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Articles by Chad Marks

Wisconsin: Court Dismisses Prisoners’ Suit Over Asbestos, Mold on Procedural Grounds

Filed on July 18, 2019, by Nicasio Cuevas Quiles III and nine fellow prisoners at the medium-security facility, the suit sought $15 million in damages for alleged exposure to asbestos, radium, lead and black mold, as well as contaminated water and unsanitary living conditions, all in violation of plaintiffs’ Eighth Amendment rights.

The order by Judge William M. Conley dismissed the case without prejudice, giving plaintiffs specific instructions on how they could amend or refile the case to meet procedural deficiencies that killed it.

For example, Conley found that the suit lists claims that broadly fall into three categories alleging (a) discrimination, (b) unlawful confinement conditions or (c) inadequate health care. To avoid running afoul of federal procedural rules that prevent mixing different claims in one suit, he recommended that plaintiffs file three separate lawsuits.

Conley also found that the suit failed to allege sufficient facts to support all of its legal claims. And it failed to allege a set of facts common to ...

New Jersey: Commission Recommends State Take 100 Steps to Improve Re-Entry for Ex-Prisoners

The Commission was tasked with considering the psychological profile of prisoners, housing, employment, education, training, addiction and substance abuse treatment, medical and mental health treatment, access to legal assistance and other issues related to the failures and successes associated with reentry.

What the Commission found was that the prison population reflects deep social problems of race, poverty and the failure of social institutions to provide a way that would reduce the rates of incarceration. New Jersey has the highest racial disparity in state prisons in the nation. Individuals in the state who are Black are 12 times more likely than Whites to be incarcerated and Latinos six times more likely.

But how to fix the problem is at the top of New Jersey’s list.

With over 75 percent of parolees at the national level being rearrested within five years of release, the commission looked at ways ...

New York: Prisoner Kills Himself After Brutal Beating by Guards

The lawsuit alleges that prison guards beat Taylor until he was unconscious. Shortly afterward, Taylor committed suicide. Court filings say the suicide was a direct result of the beating.

Taylor was 21 years old when he entered the New York prison system — and 22 when he left in a body bag. Taylor had a past filled with mental health issues in conjunction with suicide attempts. He had been sentenced to a life term at a young age, causing him documented bouts of depression, according to court records filed in the case.

On October 7, 2017 Taylor had his second negative reaction in two days after smoking synthetic marijuana, commonly referred to as K-2. A group of guards responded to Taylor’s cell where they beat him beyond recognition. Once the beating had stopped, he was hog tied and thrown down a flight of stairs face first, court papers say.

Taylor was seen at the infirmary at Wende prison after the brutal beat-down by guards. He was eventually transferred to ...

Jury Award $700,000 to Maryland Prisoner Assaulted by Guards

After hearing evidence, a jury awarded Younger $700,000 on February 3, 2020.

On September 29, 2013, Younger witnessed a fight between two prisoners and a guard in which the guard was seriously hurt. Although Younger was simply a witness, he was moved to another housing unit. According to Court records, between 6:40 and 7 a.m. Ramsey, Green, and Hanna entered 51-year-old Younger’s cell and threw him from the top bunk to the concrete floor. Once on the floor, the three beat Younger on his head, face, and body with handcuffs, radios and metal keys. They also slammed his head against the toilet bowl, all while verbally berating him.

When the guards left the cell, Younger was left bloody, with serious, and permanent injuries.

Four other prisoners were beaten in the same manner by the goon squad in relation for the same incident.

Realizing ...

Coronavirus Kills Michigan Prisoner Days Before His Release After Serving 44 Years

William Garrison was 16 years old when he was arrested and eventually convicted of first-degree murder. He would spend the next 44 years of his life behind bars.

On April 13, 2020, Garrison’s cellmate called for help after Garrison was gasping for air. Macomb Correctional Facility staff had him transferred to the hospital where he died.

Chris Gautz, a spokesman for the Michigan Department of Corrections, stated that a post-mortem autopsy confirmed Garrison was infected with COVID-19.

Garrison was originally sentenced to life in prison. In 2012, the Supreme Court issued a decision striking down mandatory life sentences for juveniles. Later, in 2016, that law was ruled to be retroactive, paving the way for Garrison to be resentenced.

Due to the resentencing, Garrison was eligible for parole in February but rejected it. He opted to serve seven more months, which would eliminate parole.

Garrison changed his mind when COVID-19 hit the prison system. Prison officials issued Garrison immediate parole, but he was not released due to a Michigan law.

The law states prisons must notify prosecutors and any registered victims in order to release prisoners. The law requires prison officials to wait 28 days before releasing prisoners, ...

Mississippi Jail to Stay Open Despite Massive “Financial Trouble”

On December 12, 2019, the Board of Supervisors of Mississippi’s Issaquena County granted an eleventh-hour reprieve to the Issaquena County Regional Jail just five days before it was set to close and over 300 prisoners were to be moved. The Mayersville jail is the county’s largest employer, with a staff of 53, according to Sheriff Richard Jones.

In a meeting December 3, 2019, the Board of Supervisors had decided to cease jail operations effective December 17, 2019, saying the facility was costing the county more money than the government was taking in to house prisoners and pay staff. The Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC) has a contract to house some prisoners at the jail. As a regional correctional facility, it also accepts overflow prisoners from the jails in neighboring counties. Made with just two weeks notice, though, the announcement that the jail would close left some local officials stunned.

“We’re the county seat, so of course we’re going to feel the impact of it,” said Mayersville Mayor Linda Short, who added that the move would “truly hurt our small community and communities in the surrounding areas, not just Issaquena County but the surrounding Delta.”

She also suggested ...

Washington State Pays $500,000 to Family of Man Who Died by Suicide

The family of Morgan Bluehorse, who committed suicide in solitary confinement at the age of 29, will receive $500,000 from the Washington state Department of Corrections, in a settlement reached November 13.

Bluehorse was a 29-year-old man when he found himself in an isolation cell at Airway ...

$596,475 in Fees and Damages Awarded Against NY DOCCS For Contempt in Denying Pain Medication to Blind Prisoner

U.S. District Court Judge Loretta A. Preska has ordered the New York Department of Corrections and Community Supervision and Community Supervision (DOCCS) to pay up in a victim of contempt case.

Amy Jane Agnew, an attorney representing Anthony Medina a prisoner who is blind, filed a complaint ...

$300,000 Settlement in Lincoln County Missouri Jail Attempted Suicide Suit

by Chad Marks

Mark A. Jaconski was arrested on June 17, 2015, for outstanding traffic warrants and taken to Mercy Hospital for a “fit for confinement” determination. Hospital officials made that determination and Jaconski was transported to the Lincoln County Jail in Missouri.

No mental health screening was done of ...

Undiagnosed MRSA Forced Arizona Prisoner to Have Heart Surgery

by Chad Marks

Walking 200 feet to the chow hall was excruciating, said 35-year-old Arizona prisoner Waylon Collingwood. Held at ASPC-Lewis, he had already been to the medical department several times in July 2019 to seek help for his symptoms, which also included vomiting and nausea, only to be wrongly ...