is a non-profit organization which primarily engages in (1) public education on the need for a more effective, humane and cost-effective prison system; (2) legislative advocacy in support of or in opposition to proposed legislation which impacts the incarcerated in county jails and the state prison system, and of those who are family and visitors of such persons; (3) referral to or locating attorneys for litigation or pre-litigation activities in administrative, civil rights and constitutional law issues (does not include locating pro bono attorneys for criminal defense work); and, (4) extensive email communication with justice system personnel to advise of need for medical care, time computation corrections, protective custody issues, etc. In an average month, we make dozens of contacts with ADCRR personnel to assist inmates attempting to obtain medical care alone. If you are dealing with new criminal charges, we can sometimes make referrals to criminal defense attorneys we are aware of, but if you cannot afford to retain private counsel, the only realistic alternative is to accept the services of court-appointed counsel or to represent yourself. We do not recommend self-representation in criminal matters.
No fees are charged for any work when it is performed by Middle Ground. All donations are from private sources, including from the generous families of prisoners or prisoners themselves, civic-minded attorneys and businesspersons, as well as from in-kind contributions. We also enjoy the support of various talented and community-minded persons and businesses who donate web site design and hosting, office supplies, and some equipment. Our computers are serviced, programmed and repaired by a company owned by a successful ex-offender. We do not accept or solicit grant monies or any government funds as we choose not to be beholden to any agency or oganization that might attempt to impact our positions or affect the work we do, especially when we take on "sacred cows" in criminal justice, such as when we opposed former Sheriff Joe Arpaio when he began operating Internet web cameras inside the holding cells of the jail, especially focused on female prisoners in various states of undress or while using the toilet. See Demery v. Arpaio. We also avoid applying for grant monies because we don't wish to be placed in a position to report (false) "progress" on various issues in order to jusitfy grant monies awarded or to qualify to seek additional funding as we have seen other agencies do.
Sometimes we are requested to provide highly individalized services that only benefit one prisoner and requires extensive and expensive case law research. Or we may be asked to review voluminous records or transcripts. If this work is not something that Middle Ground can perform, then -- at your request -- we will refer you to an attorney, discuss with you our own self-employment consulting work if it fits your need, or refer you to some other para-professional such as a private investigator, paralegal researcher, or to an expert witness in the area of specialty in which you are seeking. No one is ever charged a fee for work performed directly by Middle Ground.
James Hamm, also a volunteer for Middle Ground, is self-employed and works with attorneys on post-conviction relief matters, including direct appeal, Rule 32 petitions, habeas corpus petitions, etc. This work is entirely separate from Middle Ground and is only mentioned here because our long-standing volunteer work for Middle Ground causes prisoners to write to us or their family member to call or email us who actually are seeking services that Middle Ground does not or cannot provide. Again, we are happy to make referrals to attorneys or other para-professionals whom we know to have good reputations for aggressive representation or other work for incarcerated persons or their families.
PLEASE NOTE: No walk-ins are permitted at our office. Due to Covid-19, we are not allowing volunteers to perform work in our offices at this time.
We reserve the right to refuse to refer you to an attorney and nothing on this site is intended to guarantee or imply that you will be paired with or referred to an attorney (either pro bono or retained) in a civil or criminal matter. It should be noted that, to the best of our knowledge, criminal defense attorneys RARELY accept pro bono cases, even if you believe your case is "special". The public defender system -- in both the federal and state court system -- exists to serve those indigent defendants who are unable to afford to retain private counsel.