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Articles by Chad Marks

Eighth Circuit Reverses Dismissal of Prisoner’s Suit Over Inadequate Shoes

by Chad Marks

Geronimo DeLuna was housed at theMower County jail in Minnesota when guards made him wear shoes that were too small for his feet. The improperly-sized footwear, according to DeLuna, resulted in a blister that caused a severe infection requiring multiple corrective surgeries over a 10-day period.

Along ...

New York City’s Rikers Island Jail Expected to Close by 2026

by Chad Marks

The Rikers Island jail complex, one of the largest urban lockups in the United States, will soon be closing its doors if New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has his way. Operating under a 2015 consent decree with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), which found ...

NBC Sends Anchorman Lester Holt to Prison as Part of its “Justice for All” Series

by Chad Marks

NBC anchorman Lester Holt has been to many prisons as part of his news reporting. But he had never slept in a locked cell for a few nights – until he went to the infamous Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola in April 2019.

Holt said he and ...

Maryland: Parole Changes Needed for Life-Sentenced Prisoners

by Chad Marks

In Maryland, prisoners sentenced to life with the possibility of parole must serve 15 years before they can be considered for release. After serving the minimum 15-year term, they have an initial hearing before two commissioners. Once passing that hurdle, they are scheduled for a risk assessment ...

Three Deaths in Three Days at Illinois Prison Spur Calls for Greater Transparency

by Chad Marks

In September 2018, three prisoners died on three consecutive days at the Menard Correctional Center in Illinois. Kevin Curtis, 31, who was on suicide watch, died on September 5. The next day, Edwin Freeman, 45, also on suicide watch, was found unresponsive in his cell and taken ...

New Jersey: Appellate Court Shoots Down $7.5 Million Verdict in Prison Whistleblower Case

by Chad Marks

Lisa R. Easley was a longtime New Jersey prison employee. She began her career in February 1996 as a prison guard, and by 2009, after forking over some bribes, became an assistant superintendent.

The pay-for-play scheme within the New Jersey Department of Corrections began after Easley met ...

New York: Prisoners Have No Expectation to Privacy During Jail Phone Calls

by Chad Marks

In 2012, Emmanuel Diaz found himself in the custody of the New York City Department of Correction (DOC). While housed at the Rikers Island jail complex on multiple counts of burglary and robbery, he made nearly 1,100 phone calls. During some of the calls he made incriminating ...

U.S. Department of Justice Plans to Ramp up Federal Death Penalty

by Chad Marks

Attorney General William P. Barr has paved the way to restart the “machinery of death,” in the words of former Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun, in the form of capital punishment on the federal level. In July 2019, Barr directed the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) to ...

Alaska State Supreme Court Rules Due Process Afforded to Prisoners Seeking Laundry Job Reinstatement

by Chad Marks

Billy Dean Smith and Jacob Lee Anagick were prisoners at the Lemon Creek Correctional Center in Alaska when an unannounced shakedown took place. The reason for the search: Prison staff had information that there was a planned escape.

Both men worked at the Prison Industries Program, providing ...

Texas Court Rules Force Feeding Detainee Is Necessary

by Chad Marks

 Ajay Kumar, a citizen of India, was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) officials in New Mexico and later transfered to Texas. He began a hunger strike because, in his words, he wanted his freedom. ICE officials wanted to force-feed him, but Kumar objected.

ICE, concerned with  ...