Ohio University Professor on the History of Mass Incarcerations

Nichole Kaufman asked Miami University students “What can I capture that is otherwise invisible” referring to the unrest in Baltimore after the death of Freddie Gray Apr. 19. The opportunity to photograph cops who act unlawfully is one way to help former inmates who are disenfranchised by the legal system Kaufman says.

The Ohio University Sociology professor called the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) ineffective amid concerns that the bill’s language limits sexual assault victims in the grievance process. Kaufman said the “definition of injury is pretty narrow”.

Kaufman cited Hancock V Payne, a 2006 case where a judge dismissed an alleged rape victims because of administrative issues like multiple prison transfers.

Kaufman isn't alone in her fight against the PLRA Act, Dori Lewis, in an ABA Journal article, “The Prison Litigation Reform Act has unequivocally discouraged legitimate claims”. Lewis also an attorney with the Legal Aid Society’s Prisoners Rights Project added,” Over and over again, extremely serious allegations are dismissed.”

Sarah Hart said“frivolous prisoner litigation that legitimate cases were delayed by years”in support of the law, according to the same ABA Journal article noted above.

Kaufman spoke at the 12th annual Sherry Corbett Lecture Series, Apr. 19 , in 100 Laws Hall, Miami University, Oxford, OH.

Lewis and Hart’s quotes are courtesy of Wendy Davis’ ABA Journal article, “Unlocking the Lawsuit”.

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