U of A CMJS 3203 - Chapter 11 Notes—The Legal World: Prisoner’s Rights

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Corrections—Chapter 11 Notes—The Legal World: Prisoner’s Rights1. Hands off Doctrine a. Historical policy of American courts not to intervene in prison management; Courts tended to follow the doctrine until the late 1960sb. Based on two rationales:i. Separation of powersii. Judges should leave correctional administration to correctional expertsiii. Holt v. Sarver (1970)—the entire Arkansas prison system was declared unconstitutional because it was cruel and unusual punishment. It is the state that is infamous for getting the hands off doctrine outlawed. c. Prisoner’s Rightsi. Inmates have guarantees of free speech, religious practice, due process and other private and personal rights as well as constitutional protections against cruel and unusual punishment.ii. The court permits some restrictions on the unconstitutional right of prisoners. iii. Five ways to challenge prison conditions1. State (if not successful then Federal) habeas corpus action2. State tort lawsuit3. Federal civil rights lawsuita. Compensatory or punitive damages4. Petition for injunctive relief5. The criminal court system2. Grievance Procedures a. Grievance procedures are formal institutional processes for hearing inmate complaintsb. The U.S. Supreme Court made formal procedures mandatory in Jones v. North Carolina Prisoners’ Labor Union (1977)c. Only about 1 in 12 is successfuld. Staff member receives complaint and makes decision. If dissatisfied it goes to warden and then the state3. Balancing Test a. Pell v. Pecunier (1974) established a balancing test to weigh the rights claimed by inmates against the legitimate needs of prisonsb. Balancing Test: weighing the rights claimed by inmates against the legitimate needs of prisons. 4. Prisoners’ Rightsa. Freedom of Speech (and expression)i. Cruz v. Beto (1972)—all visits can be banned if they threaten security; prison visits are not an absolute rightii. Procurnier v. Martinez (1974)—censoring inmate mail is acceptable only when necessary to protect legitimate government interestsiii. Peppering v. Crist (1981)—prison officials may not ban mailed nude pictures of inmates’ wives or girlfriendsiv. Turner v. Safely (1987)—upheld a Missouri ban on correspondence among inmates. b. Freedom of Religioni. Cruz v. Beto (1972)—inmates have to be given a reasonable opportunity to pursue their religions1. Accommodations (place, time [except they don’t have to move around their work schedule if they’re scheduled to work then])2. Diet3. Facial Hair4. Clergy5. Work Schedulesc. Search and Seizure (4th Amendment issues)i. United States v. Hitchcock (1972): An inmate can have no reasonable expectation of privacy in his prison cell, since official surveillance is necessary to meet legitimate security needs of the prison.d. Cruel and Unusual Punishment (8th Amendment issues)i. In the area of capital punishment, cruel and unusual punishments are those involving torture, a lingering death, or unnecessary pain. ii. Medical Care1. Estelle v. Gamble—Prison officials have a duty to provide inmates with medical care2. Deliberate Indifference—Intentional and willful indifferenceiii. Prison Conditions1. In Pugh v. Locke (1976) and Battle v. Anderson (1977), the U.S. Supreme Court held that a totality of conditions standard must be used in evaluating whether prison conditions are cruel and unusual e. Fourteenth Amendmenti. Turner v. Safeley (1987)—“…prison walls do not form a barrier separating prisoninmates from the protections of the Constitution”ii. Johnson v. Avery (1968)—inmates have a right to consult with “jailhouse lawyers” when trained legal advisors are not availableiii. Wolff v. McDonnell (1974)—imposed minimal due process requirements on prison disciplinary proceedings that could lead to solitary confinement or reduction of good-time credits. f. Female Inmates and the Courtsi. Barefield v. Leach (1974) demonstrated that the opportunities and programs forfemale inmates were clearly inferior to those for male inmatesii. Equal Protection Clause—has to provide mental health, educational, etc. programs for women. They continue to win court cases in terms of the conditions of their confinement. (Equal but not identical)5. Due Process6. End of Hands off Era?a. By the late 1980s, the prisoner rights era was drawing to a closeb. Frivolous lawsuits with no foundation in fact, generally brought for publicity, political, orother reasons not related to lawc. Prison Litigation Reform Act


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U of A CMJS 3203 - Chapter 11 Notes—The Legal World: Prisoner’s Rights

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