Inside Justice: A Comparative Analysis of Practices and Procedures for the Determination of Offenses against Discipline in Prisons of Britain and the United States

By Bayard Marin | Go to book overview

10 Remedies

A remedy is any means by which a problem is resolved. In the case of a prisoner who is being unduly punished or subjected to inhuman or degrading conditions, modes of redress may range from simply talking to his wing officer to pursuing a long, grueling, and expensive action through the domestic courts or even an extraterritorial forum. The following analysis will proceed from intra-agency to extra-system remedies in each country. This analysis cannot include all possible remedies, but will emphasize those which seem to hold the most promise for the resolution of matters surrounding prison offenses, punishments, practices and procedures, and conditions resulting therefrom.


United States

Administrative Remedies

Intra-Agency Appeal

It will be useful here for the reader to refer to table 5 in chapter 6. Of the 52 jurisdictions surveyed, 45 of the 46 responding indicated that prisoners who are sentenced at a hearing for an offense against discipline may appeal that decision. However, only 32 of the 35 responding indicated that the prisoner is advised of a right to appeal.

Appeal usually means review of the adjustment or disciplinary committee's decision by the warden,1 superintendent,2 or chief executive officer of the institution.3 In New York, a superintendent's proceeding is reviewable by the Commissioner of Correction.4 In California, an institution appeals officer reviews disciplinary actions.5 In some cases, review is automatic.6 Such appeal generally consists of a review of the record and any additional statements made by the appellant subsequent to the hearing. There are few procedural guidelines for determining appeals and it is this writer's experience that they are handled in a rather summary manner. It is usually provided that the warden or other officer may approve, reverse, or modify the decision of the adjustment committee, but may not increase the punishment imposed.7 However, in New York, the superintendent may apparently increase the punishment given by the committee as long as such modification is "within the limits of the dispositions and actions authorized for the committee."8

Special boards, usually called program-review or segregation-review committees, are appointed in a number of jurisdictions to consider periodically the status of prisoners undergoing punishment for institutional infractions and/or determine appeals.9 The usual pattern is that such committees meet once a week with fewer hearing formalities than the initial adjudications. This writer's observations of hearings by a program-review committee in Pennsylvania were recorded in chap-

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Inside Justice: A Comparative Analysis of Practices and Procedures for the Determination of Offenses against Discipline in Prisons of Britain and the United States
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Contents 7
  • List of Tables 11
  • Foreword 13
  • Acknowledgments 15
  • 1 - Introduction 19
  • 2 - Organizational and Statutory Structure 29
  • 3 - Offenses 47
  • Notes 80
  • 4 - Punishment Practices 89
  • Notes 119
  • 5 - The Determiners 130
  • 6 - Hearings: Procedures 162
  • 7 - Judicial Review: Some Constitutional Comparisons 216
  • 8 - Judicial Review: Judicial Intervention In Prison Adjudications 224
  • 9 - Access to Remedial Sources 289
  • 10 - Remedies 327
  • 11 - Conclusion 380
  • Appendix 1 - Procedures Questionnaire 386
  • Appendix 2 - Outline for Empirical Observations 388
  • Selected Bibliography 390
  • Index 399
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