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NCJ Number: 98102 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Litigating Prison Conditions in Philadelphia
Journal: Prison Journal  Volume:65  Issue:1  Dated:(Spring-Summer 1985)  Pages:64-72
Author(s): D Rudovsky
Date Published: 1985
Page Count: 9
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 article reviews the court actions related to the Jackson v. Hendrick case, which is challenging unconstitutional overcrowding and related conditions in the Philadelphia County prison system, and examines problems regarding enforcement of court orders requiring reduction in the Philadelphia prison population.
Abstract: The Jackson case is noted to be entering its 14th year of litigation, as the court is now faced with the difficult problem of how to effect its order that the prison system not exceed its capacity. The historical landmarks in the case are traced, issuing in the 1976 decision of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court that the populations of the prisons could not exceed rated capacity, based on a one person-one cell principle. The city's response to the court order and consent decrees pertaining to virtually every area of prison life is indicated to have been obstructive, until in 1977 the court held the defendants in contempt of court and fined the city $325,000. Substantial progress in improving prison conditions is reported for the next several years, and inmate population levels did not greatly increase. Beginning in 1980, however, the inmate population is indicated to have dramatically increased, with the city making no effort to contain the increase or provide new cells. The city is then noted to have used various legal ploys to gain time without paying any penalty for its obstructionist tactics. The article speculates that judges are currently reluctant to resist the public's apparent desire for increased incarceration by enforcing 'cap' or release orders. The author argues that prison space should be treated as a scarce resource to be used only for dangerous offenders, since its current excessive use is both inhumane and financially costly. A four-item bibliography is provided.
Index Term(s): Inmate lawsuits; Judicial decision compliance; Pennsylvania; Prison overcrowding
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