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No Liberty Interest in New Jersey Work Release

The plaintiff was charged with drinking when he returned to a work release facility; he was found not guilty at a disciplinary hearing. (Some officers said he acted and smelled drunk, others did not, and the doctor said he did not appeared to be intoxicated.) However, he was not returned to work release; he was told he would have to reapply and start over.

The plaintiff had no liberty interest in remaining on work release. His situation was not comparable to parole, since he lived in a prison facility (sufficient in itself to defeat the claim), needed permission or a pass every time he left that facility, could have overnight furloughs only by permission, etc. There was no state-created liberty interest because being returned to prison is not atypical and significant under Sandin and the governing statutes and regulations allow official discretion. (Actually, in a different climate, they might have been found to create a liberty interest--"sufficient reason" is not too different from "good cause.")

The plaintiff's claim for loss of property is dismissed because of the existence of state tort remedies. See: Asquith v. Volunteers of America, 1 F.Supp.2d 405 (D.N.J. 1998).

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Related legal case

Asquith v. Volunteers of America