William S. Bailey, The Realities of Prisoners' Cases Under 42 U.S.C. § 1983: A Statistical Survey in the Northern District of Illinois, 6 Loy. U. L.J. 527 (1975), https://digitalcommons.law.uw.edu/faculty-articles/224
Loyola University Law Journal
prisoner litigation, section 1983
The purpose of this article is to examine how prisoner section 1983 claims are treated, on a day to day basis, in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. To this end, all of the available prisoner section 1983 cases filed in the Northern District of Illinois Eastern Division in the years 1971 and 1973 have been reviewed. This material provides the data base for an analysis of the following issues: the veracity of the burden on the courts argument; the variations in the level of consideration given to different categories of prisoner section 1983 claims; the frequency with which particular claims are litigated; variations in the attitudes of district judges toward prisoner claims; and the probabilities of succes for different claims.
It is hoped that this article will provide a data base for improvements in the judicial administration of section 1983. As the district court in Goldsby v. Carnes recognized, "prisoner cases are not going to go away. . . they are destined to continue to increase in volume until .. .correctional institutions recognize that federally protected constitutional rights may not be ignored."'