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Litmus Test of Legitimacy: Independent Adjudication and Administrative Segregation

NCJ Number
Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice Volume: 48 Issue: 2 Dated: April 2006 Pages: 157-196
Michael Jackson
Date Published
April 2006
40 pages
This article reviews the history of independent adjudication in Canadian Federal corrections, discusses the underlying issues of legal principle and actual practice, and assesses the competing arguments for using independent adjudication in decisions about inmate administrative segregation, which is the most restrictive form of imprisonment.
Based on his 30 years of research, the author argues that independent adjudication of administrative segregation is required to ensure a fair and unbiased hearing, compliance with the relevant laws, and the protection of inmates' rights and privileges during segregation, as well as the implementation of reintegration plans. This position has also been held by numerous official Canadian bodies that have studied the issue. Administrative segregation is intended to prevent an inmate from associating with the general population. It can be used whenever the institutional head has reasonable grounds to believe that the inmate's continued presence in the general population jeopardizes the security of the facility or the safety of any person, including the prisoner himself/herself, or would interfere with a serious investigation. In all cases, the institutional head must be satisfied that there is no alternative but to segregate the inmate and ensure that the inmate will be returned to the general inmate population as soon as possible. If independent adjudication were to be used in the implementation of administrative segregation, the independent adjudicator would ensure that there was a factual basis to justify segregation, measured against specific criteria; the adjudicator would assess the reliability of confidential information that could not be disclosed to the inmate and would ensure that the inmate received a fair hearing and was able to present an answer and defense to any allegations made against him/her. Further, the adjudicator would monitor compliance with the time constraints for segregation and law regarding conditions for segregation. 13 notes and 28 references