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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 78490 Find in a Library
Title: Agenda for Prisoner Rights Litigation (From Prisoners' Rights Sourcebook, P 153-166, 1980, Ira P Robbins, ed. - See NCJ-78483)
Author(s): M A Millemann
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 14
Sponsoring Agency: Clark Boardman Company, Ltd
New York, NY 10014
Sale Source: Clark Boardman Company, Ltd
435 Hudson Street
New York, NY 10014
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This chapter from a sourcebook focusing on prisoners' rights explores the paradox facing prison litigators and the characteristics of successful corrections reform cases.
Abstract: Given the politically powerless position of prisoners, litigation seems to be an inevitably necessary method of forcing compliance with the Constitution. However, there is reason to be fundamentally skeptical about the value of litigation that seeks to improve the conditions of prison life. Litigation strategies and correctional reform cases must be carefully chosen. The most successful cases have placed narrow issues before the court, and asked the court to issue a specific decree that is self-excuting to enjoin certain legislative or administrative provisions. In such cases, reform occurred almost as a collateral consequence of adjudication. The invalidation of the Maryland juvenile age discrepancy, the injunction against incarceration of indigents for nonpayment of fines, and the prohibition against overcrowding in the District of Columbia Jail were virtualy self-executing decisions that responded to narrow litigation theories. Litigation strategies will more properly serve the long term goals of corrections reform by shifting focus from prison abuses to the need to decriminalize certain offenses or to reform the bail system, the sentencing process, and the parole system. The chapter provides 16 notes. (Author abstract modified)
Index Term(s): Constitutional Rights/Civil Liberties; Correctional reform; Inmate grievances; Inmate lawsuits; Prisoner's rights
Note: This article was originally given as a speech in 1974.
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