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Prison Reform Litigation Era: Book-Length Studies and Lingering Research Issues

NCJ Number
The Prison Journal Volume: 83 Issue: 3 Dated: September 2003 Pages: 337-358
Christopher E. Smith
Date Published
September 2003
22 pages
This article offers a literature review of book-length studies of prison reform litigation.
The author draws similarities between school busing policies to reduce segregation in some States and policies affecting prisons. Although they are separate issues, court decisions regarding segregation in schools have influenced court decisions concerning corrections policy. In light of the recent 2001 court decision to end a mandatory busing plan for eliminating racial segregation, the author offers the literature review in order to guide future policy decisions in this crucial time of corrections reform. The author discusses developments in Supreme Court decisions and correctional administration that have arguably marked the end of the institutional reform litigation era in corrections. However, problems such as the physical deterioration of prisons may usher in a new era of judicial intervention in corrections policy. The author reviews case study research, including descriptive case studies and analytical case studies, that examine institutional reform litigation in corrections. Finally, after reviewing literature that synthesizes judicial intervention in corrections and administrative adjustments in corrections, the author points out key issues for future research, including the roles of prisoner advocacy groups in providing strategies, expertise, and resources for institutional reform litigation. References