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NCJ Number: 70071 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Prison Discipline and Inmate Rights
Journal: Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review  Volume:5  Issue:2  Dated:(April 1970)  Pages:227-277
Author(s): B R Jacob
Date Published: 1970
Page Count: 52
Sponsoring Agency: US Dept of Justice
Washington, DC 20531
Grant Number: 69-NI-134
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article outlines the summary and unrestrained punishment power of prison wardens and analyzes methods for circumscribing that power through judicial and legislative action.
Abstract: In addition to a new concern over the way routine decisions are made in prison systems, serious attention is being given to the respective roles and responsibilities of the courts, legislative bodies, and correctional officials in reforming the administrative processes which affect inmate welfare and rehabilitation. Congress and the majority of State legislatures have delegated final authority for the promulgation of rules or regulations regarding inmates conduct and discipline to correctional directors. These rules govern inmate conduct and their contacts with the outside world. Despite statutory and constitutional restrictions that circumscribe the punishment power of prison officials, many important legal and even adjudicative decisions are made at all levels of the correctional command hierarchy, without lawyers' assistance. These decisions include offender classification (for initial assignment and reclassification) and the disciplinary process. Initiated by the courts and legislatures, procedural safeguards for inmates rights in disciplinary hearings ensure due process guarantees approaching those of defendants in criminal trials, which must be adhered to in any proceeding where deprivation of liberty is at issue. Yet, the overall reluctance of the courts to interfere with prison disciplinary processes roots in the principles of federalism, separation of powers, and a recognition that they lack expertise in correctional administration. However, the forms for judicial review for State and Federal inmates include reviews of good-time determinations, relief by habeas corpus (in good-time decisions and solitary confinement reviews), application of the Federal Civil Rights Act, injunctive and declaratory relief, and class action in habeas corpus proceedings. Jailhouse lawyers and the principle of access to the courts are available to inmates wanting to challenge some aspect of their incarceration. The article concludes that the courts must exercise broader intervention powers over the prison management and that both State and Federal legislatures must assume the initiative in formulating new guidelines for correctional administrators. Over 230 footnotes are appended.
Index Term(s): Correctional reform; Habeas corpus; Inmate discipline; Inmates; Judicial decisions; Mandamus; Post-conviction remedies; Prisoner's rights
Note: Article is based on a paper submitted in the Constitutional Litigation Seminar given by Professor Paul A Freund at the Harvard Law School during 1968-69
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