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Articles by Dale Chappell

Build it and They will Come: Officials Claim Spokane, Washington Needs Bigger Jail

by Dale Chappell

Despite millions of dollars in grant money to reduce the population at Washington State’s Spokane County jail, the sheriff and police chief say the county requires a newer and larger facility to hold an ever-increasing number of prisoners.

The need for more jail beds in Spokane ...

Should Private Companies Exploit Prisoners Through Exclusive Government Contracts?

by Dale Chappell

A recent article in the journal Criminology & Public Policy posed the question of whether private, for-profit companies should be allowed to contract with government agencies to be the sole provider of criminal justice-related services, without public transparency or oversight of the prices or fees set by ...

New York County Pays $35,000 to Settle Retaliation Claim Against Sheriff

by Dale Chappell 

Officials in Rensselaer County, New York approved a settlement on January 8, 2019 to resolve a federal lawsuit against Sheriff Jack Mahar. Mahar was accused of retaliating against the county’s jail chief, who was fired in 2013 for what the lawsuit claimed was her refusal to ...

Report Shows How Private Equity Firms Profit from Mass Incarceration

by Dale Chappell

A report released by the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) in February 2019 spotlighted several major private equity firms that invest in and profit from the private prison industry, which the organization says continues to fuel mass incarceration in the U.S.

In addition to private equity ...

Florida Prisons and Jails Retaliate Against Prisoners Who File Lawsuits by Countersuing for Costs of Incarceration

by Dale Chappell

When 48-year-old Michelle Tierney died of an infected wound on her leg while in the custody of the Florida Department of Corrections (FDOC) in October 2014, her family filed a wrongful death suit against the FDOC and its for-profit medical provider, Corizon Health, claiming that proper care ...

New Jersey Federal Court Approves $1.5 Million Jail Strip-Search Settlement

by Dale Chappell

On January 31, 2019, U.S. District Court Judge Noel L. Hillman approved a $1.5 million class-action settlement in a case against Burlington County, New Jersey, where hundreds of people were improperly strip-searched at the county jail.

The case dates back to 2006, when Tammy ...

More States on Track to Restore Voting Rights to Felons, but Not Without Hurdles

by Dale Chappell

In late May 2019, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak signed into law a bill that granted automatic restoration of voting rights to former prisoners. State law had already allowed voting by those released from prison for first-time, non-violent felony convictions, including those still on community supervision, and the ...

Federal Judge Holds Bivens Not Applicable to Prison Workplace Discrimination Claims

by Dale Chappell

Refusing to extend Bivens to cover a prison workplace discrimination claim, last year the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey held that a remedy for such a claim would have to come from Congress, not the judiciary. 

While the decision was ...

Nevada: Jail Death Due to Excessive Force Leads to $175,000 in Settlements

by Dale Chappell

An excessive force death at the hands of Washoe County, Nevada sheriff’s deputies ended in settlements totaling $175,000. It was the third excessive force death in a two-year period for the Sheriff’s Department.

When 38-year-old Thomas Purdy, Jr. began acting erratically at the Peppermill Casino in ...

Former Rikers Island Prisoner Awarded $500,000 Plus Attorney Fees

by Dale Chappell

On August 6, 2018, a New York federal district court awarded a former Rikers Island jail prisoner $500,000 in damages after he was assaulted by a police officer and another prisoner.

Former NYPD officer Jamel Brown and Rikers prisoner Christopher McFadden were ordered by the ...