Prisoners' Rights

The population in American prisons and jails has tripled in the past 15 years. It now tops two million. It arose from decades of policies that toughened sentencing laws and emphasized an American war on drugs.

This has left our facilities overcrowded, the medical systems overwhelmed and the work, education, and treatment programs inadequate. The consequence is idleness and stress that leads to greater levels of violence. We are working to change these conditions through successful litigation on behalf of prisoners.


Shepherd v. Oregon Youth Authority

Imprisoned Seventh Day Adventist Allowed to Attend Service

July 13, 2009 - Levi Shepherd is a Seventh Day Adventist inmate of MacLaren Youth Correctional Facility, which is administered by the Oregon Youth Authority (OYA).  As a Seventh Day Adventist, Mr. Shepherd wants to attend religious services on Saturdays, his Sabbath.OYA does not provide Seventh Day Adventist clergy or services.


Burkett et al v. County of Jackson et al

September 2005 - Our settlement with Jackson County officials over a strip search of female inmates that occurred two years ago has now been finalized.



EQUAL PROTECTION: Private Prisons (HB 3682) (2011)

Near the end of the session, HB 3682 was introduced (on behalf of the Judiciary Committee so we do not know who proposed it). It would have authorized the Oregon Department of Corrections (DOC) to send inmates to out-of-state private prisons.


PRISONER RIGHTS: Limiting Access to Courts (SB 77) (2011)

SB 77 was introduced on behalf of the Oregon Department of Corrections (DOC). In its original form, SB 77 replicated the exhaustion requirements in the federal Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA). Under these requirements an inmate can only bring a claim for mistreatment within a facility after he or she has exhausted the administrative grievance process.