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NCJ Number: 98099 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Judicial Management of Prisons? Responses to Prison Litigation
Journal: Prison Journal  Volume:65  Issue:1  Dated:(Spring-Summer 1985)  Pages:26-37
Author(s): W L Selke
Date Published: 1985
Page Count: 12
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: This analysis of sentencing reforms and the effects of litigation on prison conditions concludes that lawsuits under Section 1983 of the U.S. Civil Rights Act have been effectively clarifying the realities of prison conditions and in showing how costly imprisonment is.
Abstract: Prison overcrowding has been complicated by the national movement away from the rehabilitation concept and indeterminate sentencing. Determinate and presumptive sentencing codes have been passed, despite many criticisms of the underlying just deserts model. The harsher codes have led to large increases in prison populations without increases in funding to allow corrections officials to deal effectively with added responsibilities. Typical of recent suits brought under Section 1983 is French v. Owens, a class action suit brought on behalf of all inmates at the Indiana Reformatory. The facility was found to be beyond repair, dirty and unsanitary, grossly overcrowded, lacking in acceptable medical and mental health care, and in violation of State laws regarding minimal provision of educational and vocational programs. The court decision in 1982 found that the overcrowding and other conditions constituted cruel and inhuman treatment of inmates in violation of the 8th and 14th amendments. The State legislators were held responsible for failing to appropriate adequate funds. In view of this and other court decisions, the most reasonable approach seems to be to seek alternatives to incarceration for nonviolent offenders. However, current proposals are for funding to construct more prisons and additions to current ones. More constructive and reasoned sentencing reforms are needed. Thirty-three references are listed.
Index Term(s): Class action lawsuits; Correctional reform; Facility conditions; Indiana; Inmate lawsuits; Prisoner's rights; Sentencing reform
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