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Articles by Dale Chappell

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 ...

Warden Turns Whistleblower, Claims Misconduct, Retaliation by Colorado’s DOC Director

by Dale Chappell

In October 2018, a warden who blew the whistle on an illegal hazardous-waste dumping scandal involving the head of Colorado’s prison system filed a lawsuit to compel the state to share the results of its investigations. 

Angel Medina, former warden of the Cañon Minimum Centers – ...

Middlesex County, New Jersey Settles Solitary Confinement Suit

by Dale Chappell

In September 2018, Middlesex County, New Jersey agreed to settle a civil rights lawsuit and give prisoners held in a secure housing unit more freedom. 

“It’s no longer possible to lock someone in solitary confinement and throw away the key,” Deputy Public Defender ...

New York: Federal Court Certifies Class-Action Suit Against Jail for Providing Insufficient Diet

by Dale Chappell 

In August 2018, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York certified a class-action lawsuit against the Montgomery County jail (MCJ) for providing prisoners with a sub-standard diet after several prisoners complained they became ill due to deficiencies in the amount of ...

Women Prisoners Disciplined More than Men, but Staff Training is Changing That

by Dale Chappell

According to an October 2018 news report, women prisoners are disciplined more often than male prisoners – two to three times more – and often receive harsher punishments. But updated staff training and new laws are helping to address that disparity.

Since 1980, the population of women ...