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Case Name Inmates of Suffolk County Jail v. Rufo JC-MA-0001
Docket / Court 71-162 ( D. Mass. )
State/Territory Massachusetts
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Case Summary
In 1971, inmates of the Suffolk County Jail (also known as the Charles Street Jail) in Boston, Massachusetts filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. Section 1983 action against the Sheriff of Suffolk County, the Commissioner of Correction for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the Mayor of Boston, and ... read more >
In 1971, inmates of the Suffolk County Jail (also known as the Charles Street Jail) in Boston, Massachusetts filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. Section 1983 action against the Sheriff of Suffolk County, the Commissioner of Correction for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the Mayor of Boston, and several City Councilors. After the parties agreed to a partial judgment and the court held a short trial on the merits, the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts (Judge W. Arthur Garrity) entered an injunction that ordered defendants to stop double-bunking the inmates, to construct a new jail by 1976, to provide physical examinations of inmates upon intake, to provide inmates with personal hygiene items, to allow inmates free time out of cells, not to open inmates' mail, and to increase visitation and telephone access. Inmates of Suffolk Co. Jail v. Eisenstadt, 360 F. Supp. 676 (D. Mass. 1973). Defendants appealed, and the First Circuit affirmed, Inmates of Suffolk Co. Jail v. Eisenstadt, 494 F.2d 1196 (1st Cir. 1974), and the Supreme Court denied certiorari. Hall v. Inmates of Suffolk Co. Jail, 419 U.S. 977 (1974). Defendants were unable to complete construction of the new jail by the ordered date, and just days before the order called for the closing of the old jail, the parties negotiated a settlement, which became a formal consent decree in 1979.

While the opening of the new jail was pending in 1990, the Sheriff moved to modify a consent decree so that the cells in the new prison, which were designed for single occupancy, could house two inmates at a time. The district court (Judge Robert Keeton) denied the defendant's motion. Inmates of Suffolk Co. Jail v. Kearney, 734 F. Supp. 561 (D. Mass. 1990). The First Circuit affirmed in a per curium opinion. Inmates of Suffolk Co. Jail v. Kearney, 915 F.2d 1557 (1st Cir. 1990). The Supreme Court granted the defendant's writ of certiorari, vacated, and remanded the decision for reconsideration. After losing several appeals, the defendant revised his motion to modify the consent decree, and the district court modified the decree to allow alteration of up to 100 cells to permit double occupancy. Inmates of Suffolk Co. Jail v. Rufo, 844 F. Supp. 31 (D. Mass. 1994).

In 1996, the sheriff moved to terminate all prospective relief pursuant to the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), and the commissioner moved to vacate the consent decree. The district court granted the sheriff's motion in part and denied the commissioner's motion. Inmates of Suffolk Co. Jail v. Sheriff of Suffolk Co., 952 F. Supp. 869 (D. Mass. 1997). The First Circuit affirmed most of the decision but directed the district court to terminate the consent decree and enter a modified judgment. Inmates of Suffolk Co. Jail v. Rouse, 129 F.3d 649 (1st Cir. 1997). In 1998, the Supreme Court denied plaintiffs' petition for certiorari, Inmates of Suffolk Co. Jail v. Rouse, 524 U.S. 951 (1998), and later denied plaintiffs' petition for rehearing. Inmates of Suffolk Co. Jail v. Rouse, 524 U.S. 970 (1998).

According to the docket from PACER, litigation continued concerning attorney's fees, and in 1999, the district court closed the case.

Lauren Cutson - 05/26/2005


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Crowding
Crowding / caseload
General
Mail
Phone
Recreation / Exercise
Sanitation / living conditions
Visiting
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983
Defendant(s) Suffolk County Jail
Plaintiff Description Inmates of the Suffolk County Jail
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 1971 - 1999
Case Closing Year 1999
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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Case Studies After Decision: Implementation of Judicial Decrees in Correctional Settings
Written: Oct. 01, 1977
By: M. Kay Harris & Dudley P. Spiller (Temple University)
Citation: (1977)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ]

  Consent Decree Modification and the Suffolk County Jail: What a Long Strange Trip It's Been
By: Rose E. King
Citation: 21 New Eng. J. on Crim. & Civ. Confinement 231 (1995)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Consent Decrees and the Consent of the Governed
By: Bruce Fein
Citation: Tex.Law., Feb. 17, 1992, at 13
[ Detail ]

  Overcoming Failure of the Political Process: A Case Study of the Charles Street Jail Litigation
By: Craig Newby (Washington University)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ]

Links The Oyez Project, Rufo, Sheriff Of Suffolk County v. Inmates Of Suffolk County Jail, 502 U.S. 367 (1992).
www.oyez.org
Posted: Jan. 15, 1992
By: Oyez Project (IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  The Oyez Project: Rufo, Sheriff Of Suffolk County v. Inmates Of Suffolk County Jail, 502 U.S. 367 (1992).
www.oyez.org
Posted: Jan. 15, 1992
By: Oyez Project (IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
71-00162 (D. Mass.) 09/30/1999
JC-MA-0001-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Reported opinion 06/20/1973 (360 F.Supp. 676) (D. Mass.)
JC-MA-0001-0008.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Opinion 04/08/1974 (494 F.2d 1196)
JC-MA-0001-0001.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Memorandum Decision 10/29/1974 (419 U.S. 977)
JC-MA-0001-0014.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Memorandum and Order 04/09/1990 (734 F.Supp. 561) (D. Mass.)
JC-MA-0001-0007.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Opinion 09/20/1990 (915 F.2d 1557)
JC-MA-0001-0015.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Memorandum Decision 02/19/1991 (498 U.S. 1081)
JC-MA-0001-0010.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Reported opinion 03/21/1991 (928 F.2d 33)
JC-MA-0001-0006.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Reported Opinion 01/15/1992 (502 U.S. 367)
JC-MA-0001-0009.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Memorandum 04/09/1992 (788 F.Supp. 623) (D. Mass.)
JC-MA-0001-0005.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Reported opinion 12/21/1993 (12 F.3d 286)
JC-MA-0001-0004.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Memorandum and Order 01/25/1994 (844 F.Supp. 31) (D. Mass.)
JC-MA-0001-0011.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Opinion 01/02/1997 (952 F.Supp. 869) (D. Mass.)
JC-MA-0001-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Reported Opinion 11/07/1997 (129 F.3d 649)
JC-MA-0001-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Memorandum Decision 06/26/1998 (524 U.S. 951)
JC-MA-0001-0012.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Memorandum decision 08/12/1998 (524 U.S. 970)
JC-MA-0001-0013.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Judges Breyer, Stephen Gerald (First Circuit, SCOTUS)
JC-MA-0001-0006
Caffrey, Andrew Augustine (D. Mass.)
JC-MA-0001-0015
Campbell, Levin Hicks (First Circuit, D. Mass.)
JC-MA-0001-0001 | JC-MA-0001-0004 | JC-MA-0001-0015
Garrity, Wendell Arthur Jr. (D. Mass.)
JC-MA-0001-0008
Keeton, Robert Ernest (D. Mass.)
JC-MA-0001-0003 | JC-MA-0001-0005 | JC-MA-0001-0007 | JC-MA-0001-0011 | JC-MA-0001-9000
Selya, Bruce Marshall (D.R.I., FISCR, First Circuit)
JC-MA-0001-0002
Torruella, Juan R. (First Circuit, D.P.R.)
JC-MA-0001-0015
White, Byron Raymond (SCOTUS)
JC-MA-0001-0009
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Bass, Stanley A. (New York)
JC-MA-0001-0001 | JC-MA-0001-0008
Clarey, Richard D. (Massachusetts)
JC-MA-0001-0008
Herwig, Barbara L. (District of Columbia)
JC-MA-0001-0002
Hoyle, John C. (District of Columbia)
JC-MA-0001-0002
Hunger, Frank W. (District of Columbia)
JC-MA-0001-0002
Loeb, Robert Mark (District of Columbia)
JC-MA-0001-0002
Montgomery, John T. (Massachusetts)
JC-MA-0001-0009
Stern, Max D. (Massachusetts)
JC-MA-0001-0001 | JC-MA-0001-0002 | JC-MA-0001-0004 | JC-MA-0001-0005 | JC-MA-0001-0006 | JC-MA-0001-0007 | JC-MA-0001-0008 | JC-MA-0001-0009 | JC-MA-0001-0011 | JC-MA-0001-0012 | JC-MA-0001-0015 | JC-MA-0001-9000
Stern, Donald K. (Massachusetts)
JC-MA-0001-0002
Weissberg, Lynn G. (Massachusetts)
JC-MA-0001-0002 | JC-MA-0001-0004 | JC-MA-0001-0005 | JC-MA-0001-0006 | JC-MA-0001-0007 | JC-MA-0001-0011 | JC-MA-0001-0015 | JC-MA-0001-9000
Williams, John T. (Massachusetts)
JC-MA-0001-0008
Defendant's Lawyers Ball, Lawrence J. (Massachusetts)
JC-MA-0001-0001 | JC-MA-0001-0001 | JC-MA-0001-0008 | JC-MA-0001-0015
Bartlett, Robyn Jean (Massachusetts)
JC-MA-0001-0002 | JC-MA-0001-9000
Bean, Thomas O. (Massachusetts)
JC-MA-0001-0002 | JC-MA-0001-0004 | JC-MA-0001-0011 | JC-MA-0001-9000
Ditchfield, Holly A. (Massachusetts)
JC-MA-0001-9000
Feinberg, Matthew (Massachusetts)
JC-MA-0001-0001 | JC-MA-0001-0001 | JC-MA-0001-0008 | JC-MA-0001-0015
Foster, Walter M. (Massachusetts)
JC-MA-0001-0006
Hanify, John D. (Massachusetts)
JC-MA-0001-0002 | JC-MA-0001-9000
Harshbarger, Scott (Massachusetts)
JC-MA-0001-0002 | JC-MA-0001-0002 | JC-MA-0001-0004
Janiak, Chester Anthony (Massachusetts)
JC-MA-0001-0005 | JC-MA-0001-0006 | JC-MA-0001-0007 | JC-MA-0001-0009 | JC-MA-0001-0011 | JC-MA-0001-0015 | JC-MA-0001-9000
Kane, Owen P. (Massachusetts)
JC-MA-0001-0002 | JC-MA-0001-9000
Keating, Kevin M. (Massachusetts)
JC-MA-0001-0001 | JC-MA-0001-0008
Mayo, Walter H. III (Massachusetts)
JC-MA-0001-0001 | JC-MA-0001-0001 | JC-MA-0001-0008
Moloney, Kevin F. (Massachusetts)
JC-MA-0001-0001 | JC-MA-0001-0015
O'Malley, Terence P. (Massachusetts)
JC-MA-0001-0001
Quinn, Robert H. (Massachusetts)
JC-MA-0001-0001
Stanzler, Paul E. (Massachusetts)
JC-MA-0001-9000
Wilkins, Douglas H. (Massachusetts)
JC-MA-0001-0002 | JC-MA-0001-0004 | JC-MA-0001-0011 | JC-MA-0001-9000
Other Lawyers Camelio, Augustus J. (Massachusetts)
JC-MA-0001-9000
Laramore, Jon (Massachusetts)
JC-MA-0001-0006 | JC-MA-0001-0015
Schacter, Jane S. (Massachusetts)
JC-MA-0001-0006
Shannon, James M. (Massachusetts)
JC-MA-0001-0006 | JC-MA-0001-0015
Simonoff, Mark (Massachusetts)
JC-MA-0001-0006

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