AELE LAW LIBRARY OF CASE SUMMARIES:
Corrections Law
for Jails, Prisons and Detention Facilities


     Back to list of subjects             Back to Legal Publications Menu

Visitation

     Monthly Law Journal Article: Legal Issues Pertaining to Visitation -- Part One, 2008 (5) AELE Mo. L.J. 301.
     Monthly Law Journal Article: Legal Issues Pertaining to Visitation -- Part Two, 2008 (6) AELE Mo. L.J. 301.

     An inmate sought money damages and injunctive relief, claiming that a two-year suspension of his visiting privileges after he was suspected of receiving contraband (marijuana) during a visit violated his First Amendment right of association, his Fourteenth Amendment procedural due process rights, and his Eighth Amendment right against cruel and unusual punishment. His claim for injunctive relief was moot as his visitation rights had already been restored. The warden was entitled to qualified immunity on money damages claims since his actions had not violated any clearly established right to visitation. The suspension of privileges was not arbitrary, and it was believed that he swallowed the drugs given to him by the visitor. No error was shown invalidating a jury verdict in favor of a guard on an excessive force claim. Williams v. Ozmint, #11-6940, 2013 U.S. App. Lexis 9754 (4th Cir.).
     A prison's modified policy of partial lockdown based on a prisoner's racial o ethnic classification was subject to strict scrutiny analysis and violated prisoners' rights since it was not narrowly tailored to serve a compelling state interest. Prisoners were classified as Black, White, Northern Hispanic, Southern Hispanic, or Other, and all members of those racial groups were subjected, sometimes for extended periods of time, to restrictions on movements and activities. This was done without any attempt to discover whether an individual was affiliated with a racial gang or to determine which inmates were responsible for incidents that triggered the lockdown. Additionally, some of the restrictions imposed, such as denial of visitation,. appeared to be punitive instead of being designed to maintain security, particularly when applied to a large group of prisoners based on race for an extended period of time. While avoiding gang violence was a compelling interest, the means chosen to accomplish this had to be focused on responding to the particular threat and not impose restrictions unnecessary to reducing the risk of violence. In re Morales, #A132816, 2013 Cal. App. Lexis 42.
     A California state statute prohibits visitation between persons convicted of sexually molesting children and the children they molest. An intermediate California appeals court has ruled that the plain language of the statute only applies to child victims of offenses for which a defendant is sentenced to prison. In this case, the prisoner pled guilty to sex offenses against two girls, and sex charges concerning a third girl, as well as non-sex charges concerning two other girls, were dismissed. The trial court at sentencing, however, ordered that none of the five girls be allowed to visit the prisoner. The appeals court ordered that the no visitation order be modified to eliminate the other three girls: two of them, as the prisoner had not been accused of any sex offenses against them, and the third, as the prisoner had not be sent to prison on a conviction of a sex offense against her, although he did admit duty the entering of his plea that she was a victim entitled to restitution. People v. Ochoa, #C065356, 2011 Cal. App. Lexis 144 (3rd Dist.).
    A former civil detainee at a state hospital, detained there under California's Sexually Violent Dangerous Predator Act, appealed from the dismissal of his federal civil rights and state law lawsuit challenging a decision by hospital authorities denying him visits from his minor nieces and nephews. Upholding the dismissal, a federal appeals court noted that the denial of visitation rights was because of a policy barring visits from minor children within the age and gender profiles of a detainee's former victims. This policy, the court found, serves a legitimate, non-punitive governmental interest. Force v. Hunter, #09-56294, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 20773 (Unpub. 9th Cir.).
     In an inmate's challenge to an 18-month ban on visits from minors, including his three minor children, his right to receive such visits under the circumstances of the case was not clearly established.  The ban was imposed because the prisoner violated prison rules by having a sexual conversation with a minor on the phone. He claimed that he had actually been engaging in a sexual conversation with his wife and hadn't realized that his minor child was on the phone. The lawsuit was properly dismissed. Dunn v. Castro, #08-15957, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 19136 (9th Cir.).
     A Wisconsin prisoner claimed that his First and Fourteenth Amendment rights of freedom of association and due process were violated when prison employees refused to put his granddaughters on his approved visitors' list. The prisoner had been convicted of multiple counts of sexual assault upon a child and had engaged in sex acts with seven boys between the ages of 10 and 14, and one of his victims had been his stepson. The refusal was triggered by a request by his daughter-in-law to add his two-month old granddaughter to his authorized visitor list. The prisoner argued that no court order barred such visits and that his two older granddaughters been visiting him already for 13 months. He asked that all three granddaughters be allowed to visit him, and sued when they were not. "Whether he has a constitutional right to receive visits from his granddaughters is an open question," a federal appeals court commented, but he failed to show that the defendants in his lawsuit were personally responsible for barring the grandchildren. Hohol v. Jess, #10-1297, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 19183 (Unpub. 7th Cir.).
     A prisoner sued over the refusal of prison authorities to reinstate the visiting privileges of his father and sister. The restrictions were imposed after the prisoner allegedly became involved in a large-scale contraband smuggling and money laundering operation masterminded by another prisoner. The scheme supposedly involved 131 prisoners, including the plaintiff, who provided money (over $85,000) to the mastermind's family members and others outside the prison. In return, drugs, weapons, cell phones, and escape paraphernalia were smuggled into the prison. 50 civilians were also allegedly involved. Upholding the ban on visits by the plaintiff's father and sister, the court found that there was substantial, undisputed evidence that they had been involved in the smuggling and money-laundering scheme and therefore posed a security risk to the prison. Benedetto v. Dept. of Corrections, #A-1436-08T2, 2010 N.J. Super. Unpub. Lexis 2214.
     A California state prisoner argued that his rights were violated by a prison's family visitation policy, which bars overnight family visits to prisoners serving life sentences without parole dates. This policy, the court ruled, is legal, citing Overton v. Bazzetta, #02-94, 539 U.S. 126 (2003), which held that limitations on prison visitation rationally related to legitimate penological interests are constitutional regardless of whether prisoners and their family have "a constitutional right of association that has survived incarceration." Additionally, even if it were true, as the plaintiff alleged, that the prison allows such overnight family visits to "informants," it was not irrational for a prison to give special privileges to prisoners who offer information about threats to the security and safety of the facility or other inmates. The plaintiff, therefore, had no valid equal protection claim. Tuvalu v. Woodford, #08-16807, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 16063 (Unpub. 9th Cir.).
     A wheelchair-bound woman suffering from multiple sclerosis contended that she was denied a reasonable accommodation for her disability in connection with her request to visit her incarcerated husband. Her disability allegedly prevented her from visiting him because she cannot travel long distances, and he is imprisoned 300 miles away from her home. Reversing the dismissal of her lawsuit, a federal appeals court held that the plaintiff had standing to assert a disability discrimination claim, and that the trial court improperly failed to address whether she had sufficiently alleged that the visitation program was administered in a discriminatory manner, which it should do on remand. Fulton v. Goord, #06-5023, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 28064 (2nd Cir.).
     A prisoner failed to show that he had been subjected to disability discrimination and violations of his First, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights because he has AIDS. While he claimed that his family was denied a contact visit because of his medical condition, that "disparaging" remarks were made about his condition, and that he was otherwise subjected to prejudice, discrimination, and retaliation, he failed to allege sufficient specifics, as opposed to "theories and conclusions" to enable a court to find actionable discrimination. Lopez v. Beard, #08-3699, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 13403 (Unpub. 3rd Cir.).
     A prisoner failed a drug test and served time in punitive segregation as a result. Six months later, when he had a visitor, he was placed in a non-physical contact booth during the visit. The court found that correctional officials showed no relationship between the failed drug test and the indefinite revocation of the prisoner's receipt of contact visits. There also was no indication that there was any plan to engage, during such visits, in conduct endangering facility safety or security. The prisoner also received no notice of the decision to revoke contact visiting privileges. His full visitation privileges were restored because the action taken was arbitrary and capricious. Rivera v. N.Y. City Dept. of Corrections, #340787/08, 2009 N.Y. Misc. Lexis 696 (Sup. Bronx County).
     A Washington state inmate was properly denied participation in an Extended Family Visit program with his wife because he was married in 2006 after his incarceration. There were legitimate reasons for the change, which eliminated the eligibility for such visits with spouses married after incarceration. Lowden v. Miller-Stout, #C08-5365, 2009 U.S. Dist. Lexis 16188 (W.D. Wash.).
     Restrictions on the visitation rights of a convicted sex offender did not violate his due process, equal protection, or Eighth Amendment rights. His daughter and his niece were removed from his visitor's list once on the recommendation of a prison social worker who believed that he threatened these children's safety, but they were restored to his visitor's list when he agreed to enter a sex offender's treatment program. They were both again barred from visiting when the prisoner subsequently admitted to having raped two children. The appeals court found this visitation policy rationally related to legitimate penological interests, and also noted that the plaintiff prisoner failed to show that other similarly situated prisoners were allowed visits with children. Stojanovic v. Humphreys, No. 08-1827, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 2169 (Unpub. 7th Cir.).
     A former prison employee had become involved with a prisoner when she met him at the facility. She married him after she resigned while correctional officials were investigating that involvement. A federal court has upheld actions denying her the right to visit the prisoner because she had violated departmental policy by becoming involved with him. This, the court found, was rationally related to legitimate security concerns. Samson v. Donahue, No. 3:07-CV-505, 2007 U.S. Dist. Lexis 89355 (N.D. Ind.).
     Warden was entitled to summary judgment on prisoner's claim that his rights under the First, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments were violated by denying him visitation with persons whose mailings had generated positive alerts from a drug screening device. The prisoner had no constitutionally protected right to visitation from any particular person, and a total denial of all visitation for an extended time period was required before such a denial could be considered "cruel and unusual" under the Eighth Amendment. Steinbach v. Branson, Case No. 1:05-cv-101, 2007 U.S. Dist. Lexis 75156 (N.D.).
     Court upholds revocation of visitation privileges for wife of inmate who allegedly hid cell telephones inside a typewriter and sent them to correctional facility for the use of her husband and two other prisoners. Evidence that the phones were planned to be used in connection with an escape attempt showed that she posed a threat to safety and security. Court rejects argument that it was improper to revoke her visitation privileges because the misconduct at issue did not occur during one of her visits. In the Matter of Sylvester v. Goord, #500653, 2007 N.Y. App. Div. Lexis 1037 (3rd Dept.). [N/R]
     Prison properly decided that prisoner serving a sentence of life without parole for beating and stabbing to death his sister-in-law was not entitled to participate in family reunion program including visits with his mother. Because he would never return to society, given his sentence, his participation would not further the goal of strengthening family ties disrupted by imprisonment. Williamson v. Nuttall, No. 500309, 2006 N.Y. App. Div. Lexis 14443 (A.D. 3rd Dept.). [N/R]
     Prisoner lacked standing to challenge the use of an ion scanner to conduct searches of visitors for drugs, and could not proceed with his lawsuit objecting to the prison's denial of his mother's entry to the facility to visit him when the ion scanner indicated that she tested positive for contact with cocaine. Grigger v. Goord, 811 N.Y.S.2d 161 (A.D. 3rd Dept. 2006). [N/R]
     New York prisoner's application to participate in family reunion program was properly denied based on the heinous nature of his crimes (involving the brutal murder of his sister-in-law and a violent assault on her three-year-old daughter), along with his life sentence, which eliminated the need to preserve his family structure to promote future integration into society. Denial of a request for participation in such a program will be upheld if based on a rational reasons, since participation is a privilege rather than a right. Williamson v. Department of Correctional Services, 792 N.Y.S. 2d 719 (A.D. 3rd Dist. 2005). [N/R]
     Michigan prison regulation barring almost all visitation for prisoners found guilty of two or more substance abuse violations did not constitute "egregious conduct" sufficient to constitute a violation of procedural due process. Trial court abused its discretion in refusing to dissolve injunction against application of the regulation following a Supreme Court decision that rejected substantive due process, First Amendment, and Eighth Amendment claims, but did not directly address procedural due process issue. Bazzetta v. McGinnis, #04-1823, 2005 U.S. App. Lexis 19696 (6th Cir.). [2005 JB Nov]
     Alleged negligence by jail supervisor in mistakenly arresting a visitor and briefly detaining her under an arrest warrant for another person was insufficient to constitute a violation of due process justifying a federal civil rights claim. The court allows, however, a claim by a second visitor to proceed, who claimed that she was improperly arrested on a warrant which had been recalled, when the officer making the arrest had in his hands a document that indicated the recall, but allegedly was unable to read it because he did not have his prescription glasses with him. Detoledo v. County of Suffolk, # CIV.A.03-CV-10834, 379 F. Supp. 2d 138 (D. Mass. 2005). [N/R]
     Prison officials did not act with improper retaliation by continuing a restriction on visitation of a maximum security prisoner after he was acquitted of disciplinary charges of disobeying a direct order to stop holding hands with his wife while praying during a contact visit. The restriction was legitimate on the basis that the prisoner disobeyed a direct order, and the prisoner failed to show that the defendants would not have continued the restrictions on his visitations in the absence of his filing of grievances and acquittal of the disciplinary charges. Larson v. Cooper, No. S-10708, 113 P.3d 1196 (Alaska 2005). [N/R]
     Directive banning prisoners convicted of sex offenses against minors from receiving visits from minors, including their own children, was rationally related to legitimate penological interests in safety and security. Prison officials were aware of research showing that many sexual offenders repeated their offenses, that minor victims of sex offenses know the perpetrators between 80 and 90 percent of the time, and that sexual offenders who prey on children frequently "psychologically groom" them for a time before engaging in sexual activity. Further, there was evidence of incidents of sexual molestation of children in visiting rooms, and staffing inadequacies in terms of adequately monitoring such visits. The directive, therefore, did not violate prisoners' rights and was not cruel and unusual punishment. Further, the prisoners had alternative means of maintaining family relationships as they could communicate with family members by mail, telephone calls, or messages brought by persons authorized to visit. Doe v. Donahue, No. 49A02-0408-CV-674, 829 N.E.2d 99 (Ind. App. 2005). [N/R]
     New York prisoner incarcerated for the murder of his first wife, who married his current wife prior to his incarceration, was entitled to further proceedings on his request to participate in a "family reunion" program with his wife and daughter, when no reason or factual basis was provided for the denial of his request. Bierenbaum v. Goord, 787 N.Y.S.2d 438 (A.D. 3d Dept. 2004). [N/R]
     City of New York and its Department of Corrections had no special duty of care to protect visitors to the city jail against the risk of assault by inmates, mandating dismissal of visitor's personal injury lawsuit against city. Santana v. City of New York, 787 N.Y.S.2d 651 (N.Y. City Civ. Ct. 2004). [N/R]
     Juvenile court had no authority to invalidate a California prison regulation preventing visitation between certain sexual offenders and all minors, including minors who were not the victims of their crimes. California appeals court overturns order invalidating regulation and allowing an inmate convicted of sexual offenses involving children to receive visits from his two minor sons. Robin J. v. Superior Court of San Diego County, No. D044131, 2004 Cal. App. Lexis 1987 (Cal. App. 4th Dist. 2004). [2005 JB Jan]
     Prison rule restricting visitation for prisoners found to present a high risk of escape upheld as reasonably related to legitimate safety and security interests. Parker v. Snyder, No. 4-03-0745,  2004 Ill. App. Lexis 1206 (4th Dist. 2004). [2004 JB Nov]
     Correctional policy denying a sex-offender contact visits with minors, including family members, did not violate his First Amendment right to freedom of association, and was rationally related to legitimate interests in promoting institutional security and the safety of children. Garber v. Pennsylvania Department of Corrections Secretary, 851 A.2d 222 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2004). [2004 JB Sep]
          Prisoner properly denied further visitation of inmate's fiancee to prison based on evidence that he sent money to her in exchange for heroin she allegedly conspired to bring into the facility. Correctional officials had reasonable grounds to believe that continued visits would have caused a serious threat to prison security. Substantial evidence also supported determination that prisoner was guilty of violating disciplinary rules against possession of money, promoting prison contraband, and smuggling. Encarnacion v. Goord, 778 N.Y.S.2d 562 (A.D. 3d Dept. 2004). [N/R]
     Maximum security prison did not violate prisoner's rights under either U.S. Constitution or Alaska State Constitution by ordering him not to hold his wife's hand during prayers when granted a contact visit. His right to religious freedom did not require prison to allow hand-holding, kissing, or embracing during such a visit, and the rule was reasonably related to legitimate interests in keeping the prison free of contraband. Temporary suspension of contact visits after prisoner allegedly violated the rule did not violate his right to due process. Larson v. Cooper, #S-10327, 90 P.3d 125 (Alaska 2004). [N/R]
     Federal appeals court rejects prisoner's claim that his constitutional rights were violated by requiring him to participate in sexual offender treatment program requiring him to admit to his offense, under penalty of a loss of privileges, including denial of visitation with his minor child, if he failed to participate. Wirsching v. State of Colorado, #00-1437, 360 F.3d 1191 (10th Cir. 2004). [2004 JB May]
     Prison visitor who sought $9 million in damages on multiple constitutional and state law claims over purported unlawful search and arrest, and excessive use of force against him by correctional officers was ultimately awarded only $2,501 in damages against one officer on a single claim of excessive use of force. Trial judge reduces requested attorneys' fee award and costs of over $140,000 to a total of $27,157.80, based on "unnecessary prolonging," by plaintiff's attorney, of the duration and cost of the case. Lynn v. State of Maryland, 295 F. Supp. 2d 594 (D. Md. 2003). [2004 JB Apr]
     Three-year suspension of prisoner's visitation rights as punishment for attempting to introduce a weapon into the visitation room did not violate due process rights, his right to free association, or the Eighth Amendment prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment. Hernandez v. McGinnis, 272 F. Supp. 2d 223 (W.D.N.Y. 2003). [N/R]
     Denial of family visits to prisoner did not violated any constitutionally protected liberty interest, and his inability to "visit with whom he wishes is an 'ordinary incident of prison life,'" and "part of the penalty that criminals pay for their offenses against society." Macedon v. California Department of Corrections, 67 Fed Appx. 407 (9th Cir. 2003). [N/R]
     Massachusetts prisoner did not have constitutionally protected liberty interests which were infringed by his loss of visitation for six weeks as a punishment for allegedly violating prison disciplinary rules. Childers v. Maloney, 247 F. Supp. 2d 32 (D. Mass. 2003). [N/R]
     U.S. Supreme Court upholds Michigan prison rules limiting visits by children, non-family members, former prisoners, or for prisoners who commit two violations of substance abuse rules. Overton, Director, Michigan Department of Corrections v. Bazzetta, #02-94, 123 S. Ct. 2162 (2003). [2003 JB Aug]
     Former correctional officer at Tennessee state prison did not have a due process or equal protection right to visit inmates. Policy of state Department of Corrections restricting former employees' visitation with inmates did not violate the due process rights of former employee to pursue her new profession as paralegal. Former officer could not assert inmates' rights in order to challenge department's policy of restricting former employees from visits, written communication and telephone calls with inmates on the basis that it prevented the inmates from receiving paralegal assistance from the former officer. Engle v. Tennessee Dept. of Corrections, #02-5970, 63 Fed. Appx. 860 (6th Cir. 2003).[N/R]
     Under a prior consent decree concerning New York prisoners and correctional rules established to implement the decree, specifically 7 NYCRR Ses. 200.1-200-5, misconduct that is unrelated to visitation cannot be used as the basis for a denial of visitation rights. Accordingly, an inmate's right to contact visitation could not be denied based on his alleged violent behavior against prison staff members, when it had not occurred during a visitation period, and prisoner was entitled to $100 in damages for the denial. Dawes v. State of New York, Claim No. 102133, 755 N.Y.S.2d 221 (Ct. Cl. 2003). [N/R]
     U.S. Supreme Court to review constitutionality of Michigan prison regulations banning visits from inmate's minor relatives and former prisoners who are not family members. Federal appeals court struck down regulations as applied to non-contact visits. Bazzetta v. McGinnis, #01-1635, 286 F.3d 311 (6th Cir. 2002), cert. granted sub nom., Overton v. Bazzetta, #02-94, 71 U.S.L.W. 3387 (12/02/2002). [2003 JB Jan]
     Federal appeals court overturns dismissal of federal civil rights claim that prison policy prohibiting same-sex kissing and hugging during visits, except for family members, violated the right to equal protection of the homosexual partner of an inmate. Whitmire v. State of Arizona, #00-16896, 298 F.3d 1134 (9th Cir. 2002). [2002 JB Nov]
     Deputy could not be held liable for negligence in the use of force against a visitor during an argument among visitors over "cutting" in line, since his actions were intentional. Court also holds that county, sheriff's department, and sheriff were not responsible for visitor's alleged injuries. Smith v. County of Erie, 743 N.Y.S.2d 649 (A.D. 2002). [2002 JB Sep]
     296:126 Visitor denied use of a restroom to urinate is awarded $5,000 in compensatory and $5,000 in punitive damages against correctional officer; refusal to allow visitor to urinate violated his substantive due process rights. Glaspy v. Malicoat, 134 F. Supp. 2d 890 (W.D. Mich. 2001).
     291:45 N.J. court upholds use of scanning device and dogs to detect drugs on prison visitors. Jackson v. Dept. of Corrections, No. A-5223-98T5, 762 A.2d 255 (N.J. Super. 2000).
     EDITOR'S NOTE: For other cases upholding similar drug detection policies, see Spear v. Sowders, 71 F.3d 626 (6th Cir. 1995); Romo v. Champion, 46 F.3d 1013
     (10th Cir. 1995); Ybarra v. Nevada Board of State Prison Commissioners, 520 F. Supp. 1000 (D. Nev. 1981); Black v. Amico, 387 F. Supp. 88 (W.D.N.Y. 1974).
     278:21 Texas prisoner's claim that being denied eight meals and one visitation session over a seven-month period was "cruel and unusual punishment" was frivolous; prisoner did not show that he received an inadequate diet that threatened his health and he had no constitutional right to visitation. Berry v. Brady, #98-41179, 192 F.3d 504 (5th Cir. 1999).
     278:30 Florida statute denying prisoner visitation with his children when he was convicted of child sexual offenses was constitutional; statute allows for prison superintendent to exercise discretion to allow visitation if it is in the interest of the children. Cassady v. Moore, 737 So. 2d 1174 (Fla. App. 1999).
     279:45 California prisoner had no protected liberty interest in "family visitation"; prison officials who classified him as a "sex offender" based on his prior arrest, but not conviction, of a sex offense, and used this as a basis to bar family visitation did not violate his rights. Cooper v. Garcia, 55 F. Supp. 2d 1090 (S.D. Cal. 1999).
     266:29 Pennsylvania prison official did not violate prisoner's rights by barring visits to him by his "business associate and spiritual advisor" because the proposed visitor was a former inmate. Robles v. Pa. Dept. of Corrections, 718 A.2d 882 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1998).
     [N/R] Prison officials' alleged denial of prisoner's right to family visitation was not a violation of his federally protected civil rights; prison officials have broad discretion to control visitor access to prisoners, and no abuse of discretion was demonstrated. Peterson v. Shanks, #96-2190, 149 F.3d 1140 (10th Cir. 1998).
     263:173 Failure of grand jury to indict prison visitor for promoting prison contraband after correctional officers arrested her for having a letter opener on her person did not, standing alone, show absence of probable cause for the arrest; jury verdict for officers in false arrest/malicious prosecution lawsuit upheld; officers' actions did not violate any right the paralegal had to visit prisoners. Phillips v. Corbin, #97-7711, 132 F.3d 867 (2nd Cir. 1997).
     263:173 Prisoner did not show that his right to equal protection was violated when he was denied visitation with former prisoner who he claimed was his wife; while other prisoners were allowed visits with their spouses, even if they were former inmates, this prisoner could not show that he had ever married this woman, and had referred to her previously as his "sister" or his "friend." Africa v. Vaughan, 998 F.Supp. 552 (E.D. Pa. 1998).
     [N/R] Visitor at prison was a "licensee" for purposes of Kentucky law; accident which injured visitor when canopy covering ceiling fan came loose and fell was unforeseeable and U.S. government was not liable for injuries. Linn v. U.S., 979 F.Supp. 521 (E.D. Ky. 1997).
     250:158 Jail's policy restricting visits by children younger than eight did not violate due process or equal protection rights of pretrial detainees or their children. N.E.W. v. Kennard, 952 F.Supp. 714 (D. Utah 1997).
     251:173 Criminal defense attorney did not have to remove his prosthetic leg for inspection before being allowed a contact visit with his inmate client. Roark, In Re, 48 Cal.App. 4th 1946, 1996 Cal.App. Lexis 853.
     235:108 While prison officials had reasonable suspicion sufficient to justify body cavity search of female visitor, based on informant's statements that a "young" "unrelated female" visitor to inmate was smuggling in drugs, they could not detain the visitor for the search in the absence of probable cause, but instead had to allow her the option of departing and foregoing visit; defendants in visitor's lawsuit were not entitled to qualified immunity in light of factual disputes. Spear v. Sowders, 71 F.3d 626 (6th Cir. 1995).
     237:135 New York prisoner had no constitutionally protected right to participation in conjugal visits with wife; denial of such visits on basis of wife's status as an ex-offender was not a violation of equal protection of law. Champion v. Artuz, 76 F.3d 483 (2nd Cir. 1996).
     233:78 Co. jail's denial of visitation to pretrial detainee on six occasions did not constitute "punishment," or otherwise violate detainee's rights; denials were based on procedures imposed for legitimate security reasons. Flournoy v. Fairman, 897 F.Supp. 350 (N.D. Ill. 1995).
     235:109 Permanent revocation of visiting privileges for inmate's wife was appropriate when he tested negative for drug use prior to her visit, but tested positive for opiates directly after she visited him for two day "familiar reunion" visit; proof was sufficient to support the conclusion that she smuggled contraband into prison. Fleming v. Coughlin, 634 N.Y.S.2d 800 (A.D. 1995).
     235:110 Prison regulations limiting minors; visits to those by prisoners' children, step-children or grandchildren, barring visits from children if prisoner's parental rights had been terminated, and requiring that minor visitors be accompanied by adult parent or guardian did not violate prisoners' constitutional rights. Bazzetta v. McGinnis, 902 F.Supp. 765 (E.D. Mich. 1995).
     219:46 Prison officials were entitled to qualified immunity from liability for failure to provide a program for overnight visitation of male inmate's infant child while allowing such visitation at women's correctional facility; different security levels at the two institutions indicated that plaintiff and female inmates could reasonably be viewed as "not similarly situated." Bills v. Dahm, 32 F.3d 333 (8th Cir. 1994).
     219:46 Federal prison's decision to deny former female employee visitation rights with male prisoner did not violate clearly established First Amendment rights or federal prison regulations. Caraballo-Sandoval v. Honsted, 35 F.3d 521 (11th Cir. 1994).
     220:51 Prison rule prohibiting contact visit between maximum security prisoner and attorney did not violate prisoner's right of access to the courts; rules adequately provided for conversation between prisoner and attorney and prisoner's access to documents during such conversations. Mitchell v. Dixon, 862 F.Supp. 95 (E.D.N.C. 1994).
     221:76 Illinois prisoner had a statutorily created liberty interest in receiving visitation from his mother, but did not adequately show assistant warden's participation in alleged denial of visitation to impose liability; defendant assistant warden was also entitled to qualified immunity in light of liberty interest not having been clearly established. Gavin v. McGinnis, 866 F.Supp. 1107 (N.D. Ill. 1994).
     221:77 Jail did not violate prisoner's rights by denying him contact visits with his wife; such visits would have posed a security risk in light of prisoner's pending homicide charges and the fact that his wife was also a prisoner at the jail. Ayers v. Rone, 852 F.Supp. 18 (E.D.Mo. 1994).
     222:94 Illinois appeals court overturns $20,536 award to 75- year-old woman injured when she attempted to sit on stool with no back while visiting her son in county jail; any danger from the design of the stool was "open and obvious," so county had no duty to warn her of it. Hodges v. St. Clair Co., 636 N.E.2d 67 (Ill. App. 1994).
     223:110 N.Y. prisoner could be denied visitation with his 7- year-old daughter based on court's determination that it would be "inimical to the welfare of the child." Teixeria v. Teixeria, 613 N.Y.S.2d 49 (A.D. 1994).
     Mississippi Supreme Court upholds determination that prison officials arbitrarily suspended inmate's visitation privileges with his wife, based on allegations of misconduct that had already been investigated and for which no charges had been brought. Puckett v. Stuckey, 633 So.2d 978 (Miss. 1993).
     Regulations prohibiting visits by minor children of prisoners unless accompanied by certain specified responsible adults did not violate prisoners' freedom of association or privacy rights. Navin v. Iowa Dept. of Corrections, 843 F.Supp. 500 (N.D. Iowa 1994).
     Visitor, allegedly assaulted and racially insulted by correctional officer, could recover damages both for battery and for violation of civil rights in denial of access to visitation on racial basis. Rosenbloom v. Flygare, 501 N.W.2d 597 (Minn. 1993).
     Placing visitor on permanent visitor restriction list when prisoner was found in possession of cocaine after his visit did not violate prisoner's or visitor's constitutional rights. Percy v. Jabe, 823 F.Supp. 445 (E.D. Mich. 1993).
     Visitor awarded damages for racial discrimination when deputy "chanted" his inmate brother's name, allegedly called visitor "racist names," and placed him under arrest when he asked to see deputy's supervisor. Rosenbloom v. Flygare, 487 N.W.2d 546 (Minn. App. 1992).
     Reduction of visiting times to two days a week and requirement that prisoner's lawyers be subject to a background check on an annual basis prior to visiting did not violate prisoner's constitutional rights. Benson v. Co. of Orange, 788 F.Supp. 1123 (C.D. Cal. 1992).
     Cutting prison visiting hours in half without an emergency violated due process of law; state regulation specified conditions under which visitation hours could be modified. Patchette v. Nix, 952 F.2d 158 (8th Cir. 1991).
     Prison officials' decision to bar inmate's fiancee from visiting him did not violate the First Amendment, but may have infringed on a liberty interest if retaliatory for inmate's murder of a correctional officer rather than based on security concerns. Van Poyck v. Dugger, 779 F.Supp. 571 (M.D. Fla. 1991).
     Policy prohibiting smoking in visitation area did not violate inmate's constitutional rights. Grass v. Sargent, 903 F.2d 1206 (8th Cir. 1990).
     Prison policy barring visits of inmates' same sex lovers unconstitutional when heterosexual inmates were allowed visits with their unmarried partners. Doe v. Sparks, Civ. No. 89-248J (W.D. Pa., March 14, 1990), reported in 58 U.S.L.W. 2619 (April 24, 1990).
     Prison could deny visitation by inmate's son, who was on approved visitor's list, for failure to produce identification. Ross v. Owens, 720 F.Supp. 490 (E.D. Pa. 1989).
     Inmate could bring civil rights action over barring of visits from his son, who was on approved visiting list. Taylor v. Armontrout, 888 F.2d 555 (8th Cir. 1989).
     Female inmate granted injunction allowing her to breast feed infant during normal visiting periods; denied injunction requiring storage and refrigeration of her breast milk. Berrios- Berrios v. Thornburg, 716 F.Supp. 987 (E.D. Ky. 1989).
     Alien inmate with outstanding deportation detainer was properly denied participation in "family reunion" program. Isaraphanich v. Coughlin, 716 F.Supp. 119 (S.D.N.Y. 1989).
     Rhode Island Supreme Court holds state can be liable for negligence in injury to prison visitor. Nicholson v. State, 557 A.2d 82 (R.I. 1989).
     Virginia Supreme Court holds that state does not owe duty of care to prison visitor similar to that of private landowner. Commonwealth v. Coolidge, 379 S.E.2d 338 (Va. 1989).
     Visitor arrested and barred from visiting after marijuana was found on her during routine search brought meritless suit; officers entitled to attorneys' fees. Qasim v. Scully, 708 F.Supp. 90 (S.D.N.Y. 1989).
     Prisoner and wife accused of misconduct involving sexual activity in visiting room entitled to injunction against prevention of further visits because official who reported misconduct was on disciplinary board making decision. Czajka v. Moore, 708 F.Supp. 253 (E.D. Mo. 1989).
     Prison visitation regulations do not give inmate a due process liberty interest unless they utilize "explicitly mandatory language." Kentucky Dept. of Corrections v. Thompson, 109 S.Ct. 1904 (1989).
     Policy prohibiting kissing, caressing or fondling during visit, but allowing kiss and embrace at start and end of visit, was not unconstitutionally vague. Shaddy v. Gunter, 690 F.Supp. 860 (D. Neb. 1988).
     Inmate denied permission to attend grandmother's funeral because visitation list with her name could not be found was not denied constitutional right. Colon v. Sullivan, 681 F.Supp. 222 (S.D.N.Y. 1988).
     Inmate's contact visitation privileges with wife could be suspended when wife possessed marijuana during visit. Qazim v. Scully, 526 N.Y.S.2d 186 (A.D. 1988).
     Policy limiting visitation privileges to family members and prior acquaintances is constitutional -- fiancee may be barred. Beasley v. Wharton, 682 F.Supp. 1234 (M.D. Ga. 1988). Permanent suspension of inmate wife's visiting privileges after she tried to bring in marijuana did not violate first amendment. Robinson v. Palmer, 841 F.2d 1151 (D.C. Cir. 1988).
     Memo establishing procedures for visitation created liberty interest by using mandatory language and restricted discretion. Thompson v. Com. of Ken. Dept. of Corrections, 833 F.2d 614 (6th Cir. 1987).
     Illinois state law limits prison official's discretion to deny visitation. U.S. Ex Rel. Adams v. O'Leary, 659 F.Supp. 736 (N.D. Ill. 1987).
     Court rules prison officials may prohibit visitors under 18 years of age. Ford v. Beister, 657 F.Supp. 607 (M.D. Pa. 1986).
     11th Circuit rules prisoner has no absolute right to visitation. Evans v. Johnson, 808 F.2d 1427 (11th Cir. 1987).
     Violating court order over attorney and paralegal visits was grounds to refuse to vacate, and even strengthen it. Hoffer v. Com'r of Correction, 490 N.E.2d 417 (Mass. 1986).
     Permanent suspension for contraband challenged. Robinson v. Palmer, 631 F.Supp. 52 (D.D.C. 1986).
     Wife entitled to hearing before temporary visitation suspension became permanent. Robinson v. Palmer, 619 F.Supp. 344 (D. D.C. 1985).
     Visitation rule upheld. Department of Corrections v. Adams, 464 So.2d 1316 (Fla. App. 1985).
     Size of visiting window okay. Zingmond v. Harger, 602 F.Supp. 256 (N.D. Ind. 1985).
     Relatives' letter telling inmate they were denied visitation considered hearsay and inadmissible. Green v. United States, 589 F.Supp. 834 (N.D. Ga. 1984).
     Visitation rights for former inmates established. Safley v. Turner, 586 F.Supp. 589 (W.D. Mo. 1984).
     Knowing of violation does not amount to personal involvement; not sufficient to hold officials liable. Johnson v. Lane, 596 F.Supp. 408 (N.D. Ill. 1984). Prisoner incarcerated for raping brother's wife prevented from attending brother's funeral. Boddie v. Coughlin, 583 F.Supp. 352 (S.D. N.Y. 1984).
     Prison rule on visitation improperly set forth. Department of Corrections v. Sumner, 447 So.2d 1388 (Fla. App. 1984).
     Denial of visitation privileges to inmate's wife may have been improper. Morgan v. DeRobertis, 582 F Supp. 271 (N.D. Ill. 1984).
     Jail chaplain should not be in charge of visitations. Joseph v. Ruffo, 476 N.Y.S.2d 386 (App. 1984).
     Legal aid members not entitled to access to prison. Legal Aid Soc. v. Ward, 472 N.Y.S.2d 914 (Ct. App. 1984).
     No harassment to blind inmate regarding mail, visitation, meals, and access to jail house lawyers. Bellamy v. Bradley, 729 F.2d 416 (6th Cir. 1984).
     Denial of visitation privileges may have been improper. Jackson v. Ill. Dept. of Corrs., 567 F.Supp. 1021 (N.D. Ill. 1983).
     Ex-inmate can be barred from prison area even though he is a paraprofessional employed by attorney. Crusoe v. DeRobertis, 714 F.2d 752 (7th Cir. 1983).
     Denial of visitation between inmates and prison volunteers was improper. Hardaway v. Kerr, 573 F. Suypp. 419 (W.D. Wis. 1983).
     No constitutional violation for short-term denial of visitation. Officials had information of possible escape attempt with aid of banned visitor. Keenum v. Amboyer, 558 F.Supp.1321 (E.D. Mich. 1983).
     Librarian suspected of helping inmate in escape attempt not allowed to visit other inmate on death row. Brisbon v. Lane, 554 F.Supp. 426 (N.D. Ill. 1983).
     Hearing required prior to termination of spouse visitation rights. Neal v. Camper, 647 S.W.2d 923 (Mo. App. 1983).
     Permissible to bar ex-inmate from prison even though he is paraprofessional employed by attorney. Crusoe v. DeRobertis, 714 F.2d 752 (7th Cir. 1983).
     Inmate has Section 1983 claim when prison officials denied his visitation privileges in violation of state statute. Jackson v. Ill. Dept. of Corrections, 567 F.Supp. 1021 (N.D. Ill. 1983).
     California court rules that contact visitation privileges must be restored to prison visitors who submit to body searches after earlier refusing to do so. In re Stone, 182 Cal.Rptr. 79 (App. 1982).
     New York court rules that correctional officials could not prohibit cousins from attending special family events where nephews, nieces and common-law wives had visitation rights. Hickson v. Coughlin, 454 N.Y.S.2d 368 (App. 1982).
     California court upholds prison regulation allowing certain prisoners overnight visitations with their "immediate family" and not with persons holding a common-law relationship. In re Cummings, 180 Cal.Rptr. 826 (Cal. 1982).
     Fifth Circuit orders further proceedings in suit by federal prisoner and his wife for improper denial of visitation privileges. Miller v. Stanmore, 636 F.2d 986 (5th Cir. 1981).
     Pennsylvania Federal Court rules that unlicensed bondsman is not entitled to access to Lehigh Co. Prison. Carey v. Beans, 500 F.Supp. 580 (E.D. Pa. 1980).
     Supreme Court refuses to review decision requiring contact visitation for pretrial detainees in New York jail. Lombard v. Cooper, 446 U.S. 984, 100 S.Ct. 2965 (1980).
     Court rules that prison officials may not ban visits by persons who refuse to be strip searched. In re French, 164 Cal.Rptr. 800 (App. 1980).
     Regulation barring all visitation by inmate's children held unconstitutional; special master appointed to review other visitation regulations. Valentine v. Engelhardt, 474 F.Supp. 294 (D. N.J. 1979).
     New York Constitution requires contact visitation. Cooper v. Harris, 424 N.Y.S.2d 168, 399 N.E.2d 1888 (N.Y. 1979).
     For earlier case discussions see: Jordan v. Wolke, 44 F.Supp. 599 (E.D. Wis. 1978); Martin v. Wainwright, 526 F.2d 938 (5th Cir. 1976); Tate v. Kassulke, 409 F.Supp. 651 (W.D. Ky. 1976); Burke v. Levi, 391 F.Supp. 186 (E.D. Va. 1975); Patterson v. Walters, 363 F.Supp. 486 (W.D. Pa. 1973); Pinkston v. Bensinger, 359 F.Supp. 95 (N.D. Ill. 1973); Brenneman v. Madigan, 343 F.Supp. 128 (N.D. Cal. 1972).

Back to list of subjects             Back to Legal Publications Menu