The Supreme Court and Corrections  
The Landmark Cases That Have Shaped America’s Prisons and Jails

By William C. Collins

The authoritative guide to the Supreme Court, the Constitution, and their impact on the management of prisons and jails…

“In a word, superb.”
—Michael B. Mushlin, Professor of Law, Pace University

“Thanks for providing a great resource that can help practitioners to do their jobs more effectively.”
—David M. Parrish, DMP Correctional Consulting

From one of the acknowledged leaders in the field of correctional law, this book examines how the Constitution and the federal courts, especially the Supreme Court, have influenced and guided correctional practices in U.S. prisons and jails.  It analyzes the facts, arguments, and majority and dissenting opinions in twenty key Supreme Court decisions, and provides summary analyses of 67 other important rulings from the Court—cases that have established precedents and shaped the policies and practices prisons and jails follow today in areas ranging from health and mental health care to inmate discipline, visitation, mail, religious observance, searches, use of force, and solitary confinement.

Based on the author's fifty years' experience as a litigator, author, and legal issues trainer, The Supreme Court and Corrections explains the conditions and issues that led each key case to arrive before the high court and shows how the Court's rulings have shaped prison and jail policies and operations.  Collins also analyzes other important decisions, coming both before and after the key cases, tracing the path of corrections jurisprudence as it evolved in the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and into the 21st Century.  In addition to the constitutional issues presented, Collins also looks at how the Court has ruled with respect to significant federal legislation affecting corrections, including the Prison Litigation Reform Act, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act.  Along the way, the author explains the workings of the Supreme Court, how cases are selected for review, and how each new case adds to the legal "rules of the road" correctional institutions are expected to follow.

For prison and jail administrators, wardens and superintendents, commanders and training directors, this book is an absolutely essential guide to the constitutional and legal principles upon which corrections, and the entire criminal justice system, operate.

A note from the author ...

For all its faults, the American correctional facility today is safer, more humane, professionally staffed and managed, and responsive to the public than ever before. (More)

What your colleagues are saying about The Supreme Court and Corrections

“In a word it is superb. The book is a clear-eyed, balanced insightful treatment of the landmark cases by the United States Supreme Court spanning the last forty years which created for the first time a body of constitutional law regulating prisons. Mr. Collins is a superb writer who has the rare ability to describe complicated legal concepts in understandable ways without oversimplifying. In this work, Mr. Collins not only clearly describes these critical Supreme Court cases and how they fit together to form an understandable pattern, but he also does so in a manner that makes the book a pleasure to read. This book is written primarily for an audience of jail and prison managers. While this is an important audience, I believe this book deserves a wider audience than that. Anyone who is interested in prisons and jails in America will benefit enormously from reading this work.”
—Michael P. Mushlin, Professor of Law, Pace University 

“For over 34 years I worked for the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office in Tampa, Florida. The last 27 years of my career there were spent as the commander (Colonel) in charge of the Jail System. During that time, it grew from 1,200 inmates to almost 5,000. Concurrently, I had the opportunity to oversee the design and construction of 5,000 beds of direct supervision housing and, because of the support I received from progressive sheriffs, our whole Jail System was ACA accredited. I have known Bill Collins for many years, but I wish that I had met him earlier in my career. I consider him to be the “best in the business.” His legal acumen, coupled with a practical application of the law, has made him an invaluable resource to people who administer jails nationwide. His book is on point, provides proper historical perspective, and permits corrections professions to better understand why they should adopt reasonable procedures. Thank you for providing those of us in the corrections business with a great resource that can help practitioners to do their jobs more effectively.”
—David M. Parrish, DMP Correctional Consulting 

“This book is a little jewel that may be cradled by criminal justice students, prisoners, and criminal justice advocates..”
—Fred Cohen, Executive Editor, Correctional Law Reporter 

Related Publications:
Correctional Law Reporter
Corrections Managers' Report




Table of Contents (PDF)
Format: Hardcover Book
© MMXIX 320 pp.
ISBN: 978-1-939083-21-0
Price: US $135.95
Product Code: SC20



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