PRISON LAW - A GUIDE TO CASES
Prisoners' Rights - Generally
- Turner v. Safely,482 U.S. 78, 117 S.Ct. 2254, 96 L.Ed.2d 64 (1987)
- Justice O'Connor's concise articulation of the "reasonableness" standard: "When a prison regulation impinges on inmates' constitutional rights, the regulation is valid if it is reasonably related to legitimate penological interests."
- Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388, 91 S.Ct. 1999, 29 L.Ed.2d 619 (1971)
- The court held that the fourth amendment implicitly authorizes a suit for damages based on its violation. Subsequent courts have allowed similar suits for violations of other constitutional rights. These have become known as "Bivens" actions. This type of action provides a federal couterpart for §1983 Suits.
- Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 97 S.Ct. 285, 50 L.Ed.2d 251 (1976)
- Deliberate indifference to serious medical needs constitutes a violation of the eighth amendment. This case really established the "deliberate indifference" standard for eighth amendment violations.
- Wilson v. Seiter, 501 U.S. 294, 111 S.Ct. 2321, 115 L.Ed.2d 217 (1991)
- Established an objective and subjective component to Eighth Amendment violations. In order for prison conditions to raise to the level of an Eighth Amendment violation, prison officials must show that they were deprived of an "identifiable human need," and that prison officials acted with "deliberate indifference."
- Harmelin v. Michigan, 501 U.S. 957, 111 S. Ct. 2680, 115 L.Ed.2d 836 (1991)
- Justice Scalia wrote that while mandatory sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole may be cruel, it is not unusual - and so the sentence is affirmed. Establishes the Eighth Amendment as a two pronged test: in order to violate the amendment, a punishment must be both cruel and unusual.
- Farmer v. Brennan,511 U.S. 825, 114 S.Ct. 1970, 128 L. Ed. 2d 811 (1994)
- A correctional or medical official is guilty of deliberate indifference if they are aware that an inmate is facing a substantial risk of harm, and do not take reasonable steps to prevent the harm from occurring.
Conditions of confinement
- Rhodes v. Chapman, 452 U.S. 337, 101 S. Ct. 2392, 69 L.Ed.2d 59 (1981)
- Double celling inmates in units built to house only one inmate is not unconstitutional.
Last updated October 20, 2003 Last loaded June 15, 2004
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Last updated October 20, 2003