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Chapter 10 The Legal Rights of Offenders. Legal Rights of Offenders Inmate access to courts Growth of court intervention in prison administration Constitutional.

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Presentation on theme: "Chapter 10 The Legal Rights of Offenders. Legal Rights of Offenders Inmate access to courts Growth of court intervention in prison administration Constitutional."— Presentation transcript:

1 Chapter 10 The Legal Rights of Offenders

2 Legal Rights of Offenders Inmate access to courts Growth of court intervention in prison administration Constitutional bases of inmate rights –1 st, 4 th, 8 th and 14 th amendments Inmate lawsuits and their control

3 Inmate Access to Courts 1941 Ex Parte Hull: prisons cannot censor inmate petitions to courts No enforcement of decision until 1969 Johnson v. Avery: state can limit but not ban activities of jailhouse lawyers Slaves of state doctrine (Ruffin v. Commonwealth, 1871) in VA Supreme Court justified hands-off era

4 Inmate Lawsuits Section 1983 of Civil Rights Act of 1971 Habeas Corpus: you have the body; challenges legality of imprisonment Monroe v Pape, 1961: prisoners can bypass state courts if constitutional rights involved Bounds v Smith, 1977: legal assistance must be provided to inmates

5 Limitations on Inmate Lawsuits Lewis v. Casey, 1996: law libraries, etc., not required by Bounds –Prisoners must show actual harm to sue –Security concerns can limit access O'Sullivan v. Boerckel, 1999: state courts must hear suits before federal courts are accessed

6 The Demise of the Hands-Off Era Holt v. Sarver, 1971: court took over Arkansas Prisons – series of 8 th amendment suits followed Cruelties of building tenders violated 8 th amendment ban on cruel and unusual punishment Pugh v Locke, 1976: Totality of Conditions Hutto v. Finney, 1978: added two conditions Each factor creating the conditions must be listed Steps to correct each must be specified

7 Ruiz v. Estelle, 1981 Overcrowding a violation of 8 th amendment Federal court took over Texas system for almost 12 years Use of building tenders banned These cases had little impact on state spending – funds use and practices changed Reports of violence increased as building tenders lost control to CO's

8 The End of the Hands-On Era Bell v. Wolfish, 1979: permitted wide use of strip searches and double celling Restrictions must serve a legitimate government purpose, cannot be merely punitive Rhodes v. Chapman, 1981: 8 th amendment violated if: 1)pain was inflicted unnecessarily or wantonly, or 2)was grossly disproportionate to crime

9 One-Hand On, One-Hand Off Era Slaves of State, other hands-off era doctrines rejected Court micro-management of prisons ceased Limited prisoner rights upheld State security, budgetary concerns supported

10 First Amendment Protections Freedom of religion, especially beliefs Freedom of speech, especially political and legal Freedom of the press – limited press access (rights of press, not inmates) Right to assemble – security issues virtually eliminate right to assemble, form unions

11 Inmate Religious Freedoms Discrimination based on religion illegal Legitimacy of groups judged on basis of: – Sincerity of believers – Age of doctrines – Similarity of other religions – Financial and security costs of practices

12 Limitations on Religion 1.Threatens security or discipline 2.Interferes with legal powers of discretion 3.Contradicts a reasonable rule 4.Poses an excessive financial burden These leave religious practices largely in the hands of institutional authorities

13 Speech Libel, conspiracy, threats, obscenity always illegal Speech that causes undue alarm can be punished Mail restricted and inspected unless addressed to lawyer or court

14 Turner v. Safley, 1987 (Began as a mail case) A rule is reasonable if: 1.It has a valid connection to the government interests used to justify it; 2.Inmates have other means to access the right in question 3.The right significantly impacts staff, resources or inmates and 4.There are no alternative means of achieving the goals of the rule

15 Freedom of the Press Political statements cannot be censored Other publications cannot be banned unless they threaten security, safety Topics that threaten treatment can be prohibited No right to profit from stories of crime Proceeds usually go to state treasury or victims' funds

16 Fourth Amendment Rights Privacy rights set by balance of: 1)Expectations of privacy in a particular situation or setting 2)Government need to conduct the search Reasonable suspicion required unless search is a universal practice for place or group; punitive use of searches prohibited

17 Reasonableness of a Search Privacy expectations and location of search Level of justification (reasonable suspicion vs. probable cause) Manner in which search is conducted Routine nature of search vs. singling out a specific person –Latter requires reasonable suspicion

18 Probation and Parole Applications Greater than prison but restricted expectations still apply Written agency policy or condition of liberty can permit routine (warrant less) searches of homes, cars and persons by PO's (Griffiths v. Wisconsin, 1987) Police searches of probationers/parolee's and their homes permitted with reasonable suspicion

19 Eighth Amendment Rights Illegal conditions of confinement: 1.Shock the conscience of the court or violate public standards of decency 2.Wantonly inflict unnecessary pain (use of force) 3.Are grossly disproportionate to crime 4.Demonstrate deliberate apathy to basic human needs (safety and medical care)

20 Obligation to Protect Detention, custody restrict or remove personal power to protect self State and its officials become responsible for safety Specific threats to particular persons and general conditions Injury must result from neglect to justify a Section 1983 suit

21 Medical Care Estelle v. Gamble, 1976: Suits must show deliberate indifference to needs by officials Wilson v. Seiter, 1991: Suit must show culpable state of mind These decisions made it very hard to sue over medical care and health effects of ventilation, and so on

22 Use of Force Officials can apply only the minimal reasonable force required to accomplish legitimate goal Whitley v Albers, 1986: good faith defense Hudson v. Macmillan, 1992: malicious and sadistic acts justify suit even without lasting injury

23 Fourteenth Amendment Rights Suits based on 1 st, 4 th, and 8 th Amendments often use 14 th as well Two clauses in 14 th Amendment: –Due process under law – standard procedures required to deny liberty –Equal Protection for all regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, religion

24 Punishment of Disciplinary Violations Due process required: Written notice of charge(s), evidence Hearing by impartial person or group Written justification required if inmate's request to call witnesses are denied No right to jury Right to counsel only for mentally impaired or those who cannot understand proceedings

25 Due Process Issues Confidential informants can remain unnamed if authorities can demonstrate their trustworthiness Minor violations carry less need for due process Justifications of process and decisions must be made to courts not inmates Classification and transfers not grounds for suits State created liberty interests can extend beyond federally enforced rights, tested in state courts

26 Forcing Medications Applies mainly in psychiatric cases Authorities must show that: 1)The inmate is dangerous to self or others 2)Use of the medication is in inmate's best interests 3)Due process has been followed and case reviewed by experts

27 Equal Protection under Law Group memberships not based on behavior cannot be used to justify differential treatment Parity, or substantial equivalence, required for men and women as well as inmates at different security levels

28 Controlling Inmate Suits Retaliation for legal action always illegal Access to courts can be limited ONLY by the court itself or the legislature Legal costs can be charged to plaintiff if court finds suit to be frivolous Courts can impose fees, other conditions on inmates to limit suits

29 Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1996 Filing fees required for all federal suits Limits attorney's fees and damage awards Bars suits for psychological harm in absence of physical injuries Forces judges to screen suits, block frivolous ones Encourages use of video, telephone links

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