Skip to main content

Interstate Commissioner for Audlt Offender Supervision (ICAOS) Logo

Bench Book - 2.3 General Principles Affecting Interstate Movement of Offenders

As a general proposition, convicted persons enjoy no right to interstate travel or a constitutionally protected interest to supervision in another state. See Jones v. Helms, 452 U.S. 412, 418-20 (1981); Griffin v. Wisconsin, 483 U.S. 868, 874 (1987); U.S. v. Knights, 534 U.S. 112, 119 (2001)(“Just as other punishments for criminal convictions curtail an offender’s freedoms, a court granting probation may impose reasonable conditions that deprive the offender of some freedoms enjoyed by law-abiding citizens.”); See Virgin Islands v. Miller, (2010 WL 1790213 (V.I. Super., May 4, 2010)(“This language (of the Compact) clearly reflects that the determination of whether to allow a probationer to reside in another jurisdiction and be supervised under the authority of the receiving state is an exercise of discretion and not a matter of right.”), also O'Neal v. Coleman, No. 06-C-243-C, 2006 WL 1706426, at *7 (W.D. Wis. June 16, 2006) (Simply put, individuals on probation do not have a constitutional right to have supervision of their probation transferred from one jurisdiction to another.) See also, United States v. Warren, 186 F.3d 358, 366 (3d Cir. 1999), Bagley v. Harvey, 718 F.2d 921, 924 (9th Cir. 1988); Alonzo v. Rozanski, 808 F.2d 637, 638 (7th Cir. 1986) and, Wilkinson v. Austin, 545 U.S. 209, 228-30 (2005) (inmates may have protected due process interests, but state’s interests in public safety and management of scarce resources are dominant considerations owed great deference). A parolee cannot be regarded as free as they have already lost their freedom by due process of law. While paroled, the parolee is a convicted person who is being “field tested” towards rehabilitation. Therefore, one cannot compare the parolee’s rights in this posture with rights before conviction. Hyser v. Reed, 318 F.2d 225, 239 (D.C. Cir.) (en banc), cert denied, 375 U.S. 957 (1963). A parolee’s right to travel is essentially the same as an inmate’s and, thus, not in need of any specific constitutional protection. See Paulus v. Fenton, 443 F. Supp. 473, 476 (M.D. Pa. 1977), also Berrigan v. Sigler, 499 F.2d 514, 522 (D.C. Cir. 1974). Likewise, restricting the movement of individuals on probation is appropriate in some cases to facilitate proper supervision and to punish the probationer for unlawful conduct. United States v. Scheer, 30 F.Supp. 2d 351, 353 (E.D.N.Y. 1998); O’Neal v. Coleman, No. 06-C-243-C,2006 WL I 706426, at *7 (W.D. Wis. June 16, 2006). A categorical denial of the right to travel applicable to offenders does not presumptively violate due process rights as such rights were extinguished, or greatly diminished, by a conviction. See e.g., Pelland v. Rhode Island, 317 F. Supp. 2d 86, 93 (R.I. 2004) (for probationers, the right of interstate travel may exist, if at all, but in a restricted and weakened condition; thus, a higher degree of deference (or a lower degree of scrutiny) is necessary with respect to the government’s restrictions if the distinction between the convicted and the law-abiding is to mean anything). Convicted persons have no right to control where they live in the United States; the right to travel is extinguished for the entire balance of their sentences. See, e.g., Williams v. Wisconsin, 336 F.3d 576, 581 (7th Cir. 2003). See also, Jones v. Helms, 452 U.S. 412, 419-20 (1981) (a person who has committed an offense punishable by imprisonment does not have an unqualified right to leave the jurisdiction prior to arrest or conviction). See also United States v. Pugliese, 960 F.2d 913, 916-16 (10th Cir. 1992). (‘No due process challenge may be made unless the challenger has been or is threatened with being deprived of life, liberty, or property.’) See Cevilla v. Gonzales, 446 F.3d 658, 662 (7th Cir. 2006).

The absence of rights to interstate travel has important implications on the return of offenders. Because offenders possess no presumptive right to travel, in addition to public safety considerations and the management of corrections resources, states have discretion in managing both the sending and return of offenders. The ICAOS is the primary tool for managing the interstate movement of offenders subject to conditional release and/or community supervision. The Compact, therefore, controls such movement as well as the return of offenders. The level of process owed offenders in transferring supervision to another state is therefore purely discretionary and involves little if any due process considerations by a sending state. However, the ICAOS may implicate due process considerations in one of two circumstances. First, in some circumstances the ICAOS imposes an obligation on a receiving state to accept certain offenders for supervision. The improper refusal by the receiving state to accept transfer of an otherwise eligible offender may present due process issues. Second, due process considerations may also arise by actions in the receiving state that may lead the sending state to revoke conditional release. See, discussion infra at § There are no due process implications per se to the decision to transfer supervision or retake an offender unless one of these two circumstances is present. The Compact imposes no obligation on sending states to transfer supervision and therefore appears to present no due process concerns in this context. An offender does not have a right to transfer and a sending state has no affirmative obligation to grant a transfer.

PRACTICE NOTE: Offenders have no constitutional right to relocate. Sending states have no obligation to allow an offender to travel to or relocate in another state. Except as provided in the ICAOS and its rules, member states do not have an obligation to assume jurisdiction and supervision over offenders from other states. The ability of an individual offender to relocate and the obligations of states to either approve relocation or accept relocation are defined by federal law or interstate agreements such as the ICAOS.



Click terms below to reveal definitions used in this rule.

Sending State – means a state requesting the transfer of an offender, or which transfers supervision of an offender, under the terms of the Compact and its rules.

Relocate – means to remain in another state for more than 45 consecutive days in any 12 month period.