McKune v. Lile, 536 U.S. 24, 6 (2002)

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

Opinion of Kennedy, J.

Justice Kennedy announced the judgment of the Court and delivered an opinion, in which The Chief Justice, Justice Scalia, and Justice Thomas join.

Respondent Robert G. Lile is a convicted sex offender in the custody of the Kansas Department of Corrections (Department). A few years before respondent was scheduled to reenter society, Department officials recommended that he enter a prison treatment program so that he would not rape again upon release. While there appears to be some difference of opinion among experts in the field, Kansas officials and officials who administer the United States prison system have made the determination that it is of considerable importance for the program participant to admit having committed the crime for which he is being treated and other past offenses. The first and in many ways most crucial step in the Kansas rehabilitation program thus requires the participant to confront his past crimes so that he can begin to understand his own motivations and weaknesses. As this initial step can be a most difficult one, Kansas offers sex offenders incentives to participate in the program.

Respondent contends this incentive system violates his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination. Kansas' rehabilitation program, however, serves a vital penological purpose, and offering inmates minimal incentives to participate does not amount to compelled self-incrimination prohibited by the Fifth Amendment.


In 1982, respondent lured a high school student into his car as she was returning home from school. At gunpoint, respondent forced the victim to perform oral sodomy on him

Carter of Indiana, J. Joseph Curran, Jr., of Maryland, Thomas F. Reilly of Massachusetts, Don Stenberg of Nebraska, Frankie Sue Del Papa of Nevada, Patricia A. Madrid of New Mexico, Charles M. Condon of South Carolina, Mark L. Shurtleff of Utah, Randolph A. Beales of Virginia, Christine O. Gregoire of Washington, and Gay Woodhouse of Wyoming.


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