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in a unanimous opinion, the justices upheld a Michigan Department of Corrections regulation that limited the type and number of visitors a prison inmate may have. Overton v. Bazzetta, No. 02-94. Responding to concerns about security problems and substance abuse among inmates, the department limited all inmates to visits by immediate family members and no more than 10 other people. If the inmate has committed two or more substance abuse violations, visitation is limited to attorneys and members of the clergy. A group made up of prisoners, their friends and other family members, filed suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983, asserting that the regulations violate the First, Eighth and 14th amendments. A Michigan federal court and the 6th Circuit said the regulations were invalid. Reversing, the justices held that the regulations bear a rational relationship to legitimate penalogical interests. “We must accord substantial deference to the professional judgment of prison administrators, who bear a significant responsibility for defining the legitimate goals of a corrections system and for determining the most appropriate means to accomplish them,” the court said. Kennedy wrote the court’s opinion.

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