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Case Name Harris v. City of Philadelphia JC-PA-0001
Docket / Court Civ. A. 82-1847 ( E.D. Pa. )
State/Territory Pennsylvania
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Case Summary
This case, Harris v. City of Philadelphia, started 30 years of federal court litigation over the Philadelphia Prison System [PPS]. A similar state court action was initiated in 1971. See Jackson v. Hendricks, 764 A.2d 1139, 1141 (Pa.Commw.Ct. 2001) [JC-PA-10 of this collection].

In 1982 ... read more >
This case, Harris v. City of Philadelphia, started 30 years of federal court litigation over the Philadelphia Prison System [PPS]. A similar state court action was initiated in 1971. See Jackson v. Hendricks, 764 A.2d 1139, 1141 (Pa.Commw.Ct. 2001) [JC-PA-10 of this collection].

In 1982, inmates at Holmesburg Prison filed a pro se class action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District Of Pennsylvania alleging overcrowded conditions in the PPS in violation of their constitutional rights. The City moved to dismiss on res judicata grounds because of the state law litigation in Jackson v. Hendricks. [JC-PA-10]. The District Court granted defendant's motion and dismissed the case. The Court of Appeals reversed. Harris v. Pernsley, 755 F.2d 338 (3rd Cir. 1984). Following remand, a second amended complaint was filed which refined the plaintiff class to include all past, present, and future PPS inmates. The parties then proceeded with settlement discussions.

The District Court (Judge Norma L. Shapiro) approved a Consent Decree on December 30, 1986 (1986 Consent Decree). As part of the 1986 Decree, the City agreed to construct a downtown detention center by December 31, 1990 so as to alleviate overcrowding. The Decree provided population caps and a mechanism whereby certain non-violent offenders would be released to control inmate levels. It also provided for a "qualified admissions moratorium" which would be triggered if population levels exceeded the maximum allowable population. See Harris v. Pernsley, 654 F.Supp. 1042 (E.D.Pa. 1987).

On November 13, 1987, the District Court appointed a Special Master to assist in monitoring compliance with the Consent Decree.

By order of July 29, 1988 the City was directed to implement a house arrest/electronic monitoring program for selected inmates. The parties continued to struggle with overcrowding problems over the next several years.

On March 11, 1991, the District Court (Judge Norma L. Shapiro) approved a stipulation and settlement ("1991 Consent Decree") of the parties which revised and replaced in part certain provisions of the 1986 Decree. Harris v. Reeves, 761 F.Supp. 382 (E.D.Pa. 1991). Following entry of the 1991 Decree, numerous plans as required by the 1991 Consent Decree were submitted to the District Court for approval. Those included:

* Classification Plan (approved 10/27/92)

* Population Projections Plan (11/23/92)

* Operational Standards (12/9/92)

* Alternatives to Incarceration Plan (12/19/94)

* Physical Standards (7/11/95)

* Capital Projects Management Plan (6/2/97)

* Ten Year Plan (1/24/96)

* Training Plan (3/16/98)

Additionally, over 250 policies and procedures governing all aspects of PPS operation were implemented from 1994 to 1999.

On July 23, 1999 the plaintiffs filed a petition for contempt, alleging eight violations of the Consent Decrees and related orders. The District Court held hearings on plaintiffs' petition on October 7 and 8 (at PPS), 1999, November 12, 1999 and November 29, 1999. The District Court withheld ruling at the request of the parties so that settlement negotiations could continue. The parties the arrived at a proposed settlement agreement which would end the litigation and terminate the court's jurisdiction.

On July 27, 2000 the District Court held a fairness hearing and provisionally approved the settlement. Formal settlement approval came on August 30, 2000 and the District Court issued an order dismissing the case without prejudice. Harris v. Philadelphia, 2000 WL 1239948 (E.D.Pa. Aug. 30, 2000).

The appellate history of Harris is fairly complicated and is as follows: Harris v. Pernsley, 755 F.2d 338 (3d Cir.1985)[Harris I ], reheard en banc den., 758 F.2d 83 (1985); Harris v. Pennsylvania, 820 F.2d 592 (3d Cir.1987)[Harris II ]; reh en banc den., 1987; Harris v. Reeves, 946 F.2d 214 (3d Cir.1991)[Harris III ]; reh en banc den.1991; Harris v. Philadelphia, 35 F.3d 840 (3d Cir.1994)[Harris IV ]; Harris v. Philadelphia, 47 F.3d 1311 (3d Cir.1995)[Harris V ]; Harris v. Philadelphia, 47 F.3d 1333 (3d Cir.1995)[Harris VI ]; Harris v. Philadelphia, 47 F .3d 1342 (3d Cir.1995)[Harris VII ]; and Harris v. Philadelphia, 137 F.3d 209 (3d Cir.1998)[Harris VIII ].

Note that six years following the final settlement of Harris, another inmate lawsuit was initiated against the PPS. See Bowers v. City of Philadelphia, 2:06-cv-03229-RBS (E.D.Pa.) [JC-PA-20].

Dan Dalton - 02/14/2007


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Crowding
Crowding / caseload
Pre-PLRA Population Cap
General
Totality of conditions
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Philadelphia Prison System
Plaintiff Description The certified class consists of all past, present, and future inmates of the Philadelphia Prison System.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 1986 - 2000
Case Closing Year 2000
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing JC-PA-0020 : Bowers v. City of Philadelphia (E.D. Pa.)
JC-PA-0010 : Jackson v. Hendrick (State Court)
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 ]

Docket(s)
98-3774 (E.D. Pa.) 08/03/1998
JC-PA-0001-9000 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Opinion of the Court 02/22/1985 (755 F.2d 338)
JC-PA-0001-0011 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Denial of Sur-petitions for Rehearing 03/21/1985 (758 F.2d 83)
JC-PA-0001-0018 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Decision on Petition for Writ of Certiorari 11/04/1985 (474 U.S. 965)
JC-PA-0001-0023 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Order 12/30/1986 (E.D. Pa.)
JC-PA-0001-0003 PDF | Detail
Memorandum and Order 01/05/1987 (113 F.R.D. 615) (E.D. Pa.)
JC-PA-0001-0022 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Memorandum 02/19/1987 (654 F.Supp. 1042) (E.D. Pa.)
JC-PA-0001-0010 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Memorandum and Order 02/19/1987 (654 F.Supp. 1057) (E.D. Pa.)
JC-PA-0001-0013 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Opinion of the Court 05/15/1987 (820 F.2d 592)
JC-PA-0001-0012 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Memorandum and Order 02/27/1989 (1989 WL 16269 / 1989 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 1825) (E.D. Pa.)
JC-PA-0001-0024 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Memorandum and Order 09/04/1990 (1990 WL 132460 / 1990 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 118543) (E.D. Pa.)
JC-PA-0001-0025 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Memorandum and Order 12/28/1990 (1990 WL 238417 / 1990 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 17678) (E.D. Pa.)
JC-PA-0001-0026 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Order, & Stipulation and Agreement 03/11/1991 (E.D. Pa.)
JC-PA-0001-0002 PDF | Detail
Motion of the City of Philadelphia and the Hon. Edward G. Rendell, in his Official Capacity as its Mayor, to Modify the December 30, 1986 Consent Decree and the March 11, 1991 Decree. 03/11/1991
JC-PA-0001-0004 PDF | Detail
Memorandum Opinion 03/26/1991 (761 F.Supp. 382) (E.D. Pa.)
JC-PA-0001-0015 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Memorandum and Order 08/07/1991 (1991 WL 157418 / 1991 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 11226) (E.D. Pa.)
JC-PA-0001-0027 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Opinion of the Court 10/04/1991 (946 F.2d 214)
JC-PA-0001-0014 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Memorandum 10/21/1991 (1991 WL 218361 / 1991 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 15019) (E.D. Pa.)
JC-PA-0001-0028 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Memorandum of Law in Support of Motion to Modify Consent Decree 01/07/1992
JC-PA-0001-0001 PDF | Detail
Plaintiffs' Memorandum in Opposition to Defendants' Motion to Modify Consent Decrees 01/29/1992
JC-PA-0001-0005 PDF | Detail
Memorandum and Order 06/14/1993 (1993 WL 209582 / 1993 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 7850) (E.D. Pa.)
JC-PA-0001-0029 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Memorandum and Order 10/28/1993 (1993 WL 441728 / 1993 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 15358) (E.D. Pa.)
JC-PA-0001-0030 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Memorandum and Order 11/22/1993 (1993 WL 482943) (E.D. Pa.)
JC-PA-0001-0041 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Memorandum and Order 02/16/1994 (1994 WL 47752 / 1994 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 1596) (E.D. Pa.)
JC-PA-0001-0040 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Memorandum and Order 06/28/1994 (1994 WL 408231 / 1994 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 10747) (E.D. Pa.)
JC-PA-0001-0039 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Opinion of the Court 09/29/1994 (35 F.3d 840)
JC-PA-0001-0020 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Opinion of the Court 02/15/1995 (47 F.3d 1342)
JC-PA-0001-0016 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Opinion of the Court 02/15/1995 (47 F.3d 1311)
JC-PA-0001-0017 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Opinion 02/15/1995 (47 F.3d 1333)
JC-PA-0001-0021 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Memorandum and Order 05/22/1995 (1995 WL 314725 / 1995 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 6957) (E.D. Pa.)
JC-PA-0001-0038 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Memorandum and Order 06/06/1995 (1995 WL 350296 / 1995 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 7908) (E.D. Pa.)
JC-PA-0001-0037 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Memorandum and Order 06/26/1995 (1995 WL 385102) (E.D. Pa.)
JC-PA-0001-0036 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Memorandum and Order 08/17/1995 (1995 WL 527383) (E.D. Pa.)
JC-PA-0001-0031 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Opinion 01/30/1996 (77 F.3d 462)
JC-PA-0001-0032 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Memorandum and Order 06/04/1997 (1997 WL 334983 / 1997 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 8441) (E.D. Pa.)
JC-PA-0001-0035 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Opinion of the Court 02/27/1998 (137 F.3d 209)
JC-PA-0001-0019 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Memorandum and Order 12/23/1999 (2000 WL 1978 / 2000 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 19846) (E.D. Pa.)
JC-PA-0001-0033 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Memorandum and Order 08/30/2000 (2000 WL 1239948 / 2000 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 12579) (E.D. Pa.)
JC-PA-0001-0034 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Memorandum and Order 08/31/2000 (E.D. Pa.)
JC-PA-0001-0007 PDF | Detail
Judges Aldisert, Ruggero John (Third Circuit)
JC-PA-0001-0014
Alito, Samuel A. Jr. (Third Circuit, SCOTUS)
JC-PA-0001-0016 | JC-PA-0001-0017
Burger, Warren Earl (D.C. Circuit, SCOTUS)
JC-PA-0001-0023
Cowen, Arnold Wilson (Fed. Circuit, )
JC-PA-0001-0019
Garth, Leonard I. (Third Circuit, D.N.J.)
JC-PA-0001-0011 | JC-PA-0001-0012 | JC-PA-0001-0018
Gibbons, John Joseph (Third Circuit)
JC-PA-0001-0011 | JC-PA-0001-0012
Greenberg, Morton Ira (Third Circuit)
JC-PA-0001-0014
Mansmann, Carol Los (Third Circuit, W.D. Pa.)
JC-PA-0001-0016 | JC-PA-0001-0017
Seitz, Collins Jacques (FISCR, Third Circuit)
JC-PA-0001-0012
Shapiro, Norma Levy (E.D. Pa.)
JC-PA-0001-0002 | JC-PA-0001-0003 | JC-PA-0001-0004 | JC-PA-0001-0007 | JC-PA-0001-0010 | JC-PA-0001-0013 | JC-PA-0001-0015 | JC-PA-0001-0022 | JC-PA-0001-0024 | JC-PA-0001-0025 | JC-PA-0001-0026 | JC-PA-0001-0027 | JC-PA-0001-0028 | JC-PA-0001-0029 | JC-PA-0001-0030 | JC-PA-0001-0031 | JC-PA-0001-0033 | JC-PA-0001-0034 | JC-PA-0001-0036 | JC-PA-0001-0037 | JC-PA-0001-0038 | JC-PA-0001-0039 | JC-PA-0001-0040 | JC-PA-0001-0041 | JC-PA-0001-9000
Sloviter, Dolores Korman (Third Circuit)
JC-PA-0001-0016 | JC-PA-0001-0017 | JC-PA-0001-0020 | JC-PA-0001-0021
Stapleton, Walter King (Third Circuit, D. Del.)
JC-PA-0001-0014
Teitelbaum, Hubert Irving (W.D. Pa.)
JC-PA-0001-0011
Monitors/Masters Babcock, William (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0001-0001
Plaintiff's Lawyers Angell, Samuel J.B. (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0001-0016
Bernstein, Richard M. (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0001-0011
Hino, Michael S. (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0001-0020
Hughues, Mary P. (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0001-0012
Kling, Neill C. (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0001-0014
Lebowitz, Philip H. (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0001-0010 | JC-PA-0001-0011 | JC-PA-0001-0012 | JC-PA-0001-0013 | JC-PA-0001-0014 | JC-PA-0001-0015 | JC-PA-0001-0016 | JC-PA-0001-0020 | JC-PA-0001-0021 | JC-PA-0001-0022
Richman, David (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0001-0001 | JC-PA-0001-0002 | JC-PA-0001-0005 | JC-PA-0001-0010 | JC-PA-0001-0011 | JC-PA-0001-0012 | JC-PA-0001-0013 | JC-PA-0001-0014 | JC-PA-0001-0015 | JC-PA-0001-0016 | JC-PA-0001-0017 | JC-PA-0001-0019 | JC-PA-0001-0020 | JC-PA-0001-0021 | JC-PA-0001-0022
Ricks, Sarah E. (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0001-0021
Wamser, Thomas J. (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0001-0012 | JC-PA-0001-0014
Defendant's Lawyers Aronchick, Mark A. (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0001-0016 | JC-PA-0001-0017 | JC-PA-0001-0020 | JC-PA-0001-0021
Barthold, Gaele McLaughlin (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0001-0010 | JC-PA-0001-0012 | JC-PA-0001-0013 | JC-PA-0001-0014 | JC-PA-0001-0015 | JC-PA-0001-0022
Gold, Richard J. (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0001-0010 | JC-PA-0001-0011 | JC-PA-0001-0012 | JC-PA-0001-0013 | JC-PA-0001-0022
Hubert, Randy Karafin (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0001-0016 | JC-PA-0001-0017 | JC-PA-0001-0020 | JC-PA-0001-0021
Jordan, James B. (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0001-0016 | JC-PA-0001-0017 | JC-PA-0001-0020
Krill, John P. Jr. (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0001-0011 | JC-PA-0001-0022
Leisch, Doris M. (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0001-0012
Lillie, Charisse R. (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0001-0002 | JC-PA-0001-0014 | JC-PA-0001-0015
Minyard, Handsel B. (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0001-0012
Morris, John W. (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0001-0016 | JC-PA-0001-0020 | JC-PA-0001-0021
Potts, Barbara (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0001-0015
Robinson, Rosalyn K. (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0001-0010 | JC-PA-0001-0013 | JC-PA-0001-0022 | JC-PA-0001-0024
Rosen, Gary A. (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0001-0016 | JC-PA-0001-0017 | JC-PA-0001-0020 | JC-PA-0001-0021
Saull, Ellis M. (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0001-0024
Sellitto, August V. (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0001-0011
Vaccaro, Carl (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0001-0010 | JC-PA-0001-0011 | JC-PA-0001-0013 | JC-PA-0001-0022
Vilim, Guy (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0001-0010 | JC-PA-0001-0012 | JC-PA-0001-0013 | JC-PA-0001-0022
Wolfsohn, David J. (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0001-0019
Zimmerman, LeRoy S. (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0001-0011
Other Lawyers Brumberg, Harriet R. (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0001-0012
Castille, Ron (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0001-0015
Eisenberg, Ronald (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0001-0012 | JC-PA-0001-0016
Kohn, Joseph C. (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0001-0014
Magid, Laurie (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0001-0014
Vandenbraak, Sarah B. (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0001-0001 | JC-PA-0001-0010 | JC-PA-0001-0012 | JC-PA-0001-0013 | JC-PA-0001-0014 | JC-PA-0001-0015 | JC-PA-0001-0016 | JC-PA-0001-0017 | JC-PA-0001-0022

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