Non-judicial punishment in the United States military, is a form of military justice authorized by Article 15 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Non-judicial punishment or "NJP" permits commanders to administratively discipline troops without a court-martial. Punishment can range from reprimand to reduction in rank, correctional custody (aboard ships only), loss of pay, extra duty, and/or restrictions. The receipt of non-judicial punishment does not constitute a criminal conviction, but is often placed in the service record of the individual. The process for non-judicial punishment is governed by Part V of the Manual for Courts-Martial and by each service branch's regulations.
Non-judicial punishment proceedings are known by different terms among the services. In the U.S. Army and the U.S. Air Force, non-judicial punishment is referred to as Article 15; in the Marine Corps it is called being "NJP'd" or being sent to "Office Hours". The U.S. Navy and the U.S. Coast Guard call non-judicial punishment captain's mast or admiral's mast, depending of the rank of the commanding officer. It is known colloquially as "being booked".
Prior to imposition of NJP, the commander will notify the accused of the commander's intention to impose punishment, the nature of the misconduct alleged, supporting evidence and a statement of the accused's rights under the UCMJ. All service members, except those embarked or attached to a vessel currently away from its homeport, have a right to refuse NJP and request a court-martial. If the accused does not accept the NJP, the NJP hearing is terminated and the commander must make the decision of whether to process the service member for court-martial. If the accused accepts NJP, he or she, plus a representative if desired, will attend the hearing conducted by the commander. The accused may present evidence and witnesses to the commander. The commander must consider any information offered during the hearing, and must be personally convinced that the service member committed misconduct before imposing punishment.
Maximum penalties depend on the rank of the accused and that of the officer imposing punishment:
For Officers Accused of Misconduct
If the officer imposing punishment holds General Court Martial authority, or if the commanding officer of the grade O-7 or greater
- Arrest in quarters: not more than 30 days
- Restriction to limits: not more than 60 days
- Forfeiture of pay: not more than ½ of one month's base pay for two months (base pay does not include allowances or special pay)
- Admonition or reprimand
By Commanding Officers of the grades O-4 to O-6
Full article ▸