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Indeterminate Sentences in Supermax Prisons Based upon Alleged Gang Affiliations: A Reexamination of Procedural Protection and a Proposal for Greater Procedural Requirements

Scott N. Tachiki
California Law Review
Vol. 83, No. 4 (Jul., 1995), pp. 1115-1149
DOI: 10.2307/3480899
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3480899
Page Count: 35
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Indeterminate Sentences in Supermax Prisons Based upon Alleged Gang Affiliations: A Reexamination of Procedural Protection and a Proposal for Greater Procedural Requirements
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Abstract

In recent years, the power and pervasiveness of prison gangs have posed substantial problems for prison officials. In response, many states have adopted policies that segregate "known" prison gang members to highly restrictive "supermax" prisons such as California's Pelican Bay State Penitentiary. Federal courts have held that an inmate accused of gang affiliation is entitled to certain procedural safeguards before being transferred to a supermax prison facility. Specifically, alleged prison gang members are afforded the same procedural protections as prisoners facing temporary administrative transfers. This Comment argues that equating the procedural protections due in administrative transfers with those of supermax prison transfers based on gang affiliation disregards the severity of confinement in a supermax facility and the purpose upon which such facilities were built. In response, the author argues that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment necessitates that segregation decisions be based upon evidence of an actual infraction of prison rules, rather than the mere "status" of gang affiliation.

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