Vanderbilt Law Review

Article Title

Recent Development

First Page



Prisons in the United States house approximately 220,000 felons,'95 percent of whom will eventually return to society Most state legislatures have delegated to prison administrative bodies the power both to establish regulations prescribing proper prison conduct and to impose sanctions for their violation. Prison administrators thus have been granted wide latitude in establishing the procedures by which prisoners are determined to be guilty of disciplinary infractions and punished. Frequently, prisoners who allegedly have violated prison standards are not afforded notice of their offenses, are judged by their accusers, and are awarded disproportionately severe punishment, such as solitary confinement or loss of good time. Judicial review of these post-conviction disciplinary matters has been limited, for the most part, to extreme cases.' Consequently, although there is an elaborate system of constitutional safeguards to protect the individual outside of prison, these safe-guards frequently provide very little protection for one inside the prison walls. This Comment will discuss recent developments in case law which suggest that the due process clause of the fourteenth amendment requires that prison inmates be afforded certain rudimentary procedural standards in the administration of prison discipline.