We serve prisoners and those confined to state mental health institutions. Our goals are to stop abuses and improve basic services, including health care and nutrition. When we find that the civil rights of a group of prisoners or patients are being violated, we will bring lawsuits on behalf of the entire group to change the policies or practices that are causing the problem. We seek to improve the quality of medical care in Virginia’s state prisons, reform our broken parole system, and make other system-wide changes that will help ensure that Virginia’s institutions are places where human dignity and the civil rights due to all persons are respected. We do not represent prisoners or patients in individual lawsuits but we do investigate individual cases and, when possible, refer individual cases to private attorneys who agree to provide representation a pro bono (no fee) basis.
Education and Outreach
The VIP project provides materials to prisoners so they can represent themselves on issues including civil rights and habeas petitions. These materials are designed to provide clear guidance to prisoners in deciding whether or not to file pro se (on their own). We also conduct outreach with families, concerned citizens, faith communities, and localities to make them aware of the issues being faced by our institutionalized population and how they can work for improvement in the system.