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Williford v. New Jersey Dep't of Corrections

October 14, 2008

RODNEY WILLIFORD, APPELLANT,
v.
NEW JERSEY DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, RESPONDENT.



On appeal from a Final Agency Decision of the New Jersey Department of Corrections.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted September 29, 2008

Before Judges Wefing and LeWinn.

Rodney Williford is an inmate in the custody of the Department of Corrections (DOC). He appeals the agency's decision to assign him to the Management Control Unit (MCU).

We affirm.

Williford is serving a fifty-year sentence, with a thirty-year period of parole ineligibility, for manslaughter, robbery, aggravated assault and parole violation. The record reveals that since the inception of his current incarceration in November 1990, Williford has accrued a total of twenty-eight disciplinary charges, sixteen of which are preceded by an asterisk connoting particularly serious infractions. As a result of Williford's asterisk charges, he has received approximately six and one-half years in administrative segregation.

On appeal, Williford raises procedural and substantive challenges to the administrative decision. Having reviewed those challenges in light of the record and the applicable law, we find them to be without merit. R. 2:11-3(e)(1)(E). We add only the following brief comments.

The criteria which the DOC must consider when determining whether to place an inmate in the MCU relate as much to the inmate's history as to any evidence of current conduct by the inmate that arguably makes him a threat to the safety of others or to the operation of the prison facility. N.J.A.C. 10A:5-2.4(a)1-9. Because of Williford's continued disobedience of prison rules, he was placed in administrative prehearing MCU detention on June 20, 2007. The MCU hearing was scheduled to begin on July 3, 2007, but was postponed to July 11, 2007.

In rendering its decision, the Management Control Unit Reviewing Committee (MCURC) considered Williford's extensive disciplinary record, including a 1997 incident in which he stabbed a corrections officer at Riverfront State Prison with an ice-pick type weapon; he received an additional state prison sentence of twenty years for this assault. The MCURC also noted multiple institutional charges for weapons possession.

We conclude that the record supports the MCURC's findings that Williford demonstrates a "tendency towards violent behavior" as well as "an inability to interact with staff members or house with other inmates in a non-disruptive manner." Notwithstanding the years he has spent in administrative segregation, it appears Williford's institutional adjustment remains poor because, in the assessment of the MCURC, he "has difficulty conforming to institutional rules and regulations."

In support of its recommendation leading to the decision under review, the MCURC noted:

It is the opinion of the Committee that Inmate Williford continues to demonstrate he is incapable of successfully housing in a General Population setting. Inmate Williford is in need of a more structured environment th[a]n General Population. The Committee feels an institutional transfer or a reduction in privileges would be of little deterren[ce] in the activity of Inmate Williford.

Therefore, it is the decision of the [MCURC] that Inmate Williford needs to be closely supervised. The restricted environment of the [MCU] is considered ...


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