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Providing Inmate Access to the Courts: U.S. Prison Strategies for Complying with Constitutional Rights

NCJ Number
Prison Journal Volume: 92 Issue: 1 Dated: March 2012 Pages: 45-62
Michael J. Sabath; William Payne
Date Published
March 2012
18 pages
This article examines the range and use of court-access strategies being emploued by State prisons in the United States.
As the Federal courts have established the right of inmates to seek postconviction relief, prisons systems have struggled with a variety of strategies to come into compliance. Using data from a national survey of prisons, this study describes court access strategies employed by State correctional systems and examines how prison contextual characteristics, such as security level, population size, and the court ruling in Lewis v. Casey (1996) affect their use. Results indicate that strategies are influenced by size, security level and demand for legal services, and offer evidence of the adverse effects of the Lewis decision on prison law libraries. (Published Abstract)