What Happens If an Offender Violates a Rule Within the Prison?
Prison violations can result in new charges, loss of time credits and more. It’s important to know the rules for your prison and follow them.
Can incarcerated people face new charges for any prison violation?
No. While it is true that you can face new charges for crimes committed inside the prison, not all rules are laws. The government can only charge you for breaking criminal laws. If you assault a prison official or a peer, for example, you could be charged with a crime. You can also face new charges for possessing or using drugs.
Some prison violations do not result in additional charges, though. This is because a prison can make specific rules for their facility. The rules might even be different from unit to unit. Staff can punish you if you break the rules. Punishments can include limiting your personal items, putting you in segregation or taking your phone privileges away.
How do staff decide what to do when an incarcerated person violates the rules?
If someone in prison breaks the law, staff may not have a choice in what happens. But when prison violations don’t affect peers, they may be able to choose what to do. They have to follow the law when people in prison fight and one chooses to press charges. What if the rule is not a law? Correctional officers have a lot more freedom to decide what happens if the violation doesn’t break any laws.
Common things staff may not file new charges for include refusing an order or having contraband. They know that new charges can make your stay in prison longer. Staff also have to work in the unit and want a good relationship with incarcerated people when possible. That’s why they may choose to confiscate contraband without pressing charges. If you refuse an order, they may take you to solitary confinement. Prison violations that involve violence almost always result in new charges, though.
Any write-up for breaking a rule can affect your good time credits. If you break the rules, you risk losing the time credits you earn. That can make it hard to get out of prison before the end of your sentence.
Is there a way to appeal if staff give me a prison violation?
Yes. If you think that a correctional officer is wrong to give you a prison violation, you can appeal it. The first step is almost always to talk to the supervisor or warden. They may decide the staff has made a mistake and remove the write-up. You can also consult a lawyer if you don’t think a new charge is fair. It’s important to know your rights and speak up when you need to.
When you break the rules in prison, staff can punish you. Not all rules are laws, and what happens depends on the rule you break. You can lose good time credits or face new charges as a result of a violation.