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Vincent M. Nathan

Have the Courts Made a Difference in the Quality of Prison Conditions? What Have We Accomplished to Date?


Description:

This article explores whether court oversight in institutional reform litigation has made a difference and assesses what  courts have accomplished in more than thirty years of efforts to improve prison and jail conditions.


Nathan, Vincent M. “Have the Courts Made a Difference in the Quality of Prison Conditions? What Have We Accomplished to Date?” Pace Law Review 24, no. 2 (Spring 2004): 419–26.

Anne Owers

Rights Behind Bars: The Conditions and Treatment of Those in Prison


Description:

This video of a speech by Anne Owers, the then- Chief Inspector of Prisons for England and Wales, focuses on three main themes: human rights in a prison context, the importance of independent prison inspections as a human rights mechanism, and reactions to proposed changes to the inspection process. She draws on examples from her own experience with inspections to show how prison environments are inherently dangerous to the fostering of human rights. This speech is useful for anyone interested in understanding how independent inspectors can impact human rights conditions in prisons and how such inspections differ from internal reviews of efficiency or audits to assess adherence to standards.


Owers, Anne. “Rights behind Bars: The Conditions and Treatment of Those in Detention.” LSE Digital Library. LSE Institutional Archives, December 9, 2004. https://lse-atom.arkivum.net/uklse-dl1pl01014116.

Andrew Coyle

A Human Rights Approach to Prison Management: Handbook for Prison Staff (2nd ed.)


Description:

This handbook is an important resource for prison staff who wish to implement various international human rights standards into prison operations. The author, a former correctional administrator, helps translate these standards into practical and workable procedures for correctional staff.


Andrew Coyle, A Human Rights Approach to Prison Management: Handbook for Prison Staff (2nd ed.), International Centre for Prison Studies (2010).

Association for the Prevention of Torture

Monitoring Places of Detention: A Practical Guide


Description:

This manual provides a “how-to” guide for NGOs and other bodies entitled to conduct monitoring visits to places of detention. It details how to prepare for a visit, which parts of a facility should be inspected, how to gather information during the visit, what to include in reports, and how to follow-up after the inspection.


Association for the Prevention of Torture. "Monitoring Places of Detention: A Practical Guide." Switzerland: Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, 2004.

Association of Members of Independent Monitoring Boards

Practical Guide to Monitoring Prisons (4th ed.)


Description:

Produced for members of U.K. prison monitoring boards, this guide lists over 900 questions for monitors to use when examining prison conditions. The book notes that while some questions are direct, others are more open-ended and thus allow for monitors to exercise their own judgment depending on the context of the situation.


Association of Members of Independent Monitoring Boards. "Practical Guide to Monitoring Prisons." 4th ed., 2010.

Derek Borchardt

The Iron Curtain Redrawn Between Prisoners and the Constitution


Description:

This article identifies and analyzes inconsistencies in how courts apply the provisions of the Prison Litigation Reform Act that require prisoners to exhaust available administrative remedies before filing a federal action challenging prison conditions. The author’s analysis particularly focuses on cases in which prison systems provided little guidance about how specific a grievance must be in order to preserve a prisoner’s right to assert a claim in federal court.


Borchardt, Derek. “The Iron Curtain Redrawn Between Prisoners and the Constitution.” Columbia Human Rights Law Review 43, no. 2 (Spring 2012): 469–520.

Dirk Van Zyl Smit

Regulation of Prison Conditions


Description:

This journal article describes international examples of independent monitoring bodies and identifies the features of these bodies that make them most effective.


Van Zyl Smit, Dirk. “Regulation of Prison Conditions.” Crime and Justice: A Review of Research 39 (2010): 503–63.

Vivien Stern

The Role of Citizens and Non-Profit Advocacy Organizations in Providing Oversight


Description:

In this speech, Baroness Vivien Stern describes the structure and function of Independent Monitoring Boards (IMBs) in the United Kingdom, and offers them an example of the important role that citizens and non-profit advocacy organizations can play in prison oversight.


Stern, Vivien. “The Role of Citizens and Non-Profit Advocacy Organizations in Providing Oversight.” Pace Law Review 30, no. 5 (Fall 2010): 1529–34.

Michael B. Mushlin

Unlocking the Courthouse Door: Removing the Barrier of the PLRA’s Physical Injury Requirement to Permit Meaningful Judicial Oversight of Abuses in Supermax Prisons and Isolation Units


Description:

This article calls for the repeal or reform of the physical injury requirement of the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) so that the federal courts can provide meaningful remedies for conditions in supermax prisons and isolation units that violate the U.S. Constitution.


Mushlin, Michael B. “Unlocking the Courthouse Door: Removing the Barrier of the PLRA’s Physical Injury Requirement to Permit Meaningful Judicial Oversight of Abuses in Supermax Prisons and Isolation Units.” Federal Sentencing Reporter 24, no. 4 (April 2012): 268–75.

Michael Muslin and Michele Deitch

Opening Up a Closed World: What Constitutes Effective Prison Oversight?


Description:

This essay, written by the hosts of the conference, “Opening Up a Closed World: What Constitutes Effective Prison Oversight?,” is the forward to the sourcebook with papers written by conference participants on the topics of independent correctional oversight discussed at the event.


Michael Mushlin and Michele Deitch, Opening Up a Closed World: What Constitutes Effective Prison Oversight?, 30 Pace L. Rev. 1383, 1384 (2010).

Michael Mushlin and Michele Deitch

Opening Up a Closed World: A Sourcebook on Prison Oversight


Description:

This Sourcebook, published as a special edition of a law review, is a product of a seminal three-day international conference on prison oversight held at the University of Texas in 2006 entitled “Opening Up a Closed World: What Constitutes Effective Prison Oversight?” The conference brought together 115 of the world‘s leading correctional experts, including 20 percent of corrections commissioners and directors in the U.S., as well as lawmakers, researchers, reform advocates, and oversight practitioners from across the U.S. and Europe, to closely examine a range of prison oversight mechanisms—international models and domestic—and to explore ways that external prison oversight in the U.S. can be enhanced. This volume of 21 papers, written by conference participants, contains essential information about correctional oversight mechanisms that can be useful for practitioners, advocates, scholars, and others who are interested in the concept. While somewhat dated, it remains the single most comprehensive multi-authored resource on the subject of correctional oversight.


Pace Law Review Journal, Pace Law School, Pace University. “Opening Up a Closed World: A Sourcebook on Prison Oversight.” Pace Law Review, Fall 2010. https://digitalcommons.pace.edu/plr/vol30/iss5/.

Stan Stojkovic

Prison Oversight and Prison Leadership


Description:

This article explores the benefits that prison oversight offers to prison agency leaders. It argues that the confluence of democratic values, questions of prison effectiveness, and societal expectations requires transparency of correctional institutions, and the oversight function is critical to both how prisoners are treated as well as how prison leaders and managers are judged.


Stojkovic, Stan. “Prison Oversight and Prison Leadership.” Pace Law Review 30, no. 5 (Fall 2010): 1476–89.