University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name U.S. v. Alabama PC-AL-0023
Docket / Court 87-V-14-N ( M.D. Ala. )
State/Territory Alabama
Case Type(s)
Case Summary
This case was the first of three (as of 2015) investigations brought under the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA), 42 U.S.C. § 1997, against the state of Alabama, relating to conditions of confinement at the Julia Tuwiler Prison for Women, in Wetumpka, Alabama. We do not have ... read more >
This case was the first of three (as of 2015) investigations brought under the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA), 42 U.S.C. § 1997, against the state of Alabama, relating to conditions of confinement at the Julia Tuwiler Prison for Women, in Wetumpka, Alabama. We do not have any documents from this case, except for the Attorney General's required reports to Congress about the implementation of CRIPA. The matter is discussed in each such report from 1984 to 1987--so they are included in this case record. All information in this summary is from those reports. (We separately obtained the docket number of the case from the DOJ.) The next CRIPA matter involving Tutwiler was a more general conditions of confinement investigation conducted in 1994 and 1995 and finally closed in 2002; it is available at PC-AL-0006 in this Clearinghouse. And the third one, a lawsuit dealing with sexual abuse of prisoners available at PC-AL-0034, was simultaneously filed in U.S. District Court and settled in 2015.

On July 3, 1984, the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division notified Governor George Wallace of its intention to investigate Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women, Wetumpka, Alabama. The investigation was "to determine whether there exist any violations of the federal constitutional rights of women incarcerated therein to equal protection under the law particularly with respect to vocational and educational training programs. This is the first investigation of its kind launched under the Act."

In 1985, expert consultants inspected the facility and reported on their findings and recommendations. On March 24, 1986, DOJ notified Governor Wallace that in DOJ's view, significant constitutional violations existed at the facility with respect to equal protection under the law relating to vocational and educational training programs.

On January 6, 1987, DOJ filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama. The Complaint alleged the denial of equal protection for Tutwiler's inmates. Specifically, it alleged that Alabama failed to provide female prisoners with vocational and educational programs substantially equivalent to those offered male inmates in other State correctional institutions.

The District Court stayed the action on May 4, 1987, however, pending the resolution of a private lawsuit, Nichols v. Smith. The parties in the Nichols action filed a settlement agreement on August 27, 1987, addressing the same claims raised by the DOJ lawsuit. Therefore, on September 10, 1987, DOJ filed a Motion to Dismiss this case, without prejudice to reinstate. That motion was granted four days later, by Judge Robert Varner.

- 05/30/2015


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
General
Totality of conditions
Plaintiff Type
U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA), 42 U.S.C. § 1997 et seq.
Defendant(s) Alabama Department of Corrections
Plaintiff Description United States Department of Justice
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing Unknown
Case Listing PC-AL-0002 : Nichols v. Hopper (M.D. Ala.)
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 ]

  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
1984 Fiscal Year Report to Congress Pursuant to Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act
PC-AL-0023-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
1985 Fiscal Year Report to Congress Pursuant to Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act
PC-AL-0023-0003.pdf | Detail
Document Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
1986 Fiscal Year Report to Congress Pursuant to Civil Rights of Institutionalized PersonS Act
PC-AL-0023-0004.pdf | Detail
Document Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
1987 Fiscal Year Report to Congress Pursuant to Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act
PC-AL-0023-0005.pdf | Detail
Document Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Judges None on record
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers None on record
Defendant's Lawyers None on record
Other Lawyers None on record

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