Resource: Glover v. Johnson: Judicial Constraint and the Enforcement of Constitutional Rights in Prisons

By: Name Redacted

January 1, 2000

This paper examines Glover v. Johnson -- 2:77-cv-71229, 85 F.R.D. 1 (E.D.Mich. Dec. 23, 1977) -- a case where a group of women in the Michigan prison system alleged they were being offered substantially fewer educational and vocational programming opportunities than male prisoners. This was found to violate the Equal Protection Clause by the district court, leading to twenty-two years of litigation as the defendants attempted to resist and circumvent the court-ordered changes.

This paper uses Glover as a case study in the limits of litigation as an instrument for achieving organizational change, as the human and financial cost of the protracted litigation raises questions about the efficacy of litigation as a means to reform. It then examines the relationship between policy concerns which limit the ability of courts to engage in policy making and legal doctrine in order to understand the reasons for the constraints on the courts' ability to intervene in institutions. Finally, this paper suggests that the Glover litigation implies these constraints on the ability to intervene in the prison context may be undesirable.

Resource Type(s):

Case Studies

Institution: Harvard

Related Cases:

Glover v. Johnson