After the federal courts abandoned a "hands-off" policy toward state corrections, what problems did correctional administrators face?

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mkoren eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When the federal courts abandoned a hands-off policy toward state corrections, problems resulted for correctional administrators. The courts maintained this hands-off policy until the 1960s. During this time, the courts had no power to deal with prison rules and regulations or with how the prisons were run. Judges felt that when prisoners committed crimes and were convicted of them, they no longer had any rights.

This policy began to change in the 1960s as the movement for the rights of prisoners gained momentum. Some judges also took more of an activist role from the bench. The policy officially ended in the 1970s with the Wolf v. McDonnell and Procurer v. Martinez Supreme Court decisions. The Wolf decision ruled that prisoners don’t lose their rights when they enter prison. The Procunier decision ruled that the courts would act if a prisoner’s constitutional rights were violated.

As a result, prisoners began to petition the courts that their rights were being violated while in prison. The prison administrators now had to respond to and deal with these accusations.  

Karyth Cara eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One problem correctional administrators faced after the hands off policy was abandoned was the flood of prisoner inmate petitions being sent before the Courts at appellate and federal levels. Whereas before the change in policy, prisoners were considered to be outside the protection of a US citizen's rights, afterward, the Supreme Court upheld that prisoners are still recipients of local, state and federal rights.