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NCJ Number: 156465 Find in a Library
Title: Twenty-Year Analysis of Section 1983 Litigation in Corrections
Journal: American Jails  Volume:9  Issue:2  Dated:(May/June 1995)  Pages:10-11,13-16
Author(s): D L Ross
Date Published: 1995
Page Count: 6
Type: Survey
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The types of prisoner civil rights lawsuits decided by the Federal courts between 1973 and 1993 are analyzed with respect to their content to aid understanding of correctional liability.
Abstract: The analysis focused only on State and jail cases and on 2,523 of the 12,531 Section 1983 cases decided during the study period. Results revealed that inmates won 77 percent of the 228 cases from 1973-77, 59 percent of the 367 cases from 1978-82, 44 percent of the 593 cases from 1983-87, and 32 percent of the 1,335 cases from 1988-93. Overall, correctional officials prevailed in 57 percent of the cases. Inmates and corrections officials were equally likely to win cases involving conditions of confinement. Inmates prevailed in 53 percent of the cases involving administrative liability and in 51 percent of cases involving the correctional facility itself. Correctional officials prevailed in 51 percent of cases involving use of force, 52 percent of cases involving cruel and unusual punishment, 54 percent of the cases involving medical care, and 54 percent of the cases involving failure to protect. Inmates received significant monetary awards in six of the seven litigation categories. Findings indicated the importance of administrative liability and the need for command personnel to ensure that both supervisors and correctional officers exhibit a fundamental working knowledge of the job in accordance with law and agency policy. The issue of use of force is equally important. Finally, correctional personnel should recognize and address the categories in which prisoners receive high monetary awards. Case citations and 12 references
Main Term(s): Corrections management
Index Term(s): Corrections standards; Legal liability
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