University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name United States v. State of Arizona PC-AZ-0002
Docket / Court 97-476-PHX-ROS ( D. Ariz. )
State/Territory Arizona
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Attorney Organization U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Case Summary
This case was brought by the United States pursuant to the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA). On February 8, 1995, the Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, served the Governor of Arizona with a notice letter regarding their intent to investigate allegations of sexual ... read more >
This case was brought by the United States pursuant to the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA). On February 8, 1995, the Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, served the Governor of Arizona with a notice letter regarding their intent to investigate allegations of sexual abuse and violations of privacy rights of female inmates in the Arizona Department of Corrections (ADOC).

The Department of Justice sent its finding to Arizona governor J. Fife Symington on August 8, 1996. The investigation found significant evidence of physical sexual misconduct and constitutionally unacceptable invasions of privacy. This included sexual relations between inmates and employees, sexual assaults, and frequent, prolonged viewing during dressing and showering of inmates.

In response to these findings the DOJ offered a series of recommendations which included: better screening of employees; improved training; investigation of any allegations of sexual misconduct or unlawful invasion of privacy; stronger sanctions including criminal prosecution for employee offenses; use of an independent outside agency to investigate allegations; as well as a number of proactive steps to address sexual misconduct and unlawful invasions of privacy. The findings letter also recommended the creation of a Women's Facilities Administrator to serve as a liaison between the women's facilities and ADOC's Director and Deputy Director. In conclusion, the findings letter provided a warning that should the ADOC not address these problems the Attorney General could institute a lawsuit to correct the deficiencies.

On March 10, 1997, the United States filed a complaint against the State of Arizona and Gov. Symington in the District of Arizona (Judge Roslyn Silver). The complaint alleged that the Defendants were violating the constitutional rights of female inmates to be free from sexual misconduct and unlawful invasions of privacy. The complaint sought to enjoin the Defendants from ""continuing the acts, practices and omissions"" of allowing sexual misconduct and unlawful invasion of the privacy of female inmates.

On October 2, 1998, Defendants moved for summary judgment. Prior to any ruling by the Court, the parties reached a settlement, which was filed on March 11, 1999. As part of the settlement, defendants did not admit any constitutional violations, but agreed to adopt policy and procedures from the Federal Bureau of Prisons, improve screening and training of employees, promote inmate awareness and comfort in reporting abuse, and thoroughly investigate allegations of abuse. The settlement required ""substantial compliance"" by the ADOC, to be determined by a jointly agreed monitor. The monitor would conduct three quarterly onsite tours following the filing of the settlement agreement. Provided the monitor found ""substantial compliance"" by the ADOC after the third tour, the lawsuit would be permanently dismissed.

On December 13, 1999, the parties jointly filed a stipulation to dismiss which Judge Silver granted in a December 17, 1999 order.

Eoghan Keenan - 04/16/2005


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Crowding
Crowding / caseload
General
Administrative segregation
Assault/abuse by staff
Counseling
Disciplinary procedures
Disciplinary segregation
Sanitation / living conditions
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
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. ยง 1997 et seq.
Defendant(s) Arizona DOC
Plaintiff Description The Department of Justice
Indexed Lawyer Organizations U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 1999 - n/a
Case Closing Year 1999
Case Ongoing No
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 ]

  Sunbelt Justice: Arizona and the Transformation of American Punishment
By: Mona Lynch (UC Irvine)
Citation: (2010)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
97-CV-476 (D. Ariz.) 10/15/2001
PC-AZ-0002-9000 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Findings Letter re: CRIPA Investigation of Arizona Women's Prisons 08/08/1996
PC-AZ-0002-0001 PDF | Detail
Complaint 03/10/1997
PC-AZ-0002-0002 PDF | Detail
United States' Memorandum in Opposition to Defendants' Summary Judgment Motion Preliminary Statement 11/25/1998
PC-AZ-0002-0004 PDF | Detail
Settlement Agreement 03/11/1999
PC-AZ-0002-0003 PDF | Detail
Judges Silver, Roslyn O. (D. Ariz.)
PC-AZ-0002-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Bartels, Robert (Arizona)
PC-AZ-0002-0003 | PC-AZ-0002-9000
Jackson, Shelley (District of Columbia)
PC-AZ-0002-0003 | PC-AZ-0002-0004
Lee, Bill Lann (District of Columbia)
PC-AZ-0002-0003 | PC-AZ-0002-0004
Lopez, Christy (District of Columbia)
PC-AZ-0002-0003 | PC-AZ-0002-0004
Masling, Mark S. (District of Columbia)
PC-AZ-0002-0002 | PC-AZ-0002-0003 | PC-AZ-0002-0004 | PC-AZ-0002-9000
Nelson, Mellie H. (District of Columbia)
PC-AZ-0002-0002 | PC-AZ-0002-0003 | PC-AZ-0002-0004 | PC-AZ-0002-9000
Patrick, Deval L. (District of Columbia)
PC-AZ-0002-0001
Pinzler, Isabelle Katz (District of Columbia)
PC-AZ-0002-0001
Reno, Janet (District of Columbia)
PC-AZ-0002-0002
Rivera, Jose de Jesus (Arizona)
PC-AZ-0002-0003 | PC-AZ-0002-0004
Rosenbaum, Steven H. (District of Columbia)
PC-AZ-0002-0003 | PC-AZ-0002-0004
Stein, Lee David (Arizona)
PC-AZ-0002-0002 | PC-AZ-0002-0004 | PC-AZ-0002-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Garcia-Riley, Jeanne (Arizona)
PC-AZ-0002-0003 | PC-AZ-0002-9000
Morrow, James Russel (Arizona)
PC-AZ-0002-0003
Wilder, William Charles (Arizona)
PC-AZ-0002-0003 | PC-AZ-0002-9000
Woods, Grant (Arizona)
PC-AZ-0002-0001
Other Lawyers Blumberg, Bruce E. (Arizona)
PC-AZ-0002-9000
Sandweiss, David L. (Arizona)
PC-AZ-0002-9000
Stewart, David J. (Georgia)
PC-AZ-0002-0003

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