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Beard v. Banks - Amicus (Merits)

Docket Number
No. 04-1739
Supreme Court Term
2005 Term
Merits Stage Amicus Brief
Court Level
Supreme Court

No. 04-1739

In the Supreme Court of the United States






Solicitor General
Counsel of Record
Assistant Attorney General
Deputy Solicitor General
Assistant to the Solicitor
Department of Justice
Washington, D.C. 20530-0001
(202) 514-2217


Whether, under the standard set forth in Turner v. Safley, 482 U.S. 78 (1987), prison officials may deny newspapers, magazines, and photographs to the most dangerous and recalcitrant inmates until they exhibit improved behavior.

In the Supreme Court of the United States

No. 04-1739






This case raises the question whether, under the standard set forth in Turner v. Safley, 482 U.S. 78 (1987), prison offi cials may deny newspapers, magazines, and photographs to the most dangerous and recalcitrant inmates until they ex hibit improved behavior. The United States has a substantial interest in the proper application of Turner to claims by in mates raising First Amendment challenges to restrictions on their privileges. The Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) oper ates more than 100 penal institutions, which house more than 180,000 inmates. Under BOP regulations, prison officials have discretion to suspend or limit the privileges of inmates who violate prison rules in order to create incentives for good behavior. See 28 C.F.R. 541.13 table 4, para. 2(g). BOP regu lations also impose significant limitations on the privileges of inmates placed in disciplinary segregation for their miscon duct, including impoundment of personal property and re strictions on the books that any such inmate may possess. See 28 C.F.R. 541.21(c)(7)-(8). The United States has partici pated as an amicus or party in several cases involving the application of Turner to prison restrictions challenged under the First Amendment. See, e.g., Overton v. Bazzetta, 539 U.S. 126 (2003); Shaw v. Murphy, 532 U.S. 223 (2001); Thornburgh v. Abbott, 490 U.S. 401 (1989).


Before the nineteenth century, imprisonment was rarely used as punishment for criminal offenses in America and, instead, more harsh measures were commonly applied. See Lawrence M. Friedman, Crime and Punishment in American History 48 (1993). The modern prison system took root in the nineteenth century as States adopted rehabilitation as a pri mary goal of the penal system. See id. at 76-80, 159-163. Since then, prison administrators at the state as well as the federal level have expended great effort-often through ex perimentation with different approaches-to finding ways of encouraging inmates to behave within prison walls and reha bilitating them for introduction back into society. The prison restrictions at issue in this case represent one State's efforts to encourage better behavior among inmates who have proven themselves to be among the most dangerous and recalcitrant inmates in the State's prison system.

1. a. In Pennsylvania's prison system, inmates housed in the general population who commit disciplinary infractions and disrupt the orderly operation of their facility are subject to transfer to a more secure housing unit and a corresponding restriction of their privileges. Pennsylvania maintains three levels of secure housing units for inmates segregated from the general population because of their misconduct: (i) Restricted Housing Units (RHUs); (ii) Special Management Units (SMUs); and (iii) a Long Term Segregation Unit (LTSU). At each level, there is a graduated increase in security measures and an associated reduction of privileges available to inmates. Pet. App. 47a; Br. in Opp. App. 50-51, 59.

Among the three levels, RHUs contain the least restric tive conditions, and serve principally to house inmates placed in disciplinary custody for their misconduct. The next level, SMUs, "house inmates who exhibit behavior that is continu ally disruptive, violent, dangerous or a threat to the orderly operation of their assigned facility," and who "may have been repeatedly subject to disciplinary action or investigation(s)." The most restrictive level, the LTSU, houses "the extremely disruptive, violent and problematic inmates," who "have dem onstrated an inability or unwillingness to conform to the re quirements of general population." Inmates may be consid ered for transfer to the LTSU if they "have continually mani fested a negative influence on the safety and security of the [Pennsylvania] Department of Corrections, have not suitably progressed in an SMU, or have reportedly perpetuated crimi nal activity that threatens the community." Br. in Opp. App. 59; see Pet. App. 3a-4a.

The LTSU "provide[s] extremely high levels of security and sharply reduce[s] the privileges permitted." Br. in Opp. App. 59. LTSU inmates must wear physical restraints when they leave their cells and must be escorted by two corrections officers, and only one LTSU inmate is permitted outside his cell at any particular time. Pennsylvania presently maintains one LTSU, and has determined that no more than 40 of its 38,000 inmates statewide may be assigned to the LTSU. The LTSU population thus is limited to the 0.1% of the Common wealth's prison population that presents the most intractable disciplinary problems and that, accordingly, presents the greatest challenges in maintaining institutional order and in achieving the Commonwealth's rehabilitative goals. Pet. App. 3a n.1, 4a, 35a; Br. in Opp. App. 92, 94-95, 111.

b. Inmates who are transferred to an SMU or the LTSU generally have no fixed date of release from those restricted units, but they can gain a relaxation of the restrictions on their privileges-and ultimately can obtain their release back into the general population-by demonstrating progress in their behavior and adjustment. An SMU contains five phases, with the last phase amounting to a probationary period in the general population. SMU inmates are "given the opportunity to progress through [the] specific phases * * * based upon their behavior and ability to adjust under reduced levels of supervision." Br. in Opp. App. 65. Promotion from one phase to another, for instance, can result in increased visitation, radio, television, telephone, and commissary privileges, and can also earn an inmate the ability to leave his cell without physical restraints. Id. at 66, 71, 73-75, 77; see Pet. App. 47a.

The LTSU is principally comprised of inmates who failed to progress in an SMU. Br. in Opp. App. 21, 95. When this litigation commenced, the LTSU contained two phases, LTSU1 and LTSU2.1 All inmates reassigned to the LTSU must initially spend a minimum of 90 days in LTSU2, the more restrictive of the two phases. Id. at 93. After that initial 90-day period, LTSU2 inmates receive an individualized prog ress review every 30 days, id. at 20, and inmates "who have demonstrated a satisfactory adjustment" may be promoted to LTSU1 status, id. at 21, 26-27, 67-68. LTSU1 "provides for increased programming and privileges," including with re spect to visitation, telephone, and commissary privileges, as well as educational programs. Id. at 21-22, 32, 77; see Pet. App. 47a. Prison officials also have discretion to authorize additional privileges for an LTSU1 inmate on an individual ized basis. Br. in Opp. App. 21-22.

An inmate ultimately can gain release from the LTSU by demonstrating "positive adjustment." Br. in Opp. App. 20. LTSU inmates "may be considered for release at any time and at least annually," and release "can be to a SMU, RHU, gen eral population or other appropriate facility." Id. at 28.

c. Pennsylvania's general policy of granting and withhold ing inmate privileges as a means of inducing good behavior is reflected in the rules concerning the extent to which SMU and LTSU inmates may keep newspapers, magazines, and photo graphs in their cells. While each SMU inmate may possess at least one newspaper and ten photographs in his cell, the num ber of magazines that he may retain varies from zero to ten, depending on his progress through the five SMU phases. See Pet. App. 47a; Br. in Opp. App. 70, 77. SMU inmates who reach the final, probationary phase may retain in their cells the same number of newspapers, magazines, and photographs as inmates in the general population. Id. at 70.

Inmates transferred to the LTSU are subject to more substantial restrictions on their possession of newspapers, magazines, and photographs. LTSU2 inmates are barred from possessing any newspapers or magazines in their cells, but a promotion to LTSU1 enables an inmate to retain one newspaper and five magazines. See Pet. App. 3a-4a; Br. in Opp. App. 32, 70, 77. In addition, both LTSU2 and LTSU1 inmates are barred from possessing any personal photo graphs. LTSU inmates may, however, retain two leisure books, and may also receive unlimited personal correspon dence. The correspondence may include clippings from news papers and magazines only if the particular article concerns the inmate or his family. Pet. App. 4a; Br. in Opp. App. 32, 104, 106. The LTSU restrictions do not extend to religious and legal materials. See Pet. App. 4a.

2. a. Respondent was confined in the LTSU, and held as a "Phase 2," i.e., LTSU2, inmate. Br. in Opp. App. 2. On Oc tober 18, 2001, respondent, on behalf of a class of all LTSU2 inmates, brought this action against petitioner, the Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections. The action alleges that Pennsylvania's policy of denying newspapers, magazines, and photographs to LTSU2 inmates is invalid un der the First Amendment, and it seeks declaratory and in junctive relief that would categorically bar enforcement of that policy. Pet. App. 5a; Br. in Opp. App. 8-9.2 On March 22, 2002, the district court granted respondent's motion for class certification. Pet. App. 6a.

The only witness to give deposition testimony during dis covery was Joel Dickson, a Deputy Superintendent of Correc tions who is responsible for supervising the LTSU. See Pet. App. 5a, 36a; Br. in Opp. App. 90. Dickson observed that LTSU2 inmates "are the most incorrigible, the most difficult, problematic" inmates, and that they "have demonstrated the most behavior conflicts." Id. at 95. He further testified that the "most important" reason for imposing the challenged re strictions on those inmates' privileges "is as a means of behav ior modification. And by that, I mean that a privilege is an earned thing based on compliance and modification of nega tive behaviors." Id. at 110; see id. at 113.

Dickson explained that, "we try to give and provide the inmate every opportunity to progress through this system and to be able to obtain these privileges. We're very limited * * * in what we can and cannot deny or give to an inmate, and these are some of the items that we feel are legitimate as in centives for inmate growth." Br. in Opp. App. 110. In the LTSU, accordingly, "the privilege of being able to read a newspaper or a magazine" is viewed as "an earned privilege," in the sense that an inmate, by adjusting his behavior, "can earn their right to have those items in his cell and read them at his leisure." Id. at 111. The ultimate objective is "to do the best we can to modify the inmate's behavior so that" he can "integrate into the general population in the institution" and "eventually * * * can become a more productive citizen." Id. at 110.

b. In September 2002, the parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment. Pet. App. 6a. Petitioner did not dispute that inmates retain a First Amendment right to receive news papers, magazines, and photographs, but argued that Pennsyl vania's policy represented a valid restriction of that right under the analysis set forth in Turner v. Safley, 482 U.S. 78 (1987). See Pet. App. 8a n.5, 39a n.33. On January 10, 2003, the district court, adopting the magistrate judge's recommen dation, granted summary judgment to petitioner. The court held that the State's policy of denying newspapers, maga zines, and photographs to LTSU2 inmates does not violate the First Amendment under Turner. The court explained that the restrictions are reasonably related to the legitimate peno logical interest of "furthering prison security and encouraging compliant behavior in particularly disobedient and rebellious inmates," id. at 39a, and, indeed, that the restrictions are "imperative to the success of the LTSU," id. at 40a.

3. A divided court of appeals vacated the district court's decision and remanded the case. Pet. App. 1a-29a.

a. The panel majority acknowledged that the objective of deterring inmate misconduct is legitimate under the Turner standard, but viewed the challenged restrictions as bearing no rational relationship to that objective. Pet. App. 11a-14a. According to the majority, "the rehabilitation justification [is] illogical given the nature of LTSU confinement." Id. at 12a. The majority reached that conclusion on the basis that LTSU2 confinement has no fixed duration and that promotion to LTSU1 is "entirely within the discretion of prison adminis trators." Id. at 11a. The majority also emphasized that Penn sylvania had "offered no evidence that the [LTSU restric tions] achieve[] or could achieve [the] stated rehabilitative purpose." Id. at 12a-13a. The majority explained that, in its view, the requirement of producing such evidence is a "com plementary part of the [Turner] analysis in determining whether an asserted goal is logically connected to the prison regulation." Id. at 14a n.10.

In addition to concluding that the restrictions had no logi cal connection to the objective of inducing good behavior, the majority observed that LTSU2 inmates had no alternate means of obtaining "access to a reasonable amount of newspa pers, magazines, and photographs." Pet. App. 20a. The ma jority suggested two, less-restrictive policies that Pennsylva nia could adopt: (i) establishment of specific "reading periods" in "which guards deliver a single newspaper or magazine to an [LTSU2] inmate's cell"; or (ii) a program under which an LTSU2 inmate could be escorted by guards "to the secure mini-law library to read a periodical of [his] choosing." Id. at 22a-23a.

b. Judge Alito dissented. Pet. App. 25a-29a. In his view, it was rational for prison officials to believe that the chal lenged restrictions could deter inmates from violating prison rules and could induce inmates already in the LTSU to reform their behavior. Id. at 27a. Judge Alito concluded that the panel majority had misapplied Turner by requiring "empirical evidence that the regulation in fact serves" those objectives, rather than assessing whether the restrictions bear a "logical connection" to the asserted goals. Id. at 28a (quoting Turner, 482 U.S. at 89) (emphasis added by Judge Alito). In addition, Judge Alito observed that LTSU2 inmates can ultimately remove the restrictions on access to reading materials and photographs by modifying their behavior. Ibid. Judge Alito also explained that the two alternate policies suggested by the majority would impose significant burdens on prison adminis tration. Accordingly, Judge Alito concluded that, under Turner, "the challenged regulations are not facially unconsti tutional." Id. at 29a.3


Respondent's First Amendment challenge to Pennsylva nia's policy restricting the possession of newspapers, maga zines, and photographs by its most incorrigible inmates is governed by the deferential standard set forth in Turner v. Safley, 482 U.S. 78 (1987). As this Court has repeatedly rec ognized, Turner is grounded on the recognition that courts should defer to the reasonable judgments of prison officials on the difficult and sensitive matters of prison administration. Under Turner, accordingly, a prison regulation is valid as long as it is reasonably related to legitimate penological inter ests. In addition, in a facial challenge, like this one, a prison regulation is valid as long as it is capable of being applied in a manner that meets that reasonable-relationship test. See Overton v. Bazzetta, 539 U.S. 126, 134 (2003).

The central consideration under Turner's reasonableness framework is whether the challenged regulation bears a "logi cal" connection to legitimate penological goals. Turner, 482 U.S. at 89. The challenged restrictions on LTSU2 inmates aim to deter inmate misconduct and to induce the most dan gerous and recalcitrant prisoners in Pennsylvania's prison system to change their ways. Those objectives relate directly to promoting rehabilitation of recalcitrant inmates and pre serving institutional order by encouraging good behavior and discouraging misconduct, and they unquestionably are "legiti mate" objectives under the Turner standard.

The challenged restrictions on LTSU2 inmates also bear the requisite, logical connection to those governmental inter ests. The "authority to offer inmates various incentives to behave" is an "essential tool of prison administration," and the "Constitution accords prison officials wide latitude to be stow or revoke these perquisites as they see fit." McKune v. Lile, 536 U.S. 24, 39 (2002) (plurality opinion). The Court therefore has upheld the suspension of visitation privileges for inmates who commit multiple disciplinary infractions, on the rationale that denial of those privileges is a valid means of inducing acceptable inmate behavior. Overton, 539 U.S. at 134. The same conclusion follows in this case with respect to the denial of newspapers, magazines, and photographs to the most dangerous and recalcitrant inmates within Pennsylva nia's prison system (i.e., those inmates housed in the LTSU). That restriction not only bears a rational connection to the goal of deterring inmate misconduct, but it is an integral as pect of Pennsylvania's graduated approach of granting and withholding privileges to induce acceptable behavior.

The court of appeals erred in reasoning that, because LTSU2 confinement has no preset duration, the challenged restrictions are incapable of deterring inmate misconduct. The uncertain duration of LTSU2 confinement does not re move the incentive of non-LTSU inmates to refrain from mis conduct so as to avoid transfer to the LTSU, or the incentive of LTSU2 inmates to reform their behavior in the hopes of earning a relaxation of the restrictions, which is possible as soon as the initial 90-day period has expired. The uncertain duration of LTSU2 detention also is entirely rational as peno logical policy. Rather than impose a predetermined limit on the length of LTSU2 confinement, Pennsylvania sensibly ac cords prison officials discretion to reinstate the privileges of the most recalcitrant inmates only upon an individualized determination that any such inmate has in fact reformed his behavior.

The court of appeals also erred in supposing that Pennsyl vania was required under Turner to accumulate record proof of the efficacy of the challenged restrictions, and in engrafting that evidentiary burden on to Turner's logical-connection test. Under Turner, the burden "is not on the State to prove the validity of prison regulations but on the prisoner to disprove it." Overton, 539 U.S. at 132. Moreover, the Turner standard only requires that the restrictions logically advance the as serted governmental interest, not that they be demonstrated to do so by empirical proof. In addition, the challenged re strictions advance the State's interest in inducing behavior as a matter of common sense. Unless the fact that the privileges withheld here implicate First Amendment rights somehow makes the privileges inviolate, there is no basis for shifting the burden to the State or requiring empirical proof that pris oners respond to the extension and withdrawal of privileges.

Finally, the remaining considerations under Turner's rea sonableness framework reinforce the validity of the chal lenged restrictions. Because LTSU2 inmates are permitted to receive books and unlimited personal correspondence, they are not barred from possessing all forms of expressive materi als. Although inmates have no alternative means of receiving newspapers, magazines, and photographs while they remain in LTSU2, the very object of the restrictions is to deny those materials in order to induce behavioral reform, and LTSU2 inmates retain the alternative of earning reinstatement of their right to receive those materials by demonstrating good behavior. In addition, there is no obvious, ready alternative to the challenged restrictions. Indeed, allowing LTSU2 in mates limited access to newspapers or magazines would ne gate the basic object of the challenged restrictions by allowing access to those materials without any demonstration of behav ioral change, and also would divert corrections officers from other vital institutional functions.



In Turner v. Safley, 482 U.S. 78, 84 (1987), this Court made clear that prison officials rather than courts are to make the difficult judgments inherent in the inordinately difficult task of managing prison inmates, and that the judgments of those officials thus are to be upheld unless they lack a reason able relationship to valid penological goals. The Turner framework rests on "separation of powers concerns" about judicial interference with a task-prison administration-that is "committed to the responsibility of [the executive and legis lative] branches," and calls for added deference where, as here, the federal courts are asked to review the judgment of State prison administrators. Turner, 482 U.S. at 85. In con cluding that the challenged restrictions on LTSU2 inmates have no logical connection to the goal of inducing prisoners to refrain from misconduct, the court of appeals fundamentally misapplied Turner, and thus intruded on the prerogatives of the State in responding to an intractable problem of prison administration-i.e., encouraging those inmates who have repeatedly demonstrated an unwillingness to conform their conduct to prison rules to reform their ways.

A. Respondent's First Amendment Challenge Is Governed By The Deferential Standard Set Forth In Turner v. Safley

1. Although "[p]rison walls do not form a barrier separat ing prison inmates from the protections of the Constitution," Turner, 482 U.S. at 84, the nature of confinement dictates that "[m]any of the liberties and privileges enjoyed by other citizens must be surrendered by the prisoner," Overton v. Bazzetta, 539 U.S. 126, 131 (2003). "[I]ncarceration brings about the necessary withdrawal or limitation of many privi leges and rights, a retraction justified by the considerations underlying our penal system. The limitations on the exercise of constitutional rights arise both from the fact of incarcera tion and from valid penological objectives." O'Lone v. Estate of Shabazz, 482 U.S. 342, 348 (1987) (citation and internal quotation marks omitted); see Overton, 539 U.S. at 131; Shaw v. Murphy, 532 U.S. 223, 229 (2001); Jones v. North Carolina Prisoners' Labor Union, Inc., 433 U.S. 119, 125 (1977).

"In the First Amendment context, for instance, some rights are simply inconsistent with the status of a prisoner or 'with the legitimate penological objectives of the corrections system.'" Shaw, 532 U.S. at 229 (quoting Pell v. Procunier, 417 U.S. 817, 822 (1974)); see Jones, 433 U.S. at 129. In addi tion to recognizing that the exercise of First Amendment privileges by inmates is subject to "the legitimate penological objectives of the corrections system," ibid., this Court has emphasized the need to "accord substantial deference to the professional judgment of prison administrators" when exam ining "the legitimate goals of a corrections system and * * * the most appropriate means to accomplish them." Overton, 539 U.S. at 132; Shaw, 532 U.S. at 229; Turner, 482 U.S. at 85, 89; Jones, 433 U.S. at 126, 128. The Court, accordingly, has "reaffirm[ed] [its] refusal, even where claims are made under the First Amendment, to substitute [its] judgment on . . . dif ficult and sensitive matters of institutional administration, for the determinations of those charged with the formidable task of running a prison." O'Lone, 482 U.S. at 353 (citation and internal quotation marks omitted). Deference to prison offi cials should be at its zenith when the policy at issue does not deny the exercise of First Amendment rights entirely, but withdraws or extends such rights as part of the process of providing incentives for good behavior.

2. To give effect to those principles, the Court, in Turner v. Safley, supra, established "a unitary, deferential standard for reviewing prisoners' constitutional claims." Shaw, 532 U.S. at 229; see Johnson v. California, 125 S. Ct. 1141, 1149 (2005) (discussing "the deferential standard of review articu lated in Turner v. Safley"). Under Turner, a challenged prison regulation is valid as long as it "is reasonably related to legitimate penological interests." Turner, 482 U.S. at 89.

Turner identified four specific considerations that inform the overarching reasonableness inquiry: (i) whether the chal lenged restriction is rationally connected to a legitimate gov ernment interest; (ii) whether inmates have alternate means of exercising the asserted constitutional right; (iii) whether accommodation of the asserted right would adversely affect other inmates, prison personnel, or prison resources; and (iv) whether there are ready alternatives for achieving the gov ernmental objectives. Turner, 482 U.S. at 89-91; see Overton, 539 U.S. at 132; Shaw, 532 U.S. at 229-230. In applying Turner, the burden "is not on the State to prove the validity of prison regulations but on the prisoner to disprove it." Overton, 539 U.S. at 132.4

It is undisputed that Turner's deferential inquiry governs the resolution of respondent's challenge to the restrictions on possession of newspapers, magazines, and photographs by LTSU2 inmates. See Pet. App. 5a, 37a-38a. As a general matter, "Turner provides the test for evaluating prisoners' First Amendment challenges." Shaw, 532 U.S. at 230. And of particular relevance, the Court has "relied on Turner in ad dressing First Amendment challenges to prison * * * restric tions on receipt of subscription publications" by inmates. Johnson, 125 S. Ct. at 1149 (citing Thornburgh v. Abbott, 490 U.S. 401 (1989)); see Abbott, 490 U.S. at 413 ("[W]e now hold that regulations affecting the sending of a 'publica tion' * * * to a prisoner must be analyzed under the Turner reasonableness standard."). Significantly, although the Court has confronted a number of First Amendment challenges to prison regulations since Turner, it has yet to sustain any of those First Amendment claims. See Johnson, 125 S. Ct. at 1148 (reviewing decisions applying Turner to First Amend ment claims); Overton, 539 U.S. at 128, 131-136; Shaw, 532 U.S. at 230-232; Abbott, 490 U.S. at 414-419; Turner, 482 U.S. at 91-93; see also O'Lone, 482 U.S. at 349-353 (claim under Free Exercise Clause). There is no basis for reaching a dif ferent result in this case.

B. The Restrictions At Issue Are Part Of A System Of In centives For Good Behavior And Bear A Rational Con nection To Legitimate Government Interests

The "[f]irst and foremost" question under Turner is whether there is a "'valid, rational connection' between the prison regulation and the legitimate [and neutral] governmen tal interest put forward to justify it." Shaw, 532 U.S. at 229 (quoting Turner, 482 U.S. at 89) (second alteration in origi nal); see Overton, 539 U.S. at 132 (if a regulation "bear[s] a rational relation to legitimate penological interests," that "suffices to sustain the regulation"); Amatel v. Reno, 156 F.3d 192, 196 (D.C. Cir. 1998) ("the first [Turner] factor looms es pecially large"), cert. denied, 527 U.S. 1035 (1999). The gov ernmental interests asserted in this case are undeniably legit imate, and the challenged restrictions are rationally related to those interests.

1. The objectives of inducing acceptable behavior by inmates and thereby promoting prison order and se curity constitute legitimate governmental interests

The challenged restrictions on LTSU2 inmates aim gener ally to encourage good behavior, and specifically, to induce reformed behavior in inmates who have repeatedly demon strated an unwillingness to abide by prison rules. See Pet. App. 5a, 9a-10a; Br. in Opp. App. 95, 110-111. The court of appeals did not dispute that those interests qualify as "legiti mate" for purposes of Turner. See Pet. App. 10a-11a. And the legitimacy of those interests is well-settled. Indeed, this Court has characterized the "interest in preserving order and authority in the prisons" as "self-evident," O'Lone, 433 U.S. at 132, and has explained that "preserving internal order and discipline are essential goals that may require limitation or retraction of the retained constitutional rights of * * * con victed prisoners," Bell v. Wolfish, 441 U.S. 520, 546 (1979); see id. at 548 n.30.

The interests in promoting discipline and order also bear a direct and obvious connection to preserving institutional security, "perhaps the most legitimate of penological goals." Overton, 539 U.S. at 133; see Cutter v. Wilkinson, 125 S. Ct. 2113, 2124 n.13 (2005) ("It bears repetition * * * that prison security is a compelling state interest."); Abbott, 490 U.S. at 415. That interest is all the more forceful in this case in view of the particular focus of the LTSU on those inmates who present the greatest threat to institutional security-i.e., the "most incorrigible" and "extremely disruptive, violent and problematic inmates," those with "serious behavioral prob lems and a high potential for repeating that behavior." Br. in Opp. App. 50, 59, 95. Encouraging such recalcitrant inmates to reform their behavior has long been one of the most press ing challenges of prison administration, and is precisely the sort of "intractable problem[] of prison administration" that calls out for "innovative solutions." Turner, 482 U.S. at 89. The Turner analysis is specifically designed to encourage rather than stifle such innovation. Ibid.5

2. The denial of newspapers, magazines, and photo graphs to LTSU2 inmates is logically connected to the State's legitimate penological interests

a. It is a matter of common sense that withholding desir able inmate privileges-as a sanction for misbehavior-may deter prisoner misconduct and induce behavioral reform. See Sandin v. Connor, 515 U.S. 472, 485 (1995) ("Discipline by prison officials in response to a wide range of miscon duct * * * effectuates prison management and prisoner rehabilitative goals."). The entire system of prison disci pline-and indeed a basic rationale for modern criminal pun ishment-operates on such an assumption. Accordingly, as this Court has recognized, "[a]n essential tool of prison ad ministration * * * is the authority to offer inmates various incentives to behave," and the "Constitution accords prison officials wide latitude to bestow or revoke these perquisites as they see fit." McKune v. Lile, 536 U.S. 24, 39 (2002) (plurality opinion). The challenged restrictions in this case fit squarely within that category, and, like the privileges at issue in McKune, are designed to address a special class of prison inmates-i.e., "the most disruptive and dangerous .1% of [Pennsylvania's] prison population," Pet. App. 25a (Alito, J., dissenting).6

The Court's recent decision in Overton v. Bazzetta, supra, is instructive. The Court there upheld certain restrictions on inmates' visitation privileges, including a prohibition against receipt of any visitors for at least two years (except attorneys and members of the clergy) in the case of any inmate who accumulates more than one substance-abuse violation. See 539 U.S. at 130, 134. The Court upheld that sanction and viewed the objections to it as meriting only relatively brief discussion. The Court explained: "Withdrawing visitation privileges is a proper and even necessary management tech nique to induce compliance with the rules of inmate behavior, especially for high-security prisoners who have few other privileges to lose." Id. at 134.

So too here. Just like the withdrawal of visitation privi leges in Overton for multiple substance-abusers, the with drawal of the privilege of possessing newspapers, magazines, and photographs for LTSU2 inmates-who by definition have demonstrated a difficulty in following prison rules-"is a proper and even necessary management technique to induce compliance with the rules of inmate behavior." 539 U.S. at 134. The propriety of the restrictions at issue here is espe cially manifest because LTSU2 inmates are "high-security prisoners who have few other privileges to lose." Ibid. The challenged restrictions on LTSU2 inmates thus plainly bear the requisite, logical connection to Pennsylvania's asserted interests in encouraging good behavior and inducing the most recalcitrant prisoners to refrain from further misconduct.7

Turner requires according "substantial deference to the professional judgment of prison administrators" with respect to "defining the legitimate goals of a corrections system and * * * determining the most appropriate means to ac complish them." Overton, 539 U.S. at 132 (emphasis added). The judgments of prison officials are particularly deserving of deference when, as here, they concern how to deal with inmates who present pronounced disciplinary challenges and threaten institutional order, a subject that lies at the heart of those officials' expertise. The Court therefore has recognized that "Turner's principle of deference has special force with regard to" the treatment of "inmates presenting special disci plinary and security concerns," Lewis v. Casey 518 U.S. 343, 361 (1996), and that prison officials "should be accorded wide- ranging deference in the adoption and execution of policies and practices that in their judgment are needed to preserve internal order and discipline," Bell, 441 U.S. at 547. See Cut ter, 125 S. Ct. at 2124 n.13 ("prison security is a compelling state interest, and * * * deference is due to institutional officials' expertise in the area"); McKune, 536 U.S. at 39 (plu rality opinion).

In view of the common-sense connection between with holding valued inmate privileges and inducing good behavior, as well as the deference owed to prison officials on the precise means of effectuating that objective, there is no basis for con cluding that the "logical connection" between the challenged restrictions on LTSU inmates "and the asserted goal is so remote as to render the policy arbitrary or irrational." Turner, 482 U.S. at 89-90. Far from being arbitrary or irra tional, those restrictions are an integral part of Pennsylva nia's graduated inmate disciplinary system. That system gen erally reflects the view that adjusting the privilege of possess ing magazines, newspapers, and photographs, constitutes an important means of inducing good inmate behavior, and is part and parcel of a broader common-sense philosophy that granting and withholding privileges is a valuable means of encouraging desirable prisoner conduct. See pp. 2-5, supra. Consistent with that general approach, it is entirely rational that, for the worst of the worst inmates, Pennsylvania would deny the privilege of possessing newspapers, magazines, and photographs, until such inmates demonstrate that they are capable of behavioral reform.

b. In concluding that the challenged restrictions on LTSU inmates bear no logical connection to Pennsylvania's asserted interests, the court of appeals focused on Pennsylvania's elec tion to continue LTSU2 confinement until prison officials deem promotion of the inmate to be appropriate, and the re sulting fact that the Commonwealth does not spell out exactly when an LTSU2 inmate might earn relaxation of the restric tions. See Pet. App. 11a-12a. That approach is deeply flawed and unduly constrains the discretion of prison officials con cerning the precise contours of a disciplinary scheme.

As an initial matter, the court of appeals' approach cannot be squared with this Court's decision in Overton. The prohibi tion in that case against visitation privileges for inmates with multiple substance-abuse infractions was imposed for a mini mum period of two years, after which an inmate could apply for restoration of visitation privileges at the discretion of the warden. See 539 U.S. at 130. In upholding that restriction, the Court specifically rejected the argument that it bore no rational connection to the asserted governmental interests because restoration of visitation was "not automatic even at the end of two years." Id. at 134. The Court "agree[d] the restriction is severe," but concluded that its severity and in definite duration did not warrants its invalidation "in all in stances." Ibid. This case, like Overton, involves a categorical challenge to the validity of the challenged restrictions brought on behalf of all LTSU2 inmates. And just as in Overton, the uncertain duration of the restrictions with respect to any par ticular inmate, and the discretion accorded prison officials in that regard, affords no basis for invalidating the restrictions as a categorical matter.8

Moreover, the court of appeals erred in concluding that the uncertain duration of LTSU2 confinement renders the challenged restrictions "illogical" and incapable of deterring inmate misconduct. Pet. App. 12a. The court's reasoning would apply to all privileges denied to LTSU2 inmates-not just the bar against possession of newspapers, magazines, and photographs-and it is unsound in several respects. First, the uncertain duration of LTSU2 confinement does not remove the deterrent effect on inmates who have yet to be trans ferred into the LTSU. See Pet. App. 27a (Alito, J., dissent ing). The challenged restrictions similarly serve as an induce ment for those LTSU inmates who have been promoted to LTSU1 status to avoid demotion and re-transfer to LTSU2 confinement. With respect LTSU2 inmates, finally, even if uncertainty about the duration of LTSU2 confinement "may have an impact on the degree of the incentive" to "refrain from disruptive behavior in the hope of obtaining a transfer out of the unit," there "is no reason to suppose that the incen tive is wholly destroyed," id. at 27a-28a (Alito, J., dissenting) (emphasis added), and certainly respondent has not met his burden of showing that the incentive is "wholly destroyed."

Accordingly, notwithstanding the uncertain duration of LTSU2 confinement, Pennsylvania prison officials acted well within their discretion in concluding that the challenged re strictions bear a logical connection to the objectives of deter ring inmate misconduct and inducing behavioral reform. Un certainty about the duration of the challenged restrictions in fact is likely to enhance-rather than diminish-the degree to which they serve as a deterrent.9 Indeed, for the recalcitrant inmates in LTSU2 confinement, as to whom standard methods of discipline have proved unfruitful, withholding privileges for a preset duration may do little more than encourage the in mate to wait out the period.

For those reasons, there is nothing arbitrary or irrational about Pennsylvania's decision to impose the challenged re strictions without also establishing an inflexible, predeter mined limitation on the duration of LTSU2 confinement. LTSU2 inmates, by definition, present extraordinary disci plinary problems; indeed, most have found their way to the LTSU because they have failed to respond to standard disci plinary measures including in many cases sanctions of a finite duration. See Br. in Opp. App. 95. It is entirely rational in that context to accord prison officials discretion to continue an inmate's LTSU2 confinement until the officials perceive ade quate, individualized indicia of behavioral reform. That is particularly true insofar as promotion from LTSU2 confine ment might presage an eventual release to the general inmate population. Cf. Hewitt v. Helms, 459 U.S. 460, 477 n.9 (1983) ("The decision whether a prisoner remains a security risk will be based on facts relating to a particular prisoner * * * and on the officials' general knowledge of prison conditions and ten sions, which are singularly unsuited for 'proof' in any highly structured manner.").10

c. The court of appeals reasoned that Pennsylvania had failed to accumulate sufficient record proof that the chal lenged restrictions in fact advance the objectives of deterring misconduct and inducing behavioral reforms. Pet. App. 12a- 14a. In the court's view, prison officials were required to demonstrate that their "deprivation theory of behavior modifi cation" has a "basis in real human psychology, or ha[s] proven effective with LTSU inmates." Id. at 13a. That analysis is contradicted by this Court's precedents.

Turner does not require a State to amass evidentiary proof to justify its prison rules. Turner requires only that prison regulations "logically advance[]" a legitimate penologi cal interest, not that they be empirically proven to have the desired effect. 482 U.S. 93; see id. at 91, 93. Turner itself illustrates the point. In upholding restrictions on correspon dence between inmates in different institutions based on con cerns about the possibility of communicating escape plans or coordinating acts of violence, the Court explained that there need only be "a logical connection between [those] security concerns * * * and a ban on inmate-to-inmate correspon dence," not "a searching examination of the record to deter mine whether there was sufficient proof that inmate corre spondence had actually led to an escape plot, uprising, or gang violence." Id. at 93-94 n.*. Indeed, the absence of the need for empirical proof and factual findings is what distin guished the Turner standard from strict scrutiny. See ibid.11

Because the existence of a rational connection between the challenged restrictions on inmates and the asserted govern mental interests is evident as a matter of common sense, re spondent bore the burden of disproving the rationality of the restrictions. See Jones, 433 U.S. at 127-128 ("Without a show ing that [the] beliefs" of prison administrators "were unrea sonable, it was error for the District Court to conclude that [they] needed to show more."). As a practical matter, the court of appeals' approach shifted that burden and errone ously placed it on the State. See Overton, 539 U.S. at 132; see also Johnson, 125 S. Ct. 1146 n.1 & 1151 (rejecting application of Turner analysis in race context because burden of proof in considering government's use of race should not be on the inmate). Indeed, the court of appeals accepted, in the absence of any record proof, the common-sense conclusion that various restrictions on the privileges of LTSU2 inmates other than the ones challenged in this case (such as restrictions on visita tion, telephone calls, commissary use, compensation, and in- cell educational programs) advance Pennsylvania's "behavior modification goals." Pet. App. 25a. The court had no basis for imposing any different burden with respect to the challenged restrictions on newspapers, magazines, and photographs.12

Finally, imposing an evidentiary burden on States to prove that a challenged prison regulation advances particular penological objectives would discourage if not prevent States from pursuing "innovative solutions to the intractable prob lems of prison administration," Turner, 482 U.S. at 89, be cause it would be difficult and costly for prison administrators to amass the necessary data to sustain such a burden. Turner's deferential standard, however, was designed to pro mote creative approaches to prison administration with full appreciation of the fact that innovative approaches may be needed to address persistent problems- such as encouraging reform among the prison's most incorrigible inmates.

C. The Remaining Considerations Under Turner Reinforce The Reasonableness Of The Challenged Restrictions

1. Turner's reasonableness test calls for consideration of three other factors. The first is whether "alternative means of exercising the right" remain available to inmates. Turner, 482 U.S. at 90. "Of course if the 'right' at stake is defined in terms of the materials excluded by the ban, any regulation will come up short." Amatel, 156 F.3d at 201. The Court thus has emphasized that the right "must be viewed sensibly and expansively." Abbott, 490 U.S. at 417. In O'Lone, for in stance, the Court upheld a regulation even though it elimi nated the ability of inmates to attend a weekly Muslim con gregational service, reasoning that inmates retained the abil ity to participate in other Muslim religious exercises. 482 U.S. at 351-352. Likewise, in Overton, the Court acknowl edged that the complete ban on visitation for repeat offenders eliminated any alternative form of visitation, but nonetheless emphasized that the inmates "may communicate with people outside the prison by letter and telephone." 539 U.S. at 135.

The need to view the right at stake "sensibly and expan sively" is particularly manifest in the circumstances of this case, as the entire object of the challenged restrictions is to deny access to newspapers, magazines, and photographs, in order to deter misconduct and induce behavioral reform. Be cause the very purpose of the restrictions is to deny a privi lege as a means of inducing good behavior, the most straight forward "alternative means of exercising the right," Turner, 482 U.S. at 90, is the inmate's ability to avoid the sanction by complying with prison rules and to earn reinstatement of the privilege by demonstrating modified behavior. In Overton, the Court accordingly upheld the prohibition against visita tion for multiple substance-abuse violators despite the lack of any means of obtaining visitation other than persuading the warden to reinstate the privilege as a matter of discretion. See 539 U.S. at 130, 134-135.13

In addition, LTSU2 inmates are not denied all forms of expressive materials. See Turner, 482 U.S. at 92 (upholding restrictions on inmate-to-inmate correspondence that did "not deprive prisoners of all means of expression"). LTSU2 in mates may retain books in their cells, and also have no special restrictions on their receipt of personal correspondence. See Pet. App. 47a. Respondent suggests that LTSU2 inmates nonetheless are denied the ability to keep abreast of "current political, social, and other public events." Br. in Opp. 5. A narrow focus on publications about current events, however, is not a "sensibl[e] and "expansive[]" understanding of the right at stake. Abbott, 490 U.S. at 417. At any rate, the re strictions do not prevent LTSU2 inmates from learning about current events through personal correspondence, or through their limited personal visits.

2. The remaining considerations under Turner are: (i) the impact on prison personnel, other inmates, and institutional resources, of accommodating the interest of LTSU2 inmates in possessing newspapers, magazines, and photographs; and (ii) the availability of "ready alternatives" to the challenged restrictions. Turner, 482 U.S. at 90. Cf. O'Lone, 482 U.S. at 352-353 (examining the two considerations together). With respect to the impact on prison personnel and other inmates, the challenged restrictions aim to deter extreme conduct of the kind that warrants transfer to the LTSU, and to induce behavioral reforms in the most unruly inmates. The restric tions thus are grounded in concerns about protecting the safety of prison personnel and other inmates. See Turner, 482 U.S. at 92 (deferring to judgment of prison officials that relaxing restrictions on inmate-to-inmate correspondence would threaten safety of "guards and other prisoners alike").

With respect to the availability of ready alternatives and the effect on institutional resources, the Court has empha sized that "Turner does not impose a least-restrictive alterna tive test, but asks instead whether the prisoner has pointed to some obvious regulatory alternative that fully accommodates the asserted right while not imposing more than a de minimis cost to the valid penological goal." Overton, 539 U.S. at 136. The court of appeals proposed two alternative policies in place of the one adopted by prison administrators. The first con templates establishing a prescribed "reading period" during which corrections officers could bring a newspaper or maga zine to an inmate's cell, and the second envisions officers es corting inmates to the secure LTSU library to read a newspa per or magazine. Pet. App. 22a-23a. Each of those alterna tives would nullify the basic object of the restrictions by par tially restoring the denied privileges without any demonstra tion of improved behavior on the part of LTSU2 inmates. For that reason alone, the court's preferred alternatives cannot be said to impose "so little cost to penological goals that they meet Turner's high standard." Overton, 539 U.S. at 136.

The proposed alternatives also would impose potentially significant costs on prison resources by diverting corrections officers from other essential duties, either to facilitate escort ing of each LTSU2 inmate to the designated reading area, or to permit delivering the materials to (and retrieving them from) each LTSU2 inmate's cell. See Pet. App. 29a (Alito, J., dissenting); see also Abbott, 490 U.S. at 419 (noting that "ad ministrative inconvenience of [the] proposed alternative is also a factor to be considered"). The diversion of corrections officers raises particular concerns in the potentially volatile setting of the LTSU, which houses Pennsylvania's most dan gerous inmates. In the LTSU, two officers must be on hand to escort any inmate for any permissible activity outside of his cell, including showers, exercise, disciplinary proceedings, and the like. Pulling officers away from those responsibilities to supervise inmate trips to a recreational "reading room" or to serve as librarians ferrying reading materials to and from inmates' cells would unduly interfere with the significant de mands of securing the LTSU. For those reasons, the alterna tives proposed by the court of appeals in no sense constitute "obvious, easy alternatives" to the policy chosen by Pennsyl vania prison officials for dealing with the State's most danger ous and recalcitrant inmates. Turner, 482 U.S. at 90.


The judgment of the court of appeals should be reversed.

Respectfully submitted.

Solicitor General
Assistant Attorney General
Deputy Solicitor General
Assistant to the Solicitor


1 We are advised by Pennsylvania that it has recently modified the LTSU such that it now contains four phases instead of two. That modification does not affect the Court's consideration of this case, as the initial stage continues to contain the same restrictions that are at issue here.

2 Although the complaint is not explicitly styled as either a facial or an as- applied challenge, the suit is framed in the nature of a facial challenge to the prison restrictions. The complaint was filed as a class action on behalf of all LTSU2 inmates, it alleges that the prison restrictions are unconstitutional because they "categorically" deny LTSU2 inmates access to newspapers, magazines, and photographs, Br. in Opp. App. 8, and it seeks declaratory and injunctive relief that would prevent application of the restrictions against any LTSU2 inmate, id. at 9. In addition, the court of appeals entertained respon dent's challenge as a facial challenge to the restrictions, holding that they were invalid without any analysis of their application to particular facts. See Pet. App. 25a; see also id. at 26a (Alito, J., dissenting) ("The question before us is whether these * * * restrictions are facially unconstitutional under the standard set out in Turner v. Safley."). In any event, the court of appeals' analysis is erroneous as applied to respondent for the reasons explained below.

3 In the proceedings below, Pennsylvania advanced two penological justi fications for the challenged restrictions. The "first and most important," or "primary" justification offered by Pennsylvania was that the restrictions deter inmate misconduct and induce LTSU inmates to reform their behavior. Br. in Opp. App. 110, 113; see Pet. App. 5a, 36a. Pennsylvania also offered as a secondary justification that the restrictions promote security by limiting the amount of materials in an inmate's possession in which contraband could be hidden, and by preventing use of the prohibited materials as weapons or instruments of harm. See Pet. App. 5a, 36a-37a; Br. in Opp. App. 110. Judge Alito would have sustained the restrictions based solely on the primary, reha bilitation rationale, and he did not discuss the secondary rationale advanced by Pennsylvania below. Likewise, because it is a sufficient basis to uphold the restrictions under Turner, the Commonwealth's principal rehabilitation rationale is the focus of this brief as well. The Commonwealth's rehabilitation objective, however, has an important security dimension because encouraging inmates to reform their deviant behavior promotes institutional order and, thus, security within the prison walls. See pp. 16-17, infra. That is particularly true with respect to the special class of inmates subject to the restrictions at issue in this case, i.e., the "worst of the worst." Br. in Opp. App. 111.

4 As the government has explained in United States v. Georgia and Goodman v. Georgia, Nos. 04-1203 & 04-1236, although the Turner inquiry affords broad discretion to prison officials, it differs from the minimal rational- basis review applied in the equal protection and due process contexts. See U.S. Reply Br. 13-14. For example, unlike rational-basis review, Turner calls for an assessment of the existence of ready and obvious alternatives to the challenged restrictions. See Turner, 482 U.S. at 90. Because the court of appeals' decision invalidating the restrictions at issue is fundamentally flawed for the reasons explained below, there is no need in this case for this Court to explore the precise distinctions between rational-basis review and the Turner analysis.

5 Under Turner, the asserted governmental interest must be both "legitimate" and "neutral." See Abbott, 490 U.S. at 414-415. Respondent has not suggested that the challenged LTSU2 restrictions infringe the "neutrality" requirement. As a general matter, those restrictions bar possession of news papers, magazines, and photographs, without regard to the content of those materials. Although there is an exception for legal and religious materials, that exception does not cast doubt on the "neutrality" of the restrictions under Turner. A restriction is neutral for Turner purposes as long as it furthers a governmental interest that is unrelated to suppression of expression. Abbott, 490 U.S. at 415; see Amatel, 156 F.3d at 197 ("[N]eutrality, in the [Turner] sense is quite different from the familiar First Amendment notion of 'content- neutrality.'"). There could be no serious contention that Pennsylvania's excep tion for legal and religious materials-which implicates the affirmative rights of inmates to have access to the courts and to engage in the free exercise of religion-somehow suggests an illicit interest in suppression or "censorship" of certain ideas. Abbott, 490 U.S. at 416 n.14; see Overton, 539 U.S. at 130, 134 (upholding suspension of visitation privileges for inmates with misconduct infractions, where suspension contains exception for visits by attorneys and members of the clergy); Abbott, 490 U.S. at 415-416 (When "prison admini strators draw distinctions between publications solely on the basis of their potential implications for prison security, the regulations are 'neutral' in the technical sense in which [the Court] meant and used that term in Turner.").

6 In the specific context of privileges denied only as a result of consti tutionally adequate disciplinary procedures, the proper focus of analysis may well be the level of First Amendment rights an inmate can enjoy within prison walls, not the situation faced by those inmates who would enjoy substantially greater First Amendment freedoms but for their failure to comply with valid prison rules. At a minimum, the courts must view the denial of access to outside materials as a disciplinary sanction much more leniently than a comparable denial to all inmates. The process of calibrating the extension and withdrawal of privileges to provide adequate incentives for compliance with prison rules is peculiarly ill-suited to judicial second-guessing, and the "ready alternative" of compliance with prison rules to obtain enhanced privileges should figure prominently in the Turner analysis. See Turner, 482 U.S. at 90.

7 Respondent relies heavily (Br. in Opp. 12-16) on this Court's invalidation in Turner of a regulation permitting inmates to marry only with the permission of the prison superintendent. See Turner, 482 U.S. at 94-99. In invalidating that restriction, however, the Court reasoned that "[c]ommon sense * * * suggest[ed that there is no logical connection between the marriage restriction" and the security concerns raised by the possible "formation of love triangles." Id. at 98. In this case, by contrast, there is a common-sense, logical connection between the denial of desirable inmate privileges and the objective of inducing behavioral reform-a connection that this Court specifically recognized in Overton. See 539 U.S. at 134.

8 The Court suggested in Overton that, if it were confronted with evidence in a subsequent as-applied challenge that the visitation restriction were "treated as a de facto permanent ban on all visitation for certain inmates, [it] might reach a different conclusion in a challenge to a particular application of the regulation." 539 U.S. at 134. Similarly, as Judge Alito observed below, "[a]n as-applied challenge by an inmate subjected to lengthy confinement in Level 2 despite a record of reformed behavior would present different con siderations, but the majority's opinion is not limited to such a case." Pet. App. 28a (dissenting opinion).

9 See, e.g., Dru Stevenson, Toward a New Theory of Notice and Deter rence, 26 Cardozo L. Rev. 1535, 1581 (2005) ("even risk-preferring individuals -who might be undeterred by normal threats of sanctions-could find uncer tainty to be a significant disincentive"); Tom Baker et al., The Virtues of Uncertainty in Law: An Experimental Approach, 89 Iowa L. Rev. 443, 445 (2004) ("uncertain sanctions * * * achieve more deterrence than certain sanctions").

10 In addition to relying on the uncertain duration of LTSU2 confinement, the court of appeals also pointed to a perceived lack of clarity concerning the precise forms of misconduct that result in transfer to the LTSU, as well as the precise sorts of behavioral reforms that can result in an LTSU inmate's pro motion from LTSU2 status. See Pet. App. 11a. Those perceived uncertainties offer no more basis for invalidating the challenged restrictions than does the uncertainty surrounding the duration of LTSU2 confinement. Moreover, the sound reasons that support Pennsylvania's decision to refrain from imposing an inflexible limitation on the duration of LTSU2 confinement also support preserving the discretion of prison officials to determine, based on indivi dualized assessments, both whether an inmate's misconduct is sufficiently severe to warrant transfer to the LTSU and whether an LTSU2 inmate has reformed his behavior in a manner warranting advancement to LTSU1 status. See id. at 3a n.2 (enumerating conduct that can warrant transfer to LTSU); Br. in Opp. App. 26-27 (setting forth considerations that bear on propriety of promotion from LTSU2). The court of appeals also appeared to misperceive the potential grounds for transfer to the LTSU. The court indicated that an inmate could be transferred to the LTSU in the absence of any misconduct infraction at all, see Pet. App. 11a, but the record does not support that understanding. The portion of the deposition testimony cited by the court of appeals indicates that an inmate, in atypical circumstances, might be transferred to the LTSU without first having been assigned to an SMU, not that an inmate could be transferred to the LTSU without any predicate determination of misconduct at all. See Br. in Opp. App. 95.

11 As the District of Columbia Circuit explained in upholding restrictions on inmates' possession of pornographic publications, "[t]here is, of course, no 'record evidence,' and certainly no sophisticated multiple regression analysis or other social science data, to support [the] belief" that excluding pornography from prisons advances the asserted interest in prisoner rehabilitation. Amatel, 156 F.3d at 199. The court did "not think, however, that common sense must be the mere handmaiden of social science data or expert testimonials." Ibid. Instead, while "scientific studies can have a corrective effect by establishing an apparently implausible connection or refuting an apparently obvious one, * * * conformity to commonsensical intuitive judgments is a standard element of both reasonableness and rationality." Ibid.; accord Mauro v. Arpaio, 188 F.3d 1054, 1059-1060 (9th Cir. 1999) (en banc), cert. denied, 529 U.S. 1018 (2000).

12 Respondent's claim ultimately requires adopting the view that privileges that implicate First Amendment interests are categorically different from other privileges. But that position cannot be sustained either practically or legally. As a practical matter, many of the most desirable privileges-from watching television to receiving visitors-implicate First Amendment interests. And the extension and withdrawal of privileges provide effective incentives precisely because they are desirable. As a legal matter, moreover, this Court has made clear that Turner deference is fully applicable to all First Amendment claims, and that deference is particularly appropriate when such privileges are withdrawn as part of an effort to induce compliance with prison rules. See Overton, 539 U.S. at 134. The court of appeals speculated that the challenged restrictions "may produce less rather than more compliance in at least some inmates," Pet. App. 14a, a supposition that was based on a handful of statements in judicial opinions generally supporting the abstract notion that "isolating prisoners from the going[s]-on in the outside world tends to undercut any genuine rehabilitation," id. at 13a. But Turner warns against judges substituting their assessment of proper prison administration for that of prison officials. That admonition cannot be circumvented by relying on the judicial assessments of other judges in earlier reported cases. More fundamentally, that analysis mistakes what is sound prison policy for inmates in general, with the proper way to deal with the most recalcitrant inmates.

13 The court of appeals suggested that there was insufficient record evidence documenting the precise process by which an inmate could obtain pro motion from LTSU2 confinement and a resulting reinstatement of newspaper and magazine privileges. See Pet. App. 20a-21a. This case, however, has been litigated by respondent as a facial challenge, not an as-applied challenge in which a particular inmate contends that he has been unfairly denied promotion under facially valid rules. With respect to the facial validity of the restrictions, the record contains the rules setting forth the criteria by which prison officials decide whether promotion from LTSU2 confinement is warranted, see Br. in Opp. App. 26-27, and also contains deposition testimony about the availability of promotion, id. at 110. That testimony indicates that some inmates have been promoted from LTSU2 to LTSU1 status, and that some inmates have advanced out of the LTSU altogether. Id. at 93-95.

Updated October 21, 2014