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NCJ Number: 106635 Find in a Library
Title: Impact of Bell v. Wolfish Upon Prisoner's Rights
Journal: Journal of Crime and Justice  Volume:10  Issue:1  Dated:(1987)  Pages:47-69
Author(s): F S Coles
Date Published: 1987
Page Count: 23
Type: Issue Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This analysis of the 1979 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Bell v. Wolfish and of subsequent Federal court decisions concludes that although the decision has not had as widespread an effect on prisoners' rights as was originally expected, it appears to have started a trend toward less judicial scrutiny of the subject.
Abstract: The decision involved the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York. By a five to four margin, the Court found that double bunking of inmates was not punishment, that the jail rule forbidding inmates from receiving books from publishers only was constitutions, and that the ban on receiving food packages was not a violation of due process. It also held that room searches of pretrial detainees were not a violation of the right of privacy and that visual body cavity searches were not unreasonable. The Court also emphasized the strong deference to be paid to prison officials. Other courts have widely quoted the section on judicial deference. Some circuits have distinguished the case by finding that other institutions were older and in worse condition than the one in the Wolfish decision. The other sections of the decision have not had a great impact. However, the case has set a tone which the Court has subsequently followed in supporting any condition for which they can find a rationale. Notes and 12 references. (Author abstract modified)
Main Term(s): Prisoner's rights
Index Term(s): Corrections management; US Supreme Court decisions
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