The_governance_of_corrections

The_governance_of_corrections - BOUNDARY CHANGES IN...

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V OLUME 2 The Governance of Corrections: Implications of the Changing Interface of Courts and Corrections by Christopher E. Smith Judicial decisions established legal standards for prison conditions and the treatment of prisoners. Prisoners used the litigation process to seek judicial enforcement of these rights-based standards that restrict- ed the autonomy previously enjoyed by correctional officials. Judicial intervention into corrections transformed corrections by pushing all correctional institutions to become professionalized, bureaucratic organizations with formal procedures and legal norms. During the 1980s and 1990s, however, the U.S. Supreme Court and Congress used their authority to force a deceleration of Federal judges’ involve- ment in correctional management. Court decisions and legislation narrowed the definitions of prisoners’ rights, required greater judicial deference to correctional administrators, and limited both prisoners’ effective utilization of civil rights litigation and Federal judges’ remedial authority. Despite these developments, the routinization of institutional procedures under the supervision of trained correctional administrators should preserve the changes initiated by court deci- sions. Moreover, the threat of future litigation continues to protect against the abandonment of correctional standards. The future inter- face of courts and corrections depends largely on developments B OUNDARY C HANGES IN C RIMINAL J USTICE O RGANIZATIONS A B S T R A C T 113 Dr. Christopher E. Smith is a Professor of Criminal Justice at Michigan State University.
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T HE G OVERNANCE OF C ORRECTIONS C RIMINAL J USTICE 2000 affecting correctional law and shaping the environment of corrections. The growth in prison populations and correctional personnel, the introduction of new technologies, and the privatization of corrections are likely to produce new issues that will attract judicial attention throughout the litigation process. 114 A B S T R A C T
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B OUNDARY C HANGES IN C RIMINAL J USTICE O RGANIZATIONS V OLUME 2 B eginning in the 1960s, a new connection between courts and corrections reshaped aspects of both institutional segments despite being unrelated to their sequential proximity. Throughout the United States, judges in both Federal and State courts asserted the authority to examine whether the condi- tions and practices in correctional institutions comport with constitutional stan- dards for the protection of offenders’ rights. The use of litigation as a tool for seeking civil rights for African-Americans, especially in areas such as school desegregation, voting rights, and housing discrimination, provided a model for policy activists pursuing the expansion and protection of constitutional rights for others in society who lacked the political power to effect change through tradi- tional legislative lobbying and voter mobilization. Because convicted offenders constitute a politically powerless minority spurned by American society, individ-
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The_governance_of_corrections - BOUNDARY CHANGES IN...

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