Legal Defense Fundraiser for Alex Friedmann!

Legal Defense Fund for Alex Friedmann

See the FAQs at the bottom, too!

Alex Friedmann, a national expert on private prisons and other criminal justice issues, the former managing editor of Prison Legal News  and a former prisoner, was arrested on January 4, 2020 in Nashville, Tennessee.

He is accused of trying to gain access to the newly-built Downtown Detention Center (a jail that has not yet opened and does not hold any inmates), by posing as a construction worker. He is also accused of taking a security key that was later returned. He faces three charges that include two non-violent felonies.

He could receive as much as 10 years in prison.

If you aren’t familiar with Alex, he has worked on criminal justice issues for over two decades, and has published numerous articles , several book chapters and a law journal article . He has testified before state legislative committees and a Congressional subcommittee . He ran the opposition campaign  that stopped the lifetime appointment of CCA/CoreCivic's general counsel to a federal court judgeship, and he was one of the plaintiffs in an ACLU lawsuit  to help ex-prisoners regain their voting rights. He filed complaints against four judges that resulted in disciplinary actions for misconduct, including a federal judge. And he is a longtime opponent to the for-profit, private prison industry.

His CV is posted here , or you can Google him here .

For the past two decades, since he was originally released from prison in 1999, Alex has not been arrested or charged with any crimes – until now. Due to the pending criminal charges, he is unable to explain his actions, provide any context or respond to the news reports concerning his arrest.

However, Alex’s longstanding commitment to criminal justice reform, and improvement of prison and jail conditions, gives us reason to believe that his intentions were consistent with his history of advocacy and activism. 

Alex is out on bond and has hired an attorney. Due to his arrest he resigned from the Human Rights Defense Center, where he had worked for 15 years as managing editor of Prison Legal News and HRDC’s associate director. He is now unemployed, facing felony charges and recovering from unrelated surgery.

Alex needs help to cover his legal bills, which is the purpose of this fundraiser. Any money raised will go to pay his attorney fees, then to cover his bond payment, then to pay any court costs, fees or related fines. If anything remains, it will be donated to a criminal justice non-profit organization.

If you are familiar with Alex and his work and advocacy on criminal justice issues, you know his arrest was totally unexpected and completely unlike him. There is obviously much more to this story, but he can’t tell it or explain his actions while the charges remain pending. At some point, the truth will come out.

One does not have to condone his actions to believe that everyone charged with a crime deserves a vigorous defense, and that is why -- along with the fact that Alex has spent decades fighting for the rights of prisoners -- this legal defense fundraiser was started.

Crowdfunding projects like this are only successful if supporters do two things.

First, if possible, give something – small amounts are fine, as the purpose of crowdfunding is to pool donations from many people.

Second, spread the word and share this fundraiser with others in your social circle or online networks who may have an interest in this issue. If you feel this fundraiser for Alex is worthy of your support, let your friends know that. Everything helps; the only thing that doesn’t help is doing nothing.

So please do something, and share this legal defense fundraiser!


FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions

Can I donate anonymously?  Yes, your name does not have to appear if you make a donation.

What will the funds be used for?  Alex will use the funds to pay or reimburse his attorney fees, the bond payment, then court costs, fees and fines. Anything left over will be donated to a non-profit that works on criminal justice-related issues.

Can I get more details about what happened that led to the criminal charges?  Alex and his attorney can’t provide any information about the case. Various news reports are available online, but since Alex can’t comment, they tell only one side of the story and thus may not be complete or accurate.

Thanks for reading!


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Alex Friedmann 
Antioch, TN
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