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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 52112 Find in a Library
Title: JUDICIAL INTERVENTION IN CORRECTIONS - A CASE STUDY
Journal: FEDERAL PROBATION  Volume:42  Issue:3  Dated:(SEPTEMBER 1978)  Pages:10-17
Author(s): R L SCHUSTER; S A WIDMER
Corporate Author: Administrative Office of the United States Courts
United States of America
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 8
Sponsoring Agency: Administrative Office of the United States Courts
Washington, DC 20544
National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Document: PDF
Publisher: https://www.uscourts.gov 
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: A BRIEF HISTORY OF JUDICIAL INTERVENTION IN CORRECTIONS IS PRESENTED, FOLLOWED BY A DISCUSSION OF THE GENERAL EFFECTS OF SUCH INTERVENTION AND A CASE STUDY OF THE IMPLEMENTATION OF A SPECIFIC INTERVENTION DECISION.
Abstract: JUDICIAL INTERVENTION IN CORRECTIONS BY FEDERAL COURTS IS TRACED IN ITS EVOLUTION FROM A 'HANDS-OFF' POLICY TO ONE OF INTERVENTION IN INSTANCES OF BLATANT VIOLATION OF INMATES' CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS. IT IS NOTED, HOWEVER, THAT THE STATED INTENTS OF COURT DECISIONS RARELY, IF EVER, ARE TRANSLATED INTO THE KIND OF PRACTICAL CHANGE INTENDED BY THE RULING JUDGE. WHEREAS SOME OBSERVERS OF THIS CONDITION CHARGE THAT CORRECTIONS ADMINISTRATORS ACTING 'IN BAD FAITH' TO CIRCUMVENT COURT DECISIONS ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE FAILURE TO IMPLEMENT THE DECISIONS, THIS ARTICLE MAINTAINS THAT BUREAUCRATIC DECISIONMAKING AND PROCEDURES ARE MORE OFTEN THAN NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR A WEAK OR INACCURATE TRANSLATION INTO ACTION OF COURT DECISIONS. THIS VIEW IS SUPPORTED IN AN EXAMINATION OF THE 1976 DECISION IN JAMES V. WALLACE, WHERE THE PRESIDING JUDGE CITED 11 ASPECTS OF PRISON CONDITIONS IN ALABAMA STATE PRISONS THAT SHOULD BE CHANGED. THE JUDGE ALSO ESTABLISHED A HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION TO MONITOR COMPLIANCE. THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE COURT ORDER HAVING TO DO WITH CLASSIFICATION OF INMATES IS EXAMINED. THIS SEGMENT OF THE COURT ORDER WAS UNDERTAKEN BY A GROUP CALLED THE PRISON CLASSIFICATION PROJECT. THE AUTHOR'S EXPERIENCE IN THIS PROJECT PROVIDES THE DATA FOR THE CASE STUDY. THE PROCEDURE DEVELOPED FOR THE CLASSIFICATION OF INMATES IS DESCRIBED, AND IT IS INDICATED THAT A MAJOR PROBLEM LAY IN INTERPRETING THE COURT POLICY STATEMENT ON PRISONER CLASSIFICATION. AS THE POLICY IS PASSED THROUGH SEVERAL LEVELS OF HIERARCHY, ACTION IS BASED ON POLICY INTERPRETATION AT THAT LEVEL. IN THE CLASSIFICATION PROJECT, INTERPRETATION INEVITABLY OCCURRED AT SUCCEEDING LEVELS OF THE CORRECTIONAL HIERARCHY DOWN TO THE PRISON MONITOR WHO INTERVIEWS INMATES. THE INVOLVEMENT OF MULTITUDES OF PERSONNEL ACTING TO REINTERPRET OR RESIST IN VARYING DEGREES THE ORIGINAL POLICY IS SEEN TO INFLUENCE ITS PRACTICAL IMPLEMENTATION AT THE PRISON LEVEL. THIS ' SLIPPAGE' IS ILLUSTRATED IN SPECIFIC AREAS OF THE CLASSIFICATION POLICY. IT IS SUGGESTED THAT THE BEST OF POLICIES CAN ONLY BE REALIZED IN PRACTICE THROUGH BETTER KNOWLEDGE OF ORGANIZATIONAL CONTINGENCIES AND CONSTRAINTS. A BILIOGRAPHY IS INCLUDED. (RCB)
Index Term(s): Alabama; Corrections management; Judicial decisions; Offender classification; Prisoner's rights
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=52112

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