In the age of American mass incarceration, a complex legal regime governs prison conditions and presents a host of controversial questions at the intersection of constitutional liberty, statutory interpretation, administrative regulation, and public policy. This is a completely overhauled, re-titled, and much-expanded version of the leading casebook about incarceration. It addresses both pretrial and post-conviction incarceration, presenting Supreme Court and leading lower court case law, statutes, litigation materials, professional standards, academic commentary, and prisoner writing. Topics include conditions of confinement, civil liberties, particular prisoner populations and relevant legal issues (race and national origin discrimination, the particular issues/law governing treatment of incarcerated women, LGBTQ people, and people with disabilities). Litigated remedies (injunctive litigation, damages, the Prison Litigation Reform Act, and criminal prosecution of prison staff), are also covered in detail, as is non-litigation oversight.

The casebook is supplemented by a companion site,, that offers additional resources and sources for further reading. The site includes open-access (unedited) versions of the relevant judicial opinions, a statutory supplement, lower court case summaries and documents, full versions of the many sources excerpted in the casebook, links to sources cited in the casebook and others, the data that underlie casebook figures, and more.

Imprint: West Academic Publishing
Series: American Casebook Series
Publication Date: 05/26/2020

Margo Schlanger, University of Michigan Law School

Sheila Bedi, Northwestern University School of Law

David M. Shapiro, Northwestern University School of Law

Lynn S. Branham, St. Louis University School of Law


This title is available in our CasebookPlus format. Anchored by faculty-authored self-assessments keyed to our most popular casebooks, CasebookPlus allows students to test their understanding of core concepts as they are learning them in class.


Adopt the CasebookPlus option of your chosen text and provide your students with all the tools they need to gauge their understanding of the material—on their own, outside of the classroom, with no extra work on your part.

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Students purchasing a used book, or those who are renting their text, can still utilize all CasebookPlus digital resources by buying the digital only option.

  • Much expanded (more than double prior 440 pages)
  • New chapters:
    • Solitary confinement
    • Programming/work/reentry
    • Sexual abuse
    • Race and national origin discrimination
    • Women prisoners
    • LGBTQ prisoners
    • Disability
    • Injunctive litigation
    • Damages causes of action
    • Private prisons and prison contractors
    • Criminal prosecution of prison and jail staff
    • Voting and oversight
  • Much more coverage of statutes, including: the Prison Litigation Reform Act, Americans with Disabilities Act, Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, the federal civil rights conspiracy statute, and the Prison Rape Elimination Act.
  • Inclusion of international law in chapters addressing solitary confinement and women prisoners.
  • Inclusion of writing and trial testimony from prisoners and people who were formerly incarcerated.
  • New resource website

Learn more about this series.