The 1995 United States Supreme Court case of Sandin v. Conner dramatically altered how federal courts examine prisoners' procedural clue process claims. Prior to Sandin a prison official's act against a prisoner in violation of a specific regulation often gave rise to a liberty interest worthy of procedural clue process protection. Sandin ended this analysis by stating that the proper inquiry should focus on whether such a violation caused an "atypical and significant hardship on the inmate in relation to the ordinary incidents of prison life." This Note argues that the "atypical and significant" standard, as applied by the majority of the lower courts, has led to harsh results, particularly for prisoners claiming that their assignments to higher levels of intraprison confinement followed little or no process. Because intraprison confinement is not. representative of the prisoner experience and often harms inmates, courts must recognize such confinements to be the "atypical and significant" experiences that they truly are.
Michael Z. Goldman, Sandin v. Conner and Intraprison Confinement: Ten Years of Confusion and Harm in Prisoner Litigation, 45 B.C.L. Rev. 423 (2004), http://lawdigitalcommons.bc.edu/bclr/vol45/iss2/4