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Boone v. New Jersey Department of Corrections

Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division

August 2, 2013



Submitted July 9, 2013

On appeal from the New Jersey Department of Corrections.

Anthony Boone, appellant pro se.

John J. Hoffman, Acting Attorney General, attorney for respondent (Melissa H. Raksa, Assistant Attorney General, of counsel; Justin L. Conforti, Deputy Attorney General, on the brief).

Before Judges Ashrafi and St. John.


Inmate Anthony Boone appeals from an administrative decision of the Department of Corrections (DOC) which requires that inmates list all of their visitors on a visit list, including minors. We affirm.

We briefly summarize the relevant procedural history and the facts based on the record before us.

Boone is currently incarcerated at Northern State Prison (NSP) serving a life sentence for murder and other charges and was previously an inmate at East Jersey State Prison (EJSP). On September 26, 2010, Boone claims that his family visited him at EJSP and they were required to give the names and dates of birth of two minor children in order that they be added to his visitor list. On September 28, 2010, Boone filed an inmate remedy form claiming that the requirement to list all visitors, including minors, was a violation of his family's constitutional rights. On November 30, 2010, an EJSP prison administrator clarified that all visitors must be placed on a visit list, including minors.

N.J.A.C. 10A:18-6.2 provides

(a) Upon admission, inmates are responsible for submitting a list of names and addresses of their potential visitors to the Administrator or designee.
(b) Inmates are responsible for submitting any subsequent revisions to their list of visitors in accordance with internal management procedures of the correctional facility.

A prison policy of EJSP dated March 2, 2009, provides that all visitors must appear on the visit card of the inmate they are visiting; children under eighteen must be accompanied by an adult; and the inmate may include on his visit list members of his family, friends, or other persons he wishes to include.[1]

On appeal, Boone argues that the requirement to list his "3-year old niece and 11-year old nephew" on his visit card is a violation of his constitutional rights.[2] Boone argues that this requirement violates N.J.A.C. 10A:18-6.3(i), (j) and that the DOC has no right to obtain the names and dates of birth of these individuals. We note that visitors must submit their names and addresses not, as contended by Boone, their dates of birth. The DOC policy provides that if Boone wishes to visit with a person of any age, that person must appear on his visit list.

Boone also argues that the EJSP policy constitutes illegal rulemaking in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act, N.J.S.A. 52:14B-1 to -15, because there is no evidence of security concerns which justify EJSP's requirement to place a minor on the visit list.

We find Boone's contentions to be without sufficient merit to warrant discussion in this opinion. R. 2:11-3(e)(1)(E). We add the following brief comment. The DOC has a valid interest in the security of the institution and a right to know the identity of every person that enters the facility, regardless of his or her age. As we stated in Bernstein v. State, 411 N.J.Super. 316, 337 (App. Div. 2010):

Tempering a court's rigorous protection of inmates' constitutional rights is the fact that considerations of prison security are "peculiarly within the province and professional expertise of corrections officials, " to which courts should give "wide-ranging deference in the adoption and execution of policies and practices that in their judgment are needed to preserve internal order and discipline and to maintain institutional security." Bell v. Wolfish, 441 U.S. 520, 547-48, 99 S.Ct. 1861, 1878-79, 60 L.Ed.2d 447, 474 (1979); see Blyther v. N.J. Dep't of Corrections, 322 N.J.Super. 56, 65 (App. Div.) (State officials should be given wide latitude in managing the "volatile environment" presented by prisons, and are accordingly afforded "appropriate deference and flexibility"), certif. denied, 162 N.J. 196 (1999). Courts should avoid venturing "too cavalierly into areas that are properly the concern of [prison] officials[, ]" as the United States Supreme Court has emphasized "time and again . . . that [the] unguided substitution of judicial judgment for that of the expert prison administrators" is often "inappropriate." Bell, supra, 441 U.S. at 554, 99 S.Ct. at 1882, 60 L.Ed.2d at 478; see also Blyther, supra, 322 N.J.Super. at 67 "[i]nvolvement of the courts in the day-to-day management of prisons would squander judicial resources with little offsetting benefit to anyone").


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