Understanding and Implementing Inmate Discipline

Inmate Discipline
Duration: 60 Minutes
Module 1Resources
Recorded on: 2019-03-20
Unit 1Slide Deck: Understanding and Implementing Inmate Discipline
Unit 2Workbook: Understanding and Implementing Inmate Discipline
Unit 3Recording:Understanding and Implementing Inmate Discipline

Instilling discipline is one of the critical roles of correctional facilities. Inmate discipline is a management tool to ensure the safety of the inmates and the corrections staff, maintain order and control within, and safeguard the facility’s security. How each correctional facility is able to do this is highly dependent on the regulations they put into place to uphold penological interests and goals.

Back on the Justice Clearinghouse is this course’s instructor, Carrie Hill. Carrie has a long prolific career in criminal justice as an attorney and consultant. She provides professional development training in correctional law, risk assessment and offensive approaches in prisoner litigation. She currently works as the Director of the NSA’s National Center for Jail Operations.

On this session, Carrie will dissect inmate discipline by zeroing in on its legal framework based on leading case laws as Turner v. Safley and Wolff v. McDonnell. Some of the points included in her presentation are:

  • The concept of substantial deference that is given to correction officials as long as regulations meet the four key elements of the Turner Test.
  • The key constitutional standards that must be taken into account when employing inmate discipline.
  • The purpose of enforcing inmate discipline, the common methods used, and the competing interests from the different parties involved.
  • A look into the Wolff v. McDonnell case that outlines some of the most important requirements of inmate discipline that highlights:
    • Keeping the discipline system simple and swift yet flexible and effective.
    • The presence of a fair and impartial Hearing Officer to maintain the records.
    • Providing notice of disciplinary action, and the pertinent elements of the notice.
    • Distinguishing between punitive and non-punitive intent and how these determine if due process is required.
    • The difference between incident and discipline reports.
    • An inmate’s right to request a hearing, call witnesses where applicable, and seek assistance to help understand the legal issues.
    • The implications of an inmate’s refusal to answer questions.
    • The standard of proof and the importance of written findings to serve as basis for the disciplinary action.
    • How the appeals process works and how punishment is put into place to encourage inmates to comply with the rules.
    • The different types of punishment deemed applicable and upheld by courts.
  • Some of the questions tackled on the Q&A segment include:
    • Standards on issuing discipline after the hearing.
    • Clarifying the minor and major offense classification.
    • Using the term administrative segregation instead of isolation or solitary confinement.
    • If locking up an inmate for the remainder of their shift requires due process.


Audience Feedback

  • “The webinar was very good, informative and interesting.” –Sherry
  • “The most valuable thing I learned was the purpose of Inmate Discipline, the Legal Framework, Punitive vs. Non-punitive intent. In addition, to not use the words Solitary Confinement and Isolation but to use Administrative Segregation. An inmate can be put in a Restricted Facility to best manage the inmate to have access to more program services in order to keep out of the Litigation mode.” –Cynthia
  • “Everything Carrie Hill presents is valuable knowledge, specifically from a risk management perspective.” — Jacalyn
  • “The entire webinar was very beneficial to my job.” — Madera




The National Sheriffs’ Association (NSA) is one of the largest associations of law enforcement professionals in the United States, representing more than 3,000 elected sheriffs across the nation, and a total membership of more than 20,000. NSA is a non-profit organization dedicated to raising the level of professionalism among sheriffs, their deputies, and others in the field of criminal justice and public safety. Throughout its seventy-seven year history, NSA has served as an information clearinghouse for sheriffs, deputies, chiefs of police, other law enforcement professionals, state governments and the federal government.






** This webinar has been certified by the National Sheriffs' Association and may be eligible for Continuing Education Units through your POST. Please consult your local certification processes for additional details. Paid subscribers that attend will be able to download a jointly issued attendance certificate that includes the National Sheriffs' Association logo.
Additional Resources
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