"Elizabeth Alexander is one of the premier prison litigators in the country," said Steven R. Shapiro, legal director of the ACLU. "She brings to the National Prison Project a unique combination of courage, commitment and intellectual savvy. I look forward to seeing her guide the Project through this difficult time when the rights of prisoners are under unprecedented attack."
Ms. Alexander assumes the directorship at a critical juncture in the Project's mission: Incarceration rates are at an all-time high, while the three branches of government are cutting back on long-held safeguards for prisoners. In particular, the Prison Litigation Reform Act was swept into law this spring, seriously crippling the power of the federal courts to correct even the most egregious prison conditions, including rape, physical abuse, and lack of medical care.
"Public officials need to be reminded that prisoners are entitled to fair and humane treatment," said Alexander. "Under my leadership, the National Prison Project will redouble its efforts to ensure that the Constitution's prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment is honored."
Ms. Alexander joined the Project as a staff attorney in 1981, and was promoted to associate litigation director in 1990. During that time, she argued several major prisoners' rights cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, including Farmer v. Brennan, Wilson v. Seiter, and Lewis v. Casey.
Ms. Alexander is a graduate of Yale Law School, and has worked on behalf of prisoners' rights since 1973.
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