The Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) severely hampered the courts' ability to exercise long-term oversight of conditions in prisons and jails. This article examines the potential for alternative types of correctional oversight in a post-PLRA world. The article begins by assessing the critical role the courts have played in exercising oversight over correctional facilities, while acknowledging the weaknesses of the judicial oversight model and the PLRA's restrictions. The article proposes an alternative model of independent government oversight, involving routine monitoring of all correctional facilities on an ongoing basis. Such preventative inspections have long been the norm in other countries that have been less reliant on the courts for the protection of prisoners' rights. The article explores how such oversight might work, and discusses examples of prison monitoring bodies. Finally, the article addresses the all-important continuing role for the courts in enforcing prisoners' rights in conditions cases.
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