“Prisons do not disappear social problems, they disappear human beings. Homelessness, unemployment, drug addiction, mental illness, and illiteracy are only a few of the problems that disappear from public view when the human beings contending with them are relegated to cages.”
In a country that imprisons more people than any other country in the world, mass incarceration has become one of the most important civil rights issues of our time. Those who are incarcerated often face dehumanizing conditions that are unsafe and violate their basic human rights. When these rights are violated, in terms of abuse or discrimination, prisoners need the support of our judicial system to intervene. The Stein Public Interest Center works to promote the rights of those who are currently incarcerated in jails, prisons, and detention centers and to ensure that their due process rights are protected, they are not subjected to cruel and unusual punishment, their living conditions are sanitary, and they are not discriminated against.
Our attorneys successfully advanced the rights of an inmate and secured a precedential opinion from the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, which held that a correctional facility’s blanket strip-search policy for inmates housed in isolation cells, which required all such inmates to be strip-searched three times per day, was unconstitutional. In the precedential decision, the court held that the policy “is not reasonably related to [the prison’s] legitimate interests in detecting and deterring contraband” because “the probability is vanishingly small that an inmate locked in a stripped-down isolation cell . . . once searched, could then obtain contraband during a subsequent eight-hour period involving no human contact.”