Legal Problems of People in Mental and Penal Institutions: An Exploratory Study

Samuel Jan Brakel*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This exploratory study of the legal problems or needs of prisoners and mental hospital patients (the institutionalized) reveals the wide range and diversity in the perceptions of what the needs are and what the legal responses might be. It argues for the need to conduct research that first promotes our qualitative understanding of legal demand among the institutionalized, and it suggests the need to experiment with and do research on legal supply pro‐grams in the institutions. Only then can we begin to think about quantifying the needs and designing with some precision delivery programs based upon such quantitative information. The study also suggests the need for a lawyer role in the institutional context that departs from traditional role perceptions, both in terms of the approach taken to cases and clients and in terms of the substantive problems deemed deserving of legal attention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)565-645
Number of pages81
JournalLaw & Social Inquiry
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1978

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences
  • Law


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