Pub. date: 2005 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952514 | Print ISBN: 9780761927310 | Online ISBN: 9781412952514| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Prison officials may search prisoners' cells at any time because the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that prisoners are not protected by the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Indeed, though a number of federal circuit courts in the late 1970s were willing to recognize that prison inmates had a limited right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure, by the mid-1980s the U.S. Supreme Court had determined otherwise. Thus, the Court stated that “a prisoner has no reasonable expectation of privacy in his prison cell entitling him to the protection of the Fourth Amendment against unreasonable searches” ( Hudson v. Palmer , 1984). The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states that “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable search and seizure, shall not be violated.” To arrive at the conclusion that prisoners do not have this protection, ...