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NCJ Number: 65883 Find in a Library
Title: POWER OF PRISONS
Journal: JUDGES' JOURNAL  Volume:19  Issue:1  Dated:(WINTER 1980)  Pages:20-24,47
Author(s): A F BREED
Corporate Author: American Bar Assoc Press
Publications Coordinator
United States of America
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 8
Sponsoring Agency: American Bar Assoc Press
Chicago, IL 60637
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: IMPLICATIONS OF THE TWO APPROACHES TAKEN BY THE WOLFISH DECISION--THE DEFINITION OF PUNISHMENT AND THE COURT'S DEFERENCE TO CORRECTIONAL EXPERTISE--MAY RETURN INMATES TO THE UNFETTERED DISCRETION OF CORRECTIONAL OFFICIALS.
Abstract: THE PRINCIPLE THAT 'AS LONG AS A CORRECTIONAL OFFICIAL DOES NOT INTEND A RESTRICTION OR CONDITION OF CONFINEMENT TO BE PUNISHMENT, THE COURTS WILL NOT CONSIDER IT PUNISHMENT' IS A DANGEROUS CONCEPT. THE APPROACH SUGGESTED IN THE 1979 SUPREME COURT DECISION OF BELL V. WOLFISH SEEMS NOT ONLY TO PLACE THE BURDEN ON THE PRISONER OF DEMONSTRATING THAT A PARTICULAR RESTRICTION OR CONDITION CANNOT BE JUSTIFIED, BUT ALSO REQUIRES WHAT IS BOUND TO BE A MURKY INQUIRY INTO THE MOTIVES OF PRISON ADMINISTRATORS. THE SECOND ASPECT OF THE WOLFISH DECISION IS EQUALLY TROUBLING. IF THE COURTS IN FACT READ THE DECISION AS REQUIRING THEM TO PAY ALMOST BLIND DEFERENCE TO THE VIEWS OF CORRECTIONAL ADMINISTRATORS, IT MAY WELL MARK THEIR WITHDRAWAL FROM THE ESSENTIAL ROLE OF PRISONER PROTECTION. FOR MOST OF THIS CENTURY, PRISONS AND JAILS WERE THE MOST CLOSED AND SECRET INSTITUTIONS IN OUR SOCIETY. CESSATION OF LEATHER STRAP WHIPPINGS, THE TYING OF PRISONERS TO BEDFRAMES, AND THE CORRECTION OF SHOCKING AND DEBASING PRISONS CONDITIONS OCCURRED AS LATE AS THE 1960'S. COURT ACTION HAS DONE MUCH TO CHANGE THIS SITUATION, AND THE LESSONS OF THE PAST 15 YEARS SHOULD NOT BE LOST. THE REVIEW OF WHAT IS FAIR AND JUST MUST REMAIN IN THE COURTS--NOT IN THE HANDS OF THOSE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE POLICY, PROCEDURES, AND ACTIVITIES BEING JUDGED. A LIST OF COURT CASES IS APPENDED. (AOP)
Index Term(s): Constitutional Rights/Civil Liberties; Correctional reform; Cruel and unusual punishment; Inmate grievances; Judicial decisions; Preventive detention; Prisoner's rights; Religious freedom
Note: ADAPTED FROM TALK GIVEN BEFORE A JUDICIAL ADMINISTRATION DIVISION/AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION ANNUAL MEETING IN AUGUST 1979
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=65883

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