Early U.S. court decisions ruled that prisoners had forfeited all of the rights enjoyed by free citizens. Eventually, the courts recognised certain rights and legal remedies available to prisoners, who may now file their own suits, have direct access to the federal courts, and file writs of HA~US CORPUS and mandamus.(Under habeus corpus the prisoner may request release, transfer, or another remedy for some aspect of confinement. Mandamus is a command issued by a court directing a Pri¬son administrator to carry out a legal responsibility-to provide a sick prisoner with medical care, for example-or to restore to the prisoner rights that have been illegally denied.
) Prisoners have sought remedies for many problems, including relief from unreasonable searches, release from solitary confinement, and the procuring of withheld mail. Recent decisions have indicated, however, that the courts are now willing to limit legal suits by prisoners in deference to the security requirements of the prison.