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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 75291 Find in a Library
Title: Judiciary and Correctional Policy (From Critical Issues in Corrections, P 203-248, 1981, by Roy R Roberg and Vincent J Webb - See NCJ-75284)
Author(s): L E Cummings
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 46
Sponsoring Agency: West Publishing Co
St Paul, MN 55164
Sale Source: West Publishing Co
610 Opperman Drive
P.O. Box 64526
St Paul, MN 55164
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Major intervention by the judiciary in the correctional system is a recent phenomenon which started to gain momentum in the 1960's and the early 1970's and needs the acceptance of those responsible for daily correctional operations in order to be successful in major reforms.
Abstract: Section 1983 of the Civil Rights Acts of 1871 and 1970 served as the main vehicle of court intervention in prisoner grievances. Through court challenges, inmates have obtained decisions recognizing greater access to courts and legal counsel, greater religious freedom, freer expression and access to the media, more liberal correspondence and visiting rules, a right to medical treatment, limited rights to organize, protection of their personal safety and lives, and protection from cruel and unusual punishment. This last protection has had wide ramifications for both confined adults and juveniles. In an effort to curb inhumane treatment within prison systems, the courts have ordered prison closings, restriction of inmate population, and, in one case, the placement of a State system in 'receivership' under a State governor. Enforcement of court orders has, however, been slow and viewed as ineffective by many prisoner rights advocates. Standards for operation of correctional facilities have been linked to court decisions, and correctional practices directly relating to case law are designed to protect the constitutional rights of confined offenders. Yet standards and court decisions are only the initial impetus to possible change, requiring also the compliance and implementation of corrections administrators. Extensive case examples are cited, and a chart shows major prisoner rights in the U.S. by State, case citation, system or unit affected, and major issues challenged. Ninety-eight references are provided.(Author abstract modified)
Index Term(s): Correctional reform; Corrections management; Court ordered institutional reform; Inmate grievances; Inmate lawsuits; Judicial decision compliance; Prisoner's rights
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