McKune v. Lile, 536 U.S. 24, 2 (2002)

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Cite as: 536 U. S. 24 (2002)


Justice Kennedy, joined by The Chief Justice, Justice Scalia, and Justice Thomas, concluded that the SATP serves a vital penological purpose, and that offering inmates minimal incentives to participate does not amount to compelled self-incrimination prohibited by the Fifth Amendment. Pp. 32-48.

(a) The SATP is supported by the legitimate penological objective of rehabilitation. The SATP lasts 18 months; involves substantial daily counseling; and helps inmates address sexual addiction, understand the thoughts, feelings, and behavior dynamics that precede their offenses, and develop relapse prevention skills. Pp. 32-34.

(b) The mere fact that Kansas does not offer legal immunity from prosecution based on statements made in the course of the SATP does not render the program invalid. No inmate has ever been charged or prosecuted for any offense based on such information, and there is no contention that the program is a mere subterfuge for the conduct of a criminal investigation. Rather, the refusal to offer use immunity serves two legitimate state interests: (1) The potential for additional punishment reinforces the gravity of the participants' offenses and thereby aids in their rehabilitation; and (2) the State confirms its valid interest in deterrence by keeping open the option to prosecute a particularly dangerous sex offender. Pp. 34-35.

(c) The SATP, and the consequences for nonparticipation in it, do not combine to create a compulsion that encumbers the constitutional right not to incriminate oneself. Pp. 35-47.

(1) The prison context is important in weighing respondent's constitutional claim: A broad range of choices that might infringe constitutional rights in a free society fall within the expected conditions of confinement of those lawfully convicted. The limitation on prisoners' privileges and rights also follows from the need to grant necessary authority and capacity to officials to administer the prisons. See, e. g., Turner v. Safley, 482 U. S. 78. The Court's holding in Sandin v. Conner, 515 U. S. 472, 484, that challenged prison conditions cannot give rise to a due process violation unless they constitute "atypical and significant hardship[s] on [inmates] in relation to the ordinary incidents of prison life," may not provide a precise parallel for determining whether there is compelled self-incrimination, but does provide useful instruction. A prison clinical rehabilitation program, which is acknowledged to bear a rational relation to a legitimate penological objective, does not violate the privilege against compelled self-incrimination if the adverse consequences an inmate faces for not participating are related to the program objectives and do not constitute atypical and significant hardships in relation to the ordinary incidents of prison life. Cf., e. g., Baxter v. Palmigiano, 425 U. S. 308, 319-320. Pp. 35-38.


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