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Harris v. City of Philadelphia

filed: September 29, 1994.

MARTIN HARRIS, JESSE KITHCART, WILLIAM DAVIS, RANDALL CUMMINGS, EVELYN LINGHAM, ESTRUS FOWLER, TYRONE HILL, NATHANIEL CARTER AND LONNIE BANKS
v.
THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA; JOAN REEVES, IN HER OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS COMMISSIONER OF THE DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES OF THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA; ALBERT F. CAMPBELL, ROSITA SAEZ-ACHILLA, GENECE E. BRINKLEY, ESQ., REV. PAUL M. WASHINGTON, M. MARK MENDEL, HON. STANLEY KUBACKI, MAMIE FAINES, EACH IN HIS OR HER OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS A MEMBER OF THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF THE PHILADELPHIA PRISON SYSTEM; J. PATRICK GALLAGHER, IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS SUPERINTENDENT OF THE PHILADELPHIA PRISON SYSTEM; HARRY E. MOORE, IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS WARDEN OF HOLMESBURG PRISON; WILHEMINA SPEACH, IN HER OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS WARDEN OF THE DETENTION CENTER; PRESS GROOMS, IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS WARDEN OF THE HOUSE OF CORRECTIONS; RAYMOND SHIPMAN, IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS MANAGING DIRECTOR OF THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA; AND HON. EDWARD G. RENDELL, IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS MAYOR OF THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA, THEODORE LEVINE, IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS COMMISSIONER OF THE DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES OF THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA; ALBERT F. CAMPBELL, ROSITA SAEZ-ACHILLA, GENECE E. BRINKLEY, ESQ., REV. PAUL M. WASHINGTON, M. MARK MENDEL, HON. STANLEY KUBACKI, MAMIE FAINES, EACH IN HIS OR HER OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS TRUSTEES OF THE PHILADELPHIA PRISON SYSTEM; J. PATRICK GALLAGHER, IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS SUPERINTENDENT OF THE PHILADELPHIA PRISON SYSTEM; HARRY E. MOORE, IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS WARDEN OF HOLMESBURG PRISON; WILHEMINA SPEACH, IN HER OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS WARDEN OF THE DETENTION CENTER; PRESS GROOMS, IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS WARDEN OF THE HOUSE OF CORRECTIONS; RAYMOND SHIPMEN, IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS MANAGING DIRECTOR OF THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA; AND HON. EDWARD G. RENDELL, IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS MAYOR OF THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA; AND THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA, APPELLANTS



On Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. (D.C. Civ. No. 82-cv-01847).

Before: Sloviter, Chief Judge, Mansmann and Alito, Circuit Judges.

Author: Sloviter

Opinion OF THE COURT

SLOVITER, Chief Judge.

Before us is the City of Philadelphia's appeal from the orders of the district court dated September 24, 1993 and September 30, 1993 entering an injunction governing the occupancy and conditions of confinement of the City's newly constructed prison facility denominated the Alternative and Special Detention Central Unit ("ASDCU"). This is one of a series of appeals taken by the City from related orders arising out of a consent decree and various revisions entered into between the City and the plaintiffs, a class of prisoners incarcerated in the Philadelphia prison system, to ameliorate the severe overcrowding and harsh conditions in the Philadelphia prisons.*fn1 Although this appeal was argued at the same time as the other appeals, and the other appeals remain pending for Disposition by this court, the court disposes of this appeal initially for reasons that will become clear hereafter.

I.

BACKGROUND OF THE CASE AND THE CONSENT DECREES

The complaint in this case was initially filed in 1982 by a group of inmates suffering from alleged overcrowding at Holmesburg Prison. Defendants in the case include the City of Philadelphia and various city officials charged with the responsibility of administering the Philadelphia prison system (hereinafter collectively referred to as "the City"). In 1986, the plaintiff class was expanded to include all past, present and future inmates in the Philadelphia prison system, and the allegations of overcrowding were expanded to apply to the Philadelphia prison system as a whole. There is also pending a somewhat parallel action in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas which found, some twenty years ago, that conditions in the Philadelphia prison system violated the prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment in the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution and which retains control over aspects of the prison system pursuant to a consent decree entered by the City and representatives of that plaintiff class.*fn2

On November 14, 1986, the plaintiff class in the federal case and the City entered into a Settlement Agreement. On December 30, 1986, the district court approved the Settlement Agreement and entered a Consent Order (the "1986 Consent Decree") consistent with its terms. Among other things, the 1986 Consent Decree provided for the construction of a downtown 440-bed detention facility by December 31, 1990 and established a maximum allowable population ("MAP") of 3,750 inmates for the then-existing facilities of the Philadelphia prison system. See App. at 91-92.

Five years after the entry of the 1986 Consent Decree, the City had not complied with many of its provisions, including the provision requiring construction of the 440-bed facility and the provision establishing the MAP. In 1991, the parties entered into a new Stipulation and Agreement approved by the district court which entered another Consent Order consistent with its terms (the "1991 Consent Decree") and which contained a series of remedial decrees and stipulations aimed at alleviating the overcrowding and conditions in the prison system.

The 1991 Consent Decree relieved the City of its obligation under the 1986 Consent Decree to construct the 440-bed detention facility. Instead, the 1991 Consent Decree imposed, among other things, the following requirements:

11.

Defendants shall conduct expeditiously the orderly planning process set forth in the document entitled "Prison Planning Process" attached as an Appendix hereto and incorporated herein by reference. Defendants shall thereafter construct or arrange for such new facilities and close or renovate existing facilities in accordance with ...


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