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Articles by David M. Reutter

Private Prison in Pennsylvania Takes Heat; Prison Board Replaced, Superintendent Retires

by David M. Reutter

On September 25, 2019, Pennsylvania’s Delaware County Council abolished its Board of Prison Inspectors (BPI) and replaced it with a Jail Oversight Board (JOB), after problems occurred at the privately operated Delaware County Prison, formerly known as the George W. Hill Correctional Facility. PLN has previously ...

Criminal Justice Leaders Reject Attorney General’s “Tough on Crime” Attitude

by David M. Reutter

After U.S. Attorney General William Barr gave a speech condemning criminal justice reforms, 70 criminal justice leaders signed a statement rejecting his narrative. The signatories included current and former prosecutors, police chiefs, judges and assistant attorneys general.

Barr’s August 12, 2019 speech was presented at the ...

Medical, Mental Health Care Lacking at Florida Jail Despite 43 Years of Court Oversight

by David M. Reutter

Despite oversight by a federal court since 1976, the Broward County Jail (BCJ) in Florida does not provide adequate medical or mental health treatment to prisoners. Since 2018, at least ten detainees have died while in the jail’s custody.

BCJ reached a new settlement agreement in ...

Summary Judgment Affirmed Against Publication in Civil Commitment Facility

by David M. Reutter

n August 21, 2019, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a grant of summary judgment to officials who had banned a civil commitment detainee’s newsletter and placed page limits on the copying of a successor publication.

James Pesci is incarcerated at Florida’s Civil Commitment Center ...

Solitary Confinement for Former Death Row Prisoner Held Unconstitutional

by David M. Reutter

A Connecticut federal district court held on August 27, 2019 that a former death row prisoner who was kept in solitary confinement had been subjected to cruel and unusual punishment. The court issued injunctive relief and set a hearing for damages.

The ruling came in a ...

Georgia Prison System Ordered to Amend Policy to Allow Three-Inch Beards

by David M. Reutter

A Georgia federal district court has held that a policy limiting prisoners’ beard length to half an inch without religious exemptions violates the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA). The court ordered the Georgia Department of Corrections (GDOC) to allow eligible prisoners to grow ...

Florida Prisoner Left a Quadriplegic After Brutal Beating by Guards

by David M. Reutter

On August 21, 2019, prison guards at the Lowell Correctional Institution (LCI) near Ocala, Florida allegedly beat Cheryl Weimar “to within an inch of her life” because the 51-year-old prisoner – who was left a quadriplegic following the attack – refused to clean a toilet, according ...

Fourth Circuit Reverses Dismissal of Virginia Prisoner’s Hep C Lawsuit

by David M. Reutter

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals held on September 4, 2019 that prison officials responsible for a policy that prevented a Virginia prisoner from receiving treatment for the hepatitis C virus (HCV) could be found deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs.

That ruling came in ...

Companies Compete to Build New Alabama Prisons

by David M. Reutter

In the face of a looming federal lawsuit over conditions inside its prison system, Alabama is moving forward with a $900 million plan to build three new men’s facilities. Five companies have submitted a Statement of Qualifications (SOQ) to be considered for the project.

As PLN ...

Qualified Immunity Denied when Pretrial Detainees Deprived of Water at Illinois Jail

by David M. Reutter

On August 12, 2019, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals denied qualified immunity to officials at Illinois’ Lake County Adult Correctional Institution (LCACI) who deprived pretrial detainees of sufficient water and sanitation for three days.

The matter was before the appellate court after the defendants, Sheriff ...