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Prison Overcrowding and the Legal Challenge to Florida’s Prison System, 1970–1980

Prison Overcrowding and the Legal Challenge to Florida’s Prison System, 1970–1980

Chapter:
(p.66) Chapter Three Prison Overcrowding and the Legal Challenge to Florida’s Prison System, 1970–1980
Source:
Building the Prison State
Author(s):
Heather Schoenfeld
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226521152.003.0003

This chapter describes the origins and initial developments around Costello v. Wainwright, the 8th Amendment lawsuit against Florida’s prison system. The chapter argues that prison conditions litigation grew out of the Civil Right Movement. In addition, it demonstrates how the federal court’s definition of the problem as prison “capacity” and the white supremacist racial project shaped state officials’ options for legal compliance. Finally, it reveals how reformist corrections bureaucrats used the court order to demand more resources for state prisons.

Keywords:   prison conditions, litigation, Civil Rights Movement, cause lawyering, 8th Amendment, Costello v. Wainwright, Louie Wainwright, Tobias Simon, prison overcrowding

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