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Articles by Derek Gilna

Pennsylvania DOC, Mental Health Contractor Settle Wrongful Death Suit for $27,500

by Derek Gilna

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (DOC) have agreed to pay $15,000 to the estate of a mentally ill prisoner who was killed after being attacked by another prisoner in February 2015. 

The March 2018 settlement ended a suit ...

Georgia: Court Certifies Class Action for Prisoners Held Beyond Their Release Date

by Derek Gilna

U.S. District Court judge in Georgia has certified a class-action suit that seeks to hold the Fulton County Jail liable for failing to release dozens of prisoners after they posted bond or were otherwise eligible for release. 

According to Judge Michael L. Brown in ...

Study Says Mass Incarceration Contributes to Poverty and Hunger

by Derek Gilna

A 2018 report by the Washington, D.C.-based Bread for the World Institute (BWI) made the argument that “U.S. poverty would have dropped by 20 percent between 1980 and 2004 if not for mass incarceration,” quoting a study by the Social Science Research Network ...

Hawaii Supreme Court: Pretrial Solitary Wrong, but Warden Protected by Qualified Immunity

by Derek Gilna

Mukadin Gordon, who had an extensive criminal record, was arrested for a non-violent offense in August 2010 and placed in solitary confinement for several months. 

He sued under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and state tort law, arguing that his nine months in solitary were ...

Seventh Circuit Vacates, Remands Punitive Damages Award Against Wexford

by Derek Gilna

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has remanded a prisoner’s lawsuit against Wexford Health Sources, Inc., the healthcare provider for Illinois’ Department of Corrections, for either a reduced punitive damages award or a new trial on the issue of damages. 

After experiencing ankle pain in 2010 ...

Seventh Circuit Excuses Exhaustion Requirement for Spanish-Speaking Prisoner

by Derek Gilna

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed the dismissal of an Illinois state prisoner’s 42 U.S.C. § 1983 suit for failure to exhaust administrative remedies as required by the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), based on the fact that as a Spanish-speaker he did ...

Illinois DOC Permanently Enjoined From Neglecting Prisoners’ Mental Health

by Derek Gilna

On October 30, 2018, a federal judge entered a permanent injunction that enjoined the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) from violating the Eighth Amendment and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) with respect to mental health care.

In issuing the injunction, the district court found the IDOC had ...

Eighteen Years After its Passage, Prisons and Jails Continue to Violate RLUIPA

by Derek Gilna

After decades of complaints by prisoners that corrections officials frequently denied them the right to practice their religion, Congress took action and passed the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), codified at 42 U.S.C. § 2000cc.

According to the U.S. Department of ...

Missouri Prisoner Awarded $111,000 in Second-Hand Smoke Case, DOC Bans Smoking

by Derek Gilna

Ecclesiastical Denzel Washington, a former death row prisoner who is now serving a life sentence, won a jury verdict against the Missouri Department of Corrections (DOC) and various prison officials totaling $111,000. Following the April 2017 verdict, Washington negotiated a settlement banning the sale and ...

Sixth Circuit Reverses Injunction Against Delousing and Group Strip Searches at Ohio Jail

by Derek Gilna

On November 2, 2018, the Sixth Circuit reversed a permanent injunction and summary judgment order entered by a federal district court in a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action filed by former prisoner Tynisa Williams against the City of Cleveland, challenging group strip searches and mandatory ...