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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 69585 Find in a Library
Title: First Amendment Mailing Rights of Parolees and Prison Inmates - A Higher Standard of Judicial Protection
Journal: University of San Francisco Law Review  Volume:13  Dated:(Summer 1979)  Pages:913-944
Author(s): C A Kessler
Corporate Author: University of San Francisco Law Review
School of Law
Hendrick Hall
United States of America
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 32
Sponsoring Agency: University of San Francisco Law Review
San Francisco, CA 94117
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The term mailing rights in connection with First Amendment guarantees and the application of such rights to prison inmates are discussed in this study from the perspective of a legal scholar.
Abstract: The connotation of the term mailing rights as meaning the freedom to use the mails to send and receive thoughts, ideas, and information, without limitations or control, as well as freedom from censorship, tampering, or withholding, are established as the basic premises of this legal commentary. Citing numerous court decisions, this study derives a standard of mailing rights protection from an analysis of the evolution and present status of mailing rights within the prison. To provide background in this area, the comment initially reviews the development of judicial attitudes in constitutional tests. After analyzing a recent California appellate court decision, in which a standard of review was extracted from its factual setting (i.e., an inmate-to-inmate solication of union membership and union bulk mailing) and used to uphold a ban on inmate-parolee correspondence, this comment discusses the need for greater judicial protection of prisoners' and parolees' mailing rights. Finally, it sets forth a standard of judicial review in mailing rights cases, noting that prisoners' and parolees' mailing rights are easily curtailed where courts take a hands-off approach to prisoner litigation. Delegation of almost unchecked control of mailing rights to prison officials is constitutionally impermissible, in light of the fundamental nature of First Amendment freedoms. Adoption of a policy of judicial involvement and a uniform standard of review serves State interests and protects individual rights. Numerous footnotes and citations from court decisions are provided in the text.
Index Term(s): Constitutional Rights/Civil Liberties; Judicial review; Prisoner's rights
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