QUESTION: U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that prisons can use political associations to justify harsher treatment?

question / pregunta: 

In her article about control units for women, Cassandra Shaylor states that the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that prisons are free to use political associations and beliefs to justify different and harsher treatment. (An earlier, unnamed and undated court decision determined that the placement of female political prisoners at the Lexington Federal Prison in Kentucky was unconstitutional because women were housed there because of their political beliefs. The court ordered them transferred and the unit shut down)

Where would I find the name and date (and text, if possible, or more information if not) of this U.S. Court of Appeals decision?


The requestor provided me with the full citation for the Cassandra Shaylor article, and the article noted the name of the case in the footnotes. It is Baraldini v. Thornburgh, 884 F.2d 615 (U.S. App. D.C. 1989). The full-text is in Lexis-Nexis, but I will copy the overview below.

"OVERVIEW: Although the inmates had no particular behavior or security problems after sentencing, they were transferred to the highest security institution primarily because of their association with groups that espoused violence and assisted in prison escapes. The district court found that the bureau violated the inmates' First Amendment rights by making the transfers solely on the basis of the inmates' subversive statements and thoughts. The court reversed, holding that the district court erred in determining that the bureau violated the inmates' First Amendment rights and that the bureau properly considered the inmates' association with groups that aided in prison escapes in effectuating placement. The court found no evidence of pretext or that the bureau singled out any woman because of her left wing political convictions. The court further found that the transfers were rationally connected to a legitimate prison purpose and did not unduly restrict alternative means of exercising association rights. On de novo review, the court determined that the bureau's transfer of the inmates was not an exaggerated response to security concerns."

I quickly checked Shepherd's Citations to see if it had been overturned, and Shepherd's says "No subsequent appellate history." I am not an expert on this step, so please don't take this as proof that there was never a later case that was decided differently. It does mean, as far as I can tell, that that exact case was not appealed.

The Shepard's symbol for this decision indicates "Citing references with analysis is available," and a lawyer friend confirms that "As long as all the cases in the Shepard's report are just "citing" (as opposed to 'overturning,' 'criticizing' or 'distinguishing') then it's good law."