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Case Name Smith v. Fairman PC-IL-0015
Docket / Court 80-2076 ( C.D. Ill. )
State/Territory Illinois
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Case Summary
In 1980, an inmate at the Pontiac Correctional Center (Pontiac), a maximum security state penitentiary located in Pontiac, Illinois, filed this class action civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois, alleging unconstitutional ... read more >
In 1980, an inmate at the Pontiac Correctional Center (Pontiac), a maximum security state penitentiary located in Pontiac, Illinois, filed this class action civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois, alleging unconstitutional overcrowded conditions and double celling practices. Plaintiff sought declaratory and injunctive relief, as well as class certification.

The District Court (Judge Harold Albert Baker, J) certified the case as a class action on October 30, 1980. The class was defined as: "All present and future inmates of the Pontiac Correctional Center who are, have been, or will be punished for refusing to accept a double cell."

The case proceeded to trial before the District Court on April 14, 1981. Twenty-three witnesses testified over a period of nine days of trial. Following the trial, the District Court issued its Findings Of Fact, Conclusions of Law, Memorandum Opinion and Final Order. The Court held that the double celling conditions at Pontiac Correctional Center constituted cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment. The Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) was ordered to submit a plan to the court within 6- days to remedy the overcrowded conditions at the Pontiac Correctional Center at the earliest date possible by moving to single occupancy celling. Smith v. Fairman, 528 F.Supp. 118 (C.D.Il.1981). The IDOC appealed.

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals (Circuit Judge Bauer) reversed and held that the institutional practice of housing two prisoners in a single cell did not violate the Eighth Amendment. Smith V. Fairman, 690 F.2d 122 (1982), cert, denied, 103 S.Ct. 2125 (1983).

We have no further information on this case.

Dan Dalton - 03/01/2007


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Crowding
Crowding / caseload
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC)
Pontiac Correctional Center
Plaintiff Description Indigent prisoner at the Pontiac Correctional Center alleging that prisoners had been denied rights under the Eighth Amendment by being subjected to cruel and unusual punishment arising from overcrowded conditions and double celling practices
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration 1980 - 1982
Case Closing Year 1982
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 ]

Docket(s)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
Findings of fact, conclusions of law, memorandum opinion and final Order 11/03/1981 (528 F.Supp. 186) (C.D. Ill.)
PC-IL-0015-0002 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Reported Opinion 01/06/1983 (690 F.2d 122)
PC-IL-0015-0001 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Memorandum Decision 05/23/1983 (461 U.S. 946)
PC-IL-0015-0003 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Judges Baker, Francis Elisha (Seventh Circuit, 7th (1869))
PC-IL-0015-0002
Bauer, William Joseph (Seventh Circuit, N.D. Ill.)
PC-IL-0015-0001
Campbell, William Joseph (N.D. Ill.)
PC-IL-0015-0001
Wood, Diane Pamela (Seventh Circuit)
PC-IL-0015-0001
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Heinz, William D. (Illinois)
PC-IL-0015-0001 | PC-IL-0015-0002
Solovy, Jerold S. (Illinois)
PC-IL-0015-0002
Varner, Christopher L. (Illinois)
PC-IL-0015-0002
Defendant's Lawyers Carroll, James R. (Illinois)
PC-IL-0015-0001
Sullivan, William G. (Illinois)
PC-IL-0015-0001 | PC-IL-0015-0002
Sutherland, Suzan (Illinois)
PC-IL-0015-0002
Other Lawyers Davies, Thomas Y. (Illinois)
PC-IL-0015-0002

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