Rights to Procedural Due Process.

The Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments prohibit the government from depriving an inmate of life, liberty, or property without due process of law. A violation of procedural due process requires (1) that the state has interfered with the inmate's protected liberty or property interest and (2) that procedural safeguards were constitutionally insufficient to protect against unjustified deprivations.

Protected liberty interests can be created by (1) the Due Process Clause of its own force; (2) a court order; and (3) state and federal statutes and regulations. A prisoner claiming deprivation of a state-created liberty interest must specify what regulation or statute created the interest. The court only will afford due process protection to an alleged state-created interest if the interest's restriction or deprivation either (1) creates an "atypical and significant hardship" by subjecting the prisoner to conditions much different from those ordinarily experienced by large numbers of inmates serving their sentences in the customary fashion or (2) inevitably affects the duration of the prisoner's sentence.

Once a court determines that an interest is protected, it then determines what procedural safeguards due process requires. To do this, a court balances three factors: (1) the importance of the private interest affected, (2) the importance of the governmental interests affected (including the fiscal and administrative costs of the additional procedural requirements), and (3) the potential value of the additional procedural requirements (including any reduction in the risk of erroneous deprivations under current procedures).

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