3.5 years as a detainee in NJ seeing how overworked, understaffed, and underfunded the NJ public defenders office was and I knew that I needed to be able to help myself, and I have done this by educating myself about the law by taking a paralegal studies certificate program, which is only a start. However I had to file grievances and appeals with the warden just to be allowed. The jail responded by restricting access to the law library, allowing me only 15 hours over the entire last year. They also took away my attorney visits. I have been working to overturn both of these.