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Articles by Christopher Zoukis

Lawsuits Filed Against GEO Group for Wage Violations at Detention Facilities

by Christopher Zoukis and Matt Clarke

Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed a lawsuit in superior court against The GEO Group in September 2017, alleging the private prison contractor had violated the state’s minimum wage laws by paying immigrant detainees $1 per day to perform work at the company’s ...

Mentally Incompetent Detainees Stuck in California Jails Spark Class-action Lawsuit, Fines

by Christopher Zoukis

California county jails are facing lawsuits and court-imposed fines over their handling of detainees who have been determined incompetent to stand trial due to mental illness.

In Ventura County, the families of mentally ill detainees have filed a class-action lawsuit in federal court over the denial of ...

Lawsuit Over Rikers Island Suicide Settles for $380,000

by Christopher Zoukis

In July 2017, the family of a man who killed himself while in custody at the Rikers Island jail complex in New York City agreed to settle their wrongful death suit for $380,000.

Aris Hiraldo, a 24-year-old father of three, committed suicide by hanging himself with the ...

Solitary: The Inside Story of Supermax Isolation and How We Can Abolish It, by Dr. Terry Allen Kupers (University of California Press, September 2017). 304 pages, $29.95 hardcover

Solitary: The Inside Story of Supermax Isolation and How We Can Abolish It, by Dr. Terry Allen Kupers (University of California Press, September 2017). 304 pages, $29.95 hardcover

Book review by Christopher Zoukis

There are nations around the world that routinely torture their own citizens. Government actors in those ...

Prison Labor: Positive Programming or Modern-day Slavery?

by Christopher Zoukis

Prisoners in most jurisdictions in the United States are required to work, often for little or no pay. Yet this is neither illegal nor unconstitutional. Pretrial detainees who have not been convicted of a crime cannot be forced to work. But the federal Fair Labor Standards Act ...

Crisis in Maryland as Mentally Incompetent Defendants Languish in County Jails

by Christopher Zoukis

When criminal defendants are found mentally incompetent to stand trial, a judge typically orders their transfer to a psychiatric hospital for treatment to restore competency. But many states struggle with a shortage of psychiatric beds, even as the number of mentally incompetent defendants has grown. So the ...

Two Civilly Committed Massachusetts Men Win Partial Victory

by Ed Lyon

Massachusetts citizens Jeffrey Healey and Edward Given completed their prison terms and were civilly committed after being found to be sexually dangerous persons. They filed 42 USC § 1983 lawsuits to challenge the sex offender treatment program and confinement conditions at Bridgewater, Massachusetts' Nemansket Correctional Center (“NCC”). ...

Hudson County Settles for $407,500 over Wrongful Death of New Jersey Inmate

by Christopher Zoukis

 A complaint filed on behalf of a 34-year-old woman who died due to inadequate medical treatment while in jail resulted in a settlement of $407,500. The agreement allocated $152,030 of that for attorney's fees and expenses.

     The woman, who had been confined in the Hudson County, ...

LA County Deputy Sheriff Awarded $4.5 Million in Retaliation Suit

by Christopher Zoukis

Darren Hager, a deputy with the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department received a jury award of $4.5 million upon their finding that Hager was wrongfully terminated in retaliation for looking too closely into the disappearance of a fellow officer.

     On June 11, 1998, LASD Deputy Jonathan Aujay ...

California Department of Corrections Settles for $96,300 and Agreement to Provide Disabled Access

by Christopher Zoukis

Derrick Saenz-Payne, a physically disabled visitor at the California Corrections Center, accepted a settlement of $96,300 for having to struggle with the facility's numerous accessibility problems. The settlement included an agreement to make the facility meet state and federal standards within 30 days.

     On April ...