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Articles by Benjamin Tschirhart

Maine Caps Price of Phone Calls in State Prisons and Jails

by Benjamin Tschirhart

On April 15, 2022, Maine Gov. Janet Mills (D) approved H.P. 853, a new law capping the cost of calls in state prisons and county jails. Effective October 1, 2022, calls may not exceed the federal rate of twelve cents per minute in prisons and twenty-one cents ...

Sentencing Reports Show Longer Sentences, Few Compassionate Releases

by Benjamin Tschirhart and Casey J. Bastian

On July 20, 2022, the nonprofit Council on Criminal Justice (CCJ) reported a spike in the share of state prisoners serving long sentences, with 57% now locked up for ten years or more. As a result, the average length of time served has ...

Parole Board Members Miss Work, Leaving Nebraska Prisoners Locked Up

by Benjamin Tschirhart

Each year, thousands of Nebraska prisoners go before the state Parole Board, hoping to return to their lives and their families. But when board members don’t show up for work, people often stay in prison instead of going home.

That’s because the board needs at least three ...

SCOTUS Kills Condemned Ohio Prisoner’s Effort to Secure Evidence of Mental Impairment to Bolster Habeas Petition

by Ben Tschirhart

On June 21, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court held that cases involving medical transport orders for prisoners seeking evidence of mental impairment to bolster a habeas corpus petition are now among those immediately appealable and do not have to await final judgment.

The Court customarily doesn’t rule ...

$2.45 Million Paid by Wellpath and Macomb County, Michigan, After Detainee’s Withdrawal Death in Jail

by Ben Tschirhart

On March 31, 2022, an agreement was entered by Michigan’s Macomb County paying $1.15 million to the estate of David Stojcevski, 32, a detainee who died from drug withdrawal while in custody in the county jail. Separately, the jail’s privately contracted healthcare provider, Correct Care Solutions (CCS) ...

SCOTUS Kneecaps Condemned Prisoners Claiming Ineffective Assistance of Counsel

by Ben Tschirhart

Ten years ago, in Martinez v. Ryan, 566 U.S. 1 (2012), the U.S. Supreme Court confronted a dilemma posed by Congress’ passage of the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA) of 1996. That law subjects to procedural default any federal habeas corpus claims not already ...

CoreCivic Workers Unionize and Go On Strike at Arizona Prison

by Ben Tschirhart

Some 20 newly unionized workers and their supporters manned a picket line at CoreCivic’s Central Arizona Florence Correctional Complex (CAFCC) on August 12, 2022, after pay negotiations broke down over a company offer the union representative called “insulting.”

Despite alleged attempts by CoreCivic to thwart their vote, ...

Monkeypox Discovered in Chicago Jail

by Benjamin Tschirhart

Officials say the danger to general population and staff in Chicago’s Cook County Jail is low following a case of monkeypox there that was announced on July 21, 2022.

The office of Sheriff Tom Dart said that the infected detainee was a recent admission to the jail, ...

$350,000 Paid to Victim Beaten in Jail by California Sheriff’s Deputy

by Benjamin Tschirhart

On August 18, 2018, Milan Jackson was riding on Caltrain near the rail system’s stop in Redwood City, California. At some point Jackson, who suffers ADHD and autism, lay down on the train floor, not foreseeing the dire consequences of this innocuous action: He was arrested by ...

$35,000 Settlement Paid by California County After Jail Death of Elderly, Mentally Ill Detainee

by Benjamin Tschirhart

California’s San Luis Obispo County reached a settlement on February 10, 2021, agreeing to pay $35,000 to resolve wrongful death claims filed by the widow of an elderly man with dementia and mental illness who died of an embolism in the county jail on November 6, 2017, ...