Constitutional Law – Civil Rights – Restrictions on the Use of Legal Materials by Prisoner

Plaintiff prisoners brought separate actions against the warden of the Oregon State Penitentiary, alleging that the enforcement by prison officials of restrictions on the availability, use and purchase of law books resulted in a denial of full access to the courts. It was further alleged that each of them must do by himself all or part of the legal preparation necessary to contest his detention or to defend criminal charges pending against him in a state or federal court. In proceedings brought in the federal district court under the Civil Rights Act to enjoin further enforcement of these restrictions, held, for plaintiffs. Denial of access to courts constitutes a deprivation of civil rights of prisoners, and the study of law cannot be restricted where this is necessary to the utilization of a basic right. Bailleaux v. Holmes, (D.C. Ore. 1959) 177 F. Supp. 361.