I strongly recommend reading this post about the Prison Litigation Reform Act, which makes it more difficult for prisoners to sue and reduces the scope of potential litigation in ways that enable appalling prison conditions to continue. This is particularly problematic because (due to prisoners’ evident lack of political clout) prison reform has always been a litigation-driven exercise, as Feeley and Rubin have explained in great detail. Limiting prisoner’s right to sue in this manner is effectively the equivalent of sanctioning substantial amounts of abuse; hopefully Congress will amend some of the bad effects of PLRA. The SAVE coalition has a list or recommendations with other useful resources here.
UPDATE: See also this ACS paper explaining how to close the loophole the legislation created for rapists.