CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION

A. WHAT IS THIS HANDBOOK
B. HOW TO USE THIS HANDBOOK
C. WHO CAN USE THIS HANDBOOK
1. Prisoners in Every State Can Use this Handbook
2. Prisoners in Federal Prison can use this Handbook
3. Prisoners in City or County Jails Can Use this Handbook
4. Prisoners in Private Prisons Can Use this Handbook
D. WHY TO TRY AND GET A LAWYER
E. A SHORT HISTORY OF SECTION 1983 AND THE STRUGGLES FOR PRISONERS RIGHTS
F. THE USES AND LIMITS OF LEGAL ACTIONS

CHAPTER TWO: YOUR LEGAL OPTIONS

A. SECTION 1983 LAWSUITS
1. Violations of Your Federal Rights
2. “Under Color of State Law”
B. STATE COURT CASES
C. FEDERAL TORTS CLAIMS ACT (FTCA)
1. Who You Can Sue
2. Types of Torts
a. NEGLIGENCE
b. INTENTIONAL TORTS
c. FALSE IMPRISONMENT
d. INTENTIONAL INFLICTION OF EMOTIONAL DISTRESS
3. Administrative Exhaustion
4. Damages in FTCA Suits
5. The Discretionary Function Exception
D. BIVENS ACTIONS AND FEDERAL INJUNCTIONS
1. Who is Acting Under Color of Federal Law?
2. Unconstitutional Acts by Federal Officials
3. Federal Injunctions
E. PROTECTION OF PRISONERS UNDER INTERNATIONAL LAW
F. BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE PRISON LITIGATION REFORM ACT (PLRA)
1. Injunctive Relief
2. Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies
3. Mental Emotional Injury
4. Attorneys’ Fees
5. Screening, Dismissal and Waiver of Reply
6. Filing Fees and the Three Strikes Provision

CHAPTER THREE: YOUR RIGHTS IN PRISON

A. YOUR FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHT TO FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND ASSOCIATION, AND THE TURNER TEST
1. Access to Reading Materials
2. Free Expressions of Political Beliefs
3. Limits on Censorship of Mail
a. OUTGOING MAIL
b. INCOMING MAIL
c. LEGAL MAIL
4. Access to the Telephone
5. Your Right to Receive Visits from Family and Friends and to Maintain Relationships in Prison
a. ACCESS TO VISITS
b. VISITATION FOR LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL AND TRANSGENDER PRISONERS
c. RELATIONSHIPS WITH OTHER PRISONERS
d. CARING FOR YOUR CHILD IN PRISON
B. YOUR RIGHT TO PRACTICE YOUR RELIGION
1. Free Exercise Clause
2. Establishment Clause
3. Fourteenth Amendment Protection of Religion
4. Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) and Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA)
5. Cases and Issues
C. YOUR RIGHT TO BE FREE FROM DISCRIMINATION
1. Freedom from Racial Discrimination
2. Freedom from Gender Discrimination
a. THE “SIMILARLY SITUATED” ARGUMENT
b. THE EQUAL PROTECTION TEST FOR GENDER DISCRIMINATION
3. Freedom from Other Forms of Discrimination
D. YOUR PROCEDURAL DUE PROCESS RIGHTS REGARDING PUNISHMENT
1. Two Important Supreme Court Cases Govern Due Process Rights for Prisoners
2. Transfers and Segregation
E. YOUR RIGHT TO BE FREE FROM UNREASONABLE SEARCHES AND SEIZURES
F. YOUR RIGHT TO BE FREE FROM CRUEL AND UNUSUAL PUNISHMENT
1. Protection from Physical Brutality
2. Rape, Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment
a. OUTRAGEOUS CONDUCT VS. UNCONSTITUTIONAL CONDUCT
b. PSYCHOLOGICAL HARM
c. CONSENSUAL SEX BETWEEN PRISONERS AND GUARDS
d. CHALLENGING PRISON SUPERVISORS AND PRISON POLICIES
3. Your Right to Decent Conditions in Prison
4. Your Right to Medical Care
a. SERIOUS MEDICAL NEED
b. DELIBERATE INDIFFERENCE
c. CAUSATION
G. YOUR RIGHT TO USE THE COURTS
1. The Right to File Papers and Meet with Lawyers and Legal Workers
2. Access to a Law Library
3. Getting Help from a Jailhouse Lawyer and Providing Help to Other Prisoners
4. Dealing with Retaliation
H. ISSUES OF IMPORTANCE TO WOMEN PRISONERS
1. Medical Care
a. PROPER CARE FOR WOMEN PRISONERS
b. MEDICAL NEEDS OF PREGNANT WOMEN
2. Your Right to an Abortion in Prison
a. FOURTEENTH AMENDMENT CLAIM
b. EIGHT AMENDMENT CLAIM
3. Observations and Searches by Male Guards
I. ISSUES OF IMPORTANCE TO TRANSGENDER PRISONERS
1. Classification
a. PLACEMENT IN MALE OR FEMALE FACILITIES
b. INVOLUNTARY SEGREGATION
c. ACCESS TO PROTECTIVE CUSTODY
2. Health
a. ACCESS TO GENDER-AFFIRMING HEALTH CARE
b. CONFIDENTIALITY
3. Free Gender Expression
a. CLOTHING AND GROOMING
b. NAME AND ID GENDER CHANGES
c. ACCESS TO READING MATERIAL
d. JOB/PROGRAM DISCRIMINATION
4. Dealing with Violence and Abuse
a. VERBAL HARASSMENT
b. DRAPE AND SEXUAL ASSAULT
c. STRIP SEARCHES
J. ISSUES OF IMPORTANCE TO PRETRIAL DETAINEES
K. ISSUES OF IMPORTANCE TO NON-CITIZENS AND IMMIGRATION DETAINEES

CHAPTER FOUR: STRUCTURING YOUR LAWSUIT

A. WHAT TO ASK FOR IN YOUR LAWSUIT
B. INJUNCTIONS
1. Preliminary Injunctions and Permanent Injunctions
2. Exhaustion and Injunctions
3. Temporary Restraining Orders
C. MONEY DAMAGES
1. The Three Types of Money Damages
2. Damages Under the PLRA
3. Deciding How Much Money to Ask For
D. WHO YOU CAN SUE
1. Who to Sue for an Injunction
2. Who to Sue for Money Damages: the Problem of “Qualified Immunity”
3. What Happens to Your Money Damages
E. SETTLEMENTS
F. CLASS ACTIONS

CHAPTER FIVE: HOW TO START YOUR LAWSUIT

A. WHEN TO FILE YOUR LAWSUIT
1. Statute of Limitations
2. Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies
B. WHERE TO FILE YOUR LAWSUIT
C. HOW TO START YOUR LAWSUIT
1. Summons and Complaint
a. COMPLAINT
b. SUMMONS
2. In Forma Pauperis Papers
3. Request for Appointment of Counsel
4. Declarations
D. HOW TO SERVE YOUR LEGAL PAPERS
E. GETTING IMMEDIATE HELP FROM THE COURT
F. SIGNING YOUR PAPERS

CHAPTER SIX: WHAT HAPPENS AFTER YOU FILE SUIT

A. SHORT SUMMARY OF A LAWSUIT
B. DISMISSAL BY THE COURT AND WAIVER OF REPLY
C. HOW TO RESPOND TO A MOTION TO DISMISS YOUR COMPLAINT
D. THE PROBLEM OF MOOTNESS
E. DISCOVERY
1. Discovery Tools
2. What You Can See and Ask About
3. Privilege
4. Some Basic Steps
5. Some Practical Considerations
6. Procedure
7. Their Discovery of Your Information and Material
F. SUMMARY JUDGMENT
1. The Legal Standard
2. Summary Judgment Procedure
3. Summary Judgment in Your Favor
G. WHAT TO DO IF YOUR COMPLAINT IS DISMISSED OR THE COURT GRANTS DEFENDANTS SUMMARY JUDGMENT
1. Motion to Alter or Amend the Judgment
2. How to Appeal the Decision of the District Court

CHAPTER SEVEN: THE LEGAL SYSTEM AND LEGAL RESEARCH

A. THE IMPORTANCE OF PRECEDENT
1. The Federal Court System
2. How Judges Interpret Laws on the Basis of Precedent
3. Statutes
4. Other Grounds for Court Decisions
B. LEGAL CITATIONS – HOW TO FIND COURT DECISIONS AND OTHER LEGAL MATERIAL
1. Court Decisions
2. Legislation and Court Rules
3. Books and Articles
4. Research Aids
C. LEGAL WRITING

APPENDICES

Appendix A: Glossary of Terms
Appendix B: Sample Complaint
Appendix C: FTCA Form
Appendix D: More Legal Forms and Information
Appendix E: Constitutional Amendments
Appendix F: Excerpts from the PLRA
Appendix G: Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Appendix H: Sources of Legal Support
Appendix I: Sources of Publicity
Appendix J: Prisoners’ Rights Books and Newsletters
Appendix K: Free Book Programs
Appendix L: District Court Addresses

Comments are closed