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Articles by David Reutter

“Missing” Texas Prisoner Prompts Lockdown

by David M. Reutter

On December 20, 2022, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDJC) said that a prisoner reported missing the day before at the Stiles Unit in Beaumont had been “found within the prison’s perimeter fence.” But in a letter to PLN, fellow prisoner David W. Jones challenged ...

Almost $2.4 Million in Settlements For Seven Suicides at New Jersey Jail

by David M. Reutter

The families of two women and five men who committed suicide while held in pretrial detention between July 2014 and November 2018 at New Jersey’s Cumberland County Jail (CCJ) have received a total of $2,372,500 to settle their claims against the County and its profiteering medical ...

DOJ Reaches Consent Decree with New Jersey Jail to Improve Mental Health Care

by David M. Reutter

On May 17, 2023, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) filed both a federal civil rights complaint and a proposed consent decree to resolve allegedly unconstitutional conditions at New Jersey’s Cumberland County Jail (CCJ). The filing ends a five-year investigation and aims to correct conditions that ...

Suit Against Delaware DOC Advances With 39 Prisoner Plaintiffs and 40 Defendants

by David M. Reutter

On August 17, 2023, lawyers for a group of 39 current and former prisoners at Delaware’s Sussex Correctional Center (SCC) largely beat back a motion brought by defendant prison officials to dismiss their complaint alleging a “systematic pattern” of beatings at the lockup in 2021 and ...

Defining ‘Carceral Deference’

by David M. Reutter

“Carceral deference is a powerful principle built on faulty premises and with troubling and destabilizing effects,” declared Danielle C. Jefferis, an Assistant Professor at the University of Nebraska College of Law, in an article that appeared in the Fordham Law Review.

Deeply ingrained in criminal law ...

Connecticut Lawmakers Punt on Limiting Prison Strip Searches

by David M. Reutter

During their 2023 session, Connecticut lawmakers took a pass on legislation to rein in routine prison strip searches, which advocates testified were “humiliating” and “intrusive.” There was, however, widespread interest in appearing interested in the problem, resulting in a predictable decision by legislators to vote for ...

No Hearing Required for Emergency Dose of Antipsychotic Medication for Mississippi Prisoner

by David M. Reutter

On May 4, 2023, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed dismissal of a Mississippi prisoner’s claim that his due process rights were violated when a doctor dosed him without his consent with psychotropic medication.

Chaz Pinkston, the Court noted, had “a complex ...

$1.05 Million Settlement for Oklahoma Prisoner’s Death from Untreated Appendix Rupture

by David M. Reutter

On May 23, 2023, the Oklahoma Legislature approved a $1.05 million settlement to resolve a lawsuit stemming from the preventable death of a state prisoner. The settlement followed an order by the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma on May 29, 2022, that ...

Fourth Circuit Rebuffs Federal Prisoner’s Attempt to Expand Bivens in North Carolina

by David M. Reutter

On May 3, 2023, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit affirmed dismissal of a federal prisoner’s civil rights suit, finding his Fifth Amendment claim did not fit within the precise confines authorized by Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Federal Bureau of ...

Breaking the Cycle of Understaffing, Lockdowns and Increased Violence in Prisons

by David M. Reutter

The political atmosphere surrounding criminal justice reform features strong rhetoric on both sides. Those who pontificate the “get-tough-on-crime” culture argue for increasing criminal sanctions and imposing punishment upon prisoners. On the other side are criminal justice reform advocates who push for a second chance by changing ...