California’s Civil Grand Juries and Prison Conditions 2007-2017


Nkem Adeline, Anne Richardson Oakes, Julian Killin


Faculty editor: Roy Brooks
Publication: Law Review
Volume: 57
Issue: 3
Start Page: 609
Month: September
Year: 2020
Type: Article
Instititional Repository (IR) location of full article:


In this Article we evaluate the potential for California’s so-called civil grand juries to detect substandard prison conditions and maltreatment of inmates and make recommendations for improvement. We describe relevant reports by grand juries between 2007–2017 and evaluate the effectiveness of these in improving conditions in a representative sample of counties. We conclude that the civil grand jury is a potentially effective tool for oversight, but its effectiveness is hampered by competing duties, variable investigative methodologies, and lack of clear objectives for performance of its statutory duties.