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Articles by Derek Gilna

Report: BOP Fails to Monitor Effects, Conditions of Segregated Housing

In May, 2013, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report critical of the federal Bureau of Prisons' (BOP) use of segregated housing. The report found that the percentage of prisoners held in segregated housing, including Special Housing Units (SHUs), Special Management Units (SMUs) and Administrative Maximum (ADX), had ...

Supreme Court Holds Padilla Not Retroactive

In Padilla v. Kentucky, 130 S.Ct. 1473 (2010) [PLN, Aug. 2010, p.11], the U.S. Supreme Court held that attorneys have an obligation to advise their non-citizen clients that they face the collateral consequence of deportation if they plead guilty to a felony.

Roselva Chaidez, a non-citizen permanent resident, pleaded guilty ...

Canadian Prisoners Receive $3.5 Million in Settlements

Thirty-four prisoners in the Canadian province of British Columbia have obtained a total of $3.5 million in settlements from the government between January 2008 and March 2012. The largest settlement, for a prisoner's traumatic brain injury resulting from an assault by another prisoner, was $2.64 million. Most of the other ...

California Jail Installs New Microgrid to Cut Energy Costs

California Jail Installs New Microgrid to Cut Energy Costs

by Derek Gilna

The Santa Rita Jail in Alameda County, California has installed an $11.7 million "microgrid" system to help power the 4,000-bed facility, which is the fifth-largest jail in the nation. Previously, the jail had installed a 9,000-solar panel array ...

"Mere Possession" of a Prison Shank Constitutes a "Crime of Violence"

"Mere Possession" of a Prison Shank Constitutes a "Crime of Violence"

by Derek Gilna

In 2010, federal prisoner Jermaine Mobley was sentenced to 37 months by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina for possessing a shank – a prohibited object in prison as defined by ...

Suicides at CCA-run ICE Detention Center Spark Investigation

Human rights organizations monitoring complaints regarding conditions of confinement for prisoners held in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facilities were likely not surprised when they received news that two detainees had committed suicide at the Eloy Detention Center outside Phoenix, Arizona. The April 2013 deaths of Jorge Garcia-Mejia, 40, and ...

Louisiana Supreme Court Rejects Ex Post Facto Challenge in Sex Offender Supervision Case

The Louisiana Supreme Court has reversed the judgment of a state appellate court and reinstated the "lifelong supervision" of Rudy Trosclair, who had contested that condition on ex post facto grounds. At the time of Trosclair's conviction, La. Rev. Stat. Section 15:561.2 required any person convicted of a sex offense ...

Italian Prison Program Trains Female Prisoners in Fashion Industry

Leave it to the Italians to extend their love of fashion to a women's prison. At the Rebibbia facility in Rome, the well-known fashion house of Fendi is supporting a voluntary training program where women prisoners manufacture handbags.

Soon to be marketed under the Sigillo (Seal) brand, the handbags, which ...

Illinois: Conditions Lawsuit Filed by Civilly Confined Sex Offenders Dismissed

Civilly committed sex offenders confined pursuant to Illinois' Sexually Violent Persons Commitment Act, 725 ILCS 207/1-99, filed suit in federal court in 2007 under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, challenging the conditions of their confinement at the Rushville Treatment and Detention Center (Rushville).

After the district court dismissed their claims, the ...

South Dakota Non-profits Lose Cheap Prison Labor

Many states have gotten the message that there are viable alternatives to incarceration that cost less and are equally effective in terms of reducing crime rates, but some non-profits like the Salvation Army are suffering because declining prison populations mean fewer low-or-no-cost prisoner workers.

Most state DOCs have work release ...