Offender Rights Part 5: Access to the Legal System

Offender Rights Part 5: Access to the Legal System 

Due process ensures that the government acts fairly in any proceeding which may result in the loss of life, liberty, or property. Individuals in correctional facilities are required to follow due process procedural protections in several situations where life, liberty, and property are at stake.


This course will provide correctional officers working in adult jails, prisons, and community confinement facilities with an overview of the due process rights of individuals in correctional facilities. Covered topics include facility placement and transfers, conditions of confinement, disciplinary hearings, and access to the courts, legal materials, and legal assistance.


Hours: 2.00


Certificates provided by accrediting body (3 Match)

American Jail Association Certification


This activity is approved for 2.00 contact hours.

South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy


This course has been approved by the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy for 2.00 hours. CJA Lesson Plan #6105

California Board of State and Community Corrections


This activity is approved for 2.00 STC credit hours.

Course Details

Course Code: REL-PS-0-OR5-V2
Hours: 2
Type: Online Course
Content Expiration Date: 1/31/2024
Learning Objectives:
Differentiate between when due process is and is not required for individuals in custody in jails and prisons.
Identify 4 common reasons that inmates/detainees seek access to the courts.
List 4 responsibilities correctional officers may have to ensure detainee/inmates have access to the courts.
Define the term "jailhouse lawyer" and identify up to 3 ways in which institutions can restrict jailhouse lawyers' activities.
Differentiate between what correctional officers can and cannot do related to privileged communication between offenders and their lawyers.


Section 1: Introduction

A. About This Course

B. Learning Objectives

Section 2: Due Process Rights

A. What is Due Process?

B. Where is it Mentioned in the Constitution?

C. Life, Liberty, and Property Interests

D. Other Sources of Due Process Rights

E. Examples of When Due Process Applies

F. Examples of When Due Process Does Not Apply

G. Transfers

H. Exceptions To The Transfer Rule

I. Transfers Between Different Correctional Systems

J. Classification Decisions

K. Due Process and The Disciplinary Hearing

L. Informants and Disciplinary Hearings

M. The Role of The Correctional Officer in A Disciplinary Hearing

N. Administrative Segregation: The Case of Hewitt v. Helms

O. Length of Time in Administrative Segregation

P. Review

Q. Summary

Section 3: Access to the Legal System

A. Access to The Legal System

B. Reasons Why Offenders Seek Access to The Courts

C. Challenging the Legality of Their Sentence

D. Claiming Civil Rights Violations

E. Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA)

F. Bringing Or Defending Against Lawsuits Unrelated To Conviction Or Confinement

G. Access to Legal Assistance

H. Access to Legal Materials

I. Access to Legal Advice

J. Jailhouse Lawyers

K. Review

L. Summary

Section 4: Correctional Officer Role

A. The Correctional Officer’s Role in Offender Access to the Court

B. Privileged Communication

C. Correctional Officers and Privileged Communication

D. Review

E. Summary

Section 5: Conclusion

A. Summary

B. Course Contributors

C. References

D. Congratulations!

E. Exam

F. BrainSparks

Staff Writer: Kimberly Cobb, MS
Mrs. Cobb is a Lead SME Writer/Trainer at Relias. Her primary writing responsibilities are in the Health and Human Services vertical, in the content areas of public safety and behavioral health. Mrs. Cobb is also the onboarding trainer for new Relias staff joining the Content Department. Mrs. Cobb has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Correctional and Juvenile Justice Studies and a Master of Science Degree in Criminal Justice. She has over 24 years of experience working in criminal and juvenile justice. Her work includes direct service, research, and training and technical assistance. She was the statewide evaluator for the Commonwealth of Kentucky for adult, juvenile, and family drug courts; a Research Associate for the American Probation & Parole Association providing training and technical assistance to Native American Nations/Alaska Native Villages on systemic criminal and juvenile justice initiatives; and a Research Administrator for the University of Kentucky. Disclosure: Kimberly Cobb, MS has declared that no conflict of interest, Relevant Financial Relationship or Relevant Non-Financial Relationship exists.
Expert Reviewer: Linda L. Bryant, J.D., Sworn Jail Officer
Linda L. Bryant, J.D. is veteran public safety official and legal expert. She served as the Deputy Attorney General for Virginia for Criminal Justice and Public Safety where she supervised a team of over 80 attorneys who represented the state's public safety agencies in state and federal courts. She and her team provided legal advice on public safety matters and policy development to the Governor of Virginia, the Secretary of Public Safety, all public safety agencies and the state legislature. Her duties also included providing legal advice to and overseeing all litigation against the state Department of Corrections. She also served for nearly 18 years as a state prosecutor, where she prosecuted thousands of cases focusing her efforts on violent crime, serving as lead trial attorney on over 40 murder cases. During that time she also taught as an Adjunct Professor at the College of William and Mary law school. She also served on the Working Group that developed the "21st Century Principles of Prosecution, Peace Officer Use of Force Project" for the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys Ms. Bryant is currently the Assistant Superintendent and Compliance Attorney at the Hampton Roads Regional Jail, a jail with an average daily population of approximately 1100 inmates. The jail houses special needs inmates to include those with serious medical and mental health concerns. Disclosure: Linda L. Bryant, J.D., Sworn Jail Officer has declared that no conflict of interest, Relevant Financial Relationship or Relevant Non-Financial Relationship exists.
Target Audience:
The target audience for this course is: Correctional Officers; in the following settings: Adult Corrections, Juvenile Corrections.
Relias will be transparent in disclosing if any commercial support, sponsorship or co-providership is present prior to the learner completing the course.
Course Delivery Method and Format
Asynchronous/Online Distance Learning; please see certificate details for specifics on delivery format.
Relias has a grievance policy in place to facilitate reports of dissatisfaction. Relias will make every effort to resolve each grievance in a mutually satisfactory manner. In order to report a complaint or grievance please contact Relias.
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All characteristics and organizations referenced in the following training are fictional. Any resemblance to any actual organizations or persons living or dead, is purely coincidental.
To earn continuing education credit for this course you must achieve a passing score of 80% on the post-test and complete the course evaluation.
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