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NCJ Number: 119906 Find in a Library
Title: "Reality" of Prisoner Litigation: Repackaging the Data
Journal: New England Journal on Criminal and Civil Confinement  Volume:15  Issue:1  Dated:(Winter 1989)  Pages:27-53
Author(s): J Thomas
Date Published: 1989
Page Count: 27
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Drawing from national filing statistics and Federal filing data from Illinois, this article uses an empirical base to assess the nature and value of inmate litigation.
Abstract: Most critics of inmate litigation, who tend to portray it as excessive, abusive, and frivolous, fail to base their assessment in empirical data. Data from this study indicate that most inmates do not abuse the courts, and only a few file excessive suits. Curtailing litigation will not reduce the problems that fuel it. There is no reason to follow Brakel's advice to "reverse the dialectic" of court-ordered reform. There are some inmates who file worthless suits; however, grossly trivial suits are rare. Most address specific issues of staff behavior, prison policy, or perceived unacceptable conditions. Attempting to address abusive litigation by obstructing inmates' access to the courts would penalize the majority of inmates seeking a peaceful resolution for an important complaint. One strategy for curtailing inmate litigation is to address the problems underlying inmate grievances. 69 footnotes.
Main Term(s): Inmate lawsuits
Index Term(s): Access to courts; Prisoner's rights
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