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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 149361 Find in a Library
Title: Hands-Off, Hands-On, Hands-Semi-Off: A Discussion of the Current Legal Test Used by the United States Supreme Court to Decide Inmates' Rights
Journal: Journal of Crime and Justice  Volume:17  Issue:1  Dated:(1994)  Pages:103- 128
Author(s): R Alexander Jr
Date Published: 1994
Page Count: 26
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article reviews the hands-off doctrine as it relates to inmate rights and the reasonableness test and concludes that a partial hands-off doctrine has unfolded since a 1987 U.S. Supreme Court decision restricting prisoner rights.
Abstract: The Supreme Court announced a reasonableness test in 1987 that connotes prudence and fairness but that is extremely deferential to State prison officials and provides a constitutional vehicle for regressing prisoner rights. In deferring to correctional officials, the Supreme Court's reasonableness test accepts the judgment of prison administrators that they need to restrict inmate rights because such rights may create an intolerable risk of disorder. Further, the test justifies the involuntary medication of inmates diagnosed with schizophrenia and borderline and antisocial personality disorders. In general, the partial hands-off doctrine resulting from the Supreme Court decision on the reasonableness test assures that courts defer to institutions when prisoner rights and institutional order conflict. A historical review of the hands-off doctrine is presented, and case examples involving the reasonableness test are cited. 47 references
Main Term(s): Corrections
Index Term(s): Constitutional Rights/Civil Liberties; Courts; Legal doctrines; Mentally ill inmates; Prisoner's rights; US Supreme Court decisions
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