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Articles by David Reutter

$120,000 Settlement for Minnesota Woman Forced to Remove Hijab for Booking

A $120,000 settlement was reached on November 5, 2019 in a lawsuit alleging officials at Minnesota’s Ramsey County Jail applied discriminatory treatment to a Muslim woman. The settlement with the county also provides for a change in policies related to Muslim women’s use of head coverings.

Aida Shyef Al-Kadi turned herself in on an outstanding warrant for missing a traffic court hearing. Her August 12, 2013 arrest resulted in a brief booking into the Hennepin County Adult Detention Center.

When arrested, Al-Kadi was wearing a hijab, which covered her hair, ears and neck, and a long dress. Her attire was in holding with her sincere religious belief in “promoting decency and modesty in interactions between members of the opposite sex.”

Hennepin County officials treated Al-Kadi “with respect and dignity when she removed her hijab and was not forced to do so in front of any male officers or detainees.” The next day, she was transported to the Ramsey County Adult Detention Center (RCADC).

Immediately upon entry, she was singled out from other detainees. A guard pat searched Al-Kadi and requested that she take off her “burka,” which is culturally and physically different from the hijab and ...

Fund to Pay Wrongfully Convicted Prisoners in Michigan Is Broke Once Again

With the 2016 passage if its Wrongful Imprisonment Act, Michigan became one of 33 states with legislation creating a fund to compensate wrongfully convicted people, paying them $50,000 per year of their incarceration. But by early 2020 the fund didn’t even have enough money to pay ...

Audit: Privatizing Florida’s Prison Health Care Was Costly and Deadly Mistake

When former Florida Gov. Rick Scott took office in 2011, he pushed to privatize health care for Florida prisoners. He promised the move would save taxpayers millions of dollars and it did, at least until 2014. An audit ordered by the state legislature found that since ...

Florida Lowers Minimum Age for Prison Guards But Fails to End Staff Shortages

A new law that reduces the minimum age to be a Florida prison guard has not helped resolve “critically low” staffing levels. Effective July 1, 2019, the minimum age to be a guard was reduced from 19 to 18.

Florida has struggled for over a decade ...

$1 Million Settlement in Atlanta Detainee’s Death From Untreated Diabetes

A $1 million settlement was reached in May 2019 in a lawsuit alleging the Atlanta City Detention Center (ACDC) left a pretrial detainee in an unlit confinement cell to die from untreated diabetes.

When Wickie Yvonne Bryant, 55, was booked into ACDC on September 14, 2015, ...

Prosecutors Sue Firm for Selling Bureau of Prisons Adulterated Food, Spices

The Bureau of Prisons (BOP) sued a vendor and its owner for scamming over 80 prisons of $530,000 by selling diluted spices and food products.

The suit, filed November 1, 2019, was brought under the False Claims Act (FCA), also known as “Lincoln’s Law,” for violations ...

1.25 Million Corizon Settlement in Mentally Ill Michigan Prisoner’s Dehydration Death

The Michigan Department of Corrections and its medical vendor, Corizon Health, agreed in October 2019 to pay $1.25 million to settle a lawsuit involving the death of a mentally ill prisoner who died of dehydration after guards turned off the water in her confinement cell.

Darlene ...

Another Settlement in Sexual Assault Case at Pennsylvania Lackawanna County Prison

Pennsylvania's Lackawanna County paid $1.1 million to settle yet another lawsuit alleging several Lackawanna County Prison (LCP) guards sexually assaulted female prisoners. That brings the total for lawsuits the county has agreed to settle over the last three years to $2.4 million, most of which was ...

Muslim Georgia Prisoner Wins RLUIPA Reversal in 11th Circuit Over Vegetarian Meals

The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, in an unpublished opinion, reversed the dismissal of a Georgia prisoner’s First and Eighth Amendment damage claims that alleged he was denied a vegan diet that conformed to his Muslim religious beliefs.

While held at Valdosta State Prison (VSP) in ...

$1.5 Million Settlement in Georgia Youth’s Rape at Juvenile Detention Center

The Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) agreed to a $1.5 million settlement in a lawsuit alleging a 14-year-old was the target of several beatings and attacks and was raped in a shower by a 17-year-old detainee.

The lawsuit identifies the victim as “N.T.” and relates ...