Details

Prisons and Prisoner's Rights

On any given day, over 2 million people are imprisoned in the United States. Prisoners are governed by a detailed set of rules and regulations which cover every aspect of their lives: where they live, who they live with, whether and where they work, when they get up, what and where they eat, and even when they shower. Cases filed by prisoners challenging the conditions of their confinement constitute the largest number of cases on the dockets of most federal courts. Yet the law which applies to these cases is unknown to most lawyers. This seminar investigates the law as it applies to prisons. The seminar will begin with an examination of the nature of prisons and prisoners, and will include the Eighth Amendment's prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment; the First Amendment rights to free speech, religion, and association; the Fifth Amendment right to due process; the Fourteenth Amendment's equal protection guarantee; and various statutes which expand or limit those rights. In addition to case law, a variety of secondary sources will be used, coupled with guest speakers with direct experience. One class session will (subject to approval by prison authorities) be devoted to an all-day trip to tour Stateville Correctional Center in Joliet. This is an important part of the class, and students should make every effort to arrange their schedules so they can participate in this trip. The success of any seminar depends on the active participation of students. All students are therefore expected to complete weekly readings and actively participate in class discussions, and class participation is a factor in grading. Two short papers will be required early in the semester, as well as a substantial research paper (the paper may be used to satisfy the Law School's two or three draft requirements). In lieu of the research paper, a few students may choose (subject to availability) to represent a prisoner in a parole hearing. This option will require preparing a parole summary, and traveling to a prison to meet the prisoner and to participate in the parole hearing.


Catalog Number: CRIM 655
Practice Areas: Constitutional Law & ProcedureCriminal Law Practice AreaProcedure Practice Area
Additional Course Information: 1 Draft degree req may be met with class ,  3 draft degree req may be met with class


Course History

Fall 2013
Title: Prisons and Prisoner's Rights
Faculty: Mills, Alan S. (courses  |  homepage)
Section: 1     Credits: 3.0
Capacity: 25     Actual: 25



Fall 2012
Title: Prisons and Prisoners' Rights
Faculty: Mills, Alan S. (courses  |  homepage)
Section: 1     Credits: 3.0
Capacity: 25     Actual: 23



Fall 2011
Title: Prisons and Prisoners Rights
Faculty: Mills, Alan S. (courses  |  homepage)
Section: 1     Type: Seminar     Credits: 3.0
Capacity: 25     Actual: 25



Fall 2010
Title: Prisons and Prisoner's Rights
Faculty: Mills, Alan S. (courses  |  homepage)
Section: 1     Type: Seminar     Credits: 3.0
Capacity: 25     Actual: 22