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How to Win Prison Disciplinary Hearings

Reviewed by Paul Wright

In the August, 1994, issue of PLN we reviewed the first edition of How to Win Prison Disciplinary Hearings by Allan Parmelee. Now we are excited to tell you about the completed State and Federal Edition. We gave the old HTW an excellent review and noted that its main use would be to federal prisoners because it did not cover many constitutional issues that would be of use to state prisoners. In the meantime Allan became a valued PLN supporter and volunteer and in our correspondence we encouraged him to consider rewriting the manual to include more caselaw to help prisoners litigate disciplinary hearings and information useful for state prisoners also. Fortunately for prisoners Allan has done so.

HTW covers all aspects of prison disciplinary proceedings, from elements of administrative procedures, building your legal foundation for a later suit when you go to the hearing, how to win the hearing itself, sample appeals and elements of appeals and lots of case law concerning other aspects of prison disciplinary hearings. Most prisoners can expect to receive an infraction and appear before a disciplinary committee at least once during their term of imprisonment. The purpose of this manual is to inform you of what you are entitled to at the hearing, how to analyze the incident report, prepare your defense at the hearing, write an administrative appeal even if you are found "guilty" and then how to evaluate your legal options in event the appeal fails. [Editor's Note: In the August, 1995, edition of PLN we analyzed the Supreme Court's decision in Sandin v. Conner, the manual was written before that decision came out. It is still unclear what impact Sandin will have on prisoners challenging disciplinary hearings in court]. Allan has covered the Sandin case and it is now being printed for future HTW's. Those requesting the Addendum and have already received a manual can send Allan a SASE for a free Sandin update.

The manual is over 140 pages in length and includes several useful appendices and list of cases. Extensively footnoted, the manual cites the relevant caselaw of what due process prisoners are entitled to at prison disciplinary hearings. No other manual covers the information, especially the administrative aspects of disciplinary hearings, contained in this one. It is well organized to include types of infraction, urinalysis, witnesses, due process, evidence, standard of proof, staff retaliation and legal basics.

Allan is a former federal prisoner who has first-hand experience winning prison disciplinary hearings. Prior to publishing this edition it was reviewed by the editors of PLN (the manual contains several case law reprints from PLN), and jailhouse lawyers John Perotti in Ohio, William Van Poyck in Florida and Edward Dittenger in Wisconsin. No armchair litigators here. How good is the manual? A promotional sample was taken to the Washington D.C. CURE convention in June 1995 by PLN's publisher and someone wanted it so bad they walked off with it! Donation cost is only $9.95, checks, stamps or cash [Editor's Note: Allan has put a lot of time and effort into writing the manual and he has spent a tremendous amount of his own money to self publish the book, so if you can afford a bigger donation please send it]. Would the editors of PLN pay that much to get a copy? Absolutely. Highly recommended. To get a copy contact: Allan Parmelee, 2802 E. Madison, Box 168, Seattle, WA. 98112, (206) 325-2788.

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