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Articles by Christopher Zoukis

Pennsylvania: Woman Dies in Jail While Serving Sentence for Truancy Fines and Court Costs

A 55-year-old mother of seven died in a Pennsylvania jail cell on June 7, 2014 while serving a 48-hour sentence for failure to pay truancy fines and court costs that totaled about $2,000.

Eileen DiNino was jailed by Berks County District Judge Dean Patton for debts that had been ...

Pfizer Deals Blow to Lethal Injections

Pfizer, Inc., the world’s second-largest pharmaceutical manufacturer, recently announced new restrictions on the distribution of drugs used to execute prisoners.

The May 13, 2016 announcement detailed “distribution restrictions” that the company is placing on certain drugs used in lethal injection protocols, including pancuronium bromide, potassium chloride, propofol, midazolam, hydromorphone, rocuronium ...

Ohio Prison Guards Cited for Sexual Misconduct with Prisoners

Several Ohio state prison guards have been disciplined following at least 19 allegations of sexual misconduct and inappropriate relationships with female prisoners between 2012 and 2013. Most of the allegations arose shortly after the Dayton Correctional Institution (DCI) switched from a male-only to an all-female prison in 2012, but ongoing ...

The Taste of Exploitation: Whole Foods Stops Carrying Products Made by Prisoners

Visit the website for Haystack Mountain, a Colorado-based goat cheese manufacturer, and you will find information about fancy chèvre and other tasty products. The “Our People” section includes profiles on cheesemaker Jackie Chang and other staffers at the 25-year-old company. The site also mentions their incarcerated workers – Colorado prisoners ...

San Bernardino County Jail Named in Federal Lawsuit

On May 7, 2014, six detainees held at the West Valley Detention Center in San Bernardino filed a civil rights complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Their lawsuit alleged that they were repeatedly assaulted with stun guns, had shotguns placed to their heads ...

Washington DOC Ends Marijuana Testing for Parolees

The Washington Department of Corrections (DOC) announced on June 1, 2014 that it will no longer test parolees for marijuana use – a move that will allow some 14,000 parolees to enjoy recreational marijuana like other citizens in the state.

Recreational marijuana has been legal in Washington since the ...

California’s Broken Death Penalty System

While California taxpayers have spent over $4 billion on capital punishment since it was reinstated in 1978, more than 900 prisoners have been sentenced to death but only 13 have been executed – an average cost of around $308 million per execution. With 747 prisoners sitting on death row as ...

Lifesaving Overdose Treatment Slowly Becoming Available to Released Prisoners

Statistics show, and experts agree, that the United States is in the midst of an epidemic of opioid abuse. According to the Centers for Disease Control, opioid overdoses have quadrupled since 2000, with 28,648 deaths in 2014 alone attributed to heroin and prescription painkillers.

The numbers are particularly bad ...

U.S. Department of Education Offers Second Chance Pell Pilot Program

On July 31, 2015, the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) announced a new pilot program that will provide federal funding to colleges to provide classes at select prisons. The Second Chance Pell Pilot Program will help prisoners further their education, and thereby “get jobs, support their families and turn ...

UK Supreme Court Rules Against Unlawful Use of Solitary Confinement

On July 29, 2015, the United Kingdom’s Supreme Court unanimously ruled against prison officials in an action brought by prisoners Kamal Bourgass and Tanvir Hussain concerning their prolonged solitary confinement. According to British laws related to solitary, continued confinement after 72 hours must be authorized by the Secretary of State ...