Overton v. Bazzetta, 539 U.S. 126, 12 (2003)

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Cite as: 539 U. S. 126 (2003)

Stevens, J., concurring

what we have said already about the withdrawal of privileges that incarceration is expected to bring applies here as well. Michigan, like many other States, uses withdrawal of visitation privileges for a limited period as a regular means of effecting prison discipline. This is not a dramatic departure from accepted standards for conditions of confinement. Cf. Sandin v. Conner, 515 U. S. 472, 485 (1995). Nor does the regulation create inhumane prison conditions, deprive inmates of basic necessities, or fail to protect their health or safety. Nor does it involve the infliction of pain or injury, or deliberate indifference to the risk that it might occur. See, e. g., Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U. S. 97 (1976); Rhodes v. Chapman, 452 U. S. 337 (1981). If the withdrawal of all visitation privileges were permanent or for a much longer period, or if it were applied in an arbitrary manner to a particular inmate, the case would present different considerations. An individual claim based on indefinite withdrawal of visitation or denial of procedural safeguards, however, would not support the ruling of the Court of Appeals that the entire regulation is invalid.

* * *

The judgment of the Court of Appeals is reversed.

It is so ordered.

Justice Stevens, with whom Justice Souter, Justice Ginsburg, and Justice Breyer join, concurring.

Our decision today is faithful to the principle that "federal courts must take cognizance of the valid constitutional claims of prison inmates." Turner v. Safley, 482 U. S. 78, 84 (1987). As we explained in Turner:

"Prison walls do not form a barrier separating prison inmates from the protections of the Constitution. Hence, for example, prisoners retain the constitutional right to petition the government for the redress of grievances, Johnson v. Avery, 393 U. S. 483 (1969); they


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