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Kansas Prison Double Bunking Approved if ACA Standards Met

Thomas Porter and other Kansas state prisoners filed suit against the state and prison officials (defendants) alleging prison overcrowding, and subsequently objected to a proposed increase in the prison population by double bunking. The action alleged too little space per prisoner. The court allowed the proposed double bunking if American Correctional Association (ACA) standards were maintained and employment was provided for all prisoners.

The Lansing Correctional Facility (LCF) was double bunked since it was built in 1980, but was not ACA accredited. A 1980 consent decree had resolved a lawsuit by stipulating that LCF would apply for accreditation. In 1989, the action was reactivated due to overpopulation, cell confinement of 17 to 24 hours per day, tension and stress among guards, and increased homosexual activity. The district court ordered the facility to obtain ACA accreditation and to end double bunking in the medium-security unit by 1991. Before LCF complied with the double bunking reduction, and after ACA standards changed, the defendants proposed an increase in the LCF population by double bunking three units. Porter objected.

The U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas held that no Eighth Amendment violation existed. The court further approved the defendants’ proposal, provided that ACA accreditation was maintained, renovations consistent with ACA standards were made, employment opportunities for prisoners were provided, and prisoners were screened for suitability for double bunking. See: Porter v. Graves, U.S.D.C. (D. Kan.), Case No. 77-3045-RDR (Dec. 19, 1995); 1995 WL 775301.

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Related legal case

Porter v. Graves