Prison and Jail Law Libraries: Where Do We Go from Here?

By Cacho, Mark S. | Corrections Today, July 2003 | Go to article overview

Prison and Jail Law Libraries: Where Do We Go from Here?


Cacho, Mark S., Corrections Today


Correctional administrators have battled for decades on how to uphold an inmate's constitutional right to access the courts while, at the same time, being fiscally efficient in providing access to some type of law library service. Traditionally, the inmate welfare fund has satisfied this expenditure. However, privatization of inmate commissary stores across the country has altered from where the resources to pay for law library services come. To complicate matters, in 1996, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a landmark decision in Lewis v. Casey. In that decision, the justices revisited the "meaningful access to the courts" requirement established in their prior decision in Bounds v. Smith. The court held that an inmate must show actual injury from the lack of access to the courts or law libraries in order to have standing to bring suit. This led corrections officials to a crossroad regarding what to do about these libraries. Where do we go from here? Do we keep and efficiently improve what we have or do we do away with the law library altogether? Fortunately, there are organizations and correctional agencies that are being proactive in helping correctional administrators make an informed decision.

The right of inmate access to the courts was established in 1977 in Bounds: "[T]he fundamental constitutional right of access to the courts requires prison authorities to assist inmates in the preparation and filing of meaningful legal papers by providing prisoners with adequate law libraries or adequate assistance from persons trained in the law."

Lewis generally reaffirms Bounds, but there is no right to a law library or legal assistance; only a "right of access to the courts." After this decision, many prison and jail law libraries were totally eliminated and the decision posed a threat to many others. The American Association of Law Libraries and the American Civil Liberties Union both have been proactive in helping inmates secure the right of access to courts. AALL has been committed to serving inmates and prison law libraries since the early 1970s. To fulfill this mission, it has undertaken a variety of projects, including publications, consultation activities and official representation to related organizations. In addition, the AALL publication, Recommended Collections for Prison and Jail Law Libraries, has been frequently cited in litigation focusing on inmate access to the courts. The association also has a standing committee on law library service to institution residents (visit www.aallnet.org/sis/srsis/lsirhome.html) and has an online database that institution residents across the country can use to locate local law library services (http://weblaw.barry.edu/Ilsp/). ACLU also has been active for decades in ensuring inmate access to the courts and represented the plaintiff in Lewis. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Prison and Jail Law Libraries: Where Do We Go from Here?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.