PRISON JUSTICE

by Julian Heicklen

If an inmate commits an infraction of prison rules, a misconduct report can be filed by a correctional officer or member of the staff. At this point the inmate could be taken into administrative custody (AC) and placed in the restricted housing unit (RHU), also known as solitary confinement, if there is deemed to be a security reason. For example the defendant or other inmates might be in danger.

If the infraction is of a criminal nature, the state police will be notified. The state police will investigate and file a report. If appropriate, the state police will send the report to the county district attorney. He will decide if the case should be prosecuted in civil criminal court.

For either a criminal or non-criminal infraction, there will be a hearing in the prison in front of a hearing examiner. The hearing examiner will either dismiss the case, find the defendant not guilty, or find the defendant guilty. If a guilty verdict is reached, the hearing examiner will assess a disciplinary penalty, which could be loss of some activities, cell restriction, or up to 90 days in disciplinary custody (DC) in RHU. The disciplinary penalty starts immediately, before the appeal process begins.

The inmate may appeal the decision of the hearing examiner to the Program Review Committee (PRC), then to the Superintendent of the prison, and finally to the Department of Corrections office in Camp Hill, PA. At any of the three appeal levels, the decision of the hearing examiner can be modified or reversed.

Below are links to actual case histories.

Kenneth Charles (Posted December 15, 1997)

Robert Robinson (Posted April 6, 1998)

Eric Robinson (Posted June 30, 1998)

Curtis Manning (Posted October 14, 1998)

Larry Hamilton (Posted December 13, 1998)