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Articles by Christopher Zoukis

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, were ...

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 enactment ...

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 for ...

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 their ...

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 ...

Spokane County Facing Overcrowding Crisis in Crumbling Jail

Spokane County (WA) is facing an overcrowding crisis at its 28-year-old jail, which is in desperate need of renovation as it processes nearly double the annual bookings it was designed to handle.

While Spokane County's overcrowding problem is hardly unique in today's justice system, Spokane County has had to refuse ...

New Ohio Jail Regulations Limit Prisoners to Shower Every Other Day, Two Meals a Day on Weekends

An Ohio regulatory panel imposed new standards for the 90 full-service jails in the state, which detain some 20,000 prisoners in the state's county and municipal jails.

On April 15, 2014, 180 revisions to the state's jail regulations went into effect, pursuant to the directives of the Joint Committee on ...

Former NJ Prosecutor Disbarred After Imprisonment

A former Essex County (NJ) prosecutor and municipal judge has been barred from practicing law by the State Supreme Court.  Clifford Minor, 68, who in 2011 was sentenced to 24 months imprisonment in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey for a bizarre plot to help ...

Maine Legislators Not Informed Of Murder At Secure Mental Health Unit Occurring Before Funding Vote

Members of the Maine Legislature voted to enlarge the Mental Health Unit at Maine State Prison's Supermax facility last August, doubling its size to 32 beds.  What they did not know when passing a bill to fund the expansion is that a brutal murder had occurred at the unit two ...