Number of Inmate Lawsuits Climbing Steadily in NJ

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    New Jersey prison inmates continue to submit hundreds of lawsuits each year.

    Most are drafted by the prisoners themselves, people whose legal experience is typically limited to their own prosecution. Some are illegible, some are in Spanish, and many are derided as frivolous.

    But combined, they account for one of every seven federal lawsuits filed in New Jersey, creating a tremendous workload for the court system.

    Yet buried among the often muddled arguments of jailhouse lawyers, these suits occasionally contain salient legal points -- and, once in a great while, one succeeds.

    The number of suits filed by New Jersey inmates has been climbing steadily, up 45 percent since 2006. Last year prisoners filed more than 1,100.