November 15, 2016
“One of the major obstacles for jailhouse lawyers in NC is the lack of legal resource material. Unlike many states, NC removed law libraries from its prisons many years ago. In the place of libraries, NCPLS (North Carolina Prisoner Legal Services) was created. The fourth circuit ruled that by providing legal services to prisoners through NCPLS, the state has no further obligation to provide prison law libraries. To the public this looks like a fair move. For the prisoners that have tried over and over to get legal help from NCPLS, it is as if they have no access to adequate counsel at all.
My first experience with them is one that I’ll never forget. They responded to my request that they were overloaded with cases and it would take a while to review mine. I didn’t know it at the time, but my time limit to file was running this whole waiting period. When they wrote back months later and said they could not help me, they added, “keep in mind that you have four weeks left to file a federal claim in the federal court.” At that time I didn’t have a clue how to file a post-conviction motion into the state court! Sadly, probably more than 75% of prisoners in NC have been denied assistance. Instead, they send out an inaccurate and outdated legal pamphlet to navigate the complex legal landscape ahead of you. ”
July 5, 2016
“None of the prisons or county jails in NC have access to a law library and any legal books that an inmate receives he has to either buy or have charitably given to him. The major obstacle too is that the prisons are making rules that inmates can’t help another inmate with anything legal or else you get disciplinary actions taken against you if you are caught.”