Inmates at the Idaho State Correctional Institution filed a class action law suit on January 12, 1978 in the United States District Court for the District of Idaho under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that the prison denied inmates of their constitutional right to meaningful access to the courts. ...
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Inmates at the Idaho State Correctional Institution filed a class action law suit on January 12, 1978 in the United States District Court for the District of Idaho under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that the prison denied inmates of their constitutional right to meaningful access to the courts. In particular, the plaintiffs asserted that the prison failed to provide access to an adequate library and sufficient legal assistance, and that it failed to make available necessary resources and supplies such as working typewriters and paper. The inmates, represented by Idaho Legal Aid Services, sought injunctive and declaratory relief on behalf of all present and future inmates at the institution.
On June 8, 1981, the District Court (Judge Ray McNichols) held that the prison law library did not meet minimum constitutional standards and issued an order giving the prison six months to make requisite changes to bring the library up to constitutional standards. Following this order, the prison moved the library to a more spacious location, provided new tables and chairs to accommodate up to forty inmates, developed a training program for inmate law clerks to assist fellow inmates with legal research and writing (especially those uneducated, illiterate, or not proficient in English), and provided a constitutionally sufficient inventory of law books that was previously approved by the district court.
At a compliance hearing on October 26, 1982, the district court found that the prison substantially complied with the June 8, 1981, order, and dismissed the action. Plaintiffs appealed the district court's refusal to issue a permanent injunction. On November 15, 1985, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (Judge John Wallace) denied the inmates' appeal stating the district court's decision not to issue a permanent injunction was not abuse of discretion since there was no threat that the prison would revert to unconstitutional practices. Lindquist v. Idaho State Bd. Of Corrections, 776 F.2d 851 (9th Cir. 1985). Subsequently, the court (Magistrate Judge Larry M. Boyle) modified the original 1981 order in part. The docket continues until March 5, 1996 when the stipulation for voluntary dismissal was granted.Emilee Baker - 05/15/2006