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Articles by Dale Chappell

Maine: Superior Court’s Dismissal for Lack of Jurisdiction Not Supported by the Record

by Dale Chappell

A sua sponte dismissal for lack of jurisdiction by a state Superior Court was improper, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court held on April 19, 2018, when the record was “otherwise devoid” of any indication the Superior Court lacked jurisdiction in the case.

Steve Anctil, a state prisoner, ...

Despite Lack of FCC Action, States Can Still Make Prison and Jail Calls Affordable

by Dale Chappell

Although prison phone service providers and law enforcement officials won their lawsuit to block the FCC’s $.11-per-minute cap on intrastate (in-state) prison phone calls [see: PLN, July 2017, p.52], states can still lower the rates – to even below $.11 per minute – and some have done ...

Federal Compassionateless Release

by Dale Chappell

For thousands of federal prisoners who have filed for compassionate release after the U.S. Sentencing Commission (USSC) expanded eligibility criteria in 2013, the response has been a familiar and consistent refrain: “Denied.” Over the following four years, just six percent of compassionate release requests were approved out ...

Ex-Prisoner Awarded $150,000 after 'Savage Beating' Arranged by Guards

by Dale Chappell

Sussex County, New Jersey, has agreed to pay a former prisoner $150,000 to settle a lawsuit alleging guards at the Keogh-Dwyer Correctional Facility (KDCF) – the county’s jail – put a “hit” on him and had him beaten.

After Robert Woodruff was convicted of burglary and sentenced, ...

“Egregious” Lack of Care by Jail’s Medical Contractor Leads to $1 Million Settlement

by Dale Chappell

An “egregious” lack of medical treatment that resulted in the death of a jail prisoner led Albany County, New York and its private health care contractor to settle a lawsuit filed by the prisoner’s family for over $1 million.

Mark Cannon died in 2014 after he suffered ...

Indiana’s SOMM Program Declared Unconstitutional by Federal Court

by Dale Chappell

Indiana’s Sex Offender Management and Monitoring (SOMM) program violated the Fifth Amendment by compelling prisoners to incriminate themselves or face longer prison terms, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana held on September 28, 2017.

The ruling was entered in a class-action suit that ...

A&E Reality Show Puts Undercover Volunteers, Hidden Cameras in Jails

by Dale Chappell

A group of people who had neither been arrested nor convicted of a crime nevertheless spent two months in county jails – as part of a reality show with hidden cameras, in order to expose the harsh experience of life behind bars.

The revealing program, called “60 ...

Nevada DOC Cuts Prison Sagebrush Program After Federal Funds Withheld

 

by Dale Chappell

The Nevada Department of Corrections has cut the Sagebrush in Prisons program, citing overtime costs and lack of staff oversight, after the federal government withheld funding for the program.

This means the 300,000 sagebrush plants that fire districts were expecting this year will come from other ...

Florida Prisoners 'Laydown' in Non-Violent Protests

by Dale Chappell

In early 2018, Florida prisoners began a "laydown," a non-violent protest about prison conditions and unpaid "slave labor." The laydowns are to last as long as necessary to get the point across.

Supported by the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee ("IWOC"), the laydown entails a work stoppage, a boycott against commissary, ...

Indiana County Pays $28,000 to Settle Prisoner’s Excessive Force Suit

by Dale Chappell

LaPorte County, Indiana has agreed to settle a lawsuit filed by a former prisoner who claimed county jailers used excessive force against him.

The suit, filed by Marcin Kulbacki, alleged that guards at the LaPorte County jail tased him and otherwise used excessive force, causing head and ...