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Articles by Dale Chappell

Whistleblower Lawsuit Exposes Violence, Cover-ups at Rikers Island Jail

by Dale Chappell

A former guard at the Rikers Island jail complex in New York City has filed a lawsuit in state court exposing misconduct and cover-ups by staff. A subsequent report by the city’s Department of Investigation (DOI) confirmed evidence of cover-ups of over a thousand prisoner fights in ...

Washington DOC Medical Director Fired for Negligence

by Dale Chappell

Washington Department of Corrections (DOC) medical director, Dr. Julia Barnett, was terminated on April 18, 2019 because she “failed to exercise sound clinical judgment and failed to provide adequate medical care” to prisoners at the Monroe Correctional Complex (MCC), resulting in the deaths of several prisoners.

Barnett ...

Judge Calls Prison Guard ‘Feckless Coward’ Yet Still Grants Him Immunity in Lawsuit

by Dale Chappell

 A jail guard who ran and hid when a prisoner he was watching grabbed his gun and terrorized a hospital was a “feckless coward,” the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit said, but nevertheless held on September 18, 2019, that he was entitled to qualified ...

California Court of Appeal Reverses Convictions for Possession of Marijuana in Prison

by Dale Chappell

Overturning the convictions of five defendants, the Third Appellate District Court of Appeal in Sacramento, California held on June 11, 2019 that Proposition 64’s decriminalization of possession of less than an ounce of marijuana also applied to possession in a state prison.

The five defendants, separately convicted ...

Court Grants Compassionate Release After BOP Says Prisoner Wasn’t Dying Fast Enough

by Dale Chappell

In a case that demonstrates exactly why the First Step Act included much-needed changes for compassionate release for federal prisoners, the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana granted immediate release to a terminally ill, wheelchair-bound prisoner after the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) rejected his request ...

Colorado DOC Settles Lawsuit, Agrees to Treat Thousands of Prisoners with HCV

by Dale Chappell

The Colorado Department of Corrections (CDOC) has agreed to settle a class-action lawsuit by providing lifesaving treatment to thousands of prisoners with hepatitis C (HCV), which will cost the state at least $41 million. [See: PLN, June 2019, p.44].

The suit, filed by the ACLU of ...

First Step Act Update: Over 1,600 Sentences Reduced, 3,000 Prisoners Released

by Dale Chappell and Douglas Ankney

As of late July 2019, the federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) had released over 3,000 prisoners under the First Step Act, a landmark criminal justice reform measure signed in December 2018 by President Trump. [See: PLN, April 2019, p.1; Jan. 2019, p.34]. The ...

Sleeping Guard Who Allowed Suicidal Prisoner to Hang Himself Prompts $507,500 Settlement

by Dale Chappell

A sleeping guard at the Lancaster County jail in South Carolina, who was supposed to be watching a suicidal prisoner who killed himself, prompted the county to settle a wrongful death suit for $507,500.

When Randy Stevens’ friend called 911 in May 2014 because Stevens was suicidal, ...

Mississippi County Pays $27,500 to Settle Lawsuit by Prisoner “Jumped” by Other Prisoners

by Dale Chappell

A man held at the Lauderdale County jail in Mississippi for failure to register as a sex offender settled a federal lawsuit over permanent injuries he received when he was “jumped” by other prisoners while guards failed to stop the attack.

Jarrett R. Nelson was booked into ...

Seventh Circuit Holds Indiana’s Sex Offender Treatment Program Unconstitutional

by Dale Chappell

In a class-action habeas petition challenging the Indiana DOC’s Sex Offender Management and Monitoring (INSOMM) program as being unconstitutional, the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit held on April 25, 2019 that INSOMM’s requirement that prisoners admit to crimes they had not been charged with violates their ...