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Articles by Chad Marks

“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 ...

Minnesota Lawmakers Look at Prison Reforms

by Chad Marks

Lawmakers in Minnesota are considering a bipartisan bill aimed at reducing the state’s prison population. Data from August 2018 indicate that the adult prison population was 9,849, and some legislators have expressed concerns about racial disparities in the prison system. 

According to recent statistics ... Operators Arrested, Face Extradition to California

by Chad Marks

Four people have been charged with extortion, money laundering and identity theft by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra.

In May 2018, Sahar Sarid, Kishore Vidya Bhavnanie, Thomas Keesee and David Usdan, allegedly the operators of and, found themselves on the wrong side of the law ...

New York Criminal Defense Attorney Charged with Federal Crimes

by Chad Marks

Scott Brettschneider, 61, a criminal defense attorney from Queens, New York known by many as “Mighty Whitey,” was arrested on March 26, 2018 in connection with accusations that he falsified documents to get one of his clients an early release from prison. He and three ...