University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
Title "Beard v. Banks"
Date Jun 28, 2006
Author Oyez
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Abstract Pennsylvania houses "incorrigible, recalcitrant" prisoners in the Long Term Segregation Unit (LTSU). Ronald Banks was one of about 40 prisoners in level 2 of the LTSU, which is reserved for the most dangerous, worst-behaved inmates. It is the policy of the LTSU to impose severe restrictions on the privileges of level 2 inmates. In particular, level 2 prisoners are the only ones denied newspapers, magazines, and photographs. Beard, the Secretary of the PA Department of Corrections, argued that this policy was necessary to promote rehabilitation and ensure prison safety. Banks brought a suit challenging the policy as a violation of the First Amendment. On the recommendation of a Magistrate Judge, the District Court ruled in favor of Beard. On appeal, however, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals reversed. The Circuit Court found that the prison's policy failed to meet the test laid down by the Supreme Court in Turner v. Safley. The Third Circuit held that the First Amendment rights of the prisoners took precedence, because the policy was unrelated to the goal of rehabilitation, and an ineffective method of increasing prison safety.
Source Oyez

This Resource Relates To
case Banks v. Beard (PC-PA-0025)

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