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Prisoner Education Guide

Articles by Derek Gilna

Illinois DOC Settles Lawsuit Filed by Deaf, Hard of Hearing Prisoners

by Derek Gilna

The Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) has settled a class-action suit brought by deaf and hard of hearing prisoners who said they were denied sign-language interpreters for what was called “high-stakes interactions” with prison staff. Prior to the settlement, such prisoners had effectively been denied access to ...

Seventh Circuit Reverses $6.7 Million Indemnification Award for Milwaukee Jail Rape

by Derek Gilna

On September 14, 2018, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a Milwaukee, Wisconsin federal jury verdict that awarded $6.7 million in damages against Milwaukee County to a woman raped by a guard while she was housed at the county jail. [See: PLN, Feb. 2018, p ...

Alaska Supreme Court Denies Counsel to State Prisoner in Felony Case

by Derek Gilna

In a decision that appears to contradict U.S. Supreme Court precedent, not to mention its own, the Supreme Court of Alaska ruled on September 14, 2018 that a prisoner charged with violation of a prison disciplinary rule that constitutes a felony was not entitled to counsel ...

Ohio Prisoner Recovers $2,025 for Leg Injury Caused by Guard’s Pepper Ball

by Derek Gilna

Ohio state prisoner Kimani Ware won a $2,025 judgment against the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (DRC) on July 16, 2018. Following a trial, Magistrate Gary Peterson found the DRC was responsible for the injury and pain Ware suffering when he was struck in the ...

DC Corrections Council Report Slams USP Lewisburg’s “Special Management Unit”

by Derek Gilna

An April 6, 2018 report published by the District of Columbia’s Corrections Information Council (CIC) criticized the federal Bureau of Prisons’ Special Management Unit (SMU) at USP Lewisburg in Pennsylvania, citing numerous policy violations and violence. One incident involved a prisoner who lost an eye to a ...

Sixth Circuit Upholds Denial of Interviews with Lucasville Prison Riot Participants

by Derek Gilna

The April 1993 riot at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville resulted in the deaths of one guard and nine prisoners. Journalists have long tried to interview some of the prisoners involved in that uprising, including Siddique Abdullah Hasan and Keith LaMar – both now on ...

Wisconsin’s Troubled Lincoln Hills School for Boys and Copper Lake School for Girls to Close in 2021, New Governor Says

by Derek Gilna

 The Wisconsin Department of Corrections youth facilities at the Lincoln Hills School for Boys and Copper Lake School for Girls, located in rural Wisconsin north of Madison, will both close in 2021, Governor Tony Evers said in a January 2019 speech, ratifying a recommendation by previous Governor Scott Walker ...

Federal Court Enters Nationwide Injunction Banning Separation of Immigrant Families

by Derek Gilna

A June 26, 2018, nationwide injunction by Southern District of California federal district judge Dana M. Sabraw, which ordered the Trump administration to cease separation of immigrant families, effectively ending the “zero tolerance” policy, continues in force while the federal government scrambles to organize an orderly mechanism ...

Prison Policy Institute Study Says Juvenile Justice System Problems Mirror Adult Issues

by Derek Gilna

The Prison Policy Institute (PPI) in 2018 published a study of the juvenile justice system, which concluded that it “mirrors” many of the same problems of the adult criminal justice system.
This study is important in that the average daily population of juvenile detainees averages 53,000 ...

Illinois Ends Medical Co-Pays for Prisoners, 
But DOC Healthcare Criticized

by Derek Gilna

In June 2018, Illinois lawmakers voted to end the practice of charging $5.00 co-payments to state prisoners for each medical visit – a disproportionate fee, since prison wages in the state range from $0.09 to $0.89 per hour. The move came shortly before the release of a scathing report that documented over a dozen preventable deaths among the 41,000 prisoners held by the Illinois Department of Corrections (DOC).

The October 2018 report was prepared by court-appointed experts in a federal lawsuit, Lippert v. Ghosh. The experts said that compared to conditions when the case was filed in 2012, prison medical care is “either no better or in fact worse in 2018.” The suit was certified as a class-action in April 2017. [See: PLN, Feb. 2018, p.35].

Led by correctional health expert Dr. Mike Pusis, the report found that of 36 fatalities in the year ending June 1, 2014, more than one-third could have been prevented with adequate healthcare. The state chapter of the ACLU, which joined the case as a co-plaintiff in 2013, decried the unnecessary deaths.

“We knew four years ago that prisoners in Illinois were subject to needless pain ...


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