American Prison Law

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Equal and meaningful access to the courts has become the established standard that has to be observed by correctional professionals and prison librarians in the United States of America. Some correction administrators believe that offenders should be deprived of their civil rights, while serving their sentences…

Introduction


Citizens, who had been wrongly accused or unjustly sentenced, could challenge such actions. It was the bounden duty of the federal government to implement a system of checks-and-balances in the system so that the correction department did not infringe the fundamental liberty of citizens. This endeavor was assisted significantly by librarians who acted in an unbiased manner within the purview of the standards established by the American Association of Law Libraries. This was to ensure that the policies of institutions and departments, and authorizations from the United States Supreme Court and local jurisdictions were observed2.
In the 1977 case of Bounds v. Smiths, the right of an offender to access the judiciary was established by the US Supreme Court. Moreover, the court held that prison inmates should be provided with access to state and federal court systems. It also directed the correctional facilities to allow offenders to access law libraries and to provide legal assistance to their illiterate inmates, so that they could avail themselves of professional assistance while preparing their pleadings. The objective of this decision was to enable prisoners to access the court systems. ...
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