University of Wisconsin–Madison

Rights of Prisoners, 4th ed. (2009 with Oct. 2014 update)

This week's book review focuses on the title Rights of Prisoners by Professor Michael B. Mushlin.  The author's goal is “to set out in one place a comprehensive description of the complex body of law that has developed governing the law of prisoners' rights in the United States.”  Students enrolled in the U.W. 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-F -- Table of Laws and Rules -- Table of Cases -- Index.

Highlights of the Oct. 2014 update include:

1) important steps by the Three-Judge Court in California to reduce severe prison overcrowding following up on the landmark decision of the Supreme Court in Brown v. Plata;

2) continued movement toward implementation of national standards for the prevention of prison rape under PREA;

3) United States Supreme Court granted petition for writ of certiorari to decide whether Arkansas Department of Corrections' grooming policy violates the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act in Holt v. Hobbs;

4) the FCC voted to cap cost of long distance rates for phone calls made by prisoners and enact other reforms related to the prison phone industry;

5) In Burnside v. Walters, the Supreme Court vacated and remanded for further consideration a case which raised the issue whether or not an indigent plaintiff who sues in forma pauperis can amend his complaint in ways that are permissible for non-indigent litigants.

The print version of this four volume set is located in the library stacks at: KF9731 G63 2009.  The title is also available online via Westlaw under Criminal Law Texts & Treatises.

Submitted by Eric Taylor, Evening Reference Librarian on October 29, 2014

This article appears in the categories: Law Library

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