Alvin Bronstein, 87, a civil rights and civil liberties lawyer who led a decades-long legal campaign credited with bringing sweeping improvements to prison conditions in the United States, died Oct. 24 at a hospice in Centreville, Md., of complications from Alzheimer's disease, said his wife, Jan Elvin.

Mr. Bronstein led the American Civil Liberties Union's National Prison Project for more than two decades, from its founding in 1972 until he became director emeritus in 1996. He was known as one of the country's most forceful advocates for changes to the criminal justice system and in 1989 received a MacArthur Fellowship, the prestigious award often called a "genius grant." - Washington Post