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Articles by Christopher Zoukis

Federal Lawsuit Claims Negligence Caused Pennsylvania Prisoner’s Heroin Overdose Death

A federal lawsuit alleges that officials at the Schuylkill County Prison in Pennsylvania were negligent in the 2013 death of a prisoner from an accidental drug overdose. The suit, filed on March 24, 2015, came almost a year after the findings of a coroner’s inquest which determined that negligence did, ...

Book Review: "Illegal to Legal: Business Success for (ex)Criminals, by R.L. Pelshaw"

Illegal to Legal: Business Success for (ex)Criminals, by R.L. Pelshaw (The Pelshaw Group, 2014). 241 pages, $17.50 paperback

Book review by Christopher Zoukis

Criminal justice reform is an issue that has gained significant political and social traction over the last several years. Modest legislative headway is being made on issues ...

Use of Nutraloaf on the Decline in U.S. Prisons

After decades of using food as a means of discipline, prison officials across the country are increasingly turning away from punitive diets as a response to misbehavior by prisoners.

One food that has been commonly used as punishment is known as “nutraloaf” – a concoction of mashed-together ingredients that are ...

California Lifers Paroled in Record Numbers

Prisoners serving life sentences in California have been paroled at a record rate since Governor Jerry Brown took office in January 2011 – a positive trend in the view of many advocacy groups, but one that causes worry among victims’ rights advocates despite statistics which reveal a recidivism rate of ...

Iowa Court Effectively Bars Lifer From Spending Any Money While In Prison

Tracey Richter, serving a life sentence at the Mitchellville women's prison in Iowa, learned in April 2014 that she faces a new punishment as to her 2001 murder conviction: a garnishment order from the state that ensures that every penny she ever earns in prison will be seized by the ...

Federal Lawsuit, Criminal Charges Follow Beating of Prisoners In Florida Jail

The repeated beating of a prisoner at the DeSoto County Jail in Florida has resulted in some serious consequences: a $3.5 million federal lawsuit, criminal charges against the jail guards, and the firings and a resignation of at least five of the guards.

The lawsuit filed in the United States ...

Maine Prisons "Safer" Despite Recent Killings and Assaults, Commissioner Says

At a press conference addressing the violent attempted escape of three juvenile prisoners, Maine State Department of Corrections Commissioner Joseph Ponte says Maine prisons are safer than they were three to four years ago.  His comments came after the February 28, 2014 murder of prisoner Micah Boland, 37, who was ...

Birdman of Alcatraz's Book on Federal Prison Makes It to Press After 51-Year Delay

Robert Stroud, the Birdman of Alcatraz immortalized in an eponymous film starring Burt Lancaster, wrote a 2,000 page history of the Federal Bureau of Prisons before his death in 1963.  That book is finally making it to press, after 51 years of legal wrangling.

Stroud's book, "Looking Outward: A History ...

From Jailer to Jailed: Former NYPD Boss Urges Prison Reform

“It’s time for America to stop destroying lives, professions, and children. It’s time for a real national bipartisan movement to make our criminal justice system what it is supposed to be.”

So declared former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik in an April 29, 2015 commentary for CNBC. Kerik ...

In Past Three Years, Governors in Three States Declare Moratorium on Executions

In Past Three Years, Governors in Three States Declare Moratorium on Executions

by Christopher Zoukis

Three states have imposed moratoriums on the death penalty since 2013, raising to 11 the number of states that still have a death penalty but have stopped executing prisoners for reasons ranging from doubts about ...