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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 76991 Find in a Library
Title: Prisoners' Rights Litigation - A Look at the Past Decade, and a Look at the Coming Decade
Journal: Federal Probation  Volume:44  Issue:4  Dated:(December 1980)  Pages:3-11
Author(s): R G Singer
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 9
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Document: PDF
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The effectiveness of prisoners' rights litigation during the 1970's and possible areas of litigation in the 1980's are examined.
Abstract: Until prisoners' complaints began to detail conditions so crass and gross as to shock the minds of all decent people, courts had consistently refused to consider any complaint about the conditions of confinement. During the past decade the prison lititgation movement helped to bring about a number of beneficial changes. Among these was the involvement of other disciplines in prison reform, such as that displayed by the American Bar Association in its Standards Relating to the Legal Status of Prisoners and by the American Medical Association in its survey of medical conditions in prisons and jails. Other benefits have included the development of grievance mechanisms and prisoner councils; changes in mail correspondence, visitation, facility tours, and other mechanisms which have made prisons more publicly accessible and visible; the disappearance of solitary-confinement strip cells; the regularization of prison practices so that prisoners know more clearly what is expected of them; and the growth of judicial remedies to prison problems. Changes detrimental to prisoners have also resulted from the litigation movement. These include the increasing friction between prisoners and guards and the growth of prison guard unions based partly on the guards' belief that prisoners receive preferential treatment. During the 1980's the litigation movement will probably take up suits for the equal rights of female inmates and for assistance in maintaining the family unit by housing female inmates' children on prison grounds. Other areas of litigation will include sexual discrimination in prison employment; adequate training for guards; labor disputes involving guards and their unions; and sentencing and parole practices. Footnotes with references are included.
Index Term(s): Correctional reform; Inmate grievances; Prisoner's rights
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