hold today that Petitioner's Constitutional rights have not been abridged, and therefore the Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus is dismissed.
The facts of this case are as follows.
On October 16, 1978, Petitioner was cited in an incident report for unauthorized use of the mail. The charges were that Petitioner was corresponding with an inmate at the Federal Correctional Institution, Milan, Michigan, the letter being sent through an intermediate party. Petitioner was served with a copy of the incident report on October 17, 1978, and on that day he appeared before the Unit Discipline Committee. At that time he admitted to corresponding with inmates at other institutions, and he acknowledged that he knew of the prison policy forbidding such action. Petitioner was then placed on indefinite mail restriction.
Petitioner then continued his claim through the prison's appeal process. First, on October 19, 1978 he appealed to the Warden, and then on December 12, 1978 he appealed to the Regional Director of the Bureau of Prisons. Both of these appeals were denied, and Petitioner now seeks relief from this Court.
Petitioner's claims are that the actions of Respondents in placing him on mail restriction violate his right of free speech, association and privacy, and that the policy concerning inmate correspondence is discriminatory in that it allows an exception for male/female relationships while denying equal treatment to male/male relationships. We cannot agree with these contentions.
We must preface our study of the present question with the admonition that this Court does not intend to thrust itself headlong into the management and operations of the prison system. Prison administrators should be accorded wide ranging deference in the adoption and execution of policies and practices that in their judgment are needed to preserve internal order and discipline and to maintain institutional security. Bell v. Wolfish, 441 U.S. 520, 99 S. Ct. 1861, 1878, 60 L. Ed. 2d 447 (1979). With this standard in mind, we will now consider Petitioner's First Amendment claims.
The United States Supreme Court has held that interference with inmate correspondence is permissible so long as the restrictions "further an important or substantial governmental interest unrelated to the suppression of expression," and they are "no greater than is necessary or essential to the protection of the particular governmental interest involved." Procunier v. Martinez, 416 U.S. 396, 413, 94 S. Ct. 1800, 1811, 40 L. Ed. 2d 224 (1974). The governmental interests have been defined to be security, order, and rehabilitation. Id., at 413, 94 S. Ct. 1800.
Petitioner Karl Schlobohm admittedly violated the Bureau of Prisons Policy Statement when he corresponded with an inmate at another institution. He was given a three-step appeal process in which to adjudicate his claim. The only issues remaining, therefore, are the propriety of the Regulation itself and the permissibility of the punishment that was given.
The relevant section of the Bureau of Prisons Policy Statement 7300.1A reads as follows:
"Inmates are allowed to correspond with persons confined in other penal institutions provided they are members of his immediate family. Normally, correspondence with other inmates who are not family members will not be permitted except in unusual circumstances such as pre-existing male/female relationships which upon investigation shows that (a) the relationship is bona-fide and existed before commitment (b) the two proposed correspondents can show there is a genuine interest in the party's welfare; and (c) the staff of other institutions agree to the correspondence and agree that such correspondence would be beneficial to both parties."