U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Institutional Litigation in the Post-Chapman World - Panel

NCJ Number
New York University Review of Law and Social Change Volume: 12 Issue: 1 Dated: (1983-1984) Pages: 299-348
Date Published
47 pages
This discussion of the impact of the Supreme Court's decision in Rhodes v. Chapman considers its effects on Federal and State court institutional litigation by focusing on the scope of judicial review, the scope of the underlying constitutional right, and the scope and nature of the remedial power. Response to and discussions of the paper are provided.
The Supreme Court's prisoners' rights cases are divided into three categories -- cases based on alleged violations of specific provisions of the Bill of Rights other than the eighth amendment, procedural due process cases, and eighth amendment cases -- and the State's greater interest in the eighth amendment cases is reported. The Chapman decision is reported to have the most constricting impact on the lower courts in the area of remedy. Chapman did not reach the issue of remedy, because the Court found no rights violated. The remarkably little litigation over prison conditions that has occurred in the State courts is noted: since Rhodes v. Chapman, there have been no more than 10 reported State court decisions citing Chapman. Finally, the need for institutional litigation to expand into the State courts is identified. Responses to the paper urge attention to prison overcrowding, environmental health and safety, personal security, and medical and mental health care. The discussions consider prison reform in Texas, the role of masters and their effectiveness in the remedial stage of institutional reform litigation, and the threat of judicial intervention as a factor for motivating change in prison operations. Finally, building new prisons is discussed as a last resort, and the abolition of prisons is considered. Included are 148 references.


No download available