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NCJ Number: 97489 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Corrections Law Developments - Search and Seizure of Prison Cells - The Constitution Takes a Holiday
Journal: Criminal Law Bulletin  Volume:21  Issue:2  Dated:(March -April 1985)  Pages:171-177
Author(s): F Cohen
Date Published: 1985
Page Count: 7
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
NCJRS Photocopy Services
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America

NCJRS Photocopy Services
Box 6000
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The Supreme Court's 1984 decision in Hudson v. Palmer eliminates all fourth amendment safeguards against unreasonable searches and seizures in prison inmates' cells, thus becoming another step toward granting almost total discretion to corrections officials.
Abstract: The 1973 Model Rules and Regulations on Prisoners' Rights and Responsibilities gave inmates limited privacy rights in their cells. The inmate's grievence in Hudson v. Palmer was that a corrections officer intentionally destroyed noncontraband personal property, including letters and legal materials. The Court, however, wanted to avoid inhibiting security practices in penal institutions. Although prisons are potentially dangerous places and certain types of contraband can threaten personnel and inmates, the Court's decision ignores the differences among security facilities. The opinion also argues that the only place inmates conceal contraband is in their cells, whereas prison officials comment that this is the least likely place. In this decision and others, the Court has adhered to a combat model of prison life and has not required empirical evidence that security practices at issue are indeed necessary. The dissent in Hudson argued for the separation of search and seizure, allowing a search but not seizure of noncontraband material found. Hudson will add to inmates' growing despair about prison conditions and overcrowding and might increase corrections officials' sense that all things are permissible in the name of security. The paper includes the Model Rules on prison cell searches and 17 footnotes.
Index Term(s): Corrections internal security; Inmate lawsuits; Prisoner's rights; Right of privacy; Search and seizure; US Supreme Court decisions
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