Case: Blaney v. Commissioner of Correction

74-00088 | Massachusetts state trial court

Filed Date: Nov. 20, 1974

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On November 20, 1974, prisoners of the commonwealth of Massachusetts filed a class action lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Massachusetts Department of Corrections in the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts. The plaintiffs, represented by the Massachusetts Correctional Legal Services, alleged that their civil rights had been violated by the conditions of their protective custody in the prisons, which included very little exercise, no work program, restricted bathing opportunities,…

On November 20, 1974, prisoners of the commonwealth of Massachusetts filed a class action lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Massachusetts Department of Corrections in the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts. The plaintiffs, represented by the Massachusetts Correctional Legal Services, alleged that their civil rights had been violated by the conditions of their protective custody in the prisons, which included very little exercise, no work program, restricted bathing opportunities, and no substantial opportunity to mingle or take meals with other prisoners.

On April 5, 1977, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts (Judge Kaplan) entered judgment for the plaintiffs, specifying that reasonable protective custody required safe confinement, opportunity to associate with other prisoners, access to recreational and religious facilities, and opportunities for study, work, exercise, and proper medical care. The defendants appealed this decision.

On February 6, 1978, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts (Judge Hennessey, Judge Braucher, Judge Wilkins, Judge Liacos, and Judge Abrams) affirmed the previous judgment in the case. Blaney v. Commissioner of Correction, 372 N.E.2d 770 (Mass. 1978).

On March 15, 1980, the parties entered into a settlement agreement, which they modified in June 1980. The modified agreement stated that protective custody inmates would be entitled to the same standard of treatment given to inmates in the general population. It also stated that these inmates were to be given at least five hours per day of "meaningful activity," one hour of exercise per day, jobs, counseling, library privileges, religious services, visitation, and a classification review each six months. We have no further information on the proceedings in this case.

Summary Authors

Kristen Sagar (2/12/2007)

People


Judge(s)

Wilkins, Herbert P. (Massachusetts)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Flynn, Joseph F (Massachusetts)

Marcus, Arlene (Massachusetts)

Saltonstall, Stephen (Massachusetts)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Donahue, Michael C. (Massachusetts)

Mendlesohn, John A. (Massachusetts)

Troyer, Terence (Massachusetts)

Judge(s)

Wilkins, Herbert P. (Massachusetts)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Flynn, Joseph F (Massachusetts)

Marcus, Arlene (Massachusetts)

Saltonstall, Stephen (Massachusetts)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Donahue, Michael C. (Massachusetts)

Mendlesohn, John A. (Massachusetts)

Troyer, Terence (Massachusetts)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

74-00088

Opinion

Massachusetts state supreme court

372 N.E.2d 770

Feb. 6, 1978

Feb. 6, 1978

Order/Opinion

74-00088

Final Amended Agreement for Judgment

Massachusetts state supreme court

Jan. 3, 1979

Jan. 3, 1979

Order/Opinion

Resources

Docket

Last updated Aug. 1, 2022, 3:03 a.m.

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

Case Details

State / Territory: Massachusetts

Case Type(s):

Prison Conditions

Key Dates

Filing Date: Nov. 20, 1974

Case Ongoing: Unknown

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

prisoners of the commonwealth of Massachusetts

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Granted

Defendants

Massachusetts Department of Corrections, State

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Constitutional Clause(s):

Cruel and Unusual Punishment

Availably Documents:

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Form of Settlement:

Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree

Order Duration: 1980 - 0

Issues

General:

Classification / placement

Counseling

Food service / nutrition / hydration

Law library access

Library (non-law) access

Protective custody

Recreation / Exercise

Religious programs / policies

Sanitation / living conditions

Visiting