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Articles by Chad Marks

Federal Court Awards $3,750,000 in Damages for Sexual Assault by Prison Guards

by Chad Marks

A federal judge in Arizona awarded a former female prisoner $3.75 million in damages after she was sexually assaulted by prison guards.

On June 23, 2017, the victim, identified only as “Jane Doe,” filed a complaint in federal court alleging that guard James R. Toadvine, Jr. sexually ...

Kansas Slaps Corizon Health with Millions in Fines for Contract Violations

by Chad Marks

“They don’t care who dies, how they die or what they do to you.”

That’s what former Kansas prisoner Sarah Loretta Cook said about Corizon Health, the state’s prison medical care provider. With expected increases in the Kansas prison population over the next five years, Corizon’s contract ...

Eleventh Circuit Agrees Prosecutor is Entitled to Qualified Immunity in Retaliation Case

by Chad Marks

Douglas Echols was convicted of a 1986 kidnapping and rape in Georgia despite his protestations of innocence. After serving seven years of a 15-year sentence, a DNA test revealed that semen recovered from the victim did not match Echols. The trial court vacated his conviction and ...

“Free” Prisoner-Made Furniture Gets Ohio Prison Industry Officials in Hot Water

by Chad Marks

After an anonymous complaint was submitted to the Ohio Inspector General (OIG) in June 2017, the agency opened an investigation into misconduct by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (ODRC) and Ohio Penal Industries (OPI).

The complainant told the Inspector General’s office that OPI workers were ...

New York: 58-Month Prison Sentence for Former Jail Union Boss Who Took Bribes

by Chad Marks

Norman Seabrook, 58, who served as the head of the union representing New York City jail guards for over 20 years, once reportedly said, “It’s time for Norman Seabrook to get paid.” Soon after making that statement in 2014, he received a $60,000 bribe delivered in a ...

Private Halfway Houses Plagued with Escapes, Drugs, Sex and Violence

by Chad Marks

Halfway houses run by for-profit prison companies CoreCivic (formerly Corrections Corporation of America) and GEO Group, which are supposed to provide reentry programs and substance abuse treatment for soon-to-be-released prisoners, have been plagued with problems.

Colorado inspectors found that staff at two halfway houses – the Boulder ...

Washington State: Jury Awards $549,000 to Prisoner Denied Pain Medication

by Chad Marks

Etienne L. Choquette, incarcerated in a Washington State prison, suffered from multiple sclerosis. A neurologist prescribed gabapentin – used to control pain and seizures – to address his condition, but Dr. Cris DuVall recommended stopping the medication. Choquette was eventually taken off gabapentin but subsequently requested to ...

Beating of Michigan Jail Prisoner Results in $36.6 Million Verdict,$12.9 Million Settlement

by Chad Marks

In 2010, William Jennings was booked into Michigan’s Genesee County Jail on a DUI charge. According to surveillance video footage, within hours he was brutally beaten by sheriff’s deputies – slammed to the floor, his head smashed against a metal bench, and punched and kicked. 

After ...

Wisconsin Pays Largest Civil Rights Settlement in State’s History –$18.9 Million – for Juvenile Offender’s Suicide Attempt

by Chad Marks and Derek Gilna

Sydni Briggs was 16 years old in July 2015 when she was remanded to a Wisconsin state youth prison for breaking into a store and stealing alcohol. She found herself alone in a cell at the Copper Lake School for Girls on November 9, ...

Securus Files Suit Alleging FDOC Improperly Entered into Prison Phone Contract

by Chad Marks

In a lawsuit filed on January 29, 2019, Securus Technologies, Inc., one of the nation’s two largest prison telecom companies, accused the Florida Department of Corrections (FDOC) of ignoring provisions of the Florida Constitution when exercising budgeting and appropriation powers, and doing so at the expense of ...