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Impact of Entitlement Analysis - Due Process in Correctional Administrative Hearings

NCJ Number
University of Florida Law Review Volume: 33 Issue: 2 Dated: (Winter 1981) Pages: 151-167
T H Gooding
Date Published
17 pages
The article uses two major analytical models -- entitlement analysis and impact analysis -employed in judicial decisions dealing with prisoners' and parolees' constitutional rights, to analyze due process protections afforded prisoners and parolees in parole revocation and release hearings and in prison disciplinary proceedings.
Courts have shown a willingness to recognize and protect prisoners' and parolees' constitutional rights. The courts' rulings have done much to allow the due process clause to perform its intended function of guarding vulnerable inmates from arbitrary governmental action. However, by adopting a narrow entitlement view in many recent decisions, the Supreme Court has required that prisoners have a statutory right to an interest before it may be constitutionally protected. The Court has ignored the significant impact or grievous loss a prisoner may suffer from arbitrary governmental action regarding some interest of life, liberty, or property which is not anchored upon a specific statutory foundation. Such a view of due process protections places a large, unchecked power in the legislature and is contrary to the Court's clear constitutional mandate under the 14th amendment to oversee State authority affecting such interests. Even when an interest is found requiring constitutional protections, the Court has been primarily concerned with the State's additional burden in supplying procedural due process protections in correctional administrative hearings. Largely ignored are the benefits to the State of fair, accurate decisions in these proceedings that additional due process safeguards would help ensure. The legislatures should supply these safeguards even if the Court will not. Footnotes are included. (Author summary modified)