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Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Williams & U.S. v. Lynn PC-LA-0006
Docket / Court 92-001 ( M.D. La. )
State/Territory Louisiana
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Case Summary
On August 8, 1989, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) initiated an investigation into the conditions of confinement at the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola, Louisiana pursuant to the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA), 42 U.S.C. § 1997. On May 13, 1991, the DOJ ... read more >
On August 8, 1989, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) initiated an investigation into the conditions of confinement at the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola, Louisiana pursuant to the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA), 42 U.S.C. § 1997. On May 13, 1991, the DOJ issued a findings letter to the Governor of Louisiana, detailing the following allegedly unconstitutional conditions at the prison: failure to provide adequate medical and mental health care, failure to provide a safe environment, segregation of inmates by race in cell assignments, and arbitrary and excessive use of extended lockdown.

On January 2, 1992, inmates at the prison filed a class action lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Louisiana Department of Corrections in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana. The plaintiffs alleged that their constitutional rights had been violated by the conditions of their confinement. On July 22, 1994, the U.S. Department of Justice asked the court to allow them to intervene under CRIPA. On September 8, 1994, the district court (Judge Frank J. Polozola) granted the DOJ's request to intervene as a plaintiff in the lawsuit.

On September 24, 1998, the district court (Judge Polozola) approved a settlement agreement between the parties. We do not have a copy of the settlement agreement so do not have details on its precise terms. On March 26, 1999, pursuant to a joint motion by all parties, the district court closed the case.

Kristen Sagar - 09/10/2006


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
General
Administrative segregation
Assault/abuse by residents/inmates/students
Racial segregation
Medical/Mental Health
Medical care, general
Mental health care, general
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA), 42 U.S.C. § 1997 et seq.
42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Louisiana
Plaintiff Description inmates at the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola, Louisiana
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 1998 - 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 ]

Docket(s)
92-001 (M.D. La.) 09/28/2001
PC-LA-0006-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Findings Letter re: CRIPA Investigation of Louisiana State Penitenciary at Angola 05/13/1991
PC-LA-0006-0001.pdf | Detail
Motion to Invervene 07/21/1994
PC-LA-0006-0002.pdf | Detail
Memorandum in Support of United States' Motion to Invervene as Plaintiff 07/21/1994
PC-LA-0006-0003.pdf | Detail
Judges Polozola, Frank Joseph (M.D. La.) [Magistrate]
PC-LA-0006-9000
Riedlinger, Stephen C. (M.D. La.) [Magistrate]
PC-LA-0006-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Bowman, Robert C. (District of Columbia)
PC-LA-0006-0002 | PC-LA-0006-0003
Dunne, John R. (District of Columbia)
PC-LA-0006-0001
Hymel, L. J. Jr. (Louisiana)
PC-LA-0006-0002 | PC-LA-0006-0003 | PC-LA-0006-9000
Jackson, Brian Anthony (Louisiana)
PC-LA-0006-9000
Maddox, William G. (District of Columbia)
PC-LA-0006-0002 | PC-LA-0006-0003
Nordyke, Keith B (Louisiana)
PC-LA-0006-9000
Patrick, Deval L. (District of Columbia)
PC-LA-0006-0002 | PC-LA-0006-0003
Peabody, Arthur E. Jr. (District of Columbia)
PC-LA-0006-0002 | PC-LA-0006-0003
Reno, Janet (District of Columbia)
PC-LA-0006-0002 | PC-LA-0006-0003
Schoen, Benjamin P. (District of Columbia)
PC-LA-0006-0002 | PC-LA-0006-0003
Defendant's Lawyers Curry, Richard A. (Louisiana)
PC-LA-0006-9000
Gascon, Houston Charles III (Louisiana)
PC-LA-0006-9000
Guste, William J. Jr. (Louisiana)
PC-LA-0006-0001
Kline, William Lester (Louisiana)
PC-LA-0006-9000
Lamonica, P. Raymond (Louisiana)
PC-LA-0006-0001
Rieger, Shannon Sweeny (Louisiana)
PC-LA-0006-9000
Suplee, Victoria Fontana (Louisiana)
PC-LA-0006-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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