RESPONDENT: North Carolina Prisoners' Labor Union, Inc.
LOCATION: North Carolina Board of Agriculture
DOCKET NO.: 75-1874
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1975-1981)
CITATION: 433 US 119 (1977)
ARGUED: Apr 19, 1977
DECIDED: Jun 23, 1977
Jacob L. Safron - for appellants
Kenneth Steven Geller - for United States, as amicus curiae, by special leave of Court
Norman B. Smith - for appellee
Facts of the case
Media for Jones v. North Carolina Prisoners' Labor Union, Inc.Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - April 19, 1977 in Jones v. North Carolina Prisoners' Labor Union, Inc.
Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - June 23, 1977 in Jones v. North Carolina Prisoners' Labor Union, Inc.
William H. Rehnquist:
In the second of these two cases, Number 75-1874, Jones versus North Carolina Prisoners' Union, the appellants who are North Carolina Correctional Officials promulgated regulations which barred meetings inside the prison of the various North Carolina Institutions of such as those of appellee which is the North Carolina Prisoners Union, Inc., in which prohibited inmates from soliciting other inmates to join the Union.
Appellants also refused to deliver bulk mail packages of union publications which had been mailed to inmates for redistribution to other inmates.
The Union filed this action challenging these regulations in the United States District of the -- in North Carolina.
If claimed that efforts to prevent the operation of the Prisoners' Union violated the First and Fourteenth Amendment rights of it and its members, and the fact that the Jaycees and Alcoholics Anonymous were granted rights denied to it, deprived it of equal protection of the laws.
A three-judge District Court in North Carolina substantially agreed with the -- these contentions in order that the Prisoners' Union be given meeting and other rights accorded to other inmate organizations.
For the reason set forth and an opinion which have been filed with the clerk this morning, we reversed the judgement of the three-judge District Court.
We concluded that the District Court did not give sufficient deference to the decisions of the Prison Administrators and to the peculiar and restrictive circumstances of penal confinement.
The prison officials viewed the operation of a functioning prison union to be potentially dangerous and they have not been shown to be wrong in these apprehensions.
We do not view the speech, Union's speech and associational claims or its equal protection claim as justifying a different result.
These rights must give way to the reasonable considerations of penal management among which internal security considerations necessarily loom large.
The Chief Justice has filed a concurring opinion.
Mr. Justice Stevens has filed an opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part.
Mr. Justice Marshall has filed a dissenting opinion in which Mr Justice Brennan has joined.
Warren E. Burger:
Thank you, Mr. Justice Rehnquist.