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No Liberty Interest In New Jersey Work Release

The plaintiff was on work release and living in a halfway house; he was removed from the program for drinking. He was later found not guilty, but he was not returned to the halfway house, and received no hearing to determine whether he should be returned.

There is no liberty interest directly under the Due Process Clause in remaining in this form of temporary release because the plaintiff never left institutional confinement. He remained in a strictly monitored halfway house, subject to a curfew, required to "stand count" several times a day, subject to urine testing and room searches, required to sign in and out, and his passes limited to two nights every seven days. He had to check in by phone several times each day. His travel was monitored and he was required to take public transportation.
In addition, the program agreement the plaintiff signed provided that return to prison would terminate his participation, and that merely being charged with a major violation would result in his return; these provisions negated any expectation he would remain in the program once charged.

There is no state-created liberty interest under Sandin because he was not subject to atypical and significant deprivation; whatever he lost by removal from the halfway house, the proper basis of comparison is life in prison. See: Asquith v. Department of Corrections, 186 F.3d 407 (3d Cir. 1999).

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Related legal case

Asquith v. Department of Corrections