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NCJ Number: 165397 Find in a Library
Title: Should Prison Reform Litigation Be Curtailed?
Author(s): D C Grant; S Martin
Corporate Author: National Council on Crime and Delinquency
United States of America
Date Published: 1996
Page Count: 11
Sponsoring Agency: National Council on Crime and Delinquency
Washington, DC 20005
Sale Source: National Council on Crime and Delinquency
1325 G Street, NW
Suite 770
Washington, DC 20005
United States of America
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Federal legislation that would limit litigation regarding prison conditions is examined with respect to whether it is needed or whether it would result in a return to the hands-off doctrine by which prisons will once again be shielded from meaningful judicial scrutiny.
Abstract: This doctrine insulated prisons from such scrutiny until the 1960's. During that decade Federal courts began acting on the principle that prisoners had rights under the Constitution. They discovered that many prisons were not only operating in violation of the Constitution but were also inhumane and brutal according to any contemporary standard of decency. On June 30, 1993 approximately 180,000 court orders and consent decrees covered prison and jail facilities. Prison reform litigation has been a critical factor in significantly improving jail and prisons. The Stop Turning Out Prisoners (STOP) Act would allow prison officials to revert to prior correctional practices; their actions or inaction could continue without consequence or until a court could conduct a new trial and reissue relief. The Act also requires the termination of nearly all existing settlement agreements. However, the law is not the answer to the quest for a safer country. Its passage may adversely affect the prison industry as it relates to inmates' living conditions and prison management and operations. Instead, having the parties involved fashion their own remedial plans through the use of consent decrees can benefit both the inmate and the correctional agency. It is in the best interest of all parties in a lawsuit to resolve issues through consensus-based agreements rather than court-imposed remedies. Tables and reference notes
Main Term(s): Corrections management
Index Term(s): Court ordered institutional reform; Inmate grievances; Inmate lawsuits; Intergovernmental relations; Prison conditions; Prisoner's rights
Note: NCCD Focus, May 1996
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