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June 14, 2023

"How Prisoners' Rights Lawyers do Vital Work Despite the Courts"

The title of this post is the title of this new essay authored by Sharon Dolovich now available via SSRN.  Here is its abstract:

In the prison law context, even when civil rights claims are strong on the merits, incarcerated litigants will lose most of the time. And even when lawyers win on behalf of their incarcerated clients, conditions don’t tend to change on the ground as much as they should.  Regardless, prisoners’ rights lawyers do an enormous amount of good.  In this essay, I argue for the indispensability of legal advocacy on behalf of people in custody despite how unfriendly courts are to claims brought from prison.  Indeed, I suggest that, at this moment in the development of the carceral state, lawyering for the incarcerated is among the most impactful means we have to move our carceral system closer to consistency with the basic normative commitments of a constitutional democracy. In making this case, this essay describes (1) how lawyers help to lift the veil of secrecy that otherwise shrouds much of what happens in prison; (2) the work lawyers do as watchdogs, calling out and challenging the abuse and exploitation of the incarcerated; and (3) the way that, through their work, lawyers validate the humanity — and thus the dignity and self-respect — of their clients, who more typically exist in a systematically dehumanizing institutional environment.

June 14, 2023 at 01:39 PM | Permalink

Comments

In the "No sh*t, Sherlock" category.

Posted by: federalist | Jun 14, 2023 2:06:40 PM

And when victims' families are there . . . . https://www.crimeandconsequences.blog/?p=9075#more-9075

Posted by: federalist | Jun 14, 2023 2:09:48 PM

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