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Cause Area

  • Advocacy & Human Rights
  • Education & Literacy
  • Justice & Legal
  • Media & Broadcasting


720 3rd Avenue1605Seattle, WA 98104 United States

Organization Information

Mission Statement

The Human Rights Defense Center (HRDC) is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting the human rights of people held in detention facilities in the United States, including prisons, jails, immigrant detention facilities, and juvenile facilities.


Since its founding on the inside of a prison cell in 1990, HRDC has grown into a nationally-reaching nonprofit organization that leverages direct action campaigns, litigation, advocacy, and coalition-building alongside critical journalism to effect lasting reforms.

HRDC’s primary mission is to educate prisoners, policy makers, and the public about prisoners’ rights, prison conditions, and legal developments that affect conditions of confinement. HRDC is the publisher of two monthly magazines (Prison Legal News; Criminal Legal News) and oversees advocacy work nationwide to expand the rights of communication between prisoners and those on the outside, to shine a light on the financial and human costs of the prison industry, and address the intersection of environmental justice and prison justice. HRDC has a full legal team which brings litigation to eliminate illegal censorship, expand access to data about correctional facilities across the country, and reduce the financial exploitation of prisoners and their families.

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