PILP - Pennsylvania Institutional Law ProjectThe ACLU of Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Institutional Law Project (PILP) filed a federal lawsuit on September 26, 2016 on behalf of Niara Burton, a transgender woman who has been incarcerated in seven different male prisons by the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (DOC) over the past four years. 

During her incarceration, Burton has been subjected to repeated sexual harassment and abuse, including being raped by another prisoner and forced by a guard to perform oral sex.  The lawsuit alleges that the DOC has failed to put policies and training in place to ensure the safety of transgender women inmates and asks that she be placed in a women’s prison.


Visit www.SocialSecurity.govOn Monday, September 26, 2016 the Social Security Administration will publish final rules, effective January 17, 2017, that revise medical criteria for evaluating mental disorders. This regulation is a comprehensive revision to the criteria for evaluating disability claims involving mental disorders.

The final rule is the last step in a careful, deliberative process that engaged relevant stakeholders, including current disability beneficiaries and their family members, mental-health physicians and treatment providers, and advocacy groups for those with mental disorders. It also reflects information from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth edition, the mental health profession's current standard classification of mental disorders. 


The National Legal Aid and Defender Association will be hosting a webinar entitled Advocacy to Combat Inequitable and Unconstitutional Imposition, and Enforcement of Court Fines and Fees on October 5, 2016 from 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm Eastern.

Attend this free program to learn what you and your program can do to support your clients, including how LSC-funded programs can engage in significant advocacy efforts while still complying with LSC restrictions.


As part of its desire for wider participation in the groups which provide it advice and recommendations, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court is undertaking a new initiative making it easier for people to express interest in being appointed to court advisory panels.

Legal training, experience and expertise are necessary for many assignments, but there are appointments for nonattorneys as well.


The 2016 Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network Conference will take place on September 29-30, 2016 at the Hilton Harrisburg. The conference will feature many helpful workshops for legal services staff, board members and other friends of the legal services community. CLE credits are available for attorneys who attend qualifying sessions.


The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced today that it is publishing a final rule formalizing legal standards under the Fair Housing Act for sexual and other forms of harassment in housing. In addition, HUD is issuing Fair Housing Act guidance on local 'nuisance ordinances' that may lead to housing discrimination against survivors of domestic violence and other persons in need of emergency services.


The Practising Law Institute is offering a series of webcasts of live events on topics of interest to poverty law advocates. These programs offer valuable instruction to both advocates from legal aid programs, as well as advocates offering pro bono service to low-income clients. Each of the programs offer Pennsylvania Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credit to attorneys attending the training.


The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has announced that it is charging a group of landlords in the Pittsburgh area with discriminating against prospective residents who have disabilities. HUD claims the owners and property managers of Beechwood Gardens in Pittsburgh and Southpointe Towers in West Mifflin denied housing to testers posing as prospective renters by refusing to grant them reasonable accommodations.


Disabiliy Under the Social Security Act - 2016 Edition (Cover)Community Legal Services of Philadelphia has released the 2016 edition of Disability Under the Social Security Act, its popular outline of caselaw on the topic of disability under the Social Security Act. PLAN program staff can access this editions in the PLAN Brief and Information Bank but are requested to not share the publication outside their program. Others desiring a copy should contact Richard Weishaupt at Community Legal Services of Philadelphia, the editor of the publication, to request one.


The Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued an Order on August 12, 2016 adopting amendments to Rules 4001-4016 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Judicial Administration relating to court reporting and transcripts.