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Darryl V. Conquest v. New Jersey Department of Corrections

December 6, 2012

DARRYL V. CONQUEST, APPELLANT,
v.
NEW JERSEY DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, RESPONDENT.



On appeal from the New Jersey Department of Corrections.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted January 30, 2012 - Decided Before Judges A. A. Rodriguez and Ashrafi.

Inmate Darryl V. Conquest appeals from a final decision of the Department of Corrections (DOC) retaining his status in the Management Control Unit (MCU) of his prison. We affirm.

Conquest is now sixty-two years old. He has spent most of his adult life in prison. He has been serving two consecutive life terms for murder since 1976. During the initial years of his confinement on the murder charges, he had numerous disciplinary infractions. Prison officials designated him a serious security risk to the prison staff and population because of his activities as a leader and instigator of prison violence and disruption. He was transferred twice to other states for security purposes to serve his sentence under interstate compacts, but he was eventually returned to New Jersey by both receiving states.

Upon his return in December 1995, Conquest was assigned to MCU, where he must spend more than twenty-three hours of each day confined to his cell. Quarterly reviews of his status and more formal annual reviews have been conducted since his initial assignment. The MCU Review Committee has consistently recommended against his release to the general prison population. On this appeal, Conquest challenges the adequacy of evidence supporting the Review Committee's decision of November 24, 2010, to retain him in MCU, and he also challenges as procedurally flawed the DOC's confirmation of that decision.

N.J.A.C. 10A:5-1.3 defines "Management Control Unit" as "a close custody unit to which an inmate may be assigned if the inmate poses a substantial threat to the safety of others; of damage to or destruction of property; or of interrupting the operation of a State correctional facility." When assigning an inmate to MCU, the DOC must consider the following factors:

1. Disciplinary records during the inmate's present term of confinement and any previous terms served. Weight shall be assigned to this criterion where there are a substantial number of minor charges, or one or more charges of a serious nature;

2. Past criminal offenses, including those for which incarcerated, which indicate the capability and propensity to commit or precipitate serious acts of disruption or violence;

3. Number and location of previous institutionalizations including the disciplinary records, progress reports, classification reports, or any other records which indicate involvement in serious misbehavior;

4. Reports by professional staff (for example, psychologists, social workers, psychiatrists);

5. Reports indicating present involvement in criminal activities in the community or within the correctional facility;

6. Evidence of an attitude which indicates an unwillingness to follow rules and obey orders;

7. Inability to maintain a satisfactory work record as indicated in reports by work supervisors ...


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