18 U.S.C. § 3626 - U.S. Code - Unannotated Title 18. Crimes and Criminal Procedure § 3626. Appropriate remedies with respect to prison conditions




 Requirements for relief.--

 Prospective relief.-- Prospective relief in any civil action with respect to prison conditions shall extend no further than necessary to correct the violation of the Federal right of a particular plaintiff or plaintiffs.  The court shall not grant or approve any prospective relief unless the court finds that such relief is narrowly drawn, extends no further than necessary to correct the violation of the Federal right, and is the least intrusive means necessary to correct the violation of the Federal right.  The court shall give substantial weight to any adverse impact on public safety or the operation of a criminal justice system caused by the relief.

 The court shall not order any prospective relief that requires or permits a government official to exceed his or her authority under State or local law or otherwise violates State or local law, unless--

 Federal law requires such relief to be ordered in violation of State or local law;

 the relief is necessary to correct the violation of a Federal right;  and

 no other relief will correct the violation of the Federal right.

 Nothing in this section shall be construed to authorize the courts, in exercising their remedial powers, to order the construction of prisons or the raising of taxes, or to repeal or detract from otherwise applicable limitations on the remedial powers of the courts.

 Preliminary injunctive relief.--In any civil action with respect to prison conditions, to the extent otherwise authorized by law, the court may enter a temporary restraining order or an order for preliminary injunctive relief.  Preliminary injunctive relief must be narrowly drawn, extend no further than necessary to correct the harm the court finds requires preliminary relief, and be the least intrusive means necessary to correct that harm.  The court shall give substantial weight to any adverse impact on public safety or the operation of a criminal justice system caused by the preliminary relief and shall respect the principles of comity set out in paragraph (1)(B) in tailoring any preliminary relief.  Preliminary injunctive relief shall automatically expire on the date that is 90 days after its entry, unless the court makes the findings required under subsection (a)(1) for the entry of prospective relief and makes the order final before the expiration of the 90-day period.

 Prisoner release order.-- In any civil action with respect to prison conditions, no court shall enter a prisoner release order unless--

 a court has previously entered an order for less intrusive relief that has failed to remedy the deprivation of the Federal right sought to be remedied through the prisoner release order;  and

 the defendant has had a reasonable amount of time to comply with the previous court orders.

 In any civil action in Federal court with respect to prison conditions, a prisoner release order shall be entered only by a three-judge court in accordance with section 2284 of title 28, if the requirements of subparagraph (E) have been met.

 A party seeking a prisoner release order in Federal court shall file with any request for such relief, a request for a three-judge court and materials sufficient to demonstrate that the requirements of subparagraph (A) have been met.

 If the requirements under subparagraph (A) have been met, a Federal judge before whom a civil action with respect to prison conditions is pending who believes that a prison release order should be considered may sua sponte request the convening of a three-judge court to determine whether a prisoner release order should be entered.

 The three-judge court shall enter a prisoner release order only if the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that--

 crowding is the primary cause of the violation of a Federal right;  and

 no other relief will remedy the violation of the Federal right.

 Any State or local official including a legislator or unit of government whose jurisdiction or function includes the appropriation of funds for the construction, operation, or maintenance of prison facilities, or the prosecution or custody of persons who may be released from, or not admitted to, a prison as a result of a prisoner release order shall have standing to oppose the imposition or continuation in effect of such relief and to seek termination of such relief, and shall have the right to intervene in any proceeding relating to such relief.

 Termination of relief.--

 Termination of prospective relief.-- In any civil action with respect to prison conditions in which prospective relief is ordered, such relief shall be terminable upon the motion of any party or intervener--

 2 years after the date the court granted or approved the prospective relief;

 1 year after the date the court has entered an order denying termination of prospective relief under this paragraph;  or

 in the case of an order issued on or before the date of enactment of the Prison Litigation Reform Act, 2 years after such date of enactment.

 Nothing in this section shall prevent the parties from agreeing to terminate or modify relief before the relief is terminated under subparagraph (A).

 Immediate termination of prospective relief.--In any civil action with respect to prison conditions, a defendant or intervener shall be entitled to the immediate termination of any prospective relief if the relief was approved or granted in the absence of a finding by the court that the relief is narrowly drawn, extends no further than necessary to correct the violation of the Federal right, and is the least intrusive means necessary to correct the violation of the Federal right.

 Limitation.--Prospective relief shall not terminate if the court makes written findings based on the record that prospective relief remains necessary to correct a current and ongoing violation of the Federal right, extends no further than necessary to correct the violation of the Federal right, and that the prospective relief is narrowly drawn and the least intrusive means to correct the violation.

 Termination or modification of relief.--Nothing in this section shall prevent any party or intervener from seeking modification or termination before the relief is terminable under paragraph (1) or (2), to the extent that modification or termination would otherwise be legally permissible.

 Settlements.--

 Consent decrees.--In any civil action with respect to prison conditions, the court shall not enter or approve a consent decree unless it complies with the limitations on relief set forth in subsection (a).

 Private settlement agreements.-- Nothing in this section shall preclude parties from entering into a private settlement agreement that does not comply with the limitations on relief set forth in subsection (a), if the terms of that agreement are not subject to court enforcement other than the reinstatement of the civil proceeding that the agreement settled.

 Nothing in this section shall preclude any party claiming that a private settlement agreement has been breached from seeking in State court any remedy available under State law.

 State law remedies.--The limitations on remedies in this section shall not apply to relief entered by a State court based solely upon claims arising under State law.

 Procedure for motions affecting prospective relief.--

 Generally.--The court shall promptly rule on any motion to modify or terminate prospective relief in a civil action with respect to prison conditions.  Mandamus shall lie to remedy any failure to issue a prompt ruling on such a motion.

 Automatic stay.--Any motion to modify or terminate prospective relief made under subsection (b) shall operate as a stay during the period--

 beginning on the 30th day after such motion is filed, in the case of a motion made under paragraph (1) or (2) of subsection (b);  or

 beginning on the 180th day after such motion is filed, in the case of a motion made under any other law;  and

 ending on the date the court enters a final order ruling on the motion.

 Postponement of automatic stay.--The court may postpone the effective date of an automatic stay specified in subsection (e)(2)(A) for not more than 60 days for good cause.  No postponement shall be permissible because of general congestion of the court's calendar.

 Order blocking the automatic stay.--Any order staying, suspending, delaying, or barring the operation of the automatic stay described in paragraph (2) (other than an order to postpone the effective date of the automatic stay under paragraph (3)) shall be treated as an order refusing to dissolve or modify an injunction and shall be appealable pursuant to section 1292(a)(1) of title 28, United States Code, regardless of how the order is styled or whether the order is termed a preliminary or a final ruling.

 Special masters.--

 In general.-- In any civil action in a Federal court with respect to prison conditions, the court may appoint a special master who shall be disinterested and objective and who will give due regard to the public safety, to conduct hearings on the record and prepare proposed findings of fact.

 The court shall appoint a special master under this subsection during the remedial phase of the action only upon a finding that the remedial phase will be sufficiently complex to warrant the appointment.

 Appointment.-- If the court determines that the appointment of a special master is necessary, the court shall request that the defendant institution and the plaintiff each submit a list of not more than 5 persons to serve as a special master.

 Each party shall have the opportunity to remove up to 3 persons from the opposing party's list.

 The court shall select the master from the persons remaining on the list after the operation of subparagraph (B).

 Interlocutory appeal.--Any party shall have the right to an interlocutory appeal of the judge's selection of the special master under this subsection, on the ground of partiality.

 Compensation.--The compensation to be allowed to a special master under this section shall be based on an hourly rate not greater than the hourly rate established under section 3006A for payment of court-appointed counsel, plus costs reasonably incurred by the special master.  Such compensation and costs shall be paid with funds appropriated to the Judiciary.

 Regular review of appointment.--In any civil action with respect to prison conditions in which a special master is appointed under this subsection, the court shall review the appointment of the special master every 6 months to determine whether the services of the special master continue to be required under paragraph (1).  In no event shall the appointment of a special master extend beyond the termination of the relief.

 Limitations on powers and duties.--A special master appointed under this subsection--

 may be authorized by a court to conduct hearings and prepare proposed findings of fact, which shall be made on the record;

 shall not make any findings or communications ex parte;

 may be authorized by a court to assist in the development of remedial plans;  and

 may be removed at any time, but shall be relieved of the appointment upon the termination of relief.

 Definitions.--As used in this section--

 the term “consent decree” means any relief entered by the court that is based in whole or in part upon the consent or acquiescence of the parties but does not include private settlements;

 the term “civil action with respect to prison conditions” means any civil proceeding arising under Federal law with respect to the conditions of confinement or the effects of actions by government officials on the lives of persons confined in prison, but does not include habeas corpus proceedings challenging the fact or duration of confinement in prison;

 the term “prisoner” means any person subject to incarceration, detention, or admission to any facility who is accused of, convicted of, sentenced for, or adjudicated delinquent for, violations of criminal law or the terms and conditions of parole, probation, pretrial release, or diversionary program;

 the term “prisoner release order” includes any order, including a temporary restraining order or preliminary injunctive relief, that has the purpose or effect of reducing or limiting the prison population, or that directs the release from or nonadmission of prisoners to a prison;

 the term “prison” means any Federal, State, or local facility that incarcerates or detains juveniles or adults accused of, convicted of, sentenced for, or adjudicated delinquent for, violations of criminal law;

 the term “private settlement agreement” means an agreement entered into among the parties that is not subject to judicial enforcement other than the reinstatement of the civil proceeding that the agreement settled;

 the term “prospective relief” means all relief other than compensatory monetary damages;

 the term “special master” means any person appointed by a Federal court pursuant to Rule 53 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure or pursuant to any inherent power of the court to exercise the powers of a master, regardless of the title or description given by the court;  and

 the term “relief” means all relief in any form that may be granted or approved by the court, and includes consent decrees but does not include private settlement agreements.


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