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Articles by David M. Reutter

Riots At South Carolina Prison Spark Wave of Lawsuits

by David M. Reutter

The April 15, 2018, riot at South Carolina’s Lee Correctional Institution (LCI) illustrates the consequences of prison understaffing. That riot was the worst in America’s prisons in 25 years. The toll was seven dead and 22 injured. The aftermath is at least 18 lawsuits.

LCI, like ...

$12.6 Million Jury Award for Man Denied Medical Care Before Jailed

by David M. Reutter

A California federal jury awarded $12,617,674 to a man who suffered brain damage after San Diego County sheriff’s deputies pulled him away from an examining paramedic and hauled him off to jail.

David Collins called 911 on November 18, 2016, while hallucinating in his home. Deputies ...

Cook County Jail’s Three Book Possession Policy Constitutional

by David M. Reutter

An Illinois federal district court granted summary judgment to Cook County in a civil rights action alleging a jail policy that limits its pretrial detainees to possession of three books violates the First Amendment.

The case has a “somewhat convoluted procedural history,” having been to the ...

Michigan Finding Success With More Humane Treatment of Mentally Ill Prisoners

by David M. Reutter

Michigan’s new approach to dealing with mentally ill prisoners is not only more humane, it is proving to be more effective at reducing recidivism.

When Heidi Washington took over as director of the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) in 2015, she vowed to change the way ...

Court Confirms Pennsylvania Prisoner’s Sentence in Tobacco Contraband Case

by David M. Reutter

Tobacco is a valuable commodity in jails and prisons because it is considered contraband. Maurice Dewayne Wakefield, II, went to great lengths with a group of prisoners to get another prisoner’s stash of tobacco. The price was a 9 to 18 year sentence.

When prisoner C.S. ...

Guard Who Failed to Prevent Escape Entitled to Qualified Immunity

by David M. Reutter

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals held on September 18, 2019 that a guard cannot be held liable under the Constitution for failing to prevent an escape.

In an attempt to apparently commit suicide, Tyson Salters, a pretrial detainee at the Kane County jail in Illinois, ...

$200,000 Settlement in Lawsuit Over Louisiana Jail Guard Sexually Abusing Juvenile

by David M. Reutter

A $200,000 settlement was reached to resolve a civil rights action alleging a guard at Louisiana’s St. Bernard Parish Jail subjected a 15-year-old detainee to repeated sexual abuse.

The complaint stated that every day that guard Eddie Williams, 69, worked between June 2015 and January 2016, ...

Pennsylvania GEO-Run Jail Boss Resigns After Media Reveals Complaints of Racism, Abuse at Private Prison

by David M. Reutter

The superintendent of Pennsyl­vania’s George W. Hill Correc­tional Facility, which is run by GEO Group, resigned in November after a media investigation uncovered a buried whistleblower complaint alleging racist and abusive behavior.

John A. Reilly, Jr., was recruited in 2001 as deputy superintendent George ...

Major Prison Health Care Companies Funnel Campaign Contributions to Sheriffs, Get Rewards

by David M. Reutter

Campaign contributions from private medical provider Wellpath to Virginia’s Loudoun County Sheriff Mike Chapman may be legal under Virginia law but are raising ethical questions. Wellpath is already under federal investigation for a contract renewal in Norfolk County.

Wellpath was known as Correct Care Solutions until ...

$1.15 Million Settlement in Pennsylvania Prisoner’s Asthma Death

by David M. Reutter

Pennsylvania’s Erie County agreed to pay $1.15 million to settle a civil rights action alleging the county jail had a policy that “required a non-medical person to make a medical decision about what to do with someone suffering from a medical emergency.”

The lawsuit was filed ...