Skip navigation

Articles by Brandon Sample

Sixth Circuit Upholds Conviction and Sentences for Jail Guards Accused of Abusing, Killing Prisoners

Sixth Circuit Upholds Conviction and Sentences for Jail Guards Accused of Abusing, Killing Prisoners

by Brandon Sample

On February 4, 2008, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit upheld the conviction and sentences of two Wilson County, Tennessee jail guards accused of conspiring to violate the civil ...

Thousands Sought Pardons or Commutations from Bush, but Few Were Fortunate

It is not unusual to see an increase in requests for pardons in the waning days of a presidential administration. President Clinton, for example, received 1,827 petitions during his final year in office. However, with harsh mandatory minimums, tough sentencing guidelines and the abolition of parole for federal prisoners ...

Indiana Law Requiring Former Prisoners to Consent to Search and Monitoring of Their Computers Held Unconstitutional

On June 24, 2008, U.S. District Court Judge David Hamilton struck down Section 8(b) of Indiana Public Law 119, which required sex offenders and violent offenders who had completed their sentences and were no longer on parole, probation or any other form of correctional supervision to “consent” to ...

Oregon Prison Chief’s Pay Raise Revoked; He Must Survive on Only $14,500 a Month

Oregon Prison Chief’s Pay Raise Revoked; He Must Survive on Only $14,500 a Month

by Brandon Sample

Crime pays well in Oregon. Just ask Oregon Department of Corrections (ODOC) Director Max Williams, who earned a whopping $174,000 last year – $14,500 a month – which was $80 ...

Conditions on Federal Death Row “Horrendous,” ACLU Finds

The conditions of confinement on federal death row fall below minimum constitutional standards and jeopardize the lives and safety of condemned prisoners, according to an investigation by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

The results of the ACLU’s investigation were summarized in an October 15, 2008 letter sent to ...

Online Postings Lead To Stiffer Sentences

Prosecutors are increasingly using photos posted on Facebook and MySpace, popular social networking sites, to obtain harsher sentences.

It was bad taste, to say the least, when Joshua Lipton, a 20-year-old college junior charged with seriously injuring a woman during a drunken driving accident, showed up to a Halloween party ...

Second Chance Act Signed Into Law, But Not Yet Funded

Second Chance Act Signed Into Law, But Not Yet Funded

by Brandon Sample

On April 9, 2008, President Bush signed the Second Chance Act into law. The Second Chance Act (P.L. 110-199), a bi-partisan effort, was designed to expand and improve prisoner reentry programs with the goal of reducing ...

BOP Suspends Use of Ion Spectrometry Drug Detection Devices

On April 10, 2008, the federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) discontinued the use of all ion spectrometry drug detection machines, more commonly known as ion scanners. According to a memo from BOP assistant director Joyce K. Conley, “the software for these machines requires correction and we have contacted the manufacturers ...

GAO Report Critical of BOP’s Methodology for Comparing Costs Between BOP and Private Facilities

GAO Report Critical of BOP’s Methodology for Comparing Costs Between BOP and Private Facilities

by Brandon Sample

In October of 2007, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), the audit, evaluation, and investigative arm of Congress, issued a report criticizing the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ (BOP) methodology for comparing the ...

BOP Agrees to Provide Wine to Prisoner for Religious Rituals

On September 18, 2008, the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) settled a lawsuit brought under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) for wine during various religious rituals.
Brandon Sample, a federal prisoner and PLN contributing writer, sued the BOP under RFRA after he was denied the use of wine during his ...