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Free Exercise of Religion (Part 1): Evolution of Prisoner Rights

By Gary W. DeLand The Right of Free Exercise Free exercise of religion is one of the most valued of the rights guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. Many of the earliest settlers in the American Colonies emigrated from Europe to avoid religious persecution (e.g., the Puritans, the Huguenots, the Quakers); thus, the Founding Fathers recognized religion as a requisite freedom. The right to free exercise of religion was considered of such...

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Prisoner Recreation: Right or Privilege?

A participant in a corrections law training session once asked me in frustration why prisoners should be entitled to recreation. He pointed out he had to pay $75 a month to belong to an exercise club, while his county had just consented to build a fully-equipped exercise room for the inmates in the jail. Is recreation or exercise a right, or a privilege? The first thing which must be done is to distinguish between recreation and...

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Staff Training and Prisoner Litigation

by Gary W. DeLand Editor’s Note: This article discusses constitutional issues associated with training. In 1971, after nearly a decade as a deputy sheriff working mostly as a plainclothes investigator, I found myself assigned to a completely alien environment—the Salt Lake County Jail.  Other than dropping prisoners off after I had arrested them, my experience in, and knowledge of, the jail was virtually nonexistent.  I took...

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Effective Preparation to Provide Sworn Testimony

Effective Preparation to Provide Sworn Testimony by Gary W. DeLand Being able to testify effectively in court is an important skill for both law enforcement and corrections officers.  Law enforcement officers must testify at criminal trials and both cops and corrections officers often find themselves in civil court testifying in civil suits.  Although, the testimony of law enforcement and corrections officers plays a significant role...

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Solitary Confinement: Essential Management Tool or Cruel Punishment?

Author:  Gary W. DeLand Prisoner advocates over the last few years have engaged in a growing drumbeat of opposition to the use of isolation in the management of prison and jail prisoners.  What they may not be able to end via prisoner-filed litigation they are attacking in the public relations and political arenas.  Isolation – whether administrative or disciplinary – is a commonly used means of separating prisoners for their own...

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