The volume of inmate litigation increased significantly following the Cooper v. Pate decision in 1964. In 1980, inmates in state and federal correctional institutions filed 23,287 petitions alleging both civil and criminal violations of their rights and seeking compensatory damages, injunctions, and property claims (Peak & Everett, 2016). By 1990, the number of such petitions had swollen to nearly 43,000, and more than 64,000 petitions were filed in 1996 (Peak & Everett, 2016).
For this assignment, you are doing an internship at the state prison in your state. You are working in the office of the warden. The prison is known statewide for the number of inmate litigation cases that the institution has faced over the last several years. You learned of a previous study that showed that the reason for the excessive inmate litigation was poor inmate living conditions (overcrowding and unsanitary living conditions), accusations of guard abuse against inmates (guards using excessive force against the inmates), and inconsistent inmate discipline practices. The warden plans on addressing as many of these problems as possible and has asked you to come up with a plan to address these issues.
Focus your discussion on the following:
- What problem do you believe is the most pressing, and why would you address that problem first?
- What are the expectations that would be shared with the inmates and the guards about your plan?
- How would you measure the results of your plan once it has been implemented?