Have the courts gone too far in defending the rights of prisoners, or not far enough? Are lawsuits the best method of ensuring inmates' rights, or are there other methods that you think would be better? Support your arguments.

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In Turner v. Safley (1987), the US Supreme Court affirmed that prison walls do not isolate an inmate from their constitutional rights, including the rights to free speech, freedom of religion, and legal counsel. However, actions by prison staff and management often curtail these rights, sometimes on purpose and sometimes...

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In Turner v. Safley (1987), the US Supreme Court affirmed that prison walls do not isolate an inmate from their constitutional rights, including the rights to free speech, freedom of religion, and legal counsel. However, actions by prison staff and management often curtail these rights, sometimes on purpose and sometimes because of structural issues like overcrowding. Time and again, abuses of human and civil rights occur in prisons across the country and are only revealed by dogged investigative reporting or lawsuits.

For this reason, I would suggest that the ruling of the courts alone is not sufficient, and congressional legislation on prison policy and oversight is required in order to prevent systematic abuses, instead of merely reacting to them in a piecemeal way with lawsuits.

With that said, there is more that the courts can do to address prisoner's rights. For example, the Supreme Court has refused so far to consider many eighth amendment cases (those dealing with cruel and unusual punishment), like those dealing with extended periods of solitary confinement. A strong ruling on an issue like this would open up much more legal ground for lawsuits and federal enforcement of rights violations.

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