Dr. Alissa R. Ackerman University of Washington, Tacoma A GENERAL VIEW OF PRISONERS’ RIGHTS
<ul><li>“ As a consequence of his crime [he] not only forfeited his liberty, but all his personal rights except those whic...
<ul><li>“ A variety of rights and privileges are lost upon conviction of a crime…virtually all of an offenders’ activities...
<ul><li>Monroe v. Pape  (1961) – SC “ by passing CRA of 1871, Congress intended to provide remedy to parties deprived of c...
<ul><li>The Purpose of Prisons:  </li></ul><ul><li>Protecting the public </li></ul><ul><li>Providing a safe and humane env...
<ul><li>Supermax </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Maximum Security </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Medium Security </li></ul></ul></ul...
PAINS OF IMPRISONMENT    ~ GRESHAM SYKES <ul><li>Deprivation of Liberty </li></ul><ul><li>Deprivation of goods and service...
<ul><li>Inmate self-concept </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Coping mechanisms – keeping one’s mind active </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul...
<ul><li>Response to inmate </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Sense of recognition </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reduce frustration </li><...
<ul><li>Adopted almost universally throughout the U.S. </li></ul><ul><li>Published rules for the written grievance system....
The Goods   <ul><li>Gives agency chance to address issue with management and operation internally </li></ul><ul><li>Alerts...
The Not-So-Goods <ul><li>Success depends on the intent of the staff who deal with the grievance system </li></ul><ul><li>T...
THE PRISON LITIGATION REFORM ACT   -  REVERSING THE LIBERAL TREND
<ul><li>Several changes to prisoner litigation in federal court </li></ul><ul><li>No actions shall be brought… until such ...
<ul><li>Did PLRA do what it intended to do? </li></ul><ul><li>What was the “prisoners’ rights era?” </li></ul><ul><li>What...
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Constitutional law of corrections brief overview of prisoner's rights

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Constitutional law of corrections brief overview of prisoner's rights

  1. 1. Dr. Alissa R. Ackerman University of Washington, Tacoma A GENERAL VIEW OF PRISONERS’ RIGHTS
  2. 2. <ul><li>“ As a consequence of his crime [he] not only forfeited his liberty, but all his personal rights except those which the law in its humanity accords him. He is for the time being the slave of the State” </li></ul>Ruffin v. Commonwealth of Virginia (1871)
  3. 3. <ul><li>“ A variety of rights and privileges are lost upon conviction of a crime…virtually all of an offenders’ activities may be subject to regulation by correctional officials, particularly in institutions. He has no absolute right to see friends or relatives or to do any of a multitude of things that the rest of society takes for granted. Yet it is inconsistent with our whole system of government to grant such uncontrolled power to any officials, particularly over the lives of persons. The fact that a person has been convicted of a crime should not mean that he has forfeited all rights to demand that he be fairly treated by officials.” </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>The Presidents Commission on Law Enforcent Administration of Justice (1967)
  4. 4. <ul><li>Monroe v. Pape (1961) – SC “ by passing CRA of 1871, Congress intended to provide remedy to parties deprived of constitutional rights, privileges, and immunities by an official’s abuse of his position.” </li></ul><ul><li>Wolff v. McDonnell (1974) – SC “…A prisoner is not wholly stripped of constitutional protections when he is imprisoned for a crime. There is no iron curtain drawn between the Constitution and the prisoners of this country.” </li></ul>No Longer “Hands-off”
  5. 5. <ul><li>The Purpose of Prisons: </li></ul><ul><li>Protecting the public </li></ul><ul><li>Providing a safe and humane environment </li></ul><ul><li>Providing inmates with opportunities for self-improvement </li></ul>THE NATURE OF PRISONS
  6. 6. <ul><li>Supermax </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Maximum Security </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Medium Security </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Minimum Security </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Detention Facilities </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>TYPES OF PRISONS
  7. 7. PAINS OF IMPRISONMENT ~ GRESHAM SYKES <ul><li>Deprivation of Liberty </li></ul><ul><li>Deprivation of goods and services </li></ul><ul><li>Deprivation of heterosexual relationships </li></ul><ul><li>Deprivation of autonomy </li></ul><ul><li>Deprivation of security </li></ul>
  8. 8. <ul><li>Inmate self-concept </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Coping mechanisms – keeping one’s mind active </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Litigation </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Fact – a real reason </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Frustration – feels there is no other option </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Fancy – litigation might be “fun” </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Fiction – it’s not true! </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>DEPRIVATIONS AFFECT LITIGATION
  9. 9. <ul><li>Response to inmate </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Sense of recognition </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reduce frustration </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Informal means of handling problem </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Less violence </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No direct confrontation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No court </li></ul></ul>INMATE GRIEVANCES
  10. 10. <ul><li>Adopted almost universally throughout the U.S. </li></ul><ul><li>Published rules for the written grievance system. </li></ul><ul><li>1.Opportunity for ANY inmate to file a written grievance </li></ul><ul><li>2.Time limit for filing the grievance and responding to it </li></ul><ul><li>3.Description of actions that can be the subject of a grievance </li></ul><ul><li>4. Emergency handling of certain complaints (medical or personal injury) </li></ul><ul><li>5. Safeguards against reprisals taken against inmates who use the grievance system </li></ul><ul><li>6. At least one level of appeal from initial disposition of the complaint </li></ul>WRITTEN GRIEVANCE SYSTEM
  11. 11. The Goods <ul><li>Gives agency chance to address issue with management and operation internally </li></ul><ul><li>Alerts staff to problems in the institution </li></ul><ul><li>Spotlights matters of greatest inmate concern </li></ul><ul><li>May point out an individual officer or isolated activity </li></ul><ul><li>Diffuse resentment and hostility </li></ul><ul><li>If a lawsuit occurs – provides a record for the </li></ul><ul><li>attorney and the court </li></ul><ul><li>Provides a statistical basis to assess </li></ul><ul><li>programs, policies, or activities </li></ul>
  12. 12. The Not-So-Goods <ul><li>Success depends on the intent of the staff who deal with the grievance system </li></ul><ul><li>The only relief is a “corrective action” </li></ul><ul><li>No monetary awards </li></ul><ul><li>Doesn’t cover the greatest inmate complaints </li></ul><ul><li>Inmates try to undermine system </li></ul><ul><li>Time limits to reply drag on </li></ul><ul><li>Inmates may feel that corrective relief is </li></ul><ul><li>never given </li></ul>
  13. 13. THE PRISON LITIGATION REFORM ACT - REVERSING THE LIBERAL TREND
  14. 14. <ul><li>Several changes to prisoner litigation in federal court </li></ul><ul><li>No actions shall be brought… until such administrative remedies as are available are exhausted </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Frivolous suits could be dismissed without requiring exhaustion of other remedies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No civil action can be filed by an inmate for mental or emotional injury while in custody – unless a prior showing of physical injury </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>In forma pauperis (without funds) must submit records showing lack of funds to avoid having to pay filing fees </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Orders for relief from prison conditions strictly limited to correct the violation of rights shown by the particular individual </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. <ul><li>Did PLRA do what it intended to do? </li></ul><ul><li>What was the “prisoners’ rights era?” </li></ul><ul><li>What is a “right?” What is a privilege? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Safety? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Medical Care? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Food? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Access to court? Law library? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Shelter? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Religion? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Recreation? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Visits? Conjugal visits? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Phone Calls? Packages? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Minimum standards? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Personal hygiene </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Overcrowding </li></ul></ul>

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