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Trends In Prisoner Litigation, As The Plra Enters Adulthood, Margo Schlanger Apr 2015

Trends In Prisoner Litigation, As The Plra Enters Adulthood, Margo Schlanger

Articles

The Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), enacted in 1996 as part of the Newt Gingrich "Contract with America," is now as old as some prisoners. In the year after the statute's passage, some commenters labeled it merely "symbolic." In fact, as was evident nearly immediately, the PLRA undermined prisoners' ability to bring, settle, and win lawsuits. The PLRA conditioned court access on prisoners' meticulously correct prior use of onerous and error-inviting prison grievance procedures. It increased filing fees, decreased attorneys' fees, and limited damages. It subjected injunctive settlements to the scope limitations usually applicable only to litigated injunctions. It ...


Prisoners' Rights Lawyers' Strategies For Preserving The Role Of The Courts, Margo Schlanger Apr 2015

Prisoners' Rights Lawyers' Strategies For Preserving The Role Of The Courts, Margo Schlanger

Articles

This Article is part of the University of Miami Law Review’s Leading from Below Symposium. It canvasses prisoners’ lawyers’ strategies prompted by the 1996 Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”). The strategies comply with the statute’s limits yet also allow U.S. district courts to remain a forum for the vindication of the constitutional rights of at least some of the nation’s millions of prisoners. After Part I’s introduction, Part II summarizes in several charts the PLRA’s sharp impact on the prevalence and outcomes of prison litigation, but demonstrates that there are still many cases and ...


Plata V. Brown And Realignment: Jails, Prisons, Courts, And Politics, Margo Schlanger Jan 2013

Plata V. Brown And Realignment: Jails, Prisons, Courts, And Politics, Margo Schlanger

Articles

The year 2011 marked an important milestone in American institutional reform litigation. That year, a bare majority of the U.S. Supreme Court, in an opinion in Brown v. Plata by Justice Anthony Kennedy, affirmed a district court order requiring California to remedy its longstanding constitutional deficits in prison medical and mental health care by reducing prison crowding. Not since 1978 had the Court ratified a lower court's crowding-related order in a jail or prison case, and the order before the Court in 2011 was fairly aggressive; theoretically, it could have (although this was never a real prospect) induced ...


Jail Strip-Search Cases: Patterns And Participants, Margo Schlanger Jan 2008

Jail Strip-Search Cases: Patterns And Participants, Margo Schlanger

Articles

Among Marc Galanter’s many important insights is that understanding litigation requires understanding its participants. In his most-cited work, Why the “Haves” Come Out Ahead, Galanter pioneered a somersault in the typical approach to legal institutions and legal change: Most analyses of the legal system start at the rules end and work down through institutional facilities to see what effect the rules have on the parties. I would like to reverse that procedure and look through the other end of the telescope. Let’s think about the different kinds of parties and the effect these differences might have on the ...


Civil Rights Injunctions Over Time: A Case Study Of Jail And Prison Court Orders, Margo Schlanger Jan 2006

Civil Rights Injunctions Over Time: A Case Study Of Jail And Prison Court Orders, Margo Schlanger

Articles

Lawyers obtained the first federal court orders governing prison and jail conditions in the 1960s. This and other types of civil rights injunctive practice flourished in the 1970s and early 1980s. But a conventional wisdom has developed that such institutional reform litigation peaked long ago and is now moribund. This Article's longitudinal account of jail and prison court-order litigation establishes that, to the contrary, correctional court-order litigation did not decline in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Rather, there was essential continuity from the early 1980s until1996, when enactment of the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) reduced both the ...


Determinants Of Civil Rights Filings In Federal District Court By Jail And Prison Inmates, Margo Schlanger, Anne Morrison Piehl Jan 2004

Determinants Of Civil Rights Filings In Federal District Court By Jail And Prison Inmates, Margo Schlanger, Anne Morrison Piehl

Articles

This article uses panel data estimation techniques to examine the relation between the number of federal court civil filings by inmates and jail and state prison populations (and, hence, the relation between jail and prison inmate filing rates) both before and after the effective date, in 1996, of the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA). The research issue matters for several reasons. First, the amount of litigation by inmates is a crucial component of the regulatory regime governing jails and prisons and thus what factors drive filings, and by how much, deserves close attention and assessment. In addition, the PLRA was ...


The Reliability Of The Administrative Office Of The U.S. Courts Database: An Initial Empirical Analysis, Margo Schlanger, Theodore Eisenberg Jan 2003

The Reliability Of The Administrative Office Of The U.S. Courts Database: An Initial Empirical Analysis, Margo Schlanger, Theodore Eisenberg

Articles

Researchers have long used federal court data assembled by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts (AO) and the Federal Judicial Center (FJC). The data include information about every case filed in federal district court and every appeal filed in the twelve nonspecialized federal appellate courts. Much research using the AO data spans subject matter areas, and includes articles on appeals, caseloads and case-processing times, case outcomes, the relation between demographics and case outcomes, class actions, diversity jurisdiction, and litigation generally. Other research using the AO data covers particular subject matter areas, such as inmate cases, contract cases, corporate ...