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Transferred Prisoners Subject to Receiving State’s Confinement Conditions Under Interstate Compact Rule

By David M. Ruetter

A Vermont state court has held that a prisoner transferred under the Interstate Corrections Compact (ICC) is subject to the confinement conditions of the receiving state, and the sending state has no authority to resolve disputes over those conditions.

The ruling came in an action filed by prisoner Charles Gundlah, a Vermont prisoner who was sent to Florida for confinement under the ICC. He filed a Rule 75 action under Vermont’s Rules of Civil Procedure, which claimed that “he should have access to kosher meals despite the policy against them in Florida because, he alleges, he would have access to them if he were lodged at a Vermont facility.”

Gundlah relied upon a sentence in 28 U.S.A. §1604 that states he is entitled to the same “legal rights” in Florida as if he were in Vermont. The court cited provisions of the 1978 contract between Florida and Vermont that provides “the receiving state is intended to supervise out-of-state inmates according to its own law, not that of the sending state.”

To accept Gundlah’s misinterpretation of the ICC the Court wrote, “would destroy the efficiencies of this relationship by requiring the Vermont DOC to continue day-to-day supervision of out-of-state inmates as though they were in-sate, or by requiring the Vermont DOC to somehow ensure the Florida DOC does the same, at least with regard to any conditions of confinement that can be affected by a ‘legal right,’ whatever its source.”

As such, the Court dismissed the complaint for review of governmental action. See: Gundlah v. Pallito, State of Vermont, Washington County, Case No. 180-3-09.

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Related legal case

Gundlah v. Pallito