Showing 28 Results
Criminal Justice Reform
Landmark Case

Date Filed

May 14, 1995

In 1995, Alabama corrections officials brought back the barbarity of chain gangs. The Center sued, claiming that chaining men in groups of five and putting them on busy highways was cruel and dangerous. The lawsuit put an end to the Alabama chain gang and another torturous practice called the "hitching post."

Criminal Justice Reform

Date Filed

May 12, 2003

Due to a lack of access to doctors and long delays in diagnosis and treatment, seriously ill inmates at one of Alabama's maximum-security prisons sued to receive adequate healthcare.

Criminal Justice Reform
Landmark Case

Date Filed

December 31, 1978

The United States Supreme Court struck down Alabama's "kill 'em or let 'em go" death penalty statute in a landmark decision that reversed the Alabama State Supreme Court and vacated the death sentences of plaintiff Gilbert Beck and 10 other men on death row.

Criminal Justice Reform
Landmark Case

Date Filed

January 14, 1992

Mental health experts described the conditions for Alabama's seriously mentally ill prisoners as "horrific" and "primitive." Mentally ill inmates were locked in isolation, usually without proper medication, and deprived of professional mental health services such as therapy and counseling. The Center sued and secured change for the inmates.

Criminal Justice Reform
Active Case

Date Filed

June 16, 2014

The Alabama Department of Corrections systemically put the health and lives of prisoners at risk by ignoring their medical and mental health needs and discriminating against prisoners with disabilities – violations of federal law by a prison system that has one of the highest mortality rates in the country. The SPLC and the Alabama Disabilities Advocacy Program filed suit to end the deplorable conditions in Alabama prisons.

Criminal Justice Reform
Active Case

Date Filed

March 27, 2018

More than a century ago, Mississippi adopted a state constitution that was specifically intended to prevent freed slaves and their descendants from gaining political influence, in part by blocking their access to the ballot box. Today, a provision of that 1890 constitution – a lifetime voting...

Children's Rights
Criminal Justice Reform

Date Filed

March 06, 2011

The Forrest County Juvenile Detention Center in Mississippi was the site of numerous abuse allegations. Security camera footage from the facility showed youths being slammed into walls and beaten by staffers. When Disability Rights Mississippi (DRMS) attempted to provide the youths with services to protect them from further abuse, Forrest County officials blocked access to them. The Southern Poverty Law Center and DRMS sued the county to force it to comply with federal law and allow DRMS access to the children. After county officials settled the suit by granting access, a second lawsuit was filed challenging the inhumane conditions found at the facility in Hattiesburg. County officials agreed to improve the conditions at the facility as part of a settlement agreement for the second lawsuit.

Criminal Justice Reform
Active Case

Date Filed

May 29, 2013

Prisoners at the East Mississippi Correctional Facility in Meridian endured filthy and dangerous conditions at the for-profit prison, which operated “in a perpetual state of crisis” where prisoners were at “grave risk of death and loss of limbs,” even resorting to setting fires to receive medical attention. The Southern Poverty Law Center filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of the prisoners that described how prison officials had known of these conditions for years but failed to protect prisoners.

Criminal Justice Reform

Date Filed

April 08, 2003

Diabetic inmates in Alabama face vision loss, convulsions, and amputations due to substandard care. Others are at risk of heart attacks, nerve damage, strokes, kidney failure, and death. The case has reached a precedent-setting settlement and is currently in a monitoring phase.

Criminal Justice Reform

Date Filed

January 18, 1988

On Christmas Day 1987, Loyal Garner, a black man who had never been in trouble with the law, was beaten to death in an East Texas jail after being arrested on a traffic charge. After a state court jury acquitted the three implicated in the killing, the SPLC won financial security for Garner’s widow and six children in a federal civil rights action. Evidence uncovered by SPLC investigators led to the subsequent criminal conviction of the three lawmen.

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