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A Tale of Two Laws Revisited: Investigating the Impact of Prisoner Litigation Reform

Award Information

Award #
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2001, $135,644)

Project Summary for 2001-IJ-CX-0013 Together, habeas corpus petitions and section 1983 lawsuits make up a significant proportion of civil cases in U.S. Circuit Court. Two laws, the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA) and the Prisoner Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), were passed in an attempt to reduce the burden of prisoner litigation on Federal Courts. The goals of the study are: 1) to determine whether national trends in the number of habeas corpus petitions and Section 1983 lawsuits have changed since implementation of AEDPA and PLRA respectively; 2) to investigate whether the consequences of PLRA and AEDPA vary by Federal Circuit Court; and 3) to identify the conditions under which the effects of PLRA and AEDPA are achieved or blunted. To determine whether their implementation had any effect on national trends in the number of habeas corpus and section 1983 lawsuits, interrupted time series analyses will be conducted on monthly data gathered from the Federal Administration Office of the Courts at the national level. Further interrupted time series analysis will be performed on monthly data from U.S. Circuit and selected District Courts. Additionally, telephone interviews will be conducted with each Circuit Executive to ascertain their perspective on the impact of the two Acts, and their opinion on factors that might explain the impacts, and any unanticipated conseqences of implementation. Comparisions among Circuit and selected District Courts will be made.
Date Created: August 8, 2001