Article Title

In Search of a Model Act for Prisoners’ Rights

Publication Title

Washington University Law Quarterly


A first reading of A Model Act for the Protection of Rights of Prisoners (Model Act) is a melancholy experience. Regrettably, additional study and reflection only intensify the original mood. The Model Act comes too late in the movement for prison reform to serve as a catalyst for basic change. In its scope and content it is so limited, so ambiguously expressed, so content with leaving undisturbed the basic power arrangements between the inmate and the administration, that with but one or two exceptions its only appeal will be to prison officials fighting a rearguard action against the further “encroachment” of judicial decisions. Indeed, the Model Act lacks even the “menace of liberal reform.”