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Articles by David Reutter

NaphCare: More Proof That Privatized Healthcare Deals Death and Misery to the Incarcerated to Enhance Profits

by David M. Reutter

A settlement approved by the federal court for the Eastern District of California on January 16, 2024, recalls an all-­too familiar jail story. A wheelchair-­bound detainee named Gregory Cantu was denied anti-­seizure medication after arriving at Kings County Jail in Hanford on a probation violation. Despite ...

HRDC Awarded Over $130,000 in Legal Costs and Fees for Defendant’s “Bad Faith” in Maine Records Lawsuit

by David M. Reutter

On January 16, 2024, Maine’s Superior Court for Kennebec County ordered state officials to pay $130,600.02 in attorney fees and legal costs to PLN’s publisher, the Human Rights Defense Center (HRDC), after making a rare finding that the officials exercised bad faith in repeatedly denying the ...

Seventh Circuit Again Rejects Challenge to Three-Book Limit at Cook County Jail by Now-Dead Detainee

David M. Reutter

On April 6, 2023, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit affirmed dismissal of a suit filed by a pretrial detainee challenging the contraband policy at the Cook County Jail (CCJ) in Chicago, after guards took and destroyed approximately 30 of his books.

The lawsuit ...

Sixth Circuit Refuses Michigan Prisoner’s Excessive Force Claim Despite Guard’s Conviction for Battery

by David M. Reutter

On August 16, 2023, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit affirmed dismissal of a Michigan prisoner’s lawsuit with an outrageous-­sounding opinion that a guard “may have violated a prison use-­of-­force policy or committed a state-­law tort,” yet that “does not necessarily” mean there ...

Parole and Probation Accused of Driving Prison Growth

David M. Reutter

One alternative to incarceration that criminal justice reformers clamor for is probation or parole. A May 2023 report by Prison Policy Initiative (PPI) counted nearly 3.7 million people in the U.S. under some form of community supervision, nearly twice the number held in prisons and jails. The ...

$1.75 Million Settlement Reached in Washington Jail Suicide

by David M. Reutter

The Washington city of Lynnwood agreed on September 20, 2023, to pay $1.75 million to settle a lawsuit alleging guards at the Lynnwood Municipal Jail were negligent in the suicide death of Tirhas Tesfatsion two years before. An investigation after her death found “significant” lapses between ...

$8.5 Million Settlement After Pretrial Detainee Suffocated by Guards and Medical Staff at Virginia Psychiatric Hospital

by David M. Reutter

On September 19, 2023, the Commonwealth of Virginia, the County of Henrico and its Sheriff Alisa A. Gregory agreed to pay $8.5 million to settle claims arising from the death of Ivo Otieno, 28, at Central State Hospital (CSH) in Petersburg.

As PLN previously reported, Otieno ...

Fifth Circuit Finds Louisiana Prisoner’s Solitary Confinement Not Sufficiently “Atypical” to Violate the Constitution

by David M. Reutter

On September 25, 2023, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed dismissal of Louisiana prisoner Brandon LaVergne’s Eighth Amendment claim, finding the alleged restrictions on his visitation and email access while in “restricted custody”—solitary confinement—were not so bad that they were unconstitutional.

The ...

Eighth Circuit Affirms Qualified Immunity for Missouri Prison Chief in Sexual Abuse Claims Against Former Guard

by David M. Reutter

On August 23, 2023, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit reversed denial of qualified immunity (QI) to Anne Precythe, Director of the Missouri Department of Corrections (DOC), in an Eighth Amendment complaint filed by a state prisoner accusing Precythe of failing to protect ...

Overcrowded and Understaffed, Oklahoma County Jail Remains “Deplorable”

by David M. Reutter

A headline in the August 1965 edition of The Daily Oklahoman said that then-Sheriff Bob Turner of Oklahoma County “denies his jail’s ‘deplorable.’” A new jail was later built, but almost six decades later, a surprise inspection of the lockup in downtown Oklahoma City by the ...