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NCJ Number: 98097 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Prisoners and Their Endangered Rights
Journal: Prison Journal  Volume:65  Issue:1  Dated:(Spring-Summer 1985)  Pages:3-17
Author(s): A J Bronstein
Date Published: 1985
Page Count: 15
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
NCJRS Photocopy Services
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America

NCJRS Photocopy Services
Box 6000
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: An analysis of judicial decisions regarding prisoners' rights concludes that recent court decisions have eroded some of the progress made in this area and that the future development and recognition of prisoners' rights depends as much on political leadership and public education as it does on the courts.
Abstract: After almost a century in which the prevailing view was that prisoners' rights were nonexistent, judicial attitudes in the late 1960's began to change. While accepting the principle that prisoners' rights and civil liberties were somewhat reduced through incarceration, the courts for 10 years examined prison conditions and set limits on the government's curtailment of rights. However, beginning in the last half of the 1970's, the U.S. Supreme Court has seen as its main role the halting of the doctrinal expansion of prisoners' rights law. The decision in Rhodes v. Chapman signaled that the Federal judiciary should practice a hands-off policy unless State courts, legislatures, and executive officials took action in dire circumstances. The lack of substantive reforms in the New Mexico State Penitentiary following a 1980 riot that resulted in 33 inmate deaths illustrates the changing trend. Hardening of public attitudes, resulting in rapid growth in inmate populations, may have contributed to changed judicial attitudes. A series of decisions by the Supreme Court has both halted the trend toward protecting prisoners' rights and has cut back on protections that lower Federal courts have ordered in a number of areas. Thus, more efforts are needed to secure acceptance by all branches of government as well as the media and the pubic of the principle that all prisoners should have fundamental rights. These include the rights to personal safety, care, personal dignity, work, self-improvement, voting, and the right to a future. Three footnotes and 19 references are given.
Index Term(s): Correctional reform; Lawsuits; Prisoner's rights; Public Attitudes/Opinion; US Supreme Court decisions
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