Trends in Prisoner Litigation, as the PLRA Enters Adulthood

Data Appendix

How Prisoners' Rights Lawyers are Preserving the Role of the Courts, 69 U. Miami L. Rev. 519 (2015)

Trends in Prisoner Litigation, as the PLRA Enters Adulthood, 5 U.S. Irvine L. Rev. 153 (2015)


Link to the U.C. Irvine article, including its appendix.
Link to the U. Miami article, including its appendix.
Link to the Correctional Law Reporter article.

See the bottom of this page for data/tables/figures, including additional detail supplementing the published data. 

I. Data

  • Population and filing data in stata (.dta) format. 
  • Population and filing data in excel format.
  • Stata do file to create the panel data (in .txt format; just change the suffix back to .do to use in stata).
The posted data include detail on Dale Maisano's filings, which are excluded from published summaries for FY2013-2015.

Figure 1.A: Prisoner Population and Civil Rights Filings 

Figure 1.B: Prisoner Population and Civil Rights Filings per 1000 Prisoners

Figure 2.A: Percent Decline in Prisoner Filing Rate in U.S. District Court, by State

Figure 2.B: Decline in Prisoner Filing Rate in U.S. District Court, Six States with Largest Declines

Figure 2.C: Decline in Prisoner Filing Rate in U.S. District Court, Six States with Smallest Declines

II.  Litigation data sources

  • Link to ICPSR, Civil Terminations Series​
  • 1985 Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, Guide to Judicial Policies and Procedures
  • 1999 Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, Civil Statistical Reporting Guide
  • Stata do file (aligns and appends all the files) -- txt format (to use in stata, just change the suffix back to .do)
  • Consolidated Codebook.  The posted consolidated codebook is for a dataset of all federal district court terminations, 1970 to 2012, and cases pending in 2012.  The data are available by "study number" at​. (See first bullet, above) I used these data to produce the panel dataset provided below in Part II; they separately also underlie the U.C. Irvine article's Tables 3-7 and Figures A to E,  the U. Miami article's Table I and Figure A, and the Correctional Law Reporters Tables 1-3 and Figures A to E. Unfortunately, I cannot post the raw data, because the Bureau of Justice Statistics has instructed the ICPSR that the data be available only for restricted use.​

III. Prison and Jail Population, and Court Order Data Sources

The sources used for prison and jail population, and for court order data, are described in detail in the two law review Articles' printed appendices (see links at the top of this page). The Correctional Law Reporter article adds data from 2013 through 2015:

Prisons, 2013 to 2014: Corrections Statistical Analysis Tool (CSAT)—Prisoners, U.S. Dep't. of Just., Bureau Just. Stat., (follow "Quick Tables" hyperlink; then view "Inmates in custody of state or federal correctional facilities, excluding private prison facilities, December 31, 1978-2014" and "Inmates in custody of state or federal correctional facilities, including private prison facilities, December 31, 1999-2014": 

Jail, 2014: 

To calculate jail population data for 2014: 1) For each state, add the inmates housed in local jails in 2014 back into the counts appearing in appendix table 1; you can get these from either table 9 in the Prisoners in 2014 report or using the custom tables feature on the Corrections Statistics Analysis Tool (CSAT) for Prisoners,

2) For each state, subtract the total number of inmates under jurisdiction at yearend 2014; these can be found in table 2 of Prisoners in 2014 or generated using the Quick Tables feature on the CSAT tool.

Note: These estimates differ from those that will ultimately be published by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, in its forthcoming report on Mortality in Local Jails and State Prisons. The estimates used for the correctional populations report include imputations for non-response adjustment for the non-reporting units. Data in the mortality report will not be imputed.

III.  Replication code

  • Stata do file​ (in .txt format -- just change the suffix to .do to use in stata)

The replication code uses the (posted) panel data (see Part I, above) which combines federal district court terminations data (see Part II, above), and Bureau of Justice Statistics data described in the article's technical appendix--to generate all three article's figures and tables, except for Table 7 in the U.C. Irvine article, which is based on case-by-case research.​