Case: Holland v. Donelon

2:71-cv-01442 | U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana

Filed Date: May 26, 1971

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Case Summary

In 1971, plaintiff prisoners sued Jefferson County Parish in the Eastern District of Louisiana alleging violations of the 8th Amendment prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment, and 14th amendment due process and equal protection rights. In 1972, the district court (Rubin, J.) found that the housing facilities that were built for 110 were unconstitutionally housing 185 prisoners. Additionally, the mixing of pre-charge, pre-trial, youths, convicts, and those whose convictions were not yet …

In 1971, plaintiff prisoners sued Jefferson County Parish in the Eastern District of Louisiana alleging violations of the 8th Amendment prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment, and 14th amendment due process and equal protection rights.

In 1972, the district court (Rubin, J.) found that the housing facilities that were built for 110 were unconstitutionally housing 185 prisoners. Additionally, the mixing of pre-charge, pre-trial, youths, convicts, and those whose convictions were not yet final, was a violation of due process. Lastly, the lack of mental health care and several other inadequacies with the facility were found to be a violation of the prisoners' due process rights.

A special master was appointed to oversee the result of three separate consent decrees: (1) the jail would implement a large recognizance program for those merely charged with a crime; (2) the jail would implement a program of suspending drivers' licenses in lieu of incarceration to reduce overcrowding; and (3) submit a report on the construction of a new facility in conjunction with a local hospital.

After the special master's report was completed, the Court issued an order with numerous requirements: the jail was required to further provide access to medical care by having a doctor on premises, as well as emergency services available at all times, and transportation to and from the hospital. The jail was also required to maintain the plumbing and fire alarm systems and reduce overcrowding to 110. Judge Rubin further ordered that prisoners should have access to daily exercise, as well as towels, toothbrushes, and other sanitary items. The Court further ordered the jail to promulgate rules and procedures for officer conduct, discipline, and segregation., and ordered that pre-charge and pre-trial inmates be segregated from those with convictions. It further ordered the jail to eliminate any other cruel and unusual punishment and racial discrimination.

M. Kay Harris of Temple University Law wrote a case study on the implementation of the order over the next decade, and the progress thereof, entitled, "After Decision: Implementation of Judicial Decrees in Correctional Settings (Part III: A Case Study of Holland v. Donelon)."

Summary Authors

Blase Kearney (4/15/2012)

People


Judge(s)

Rubin, Michael H (Louisiana)

Judge(s)

Rubin, Michael H (Louisiana)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Resources

Docket

Last updated Aug. 5, 2022, 3:25 a.m.

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

Case Details

State / Territory: Louisiana

Case Type(s):

Jail Conditions

Key Dates

Filing Date: May 26, 1971

Case Ongoing: No reason to think so

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Inmates of the Jefferson Parish Prison.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Granted

Defendants

Jefferson Parish (New Orleans, Jefferson Davis), County

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Constitutional Clause(s):

Cruel and Unusual Punishment

Due Process

Equal Protection

Availably Documents:

None of the above

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Source of Relief:

Litigation

Issues

General:

Classification / placement

Disciplinary procedures

Disciplinary segregation

Fire safety

Racial segregation

Sanitation / living conditions

Youth / Adult separation

Crowding:

Crowding / caseload

Pre-PLRA Population Cap

Affected Gender:

Female

Male

Medical/Mental Health:

Medical care, general

Medical care, unspecified

Mental health care, general

Mental health care, unspecified

Type of Facility:

Government-run