Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Part II Constitutional Law of Corrections. Chapter 5 - A General View of Prisoners’ Rights Under the Constitution Introduction: Chapter begins the detailed.

Similar presentations


Presentation on theme: "Part II Constitutional Law of Corrections. Chapter 5 - A General View of Prisoners’ Rights Under the Constitution Introduction: Chapter begins the detailed."— Presentation transcript:

1 Part II Constitutional Law of Corrections

2 Chapter 5 - A General View of Prisoners’ Rights Under the Constitution Introduction: Chapter begins the detailed study of the constitutional law applying to corrections management and operations

3 Chapter Outline The Nature of Prisons Section 1983 and the Constitution Defenses: How Does the Corrections Worker Protect Himself? Inmate Grievances Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) Prisoners’ Rights

4 The Nature of Prisons Mission statements – common traits: protect public, provide safe and humane environment, provide inmates self-improvement opportunities Statistics: As of 12/31/02, state and federal prisons housed 1,361,258 inmates Number of female inmates increased almost 5% in 2002, twice the increase of men Men still almost 15 times more likely to be confined

5 The Nature of Prisons: cont’d Three general types of prisons: Maximum security – some characteristics: double wall or fence, highly controlled movement Medium security – some characteristics: single fence or wall, inmate movement may be unescorted, but frequently supervised

6 The Nature of Prisons: cont’d Minimum security – some characteristics: single or no fence, less restricted movement Administrative institutions – have specific purpose, such as medical centers and detention facilities

7 The Nature of Prisons: cont’d Institution placement objective – least restrictive movement while providing appropriate control Efforts made to standardize process Staff professional judgment – essential part of designation process

8 The Nature of Prisons: cont’d A prison is a “community,” with very specific outer boundaries – like the “free world,” the prison has Persons in control (prison administration) and those living under guidelines (inmates) Methods for control (discipline system) Work, education, and recreational opportunities; and a commissary Privileges such as visiting, correspondence, and telephone

9 The Nature of Prisons: cont’d One aspect is missing – freedom to come and go at will The prison has a high degree of uniformity in rules and controls, on what is expected and on what is allowed Examples include time of movement, serving of meals, and retention of personal property A guiding principle – be “firm but fair”

10 The Nature of Prisons: cont’d Pains of imprisonment – deprivation of Liberty – conviction is deliberate rejection by the community Goods and services – “freedom of choice” greatly limited Heterosexual relationships – lack of opportunity Autonomy – dependence, as opposed to independence Security – concern for personal safety

11 The Nature of Prisons: cont’d Litigation can become a coping mechanism Four possible reasons for inmate lawsuits: Fact – justified reason Frustration – feeling of no other option available Fancy – feeling might be a “fun” thing to do, with nothing to lose Fiction – an untruth, possible means for harassing staff member

12 The Nature of Prisons: cont’d Prison staff most vital component of prison management Corrections staff must be trained in how to handle a variety of situations, how to supervise, and how to develop and use good interpersonal skills

13 Section 1983 and the Constitution Section most common means for taking legal action against prison officials Section 1983 – used to establish most of the constitutional rights afforded to inmates Wider scope of judicial review Broader relief opportunities

14 Section 1983 and the Constitution: cont’d Most important source of prisoners’ rights U.S. Constitution, with the U.S. Supreme Court as the final arbiter and definer of constitutional provisions

15 Defenses: How Does the Corrections Worker Protect Himself? No immunity against being sued How to protect self Follow policies and instructions of supervisors Obtain, or provide, good training – one focus: areas where there are greatest exposures to constitutional liability Become familiar with the law in that jurisdiction Find a good mentor – the value of an “old hand” Keep good records

16 Inmate Grievances Underlying concept – inmates will have complaints; a grievance system provides a uniform means for these to be considered Methods may include Mediation Arbitration Ombudsman Hearing panels Advisory groups

17 Inmate Grievances: cont’d Most common method: written grievance system – written rules provide for Opportunity for inmate to file Time limits for filing and for receiving a response Description of types of actions that may be the subject of grievances and those that may not Emergency handling procedures Safeguards against reprisals At least one level of appeal of decision

18 Inmate Grievances: cont’d Benefits of the written grievance system Reduces frustration, provides inmate a means of recognition Staff may identify problem areas, and those of inmate concern Addresses as appropriate, without court intervention

19 Inmate Grievances: cont’d Used properly, diffuses inmate hostility and resentment Reduces likelihood of formal legal complaint If lawsuits are filed, provides court with background information

20 Inmate Grievances: cont’d Weaknesses of the inmate grievance system May not provide all types of relief – money, injunctive relief not often available May not cover some of the greatest complaints of inmates, such as disciplinary and medical May have inmates trying to clog up system – “frequent filers” Time limits may drag on Inmate perception that relief is never given

21 Inmate Grievances: cont’d Exhaustion requirement – many courts require the inmate to exhaust administrative remedies before she can file in court

22 Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) Signed into law in 1966 – codified in 42 USC § 1997e Requires inmate to exhaust administrative remedies before filing suit with respect to prison conditions under Section 1983, or any other federal law

23 Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA): cont’d Other limitations: Frivolous, malicious, ill-founded suits could be dismissed without requiring exhaustion Attorney fees were limited No federal civil action could be filed by an inmate for mental or emotional injury while in custody without prior showing of physical injury

24 Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA): cont’d To proceed in forma pauperis (without funds, and thus excused from paying court fees) would need to submit records showing a lack of funds in the inmate’s prison account Court orders for relief from prison conditions strictly limited Consent decrees were limited in the scope of relief Limited use and authority of special masters in prison cases

25 Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA): cont’d Objective – to reduce the volume of state prisoner rights suits brought in federal courts

26 Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA): cont’d Exhaustion requirement: Booth v. Churner (2001) – Court said an inmate must complete a prison administrative process capable of addressing the inmate’s complaint and providing a form of relief, even if that process provides no monetary relief The focus is exhaustion of “processes,” not the forms of relief

27 Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA): cont’d Porter v. Nussle (2002) – Court held PLRA’s exhaustion requirement applies to all inmate suits about prison life An undecided aspect: whether non- exhaustion is a defense (affirmative) that must be raised and proved by the defendant official – currently there is a “split” in the circuits

28 Prisoners’ Rights If corrections worker finds self involved in lawsuit, despite efforts described in this chapter, steps discussed in Chapter 4 are important Obtain representation Cooperate in all stages of legal case Knowledge of law by staff is important, both local law and constitutional requirements


Download ppt "Part II Constitutional Law of Corrections. Chapter 5 - A General View of Prisoners’ Rights Under the Constitution Introduction: Chapter begins the detailed."

Similar presentations


Ads by Google