Between 1965 and 1990, federal judges in almost all of the states handed down sweeping rulings that affected virtually every prison and jail in the United States. Without a doubt judges were the most important prison reformers during this period. This book provides an account of this process, and uses it to explore the more general issue of the role of courts in the modern bureaucratic state. It provides detailed accounts of how the courts formulated and sought to implement their orders, and how this action affected the traditional conception of federalism, separation of powers, and the rule of law.
' ... this book deserves recognition as a classic in the field of judicial studies. Although it sounds like hyperbole to call a book a 'monumental achievement,' Judicial Policy Making and the Modern State truly deserves that accolade.' Christopher E. Smith, Michigan State University in Judicature ' ... this is certainly the best anyone has ever written about the prison cases. It is also the best anyone has written about judicial policy making.' Larry Yackle, Boston University Law School 'Lawyers, and especially law students, need (and may not now get) a core of shared stories to understand our legal system, its evolution, and the role of lawyers and courts, and few stories pack the emotional wallop or are as inherently interesting as this one ... These descriptions should be mandatory reading for law students and desired reading for any lawyer interested in the function of American courts or prisons.' Marc Miller, Emory Law School, Stanford Law Review 'Feeley and Rubin have produced a kind of tour de force in legal theory. Besides offering a lively history of the prison reform litigation itself, they have provocative and often incisive comments on core issues of constitutional theory such as federalism, separation of powers, and the role of the federal courts.' Daniel A. Farber, University of Minnesota School of Law, Law & Social Inquiry ' ... judges would do well to read a new book by scholars Malcolm Feeley and Edward Rubin, Judicial Policy Making and the Modern State: How the Courts Reformed America's Prisons. It is an eye-opening account of how federal judges have gone beyond enforcing the Constitution to impose their own policy preferences on state and local government. The authors, respected scholars who approve of judicial policy making, reveal a secret that has long been suspected: Judicial supervision of prisons cannot be squared with federalism, separation of powers or even traditional notions of the rule of law.' David Schoenbrod and Ross Sandler, The Wall Street Journal