University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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S P E C I A L   C O L L E C T I O N
Prisoners Rights Union
Located in Sacramento, California, the Prisoners Rights Union was founded in 1971 by ex-convicts and activists. Its leaders have included John Irwin and Paul Comiskey. For many years it published newspapers and other resources for prisoners, including the California Prisoner, and the Outlaw; it also ran the Inside/Outside Press. In the 1990s, it litigated over a dozen cases to improve jail conditions throughout California.

Its motto was "Convicts, ex-convicts, and concerned individuals fighting to promote and uphold the rights and welfare of California prisoners" and it worked especially towards three major goals: the end of indeterminate sentencing in California; the restoration of civil rights to prisoners, including the right to organize; and the payment of fair wages for work done, safe working conditions, and compensation for work-related injuries.

A history, including background on the jail litigation highlighted in this Clearinghouse, is available here.
The below cases represent a special subset of the full Clearinghouse collection.
Your search returned 16 results Save Search As:       
1 Haller v. County of Sutter
2:93-cv-01256 (E.D. Cal.)
Filed 08/03/1993 - Closed 1994
County of Sutter
Sheriff
Jail Conditions
JC-CA-0086
Sutter County
Coding Complete
On August 3, 1993, prisoners at the Sutter County jail filed a class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California again the County Sheriff, challenging the constitutionality of their conditions of confinement. The plaintiffs, represented by the Prisoner Rights Union and private counsel, brought suit under 42 U.S ... [view]
2 Cruz v. County of Fresno
93-CV-5070 (E.D. Cal.)
Filed 03/23/1993 - Closed
Fresno County
Fresno County Jail
Jail Conditions
JC-CA-0066
Fresno County
Coding Complete
On March 23, 1993, plaintiffs, a class of prisoners incarcerated at the Fresno County Jail, filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, Sacramento Division. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, sought declaratory and injunctive relief, alleging violations of their First, ... [view]
3 Torres v. County of Merced
2:93-cv-00357 (E.D. Cal.)
Filed 03/04/1993 - Closed 2000
County of Merced
Jail Conditions
JC-CA-0077
Merced County
Coding Complete
On March 4, 1993, prisoners at the Merced County Jail filed a class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California against the County of Merced. Plaintiffs, represented by the Prisoner Rights Union and by private counsel, brought suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging violations of their constitutional rights ... [view]
4 Wyckoff v. County of Tehama
2:92-cv-01472 (E.D. Cal.)
Filed 09/04/1992 - Closed 1998
County of Tehama
Sheriff
Jail Conditions
JC-CA-0087
Tehama County
Coding Complete
On September 4, 1992, prisoners at the Tehama County Jail and the Work/Education Facility filed a class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California again the County and the County Sheriff, challenging the constitutionality of their conditions of confinement. The plaintiffs, represented by the Prisoner Rights ... [view]
5 Kaiser v. County of Sacramento
2:91-cv-00300-GGH (E.D. Cal.)
Filed 03/12/1991 - Case Ongoing
County of Sacramento
Jail Conditions
JC-CA-0074
Sacramento County
Coding Complete
On March 12, 1991, prisoners at two Sacramento County jails filed a class action complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California against the County of Sacramento. The plaintiffs, represented by the Prisoner Rights Union and by private counsel, brought suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, challenging the constitutionality of ... [view]
6 Ercoli v. County of Tuolumne
1:90-cv-00649 (E.D. Cal.)
Filed 10/23/1990 - Closed 1998
County of Tuolumne
Jail Conditions
JC-CA-0102
Tuolumne County
Coding Complete
On October 23, 1990, several prisoners at the Tuolumne County Jail filed a class action in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California against the County of Tuolumne. The plaintiffs, represented by the Prisoner Rights Union and private counsel, filed suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, challenging the constitutionality of their ... [view]
7 Rodriguez v. Stanislaus County
1:90-cv-00601 (E.D. Cal.)
Filed 09/26/1990 - Closed
County of Stanislaus
Sheriff
Jail Conditions
JC-CA-0084
Stanislaus County
Coding Complete
On September 26, 1990, prisoners in the Stanislaus County jail system filed a class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California against the county and the county sheriff, challenging their conditions of confinement. The prisoners, represented by the Prisoner Rights Union and private counsel, brought suit under 4 ... [view]
8 Wooden v. County of Shasta
2:90-cv-01003 (E.D. Cal.)
Filed 08/02/1990 - Closed 1995
County of Shasta
Sheriff
Jail Conditions
JC-CA-0098
Shasta County
Coding Complete
On August 2, 1990, prisoners at the Shasta County jail filed a class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California against the County of Shasta and the County Sheriff. The plaintiffs, represented by the Prisoner Rights Union and private counsel, filed suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, claiming that their conditions ... [view]
9 Harris v. County of Placer
2:90-cv-00394 (E.D. Cal.)
Filed 03/29/1990 - Closed
County of Placer
Sheriff
Jail Conditions
JC-CA-0081
Placer County
Coding Complete
On March 29, 1990, several prisoners in the Placer County jail system filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California against Placer County. The plaintiffs, represented by the Prisoner Rights Union and private counsel, brought suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging unconstitutional conditions of confinement and, ... [view]
10 Roy v. County of Yolo
2:90-cv-00393 (E.D. Cal.)
Filed 03/29/1990 - Closed 1991
County of Yolo
Sheriff
Jail Conditions
JC-CA-0103
Yolo County
Coding Complete
On March 29, 1990, prisoners at the Yolo County Jail filed a class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California against the County of Yolo and the County Sheriff. The plaintiffs, represented by the Prisoner Rights Union and private counsel, filed suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, challenging the constitutionality of ... [view]
11 York v. County of El Dorado
2:90-cv-00833 (E.D. Cal.)
Filed 1990 - Closed
El Dorado County
Placerville Jail
Jail Conditions
JC-CA-0011
El Dorado County
Coding Complete
Inmates at the El Dorado and South Lake Tahoe jails filed a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 class action lawsuit against county officials in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California on June 28, 1990. The case was originally assigned to Judge John F. Moulds, but was refereed to Magistrate Judge Gregory G. Hollows for settlement purposes ... [view]
12 Benson v. County of Orange
8:90-cv-01964 (C.D. Cal.)
Filed 1990 - Closed
County of Orange
Jail Conditions
JC-CA-0078
Orange County
Coding Complete
In 1990, prisoners in the Orange County jail system filed a class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, Southern Division, against the County of Orange. The plaintiffs, represented by the Prisoner Rights Union and private counsel, brought suit under 42 U.S.C § 1983, challenging the constitutionality of ... [view]
13 Anderson v. Kern County
1:90-cv-00205-GEB-JFM (E.D. Cal.)
Filed 1990 - Closed 1998
County of Kern
Sheriff
Jail Conditions
JC-CA-0068
Kern County
Coding Complete
Because this case predates PACER, the Clearinghouse has limited information on what occurred. On April 9, 1990, prisoners in the Kern County jail filed a complaint in the Eastern District of California against the county. The plaintiffs, represented by private firms and the Prisoner Rights Union, filed the complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 based ... [view]
14 McGrath v. County of Nevada
2:89-cv-01658-GEB-JFM (E.D. Cal.)
Filed 12/04/1989 - Closed
County of Nevada
Nevada County Jails
Jail Conditions
JC-CA-0008
Nevada County
Coding Complete
On December 4, 1989, a class action lawsuit was filed under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, on behalf of all present and future prisoners of the Nevada County Jail and Nevada County Detention Center against Nevada County in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California. Plaintiff prisoners alleged violations of their First, Fourth, Eighth, ... [view]
15 Pederson v. County of Plumas
2:89-cv-01659-JFM (E.D. Cal.)
Filed 12/04/1989 - Case Ongoing
County of Plumas
Jail Conditions
JC-CA-0075
Plumas County
Coding Complete
On December 4, 1989, prisoners at the Plumas County Jail filed a class action complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California against the County of Plumas. The plaintiffs, represented by the Prisoner Rights Union and by private counsel, brought suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, challenging the constitutionality of their ... [view]
16 Doty v. County of Lassen
2:89-cv-01019 (E.D. Cal.)
Filed 07/25/1989 - Closed 1994
County of Lassen
Sheriff
Jail Conditions
Disability Rights-Pub. Accom.
JC-CA-0076
Lassen County
Coding Complete
On July 25, 1989, prisoners at the old Lassen County Jail ("Old Jail") filed a class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California against the County of Lassen and the Sheriff of the County of Lassen. The plaintiffs, represented by the Prisoner Rights Union and private counsel, brought suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 ... [view]
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