University of Wisconsin–Madison

New Book - Rights of Prisoners, 5th ed. (2017)

Michael B. Mushlin, Rights of Prisoners, 5th ed., Thomson Reuters, 2017

Print - Law Library Stacks: KF9731 .G6 2017

Online - Westlaw (UW Law School access only)

Today's book review introduces the Fifth Edition of Rights of Prisoners (2017) by Professor Michael B. Mushlin.  This new edition "is intended to ensure that the work remains an up-to-date, readable, and comprehensive description of the complex body of law governing prisoners' rights in the United States."  Students enrolled in the UW Law School's Remington Center clinical program to provide legal assistance to institutionalized persons (LAIP) may find this four volume set particularly useful.

A summary of the set's contents include:

v.1. Prisoners' rights: historical background and general overview -- Prisoners' rights: overview of prisoner rights law -- The Eighth Amendment: solitary confinement, prevention of violence, protection against overcrowding, and provision of the necessities of life -- The Eighth Amendment: medical care -- Equal Protection Clause: discrimination issues.

v.2. Communication and expression: speech in prison -- First Amendment rights: religion -- Prison labor -- Fourth Amendment rights: privacy and related issues -- Disciplinary proceedings.

v.3. Classifications, transfers, and detainers -- Access to Courts -- Visiting -- Personal correspondence: mail, telephone, email -- Access to the media -- Civil disabilities -- Prison Litigation Reform Act and in forma pauperis proceedings.

v.4. Private prisons -- Appendices A-E -- Table of Laws and Rules -- Table of Cases -- Index.

In the Preface, the author notes since the publication of the Fourth Edition, the U.S. Supreme Court has "decided thirteen cases which directly address prisoners' rights issues."  Several thousand lower court decisions have been handed down.  In 2015, over 27,000 civil rights and conditions cases were filed by prisoners constituting "close to 10% of all civil filings in the federal district courts."  This rapid evolution in the law has necessitated a comprehensive revision of the work.

Recent updates and developments include Kingsley v. Hendrickson a use of force case.  The ABA Standards for Criminal Justice, Treatment of Prisoners (3rd ed., 2011) approved in 2010 is cited throughout the Fifth Edition as these standards "set out principles and functional parameters to guide the operation of American jails and prisons, in order to help the nation's criminal justice policy-makers, correctional administrators, legislators, judges, and advocates protect prisoner's rights while promoting the safety, humaneness, and effectiveness of our correctional facilities."

The Wisconsin State Law Library (WSLL) also owns this important title.  WSLL has a Legal Topics page on "Prisons & Prisoners" that readers may also find of interest.

Submitted by Eric Taylor, Evening Reference Librarian on February 15, 2018

This article appears in the categories: Law Library

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