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Case Name Cooper v. Gwinn PC-WV-0001
Docket / Court 15153 ( State Court )
State/Territory West Virginia
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Case Summary
Sometime before 1981, inmates at the West Virginia State Prison for Women filed an original action for mandamus in the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia seeking a writ of mandamus compelling prison officials to provide them with meaningful educational and rehabilitative programs and to ... read more >
Sometime before 1981, inmates at the West Virginia State Prison for Women filed an original action for mandamus in the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia seeking a writ of mandamus compelling prison officials to provide them with meaningful educational and rehabilitative programs and to allow for daily exercise as instructed under West Virginia state law and the substantive due process mandate of the West Virginia Constitution. The inmates, represented by private counsel, specifically alleged that prison officials routinely denied them daily outdoor exercise, transferred the only two teachers on the prison payroll to administrative and corrections positions, and that the work-release program, which placed inmates in dishwashing and serving positions at a local restaurant, did not offer enough positions to accommodate all of the inmates that qualified nor offered adequate opportunity for the inmates to gain marketable skills. The West Virginia chapter of NOW filed an amicus brief on behalf of the inmates.

On December 8, 1981, the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals (Judge Warren McGraw) found that the current prison policies did violate the inmates' constitutional rights and that a writ of mandamus should be issued to prison officials. Cooper v. Gwinn, 298 S.E.2d 781 (W.Va. 1981). Finding it lacked sufficient details on the case, the court transferred it to the state's thirteenth circuit court (Judge Ronald Wilson) to develop an appropriate remedy. We do not have any further information on the case and therefore have no information on the specific remedy ordered.

Emilee Baker - 05/15/2006


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
General
Classification / placement
Education
Recreation / Exercise
Rehabilitation
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action State law
Defendant(s) West Virginia Department of Corrections
Plaintiff Description Inmates of the West Virginia State Prison for Women requesting meaningful educational and rehabilitative program
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought None on record
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Unknown
Source of Relief Unknown
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing Unknown
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Civil Rights Injunctions Over Time: A Case Study of Jail and Prison Court Orders
N.Y.U. Law Review
By: Margo Schlanger (Washington University)
Citation: 81 N.Y.U. L. Rev. 550 (2006)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

  Crain: Nonreformist Prison Reform
By: Bert Useem (Purdue)
Citation: in Courts, Corrections, and the Constitution: The Impact of Judicial Intervention on Prisons and Jails (John J. DiIulio, Jr. ed. 1990)
[ Detail ]

  Judicial Policy Making and the Modern State: How the Courts Reformed America's Prisons
By: Malcolm M. Feeley & Edward Rubin (UC Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law & Vanderbilt School of Law Faculty)
Citation: (1998)
[ Detail ]

Docket(s)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
Reported Opinion 12/18/1981 (298 S.E.2d 781)
PC-WV-0001-0001.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Judges McGraw, Warren (State Supreme Court)
PC-WV-0001-0001
Miller, Thomas B. (State Supreme Court)
PC-WV-0001-0001
Neely, Richard Forlani (State Supreme Court)
PC-WV-0001-0001
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Hedges, Daniel F. (West Virginia)
PC-WV-0001-0001
Defendant's Lawyers Browning, Chauncey H. (West Virginia)
PC-WV-0001-0001
Cleek, David P (West Virginia)
PC-WV-0001-0001
Silver, Gray (West Virginia)
PC-WV-0001-0001
Other Lawyers Crandall, Penelope (West Virginia)
PC-WV-0001-0001

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