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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Affected Gender
Crowding / caseload
Administrative segregation
Assault/abuse by staff
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
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
Filed Pro Se 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
Filing Year 1997
Case Closing Year 1999
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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  An Analysis of CRIPA Findings Letters Issued to Jails for Constitutional Violations by the Department of Justice
Date: Apr. 15, 2016
By: Jeff Mellow, Bryce E. Peterson & Mijin Kim (John Jay College of Criminal Justice Faculty)
Citation: Am. J. Crim. Just. (April 2016)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

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

  Civil Rights Injunctions Over Time: A Case Study of Jail and Prison Court Orders
N.Y.U. Law Review
Date: May 2006
By: Margo Schlanger (Washington University Faculty)
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
Date: Jan. 1, 1998
By: Malcolm M. Feeley & Edward Rubin (UC Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law & Vanderbilt School of Law Faculty Faculty)
Citation: (1998)
[ Detail ]

97-CV-476 (D. Ariz.)
PC-AZ-0002-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/15/2001
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Findings Letter re: CRIPA Investigation of Arizona Women's Prisons
PC-AZ-0002-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/08/1996
PC-AZ-0002-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/10/1997
United States' Memorandum in Opposition to Defendants' Summary Judgment Motion Preliminary Statement
PC-AZ-0002-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/25/1998
Settlement Agreement
PC-AZ-0002-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/11/1999
Judges Silver [Moore-Silver], Roslyn O. (D. Ariz.)
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)
Pinzler, Isabelle Katz (District of Columbia)
Reno, Janet (District of Columbia)
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)
Wilder, William Charles (Arizona)
PC-AZ-0002-0003 | PC-AZ-0002-9000
Woods, Grant (Arizona)
Other Lawyers Blumberg, Bruce E. (Arizona)
Sandweiss, David L. (Arizona)
Stewart, David J. (Georgia)

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