New Generation Of Federal Judges Could Curb Prison Overcrowding, Prof Says


University of California Berkeley law Prof. Jonathan Simon argues that the Supreme Court’s 2011 decision in the California prison health care case “could mark the beginning of a new era in American jurisprudence—one in which the concept of ‘human dignity’ becomes a legal weapon with which to hold prisons accountable for their treatment of inmates, and courts are emboldened to use their powers to compel state investment in prison health care and, where necessary, impose population caps,” says Slate.

In an interview, Simon says that, “Lawsuits have a role, as a stick to get really entrenched bureaucracies and really risk-averse politicians to take those steps that need to be taken, and to actually change the legal framework in which people get sent and kept in conditions of mass incarceration.” Simon says that for this new era to occur, it would take, “a generation of federal judges who see something with new eyes, or see something they haven't seen at all before.” Simon published a book last year about the California case, “Mass Incarceration on Trial.”

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