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Articles by David Reutter

Third Circuit Upholds Pennsylvania DOC Policy Requiring Control Number for Legal Mail

by David M. Reutter

Finding that no legitimate penological interest existed to support a Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (PDOC) policy that requires a PDOC-issued control number on correspondence for it to qualify as legal mail, a U.S. District Court issued an injunction prohibiting enforcement of the policy. However, that ruling ...

U.S. Supreme Court Recedes from Saucier’s Mandatory Provisions for Determining Qualified Immunity Claims

by David M. Reutter

The U.S. Supreme Court has retreated from a mandatory procedural practice for resolving government officials’ qualified immunity claims, leaving it to the discretion of lower courts as to which prong of the test to apply as required by the facts of the case.

At issue was ...

Violence on the Rise in Arizona Prisons

by David M. Reutter

The level of violence in Arizona prisons is increasing – at least that is the conclusion to be drawn from recent reports. In 2008 alone there were four homicides in the state’s prison system, and with 12 death investigations still pending that number could rise. Arizona ...

Florida’s Private Prisons Still Lack Meaningful Oversight

by David M. Reutter

Florida’s Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability (OPPAGA) has issued a report that finds that oversight of the state’s private prisons has strengthened under the Department of Management Services (DMS) but significant weakness still abounds.

The Florida Legislature authorized private prisons in 1989. When ...

15 Guards Charged with Assaulting Maryland Prisoners

by David M. Reutter

The Maryland Attorney General’s Office has charged 15 former prison guards with assaulting prisoners. The charges come nearly a year after the guards were fired from the North Branch Correctional Institution and Roxbury Correctional Institution; another eight guards were not charged due to lack of evidence. ...

Report Recommends Lawmakers Reinstate College Programs in Prison

by David M. Reutter

Citing the benefits of college prison programs, a report by the Correctional Association of New York recommended several policy changes to increase and recognize participation in degree-awarding programs. The report says the principal benefits of college programs in prison are: reduced recidivism because of the enhanced ...

Report Concludes Hispanics Receiving a Greater Share of Federal Sentences

by David M. Reutter

Hispanics are comprising a higher percentage of federal sentences, concludes a February 2009 report issued by the Pew Hispanic Center. The rise is attributed to a heightened focus on immigration enforcement. The findings of the report are based on data collected by the United States Sentencing ...

Utah Evaluates Drug Program Pilot; Recommends Further Evaluation

by David M. Reutter

A report by Utah’s legislative Auditor General into the performance of the Drug Offender Reform Act (DORA) says that more time is needed to evaluate the program, and it makes several recommendations to assist in future evaluations.

DORA began as a three-year pilot program to identify ...

$100,000 Settlement in Illegal Imprisonment Caused by Massachusetts’ Failure to Implement Court Order

by David M. Reutter

A former Massachusetts prisoner has received $100,000 to settle a claim of wrongful and illegal confinement. PLN previously reported on this incident, which stems from the failure of the Massachusetts Department of Correction (MDOC) and Parole Board to implement a court ruling that required time served ...

Ohio Parole Authority Ordered to Grant Hearings that Provide Meaningful Parole Consideration

by David M. Reutter

The Court of Common Pleas in Franklin County, Ohio has entered summary judgment finding the Ohio Adult Parole Authority (APA) denies “meaningful parole consideration when they assign an inmate to a proper guidelines category, but the lowest possible range in the guidelines chart is beyond the ...