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


     Back to list of subjects             Back to Legal Publications Menu

Prisoner Classification

     Monthly Law Journal Article: Prisoner Classification and Gang Activity, 2013 (11) AELE Mo. L. J. 301.

     A prisoner claimed that the defendant prison employees falsely classified him as a gang member in retaliation for him filing a federal civil rights lawsuit against their co-workers. California courts rejected his claim for habeas relief, finding sufficient evidence to support the gang classification. A federal appeals court ruled that this determination by the California courts precluded the prisoner’s subsequent federal civil rights lawsuit asserting claims for violation of his First Amendment retaliation and equal protection rights based on the same classification. The appeals court held that the same primary right—the prisoner’s right to be free from unlawful gang validation and placement in segregated housing —was at issue in both suits. Because the suit involved the same cause of action between the same parties after a final judgment on the merits of the first suit, the subsequent suit was barred. Furnace v. Giurbino, #13-17620, 838 F.3d 1019 (9th Cir. 2016).
     A Massachusetts correctional policy of using discretionary override codes to block juvenile homicide offenders from being placed in a minimum security facility unless and until they had received a positive parole vote violated a state statute barring a categorical ban on such placement and requiring a consideration on suitability for minimum security classification on a case-by-case basis. The practice did not, however, violate juvenile homicide offenders' right to a meaningful opportunity to obtain release based on demonstrated maturity and rehabilitation because there is no constitutionally protected expectation under the Eight Amendment or Mass. Const. Decl. Rights art. 26 that a juvenile homicide offender will be released to the community after serving a statutorily prescribed portion of his or her sentence. Deal v. Comm'r of Correction, #SJC-12053, 475 Mass. 307, 56 N.E.3d 800 (Mass. 2016).
     A prisoner was placed in a Special Management Unit (SMU), a unit intended for those with a history of violence and prisoners who “participated in or had leadership roles in geographical groups/gang related activity." He sued, claiming that through a pattern, practice, or policy, prison officials often placed inmates with hostile cellmates, unnecessarily increasing the risk of violence. He also claimed that those who refused to accept a hostile cellmate were placed in painful restraints. He was transferred out of the facility, but a federal appeals court found that his class claims were not moot. When individual claims for relief are acutely susceptible to mootness, a would-be class representative may, in some circumstances, continue to seek certification after losing his personal stake in the case, and that applied to the plaintiff in this case. He could continue to seek class certification. Richardson v. Dir., Fed. Bureau of Prisons, #15-2876, 2016 U.S. App. Lexis 12997 (3rd Cir.).
     A federal appeals court found no error in summary judgment granted to prison officials rejecting a prisoner's claim that they violated his procedural due process rights by classifying him as a sex offender, although he had committed no crime requiring him to register as such. He was classified as a sex offender based on an assessment of the risk that he would commit such crimes, given the types of crimes he had committed. That classification did not implicate his liberty interests under the due process clause and the individual defendants, further, were entitled to qualified immunity from liability. Toney v. Owens, #14-50331, 2015 U.S. App. Lexis 2863 (5th Cir.).
     A prisoner stabbed a correctional officer in the chest with some wire from a fence. He was then transferred to a supermax unit and assigned to an incentive level program. He claimed that his placement there violated his constitutional rights, including due process and equal protection. The Arkansas Supreme Court ruled that the complaint was properly dismissed as the prisoner failed to raise any valid constitutional issue. Waller v. Banks, #CV-11-403, 2013 Ark. 399, 2013 Ark. Lexis 476.
    A pretrial detainee in a county detention facility was housed in a maximum security cellblock because of a history of problems during a prior detention and a parole hold. While housed there another inmate severely beat him. He sued, claiming that the approach used in classifying detainees for cellblock placement created a risk to his safety by not taking steps to separate violent offenders from nonviolent ones, leading to his assault. Upholding summary judgment for the defendant sheriff's department, a federal appeals court found that the plaintiff failed to provide any real evidence that the security classification policy in effect represented a systematic failure to avoid obvious risks to detainee safety. Smith v. Sangamon Cnty. Sheriff's Dep't., #11-1979, 2013 U.S. App. Lexis 7830 (7th Cir.).
     A California prisoner challenged his validation as an associate of the Mexican Mafia prison gang, claiming that the regulation under which this was carried out was void for vagueness. A federal appeals court rejected this claim, finding that the regulation was sufficiently particular in spelling out what types of conduct could result in validation. The record showed that the validation was supported by "some evidence," which was a sufficient legal standard. Castro v. Terhune, #11-16837, 2013 U.S. App. Lexis 6905 (9th Cir.).
     Two California prisoners claimed that authorities violated their rights by validating them as active gang associates. In the case of both prisoners, the decisions were based on three sources of information, a minimum number mandated by state regulations, and included gang rosters and other gang documents as well as a debriefing report by another prisoner involved in gang activity. As to one prisoner, there was adequate evidence of his gang involvement. As to the other prisoner, however, the debriefing report lacked specifics about his involvement in any gang-related conduct or acts. The court also ruled that due process was required before validating a prisoner as an active gang associate, because the decision had an impact on a prisoners' housing and credits, but the lack of any procedure for the prisoners to call witnesses and the limited disclosure of confidential information did not violate due process because concerns about institutional safety justified using less demanding procedural protections. In re Fernandez, #C070016, 2013 Cal. App. Lexis 31.
     A prisoner serving two consecutive sentences for conspiracy to distribute heroin and for possession of a prohibited object challenged the determination of the Federal Bureau of Prisons that, given his history, his placement in a halfway house for 5-6 months prior to his release at the end of his sentence was adequate, despite legislation that empowered them to place him there for up to 12 months. The determination was not an abuse of discretion and did not fail to comply with 42 U.S.C. § 17541, the Federal prisoner reentry initiative. Vasquez v. Strada, #12-1114, 684 F.3d 431 (3rd Cir. 2012).
     California prison regulations provided that classifying a prisoner as a gang member could have the consequence of him being housed in a security housing unit. An intermediate appeals court granted a petitioner habeas relief from being designated a gang member, as it disagreed with the department's interpretation of the regulation at issue. The California Supreme Court overturned that ruling, finding that the appeals court had failed to appropriately defer to the corrections department's interpretation of its own regulations. The department interpreted the regulation as not requiring proof of two-way interaction between the prisoner and another inmate already deemed a gang affiliate. The department's policy of classifying some inmates as gang affiliates based on their own unilateral actions was not clearly unreasonable. In re Cabrera, #S19728, 2012 Cal. Lexis 9985.
     A prisoner argued that he was improperly classified as a member of a Security Threat Group in violation of his constitutional rights. Rejecting this argument, a federal appeals court noted that a "prisoner has no liberty interest in his custodial classification." His resulting confinement in administrative segregation was not so restrictive as to implicate a liberty interest. Flores v. Livingston, #10-10280, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 26304 (Unpub. 5th Cir.).
     A number of inmates claimed that prison officials violated their rights by classifying them as associated with members of the Prison Motorcycle Brotherhood and refusing to grant them access to their files for the purpose of reviewing and challenging their classification. The appeals court upheld dismissal of claims regarding their classification, as they failed to show that the officials had participated in their classifications. The prisoners also failed to show how access to their personal files would affect any due process right they had. Jenner v. Backus, #09-1093, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 17618 (Unpub. 10th Cir.).
     A psychiatrist, a psychologist, and an intern were entitled to absolute immunity on a prisoner's claims arising from their actions in preparing reports at the request of a state court that resulted in him being housed in a more restrictive special housing unit rather than in a "special needs unit." The defendants were functioning as n arm f the court in preparing the reports. Further, the prisoner did not have a constitutionally protected liberty interest in any particular classification. Lewis v. Pearsall, #08-786, 2009 U.S. Dist. Lexis 9707 (D. Del.).
     Bureau of Prisons (BOP) regulations allowing the transfer of prisoners to community correctional facilities (Residential Re-Entry Centers or RRC) only during the final ten percent of their sentences held to violate statutory provisions enacted by Congress giving the BOP authority to transfer prisoners to such facilities at any time. Rodriguez v. Smith, No. 07-16014, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 18918 (9th Cir.).
     A security threat group (STG) policy under which a prisoner was classified and housed as a member of such a group did not constitute impermissible additional punishment for his crimes. Additionally, the prisoner failed to show that his STG classification was based on retaliation rather than legitimate penological goals. Ramirez v. Guinn, No. 06-16553, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 6738 (9th Cir.).
     Sex offender's objection to the application of a mental health category to him without "due process of law" rejected, as no violation of any constitutionally protected liberty interest was involved, since the categorization did not concern a hospital placement. Classification as a sexual offender was justified by his past convictions of three counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct and one count of first-degree criminal sexual conduct. Disability discrimination claims under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. Sec. 12131 et seq., and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. Sec. 794 were rejected because the definition of "disability" in those statutes specifically excludes "sexual behavior disorders." Rice v. Mich. Dept. of Corrections, No. 1:07-CV-578, 2007 U.S. Dist. Lexis 83792 (W.D. Mich).
     Prisoner's claims concerning the alleged violation of his rights as a result of his classification as a gang member and placement in administrative segregation were either frivolous or meritless. Additionally, his claims for injunctive relief were moot since he had been released from prison. The conditions he was allegedly subjected to, such as the denial of access to salt and pepper, denial of participation in work and education programs, and denial of access to television and games were not sufficient to show a deprivation of constitutionally protected liberty interests. The alleged limitation of access to legal research to only three days a week was found not to have denied his right of access to the courts. Farr v. Rodriguez, No. 05-41395, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 28191 (5th Cir.).
     The New York Department of Corrections acted in an "arbitrary and capricious manner" in failing to provide an inmate with a written statement of why he was denied the right to call witnesses at a hearing to determine whether he should be placed in "close custody" on the basis of his alleged gang influence and ability to "orchestrate" violence. The DOC's own regulations required such a statement and there was nothing in the hearing record to indicate why the prisoner's request to call witnesses was denied. The court ordered a new hearing. Matter of Singh v. Okada, #403573/07, 2007 N.Y. Misc. Lexis 6880 (Supreme Court, N.Y. County).
     Prison officials did not violate inmate's rights by classifying him as a security risk without a hearing after he was accused of planning to escape by using a passport his twin brother had provided him. The state of Connecticut had not given inmates a protected liberty interest in their security classifications, and the deprivations he allegedly suffered were not an "atypical and significant hardship." Additionally, the court noted, prisoners do not generally have constitutionally protected liberty interests in classifications that allow them to participate in rehabilitative programs (one of the arguments the prisoner put forward for why he was entitled to a hearing. Taylor v. Levesque, No. 06-0356, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 21178 (2nd Cir.).
     Oklahoma state law did not create an expectation that a prisoner would be held in any particular facility and his transfer and classification reduction did not violate his constitutional rights. Prison officers needed to be able to house and classify prisoners as they deemed necessary for security purposes, and the prisoner was not entitled to a hearing before his classification was reduced. Gauthier v. Higgins, No. 06-7102, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 8396 (10th Cir.).
     Prisoners housed in "Capital Case Unit" in Pennsylvania prison failed to show that their rights were violated when they were not transferred from there to the general population when their death sentences were vacated or overturned. The state Department of Corrections had discretion as to where to house such prisoners, and the prisoners failed to show that remaining where they were subjected them to "atypical and significant" hardships in relation to the "ordinary incidents of prison life." Clark v. Beard, No. 644 C.D. 2006, 2007 Pa. Commw. Lexis 61.
     Placement of a prisoner into a "level IV" rather than a "level III" prison in California did not violate a 14th Amendment due process liberty interest or violate the Eighth Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment when the prisoner did not suffer an "atypical and significant hardship" by reason of the classification. Myron v. Terhune, No. 04-15770, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 2818 (9th Cir.). [N/R]
     Bureau of prisons regulations barring a prisoner's transfer to a Community Correctional Center (CCC) until only 10% of his sentence remained to be served were a violation of the intent of Congress in 18 U.S.C. Sec. 3621(b) that all decisions regarding placement and transfers of inmates be made on an individual basis. Wedelstedt v. Wiley, No. 06-1461, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 3701 (10th Cir.). [N/R]
     Policy under which prisoner's status was changed to a more restrictive classification, rendering him ineligible to participate in employment or other prison programs or make phone calls, and the application of that policy without written notice did not inflict an "atypical or significant hardship" and therefore did not violate his due process rights. Padilla v. Beard, No. 06-2900, 2006 U.S. App. Lexis 28439 (3rd Cir.). [N/R]
     Prisoner transferred to Supermax facility received all due process required in hearing even though the findings were eventually overturned and he was transferred out again. Prisoner himself failed to pursue claim that the hearing should have been held before his transfer. Lagerstrom v. Kingston, No. 06-1521, 2006 U.S. App. Lexis 22741 (7th Cir.). [2006 JB Nov]
     Prisoner in Colorado correctional facility failed to show that either local or state law required that the Department of Corrections hold a hearing concerning whether a prisoner could be referred for a placement in a community corrections program, and court rules that it could not review the issue of whether the Department improperly included immigration detainers, such as the one the prisoner had, as an exclusionary factor for community corrections placement. The prisoner was also not entitled to a hearing on the question of whether the Department had properly determined that he was a flight risk. Rivera-Bottzeck v. Ortiz, No. 04CA1628, 134 P.3d 517 (Colo. App. 2006). [N/R]
     Bureau of Prisons, in deciding whether to transfer an inmate to a community corrections center must consider the factors spelled out in 18 U.S.C. Sec. 3621(b). Federal appeals court upholds challenge to BOP regulation limiting a prisoner's placement in a CCC to the lesser of six months or ten percent of his sentence of imprisonment. Levine v. Apker, No. 05-2590, 455 F.3d 71(2d Cir. 2006). [N/R]
     New Mexico prisoner incarcerated in California prison failed to state a claim against New Mexico correctional authorities for alleged violations of his rights in connection with prisoner classification hearings and alleged denial of adequate recreation. Garcia v. LeMaster, No. 04-2280, 439 F.3d 1215 (10th Cir. 2006). [2006 JB May]
     Federal appeals court finds that Bureau of Prisons regulation limiting prisoners' placement in halfway houses to a maximum of ten percent of their sentences violates a statute requiring a determination of eligibility for such placement based on consideration of specific criteria. Fults v. Sanders, No. 05-3490, 2006 U.S. App. Lexis 8289 (8th Cir.). [2006 JB May]
     Federal prison regulations limiting prisoners' placements in community confinement ruled invalid by federal appeals court. Woodall v. Fed. Bureau of Prisons, No. 05-3657, 2005 U.S. App. Lexis 27413 (3d Cir.). [2006 JB Feb]
     Connecticut prisoner had no constitutionally protected due process liberty interest in retaining a particular security classification or placement in a less restrictive half-way house or work-release setting, and therefore had no right to any particular procedures before being designated a "Security Risk Group Threat Member." Harris v. Meulemans, No. 3:02 CV 1580, 389 F. Supp. 2d 438 (D. Conn. 2005). [N/R]
     Missouri's creation and use of revised prisoner classification policies, which resulted in a prisoner's reclassification and transfer to a higher security center did not amount to an unconstitutional retroactive enhancement of his punishment in violation of the "ex post facto" prohibitions of the U.S. or state constitutions. Davis v. Kempker, No. WD 64237, 167 S.W.3d 721 (Mo. App. W.D. 2005). [N/R]
     Designating a prisoner as a member of a "Security Threat Group" on the basis of gang activity without a prior hearing did not violate his rights. Harbin-Bey v. Rutter, No. 04-1458, 2005 U.S. App. Lexis 17511 (6th Cir.). [2005 JB Oct]
     Trial court improperly dismissed prisoner's lawsuit against probation officer claiming that his placement in a detention facility was a violation of his rights when there were court orders requiring that he be placed in a halfway house for his alleged probation violation. The lawsuit was not barred by the rule in Heck v. Humphrey, No. 93-6188, 512 U.S. 477 (1994) when it only challenged his confinement in one facility instead of another, and did not challenge either the duration or fact of his confinement. Taylor v. U.S. Probation Office, No. 03-5370, 409 F.3d 426 (D.C. Cir. 2005). [N/R]
     Unanimous U.S. Supreme Court finds that procedures Ohio adopted to govern its placement of its most dangerous prisoners at its "Supermax" facilities are constitutionally adequate to satisfy due process. Such procedures, while providing prisoners with an opportunity to present information and receive notice concerning the basis for the proposed classification, need not be full-blown adversary proceedings, and the prisoners' rights were not violated by their inability to call witnesses at the hearings. Wilkinson v. Austin, No. 04-495, 125 S. Ct. 2384 (2005). [2005 JB Aug]
     A non-profit charity that owns and operates eighteen community corrections centers in seven states did not have standing to pursue a legal challenge to a Bureau of Prisons' policy that had the effect of reducing the number of federal prisoners who could serve all or part of their sentences in such centers by claiming that the policy was an abuse of discretion. The appeals court found that the prisoners affected by the policy would be more appropriate plaintiffs for such a claim. Dismas Charities, Inc. v. U.S. Dept. of Justice, No. 03-6502, 401 F.3d 666 (6th Cir. 2005). [N/R]
     Federal Bureau of Prisons did not violate a prisoner's due process rights when it refused to transfer him to another facility where he could participate in a residential drug abuse treatment program based on his classification as a security risk. The classification was based on his "undisputed" record of misconduct while incarcerated and his own voluntary action in providing information to prison officials about gang activity, resulting in a need to protect him from possible assault by placement in a special housing unit. Beckley v. Miner, No. 04-4081, 125 Fed. Appx. 385 (3rd Cir. 2005). [N/R]
     Prisoner's claim that his due process rights were violated when he was classified by prison officials as a sex offender because of an accusation by a female prison guard that he deliberately masturbated in his cell for her to see was not frivolous. Prisoner claimed that he was improperly denied the opportunity to present witnesses at a hearing on the sex offender classification. The appeals court does, however, reject as frivolous his equal protection and Eighth Amendment claims. Fistell v. Neet, No. 03-1285, 125 Fed. Appx. 219 (10th Cir. 2005). [N/R]
     U.S. Supreme Court to examine what due process is required before placing prisoners in a "super-maximum security" facility. Austin v. Wilkinson, #02-3429, 372 F.3d 346(6th Cir. 2004), cert. granted, Wilkinson v. Austin, 04-495, 2004 U.S. Lexis 8174. [2005 JB Feb]
     Federal appeals court rules that Bureau of Prison's policy of limiting prisoner placement in Community Corrections Centers to the lesser of six months or ten percent of the prisoner' sentence is based on an incorrect interpretation of the applicable statutes. Elwood v. Jeter, No. 04-2253, 386 F.3d 842 (8th Cir. 2004). [2005 JB Feb]
     Mississippi prisoner failed to show that the state Department of Corrections acted in an arbitrary and capricious manner in reclassifying his custody status. Prisoners do not have a property or liberty interest, under either the U.S. Constitution or Mississippi state law, in a particular custodial classification or housing assignment. Further, the prisoner himself admitted that he had received an administrative hearing, that an investigation was conducted, and that relevant evidence was presented at the hearing concerning his alleged activities as a leader of a gang called the "Gangster Disciples" prior to the change in his classification. Hurns v. Mississippi Department of Corrections, No. 2002-CP-01895-COA, 878 So. 2nd 223 (Miss. App. 2004). [N/R]
     Federal Bureau of Prison's changed interpretation of statute, 18 U.S.C. Sec. 3621(b) as limiting its authority to place prisoners in community confinement centers (CCC) to only the final ten percent or six months of a sentence, whichever was less, was not entitled to deference, as it was a legal interpretation of a statute, rather than a regulation adopted pursuant to the BOP's rule-making authority. Court rules that the interpretation was invalid, since the statute grants the BOP the authority to designate or transfer prisoners to a CCC at any time prior to the end of their sentence. Further, any application of this policy to the plaintiff prisoner's sentence was an improper retroactive enhancement of his punishment, violative of the "ex post facto" clause of the U.S. Constitution. Crowley v. Federal Bureau of Prisons, 312 F. Supp. 2d 453 (S.D.N.Y. 2004). [N/R]
     Ohio prisoners had a protected liberty interest in not being placed in a "supermax" high-security facility without due process. Federal appeals court upholds trial judge's injunctive orders concerning procedures to be followed prior to placement, including specific notice of grounds for placement and evidence to be relied on, but also finds that trial court went too far in modifying substantive state regulations, such as specifying the amount of drug possession or level of gang involvement required before placement in the "supermax" facility. Austin v. Wilkinson, #02-3429, 2004 U.S. App. Lexis 11414 (6th Cir.). [2004 JB Jul]
     Establishment of new guidelines governing security classifications, work release, and family leave were not unconstitutional "ex post facto" laws increasing prisoners' punishment retroactively. They were not laws, but merely guidelines promulgated as an exercise of discretion and correctional officials had the authority to modify them. Watkins v. Secretary, Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, No. 118, 831 A.2d 1079 (Md. 2003). [N/R]
    Prisoner was entitled to a preliminary injunction against the Bureau of Prisons' (BOP) new regulation which had the effect of delaying his release to a halfway house until 90% of his sentence had been served. Prisoner claimed that regulation was adopted in violation of Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. Sec. 553 (b,c,d). Colton v. Ashcroft, 299 F. Supp. 2d 681 (E.D. Ky. 2004). [N/R]
     Placement of intersexual (hermaphrodite) prisoner with both male and female characteristics in segregated confinement for 438 days with severely limited privileges solely because of status of ambiguous gender was not a violation of the Eighth Amendment. Such placement was not aimed at punishment, but at protecting the safety of the inmate and other prisoners, and the plaintiff prisoner was provided with all basic necessities. Court also rejects equal protection claim. Continuation of administrative segregation beyond 30 days, however, without a hearing and with no attempt to "elevate" prisoner's living conditions was "completely arbitrary and capricious," and lacked a rational basis. Prison officials should have known this, and were therefore not entitled to qualified immunity, but only nominal damages of $1 were awarded, in the absence of evidence of actual harm, such as lasting mental or physical damages resulting from the segregated confinement. Plaintiff would also be awarded expert costs, attorneys' fees, and court costs as a prevailing party under 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1988. DiMarco v. Wyoming Dept. of Corrections, 300 F. Supp. 2d 1183 (D. Wyo. 2004). [N/R]
     U.S. Supreme Court to review issue of whether California prison practice of routinely segregating prisoners by race during initial period of incarceration is permissible for purposes of preventing racial violence, as federal appeals court ruled, or unconstitutional discrimination in violation of the right to equal protection. Johnson v. California, #03-636, 72 U.S. Law Week 3551 (March 1, 2004). [2004 JB Apr]
     Bureau of Prisons' application to prisoner of a statutory requirement limiting the amount of time an inmate can spend in a community confinement center to 10% of his total sentence was not a violation of his rights. The fact that the prisoner was sentenced before a Deputy Attorney General's opinion on the subject was issued did not alter the result. Adler v. Menifee, 293 F. Supp. 2d 363 (S.D.N.Y. 2003). [N/R]
     Federal Bureau of Prisons' policy deciding that it lacked discretion to place low-risk federal prisoners in community corrections centers was based on a "clearly erroneous" interpretation of a controlling federal statute, 18 U.S.C. Sec. 3621, and the bureau's conclusion was therefore not entitled to deference. Court orders bureau to reconsider the designation of place of imprisonment for each of the plaintiff prisoners. Estes v. Federal Bureau of Prisons, 273 F. Supp. 2d 1301 (S.D. Ala. 2003). [N/R]
     Virginia prisoner had no right to be housed in a state correctional facility rather than a local jail, even if the facilities and opportunities for participation in programs such as work release, paid work, furlough, contact visits, additional exercise, and vocational training were not the same. This did not violate equal protection when prisoners were not classified on the basis of a suspect class, such as race, and there was a rational basis for disparate treatment. Khalig v. Angelone, #02-7365, 72 Fed. Appx. 895 (4th Cir. 2003). [N/R]
     Federal trial court enjoins U.S. Bureau of Prisons from transferring prisoner out of community corrections center into prison for service of his sentence for bank fraud previously plea-bargained for. The Bureau of Prison's new policy precluding community corrections center confinement, allowed for the previous 17 years, may well be additional punishment, the court stated, barred by the double jeopardy clause of the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The court agreed that it (the new policy) was contrary to the plaintiff prisoner's expectations when he entered into the plea bargain. Ashkenazi v. Attorney General of the U.S., 246 F. Supp. 2d 1 (D.D.C. 2003). [N/R]
     Indiana prisoner had no constitutionally protected right to a hearing concerning his transfer from protective custody. "Classification matters should be left to prison authorities unless there are clear constitutional violations involved." Miller v. McBride, 259 F. Supp. 2d 738 (N.D. Ind. 2001). [N/R]
     Private corporation operating correctional facility was not liable for violating a prisoner's liberty interest by placing him in medium security status. Prisoner was not entitled to any particular status and the company's officials had explained the basis for the classification. Additionally, his placement in disciplinary segregation for committing a battery while in prison did not violate his rights when there was nothing "atypical" about the conditions in segregation. The city in which the prison was located could not be held liable for any alleged violation of the prisoner's rights when there was nothing to show that the city had any role in operating the prison. Byrd v. Cornell Corrections, Inc., No. 02-6316, 60 Fed. Appx. 191 (10th Cir. 2003). [N/R]
     Admitted policy of using race as a factor--even the dominant factor--in assigning new inmates with their initial cell mate for a 60 day period did not constitute racial discrimination in violation of the right to equal protection. Johnson v. State of California, No. 01-56436, 321 F.3d 791 (9th Cir. 2003). [2003 JB Jun]
    Kansas correctional "incentive programs" placing prisoners in various "levels" and according them privileges accordingly based on their participation in what prisoners described as "involuntary behavioral modification" systems did not violate prisoners' due process rights. Love v. McKune, #01-3332, 33 Fed. Appx. 369 (10th Cir. 2002). [2002 JB Aug]
     Prisoner who was reclassified into a classification in which he could not earn good time credits based on a disciplinary conviction for failing to obey prison's grooming policy could not pursue federal civil rights claim for damages when the disciplinary conviction had not previously been set aside. Diaz v. Terhune, 173 F. Supp. 2d 1026 (N.D. Cal. 2001). [2002 JB Mar]
    Removing inmate from a "house arrest" program and placing him in the general prison population after allegedly refusing to allow prisoner to present witnesses and evidence at a classification committee hearing or to let his lawyer participate was arbitrary and capricious. Edwards v. Booker, #2000-CA-00283-SCT, 796 So. 2d 991 (Miss. 2001). [2002 JB Feb]
     284:125 County liable for $40,000 for injuries to prisoner in protective custody who was attacked by two gang member pre-trial detainees in common recreation area; court rules that policy allowing prisoners with different security levels to take recreation together was deliberate indifference in light of knowledge of specific threats to plaintiff prisoner. Miller v. Shelby County, Tenn., 93 F. Supp. 2d 892 (W.D. Tenn. 2000).
     286:156 Prisoner who was classified as a sexual offender under an Alabama state statute, despite never having been convicted of a sex related offense was entitled to due process before such classification because of the "stigmatizing" effect of this classification; second prisoner who had been convicted of a sex related offense could not challenge sex offender community notification statute while incarcerated, since it did not affect him prior to his release. Kirry v. Siegelman, Nos. 98-6236, 98-6672, 195 F.3d 1285 (11th Cir. 1999).
     272:121 District of Columbia did not violate Spanish-speaking prisoners' rights by failing to provide official interpreters for all disciplinary, classification, housing, or other institutional hearings, or by failing to have bilingual medical personnel. Franklin v. District of Columbia, #97-7162, 163 F.3d 625 (D.C. Cir. 1998).
     255:41 Kentucky prisoner's retention in medium security classification after reclassification committee recommended minimum security classification did not violate his due process or equal protection rights when possibility of override of committee recommendations was explicitly provided for by correctional policy. Mahoney v. Carter, 938 S.W.2d 575 (Ky. 1997).
     247:102 Prisoner could sue correctional officials for alleged failure to provide him with qualified sign language interpreter for disciplinary and classification hearings; federal appeals court rules, however, that formal certification of interpreter was not required, as a matter of law, under federal disability discrimination law. Duffy v. Riveland, 98 F.3d 447, 1996 U.S. App. Lexis 26529 (9th Cir. 1996).
     [N/R] Prison superintendent's failure to wait for classification committee's recommendation before reducing inmate's classification from minimum security to medium security did not violate due process. Griffin-El v. Delo, 34 F.3d 602 (8th Cir. 1994).
     Reclassification/administrative detention of cuban inmate facing deportation did not violate rights; justified by riots elsewhere. Vallina v. Meese, 704 F.Supp. 769 (E.D. Mich. 1989).
     Inmate's due process rights were not violated by consideration of hearsay materials in making classification determination. Wolfe v. State, 759 P.2d 950 (Idaho App. 1988).
     Policy assigning women to high security unit on basis of their radical political beliefs and alleged association with revolutionary organizations declared unconstitutional. Baraldini v. Meese, 691 F.Supp. 432 (D.D.C. 1988).
     Inmates reclassified and relocated from work camp to main prison had no protectible due process claim. Jenkins v. Fauver, 219 N.J. Super. 170, 530 A.2d 37 (N.J. Super. A.D., 1987).
     Prisoner's classification as "violent offender" raised no constitutional issue. Hernandez v. Johnson, 833 F.2d 1316 (9th Cir. 1987).
     Assignment of dangerous inmate to administrative segregation without formal hearing did not violate his rights. Bailey v. Shillinger, 828 F.2d 651 (10th Cir. 1987).
     No denial of equal protection in allowing murderers, but not sex offenders, certain privileges. Kendking v. Smith, 781 F.2d 850 (11th Cir. 1986).
     No violation in cell placement. Freeman v. Fuller, 623 F.Supp. 1224 (D.C. Fla. 1985).
     Co. jail officials have broad discretion in classification. Marshall v. Kozakiewicz, 601 F.Supp. 1549 (W.D. Pa. 1985).
     No liability for escapee's acts. Reddish v. Smith, 468 So.2d 929 (Fla. 1985).
     Florida Supreme Court asked to decide whether classification is a discretionary function afforded immunity for assaults. Davis v. State, Dept. of Corrections, 460 So.2d 452 (Fla. App. 1984).
     Inmates ordered returned to previous status before disciplinary. Edwards v. State, 461 So.2d 39 (Ala. App. 1984).
     Correctional officer liable for racial cell assignments. Belvins v. Brew, 593 F.Supp. 245 (W.D. Wis. 1984).
     Officials can change custody classifications without due process protections. In Re Dowell, 674 P.2d 666 (Wash. 1984).
     Information not leading to conviction can be kept in inmate's personnel file. Martin v. Duckworth, 581 F.Supp. 1282 (N.D. Ind. 1984).
     Inmate in maximum security not entitled to transfer, job or group religious services; possible violation for confiscation of inmate's property. Jackson v. Hogan, 446 N.E.2d 692 (Mass. 1983).
     Inmate's past prison conduct justified decision of reclassification board to keep him in maximum security. Wilkerson v. Maggio, 703 F.2d 909 (5th Cir. 1983).
     Appeals court rules that State of Florida must explain why inmate should not be released from disciplinary confinement; vacates denial of habeas corpus petition. Costello v. Strickland, 418 So.2d 443 (Fla. App. 1982).
     Dismissal of disciplinary proceedings against inmate on a technicality held no bar to consideration of same facts by classification committee; limited due process protections suffice. Layton v. Wolff, 516 F.Supp. 629 (D. Nev. 1981).
     Injunction ordering transfer of medium-security prison to medium-security prison vaacated by Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. Wetzel v. Edwards, 635 F.2d 283 (4th Cir 1980).
     Prison officials ordered to review case of inmate who has been in segregated confinement for six and one half years. Morris v. Travisono, 499 F.Supp. 140 (D.R.I. 1980).
     Eighth Circuit rules that inmate was properly classified as a maximum security detainee. Villanueva v. George, 632 F.2d 707 (8th Cir. 1980).
     Correctional officials who believed inmate was a security risk kept her in restrictive custody for a prolonged period of time; Virginia District Court rules that inmate's rights had not been violated. Bukhari v. Hutto, 487 F.Supp. 1162 (4th Cir. 1980).
     California Court rules that reclassification of inmate from medium to close custody without a hearing was a denial of due process of law. In re Westfall, 162 Cal.Rptr. 462 (App. 1980).
     Court of Appeals rules that procedural due process standards do not apply to central monitoring case classification. Makriss v. U.S. Bureau of Prisons, 606 F.2d 575 (5th Cir. 1979).
     Federal judge orders Maryland prison officials to revamp classification procedures to prevent sexual assaults. Doe v. Lally, 467 F.Supp. 1339 (D. Md. 1979).
     Ninth Circuit rules that failure of county sheriff to appoint classification committee relative to prisoner's transfer from honor camp to county jail might subject sheriff to liability under civil rights act. Johnson v. Duffy, 588 F.2d 740 (9th Cir. 1978).

Back to list of subjects             Back to Legal Publications Menu