Human Rights Defense Center

The Human Rights Defense Center (Brattleboro, VT) advocates on behalf of the human rights of those detained against their will by the United States government and its agents. This includes people in state and federal prisons, jails, immigration detention, civil commitment, American Indian Jails, juvenile and military prisons among others.

Human Rights Defense Center (HRDC) along with Thousand Kites are partnering for “Media Justice, Criminal Justice,” a cross-sector collaboration based on intentional learning and mutual aid, with the goal of building the communications capacity of the grassroots criminal justice reform movement. Together, the two organizations will (1) Launch a communications platform for the movement, and conduct online and in-person trainings in its use; (2) Use that platform to build out our collaborative “Prison Phone Justice” campaign; (3) Foster movement dialogue, by documenting and evaluating our collaboration.

Since 1990, HRDC has used advocacy, litigation, and its monthly magazine Prison Legal News to seek reform of the criminal justice system and ensure respect for the basic human and civil rights of all people held in American detention facilities. The HRDC also does significant work around government transparency and accountability issues using public records and Freedom of Information Act laws at the state and federal level. Thousand Kites, founded in 2000, is a national dialogue project addressing the criminal justice system. They work directly with current and former prisoners, prisoner families, and others to build grassroots power for a more fair criminal justice system.

The Center received a $17,500 Social Justice Collaboration grant in 2012, funded by Paul Robeson Fund for Independent Media.