Overton v. Bazzetta, 539 U.S. 126, 11 (2003)

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Opinion of the Court

Finally, we consider whether the presence of ready alternatives undermines the reasonableness of the regulations. Turner does not impose a least-restrictive-alternative test, but asks instead whether the prisoner has pointed to some obvious regulatory alternative that fully accommodates the asserted right while not imposing more than a de minimis cost to the valid penological goal. 482 U. S., at 90-91. Respondents have not suggested alternatives meeting this high standard for any of the regulations at issue. We disagree with respondents' suggestion that allowing visitation by nieces and nephews or children for whom parental rights have been terminated is an obvious alternative. Increasing the number of child visitors in that way surely would have more than a negligible effect on the goals served by the regulation. As to the limitation on visitation by former inmates, respondents argue the restriction could be time limited, but we defer to MDOC's judgment that a longer restriction better serves its interest in preventing the criminal activity that can result from these interactions. Respondents suggest the duration of the restriction for inmates with substance-abuse violations could be shortened or that it could be applied only for the most serious violations, but these alternatives do not go so far toward accommodating the asserted right with so little cost to penological goals that they meet Turner's high standard. These considerations cannot justify the decision of the Court of Appeals to invalidate the regulation as to all noncontact visits.


Respondents also claim that the restriction on visitation for inmates with two substance-abuse violations is a cruel and unusual condition of confinement in violation of the Eighth Amendment. The restriction undoubtedly makes the prisoner's confinement more difficult to bear. But it does not, in the circumstances of this case, fall below the standards mandated by the Eighth Amendment. Much of

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