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Case Name Harris v. City of Philadelphia JC-PA-0001
Docket / Court Civ. A. 82-1847 ( E.D. Pa. )
State/Territory Pennsylvania
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Case Summary
This case, Harris v. City of Philadelphia, started 30 years of federal court litigation over the Philadelphia Prison System [PPS]. A similar state court action was initiated in 1971. See Jackson v. Hendricks, 764 A.2d 1139, 1141 (Pa.Commw.Ct. 2001) [JC-PA-10 of this collection].

In 1982 ... read more >
This case, Harris v. City of Philadelphia, started 30 years of federal court litigation over the Philadelphia Prison System [PPS]. A similar state court action was initiated in 1971. See Jackson v. Hendricks, 764 A.2d 1139, 1141 (Pa.Commw.Ct. 2001) [JC-PA-10 of this collection].

In 1982, inmates at Holmesburg Prison filed a pro se class action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District Of Pennsylvania alleging overcrowded conditions in the PPS in violation of their constitutional rights. The City moved to dismiss on res judicata grounds because of the state law litigation in Jackson v. Hendricks. [JC-PA-10]. The District Court granted defendant's motion and dismissed the case. The Court of Appeals reversed. Harris v. Pernsley, 755 F.2d 338 (3rd Cir. 1984). Following remand, a second amended complaint was filed which refined the plaintiff class to include all past, present, and future PPS inmates. The parties then proceeded with settlement discussions.

The District Court (Judge Norma L. Shapiro) approved a Consent Decree on December 30, 1986 (1986 Consent Decree). As part of the 1986 Decree, the City agreed to construct a downtown detention center by December 31, 1990 so as to alleviate overcrowding. The Decree provided population caps and a mechanism whereby certain non-violent offenders would be released to control inmate levels. It also provided for a "qualified admissions moratorium" which would be triggered if population levels exceeded the maximum allowable population. See Harris v. Pernsley, 654 F.Supp. 1042 (E.D.Pa. 1987).

On November 13, 1987, the District Court appointed a Special Master to assist in monitoring compliance with the Consent Decree.

By order of July 29, 1988 the City was directed to implement a house arrest/electronic monitoring program for selected inmates. The parties continued to struggle with overcrowding problems over the next several years.

On March 11, 1991, the District Court (Judge Norma L. Shapiro) approved a stipulation and settlement ("1991 Consent Decree") of the parties which revised and replaced in part certain provisions of the 1986 Decree. Harris v. Reeves, 761 F.Supp. 382 (E.D.Pa. 1991). Following entry of the 1991 Decree, numerous plans as required by the 1991 Consent Decree were submitted to the District Court for approval. Those included:

* Classification Plan (approved 10/27/92)

* Population Projections Plan (11/23/92)

* Operational Standards (12/9/92)

* Alternatives to Incarceration Plan (12/19/94)

* Physical Standards (7/11/95)

* Capital Projects Management Plan (6/2/97)

* Ten Year Plan (1/24/96)

* Training Plan (3/16/98)

Additionally, over 250 policies and procedures governing all aspects of PPS operation were implemented from 1994 to 1999.

On July 23, 1999 the plaintiffs filed a petition for contempt, alleging eight violations of the Consent Decrees and related orders. The District Court held hearings on plaintiffs' petition on October 7 and 8 (at PPS), 1999, November 12, 1999 and November 29, 1999. The District Court withheld ruling at the request of the parties so that settlement negotiations could continue. The parties the arrived at a proposed settlement agreement which would end the litigation and terminate the court's jurisdiction.

On July 27, 2000 the District Court held a fairness hearing and provisionally approved the settlement. Formal settlement approval came on August 30, 2000 and the District Court issued an order dismissing the case without prejudice. Harris v. Philadelphia, 2000 WL 1239948 (E.D.Pa. Aug. 30, 2000).

The appellate history of Harris is fairly complicated and is as follows: Harris v. Pernsley, 755 F.2d 338 (3d Cir.1985)[Harris I ], reheard en banc den., 758 F.2d 83 (1985); Harris v. Pennsylvania, 820 F.2d 592 (3d Cir.1987)[Harris II ]; reh en banc den., 1987; Harris v. Reeves, 946 F.2d 214 (3d Cir.1991)[Harris III ]; reh en banc den.1991; Harris v. Philadelphia, 35 F.3d 840 (3d Cir.1994)[Harris IV ]; Harris v. Philadelphia, 47 F.3d 1311 (3d Cir.1995)[Harris V ]; Harris v. Philadelphia, 47 F.3d 1333 (3d Cir.1995)[Harris VI ]; Harris v. Philadelphia, 47 F .3d 1342 (3d Cir.1995)[Harris VII ]; and Harris v. Philadelphia, 137 F.3d 209 (3d Cir.1998)[Harris VIII ].

Note that six years following the final settlement of Harris, another inmate lawsuit was initiated against the PPS. See Bowers v. City of Philadelphia, 2:06-cv-03229-RBS (E.D.Pa.) [JC-PA-20].

Dan Dalton - 02/14/2007


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Crowding
Crowding / caseload
Pre-PLRA Population Cap
General
Totality of conditions
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Philadelphia Prison System
Plaintiff Description The certified class consists of all past, present, and future inmates of the Philadelphia Prison System.
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Unknown
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 1986 - 2000
Case Closing Year 2000
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing JC-PA-0020 : Bowers v. City of Philadelphia (E.D. Pa.)
JC-PA-0010 : Jackson v. Hendrick (State Court)
Additional Resources
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  Bravo v. Board of Commissioners of Dona Ana County
http://www.bazelon.org/
Date: 2017
By: The Bazelon Center (The Bazelon Center)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
98-3774 (E.D. Pa.)
JC-PA-0001-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/03/1998
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Opinion of the Court (755 F.2d 338)
JC-PA-0001-0011.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 02/22/1985
Source: Google Scholar
Denial of Sur-petitions for Rehearing (758 F.2d 83)
JC-PA-0001-0018.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 03/21/1985
Source: Google Scholar
Decision on Petition for Writ of Certiorari (474 U.S. 965)
JC-PA-0001-0023.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 11/04/1985
Order (E.D. Pa.)
JC-PA-0001-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/30/1986
Memorandum and Order (113 F.R.D. 615) (E.D. Pa.)
JC-PA-0001-0022.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 01/05/1987
Source: Google Scholar
Memorandum (654 F.Supp. 1042) (E.D. Pa.)
JC-PA-0001-0010.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 02/19/1987
Source: Google Scholar
Memorandum and Order (654 F.Supp. 1057) (E.D. Pa.)
JC-PA-0001-0013.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 02/19/1987
Source: Google Scholar
Opinion of the Court (820 F.2d 592)
JC-PA-0001-0012.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 05/15/1987
Source: Google Scholar
Memorandum and Order (1989 WL 16269 / 1989 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 1825) (E.D. Pa.)
JC-PA-0001-0024.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 02/27/1989
Memorandum and Order (1990 WL 132460 / 1990 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 118543) (E.D. Pa.)
JC-PA-0001-0025.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 09/04/1990
Memorandum and Order (1990 WL 238417 / 1990 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 17678) (E.D. Pa.)
JC-PA-0001-0026.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 12/28/1990
Order, & Stipulation and Agreement (E.D. Pa.)
JC-PA-0001-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/11/1991
Motion of the City of Philadelphia and the Hon. Edward G. Rendell, in his Official Capacity as its Mayor, to Modify the December 30, 1986 Consent Decree and the March 11, 1991 Decree.
JC-PA-0001-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/11/1991
Memorandum Opinion (761 F.Supp. 382) (E.D. Pa.)
JC-PA-0001-0015.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 03/26/1991
Source: Google Scholar
Memorandum and Order (1991 WL 157418 / 1991 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 11226) (E.D. Pa.)
JC-PA-0001-0027.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 08/07/1991
Opinion of the Court (946 F.2d 214)
JC-PA-0001-0014.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 10/04/1991
Source: Google Scholar
Memorandum (1991 WL 218361 / 1991 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 15019) (E.D. Pa.)
JC-PA-0001-0028.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 10/21/1991
Memorandum of Law in Support of Motion to Modify Consent Decree
JC-PA-0001-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/07/1992
Plaintiffs' Memorandum in Opposition to Defendants' Motion to Modify Consent Decrees
JC-PA-0001-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/29/1992
Memorandum and Order (1993 WL 209582 / 1993 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 7850) (E.D. Pa.)
JC-PA-0001-0029.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 06/14/1993
Memorandum and Order (1993 WL 441728 / 1993 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 15358) (E.D. Pa.)
JC-PA-0001-0030.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 10/28/1993
Memorandum and Order (1993 WL 482943) (E.D. Pa.)
JC-PA-0001-0041.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 11/22/1993
Memorandum and Order (1994 WL 47752 / 1994 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 1596) (E.D. Pa.)
JC-PA-0001-0040.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 02/16/1994
Memorandum and Order (1994 WL 408231 / 1994 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 10747) (E.D. Pa.)
JC-PA-0001-0039.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 06/28/1994
Opinion of the Court (35 F.3d 840)
JC-PA-0001-0020.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 09/29/1994
Source: Google Scholar
Opinion of the Court (47 F.3d 1342)
JC-PA-0001-0016.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 02/15/1995
Source: Google Scholar
Opinion of the Court (47 F.3d 1311)
JC-PA-0001-0017.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 02/15/1995
Source: Google Scholar
Opinion (47 F.3d 1333)
JC-PA-0001-0021.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 02/15/1995
Source: Google Scholar
Memorandum and Order (1995 WL 314725 / 1995 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 6957) (E.D. Pa.)
JC-PA-0001-0038.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 05/22/1995
Memorandum and Order (1995 WL 350296 / 1995 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 7908) (E.D. Pa.)
JC-PA-0001-0037.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 06/06/1995
Memorandum and Order (1995 WL 385102) (E.D. Pa.)
JC-PA-0001-0036.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 06/26/1995
Memorandum and Order (1995 WL 527383) (E.D. Pa.)
JC-PA-0001-0031.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 08/17/1995
Opinion (77 F.3d 462)
JC-PA-0001-0032.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 01/30/1996
Memorandum and Order (1997 WL 334983 / 1997 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 8441) (E.D. Pa.)
JC-PA-0001-0035.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 06/04/1997
Opinion of the Court (137 F.3d 209)
JC-PA-0001-0019.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 02/27/1998
Source: Google Scholar
Memorandum and Order (2000 WL 1978 / 2000 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 19846) (E.D. Pa.)
JC-PA-0001-0033.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 12/23/1999
Memorandum and Order (2000 WL 1239948 / 2000 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 12579) (E.D. Pa.)
JC-PA-0001-0034.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 08/30/2000
Memorandum and Order (E.D. Pa.)
JC-PA-0001-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/31/2000
Judges Aldisert, Ruggero John (Third Circuit)
JC-PA-0001-0014
Alito, Samuel A. Jr. (SCOTUS, Third Circuit)
JC-PA-0001-0016 | JC-PA-0001-0017
Burger, Warren Earl (SCOTUS, D.C. Circuit)
JC-PA-0001-0023
Cowen, Arnold Wilson (, Fed. Circuit)
JC-PA-0001-0019
Garth, Leonard I. (Third Circuit, D.N.J.)
JC-PA-0001-0011 | JC-PA-0001-0012 | JC-PA-0001-0018
Gibbons, John Joseph (Third Circuit)
JC-PA-0001-0011 | JC-PA-0001-0012
Greenberg, Morton Ira (Third Circuit)
JC-PA-0001-0014
Mansmann, Carol Los (Third Circuit, W.D. Pa.)
JC-PA-0001-0016 | JC-PA-0001-0017
Seitz, Collins Jacques (Third Circuit, FISCR)
JC-PA-0001-0012
Shapiro, Norma Levy (E.D. Pa.)
JC-PA-0001-0002 | JC-PA-0001-0003 | JC-PA-0001-0004 | JC-PA-0001-0007 | JC-PA-0001-0010 | JC-PA-0001-0013 | JC-PA-0001-0015 | JC-PA-0001-0022 | JC-PA-0001-0024 | JC-PA-0001-0025 | JC-PA-0001-0026 | JC-PA-0001-0027 | JC-PA-0001-0028 | JC-PA-0001-0029 | JC-PA-0001-0030 | JC-PA-0001-0031 | JC-PA-0001-0033 | JC-PA-0001-0034 | JC-PA-0001-0036 | JC-PA-0001-0037 | JC-PA-0001-0038 | JC-PA-0001-0039 | JC-PA-0001-0040 | JC-PA-0001-0041 | JC-PA-0001-9000
Sloviter, Dolores Korman (Third Circuit)
JC-PA-0001-0016 | JC-PA-0001-0017 | JC-PA-0001-0020 | JC-PA-0001-0021
Stapleton, Walter King (Third Circuit, D. Del.)
JC-PA-0001-0014
Teitelbaum, Hubert Irving (W.D. Pa.)
JC-PA-0001-0011
Monitors/Masters Babcock, William (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0001-0001
Plaintiff's Lawyers Angell, Samuel J.B. (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0001-0016
Bernstein, Richard M. (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0001-0011
Hino, Michael S. (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0001-0020
Hughues, Mary P. (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0001-0012
Kling, Neill C. (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0001-0014
Lebowitz, Philip H. (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0001-0010 | JC-PA-0001-0011 | JC-PA-0001-0012 | JC-PA-0001-0013 | JC-PA-0001-0014 | JC-PA-0001-0015 | JC-PA-0001-0016 | JC-PA-0001-0020 | JC-PA-0001-0021 | JC-PA-0001-0022
Richman, David (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0001-0001 | JC-PA-0001-0002 | JC-PA-0001-0005 | JC-PA-0001-0010 | JC-PA-0001-0011 | JC-PA-0001-0012 | JC-PA-0001-0013 | JC-PA-0001-0014 | JC-PA-0001-0015 | JC-PA-0001-0016 | JC-PA-0001-0017 | JC-PA-0001-0019 | JC-PA-0001-0020 | JC-PA-0001-0021 | JC-PA-0001-0022
Ricks, Sarah E. (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0001-0021
Wamser, Thomas J. (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0001-0012 | JC-PA-0001-0014
Defendant's Lawyers Aronchick, Mark A. (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0001-0016 | JC-PA-0001-0017 | JC-PA-0001-0020 | JC-PA-0001-0021
Barthold, Gaele McLaughlin (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0001-0010 | JC-PA-0001-0012 | JC-PA-0001-0013 | JC-PA-0001-0014 | JC-PA-0001-0015 | JC-PA-0001-0022
Gold, Richard J. (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0001-0010 | JC-PA-0001-0011 | JC-PA-0001-0012 | JC-PA-0001-0013 | JC-PA-0001-0022
Hubert, Randy Karafin (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0001-0016 | JC-PA-0001-0017 | JC-PA-0001-0020 | JC-PA-0001-0021
Jordan, James B. (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0001-0016 | JC-PA-0001-0017 | JC-PA-0001-0020
Krill, John P. Jr. (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0001-0011 | JC-PA-0001-0022
Leisch, Doris M. (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0001-0012
Lillie, Charisse R. (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0001-0002 | JC-PA-0001-0014 | JC-PA-0001-0015
Minyard, Handsel B. (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0001-0012
Morris, John W. (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0001-0016 | JC-PA-0001-0020 | JC-PA-0001-0021
Potts, Barbara (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0001-0015
Robinson, Rosalyn K. (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0001-0010 | JC-PA-0001-0013 | JC-PA-0001-0022 | JC-PA-0001-0024
Rosen, Gary A. (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0001-0016 | JC-PA-0001-0017 | JC-PA-0001-0020 | JC-PA-0001-0021
Saull, Ellis M. (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0001-0024
Sellitto, August V. (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0001-0011
Vaccaro, Carl (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0001-0010 | JC-PA-0001-0011 | JC-PA-0001-0013 | JC-PA-0001-0022
Vilim, Guy (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0001-0010 | JC-PA-0001-0012 | JC-PA-0001-0013 | JC-PA-0001-0022
Wolfsohn, David J. (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0001-0019
Zimmerman, LeRoy S. (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0001-0011
Other Lawyers Brumberg, Harriet R. (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0001-0012
Castille, Ron (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0001-0015
Eisenberg, Ronald (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0001-0012 | JC-PA-0001-0016
Kohn, Joseph C. (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0001-0014
Magid, Laurie (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0001-0014
Vandenbraak, Sarah B. (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0001-0001 | JC-PA-0001-0010 | JC-PA-0001-0012 | JC-PA-0001-0013 | JC-PA-0001-0014 | JC-PA-0001-0015 | JC-PA-0001-0016 | JC-PA-0001-0017 | JC-PA-0001-0022

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