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Articles by Derek Gilna

Seventh Circuit Remands Lawsuit Over Book Confiscation at Cook County Jail

by Derek Gilna

In an August 23, 2018 opinion, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit reversed in part and remanded a district court’s dismissal of a lawsuit filed by a former Cook County, Illinois prisoner who alleged jail officials had confiscated books and magazines sent to him ...

Lawsuits Filed Over South Dakota Replacing Prison Law Libraries with Tablets

by Derek Gilna

Two federal lawsuits were filed by South Dakota prisoners in May and June 2018 against the state Department of Corrections (DOC) over the introduction of tablet computers to replace prison law libraries and paralegals and attorneys who assist prisoners. Billed as a cost-saving measure, the tablets are ...

Seventh Circuit Vacates ADA Summary Judgment Against Cook County Sheriff

by Derek Gilna

On July 30, 2018, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals vacated a partial summary judgment order issued by a district court that found the Sheriff of Cook County, Illinois liable for various violations of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

After holding an evidentiary ...

Secret Settlement Resolves Unlikely Lawsuit Against Northwestern Innocence Project

by Derek Gilna

In a strange twist to a case that eventually led to the abolishment of the death penalty in Illinois, Northwestern University’s Innocence Project and other defendants have settled on undisclosed terms a $40 million federal lawsuit filed by a man who said he was coerced by an ...

New York Federal District Court Allows Prisoner’s § 1983 Action to Proceed

by Derek Gilna

A New York state prisoner’s civil rights case proceeded to trial in federal district court after the judge denied the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision’s motion for summary judgment in part on March 15, 2018, while dismissing some of the plaintiff’s claims.

Michael ...

Report: Homelessness and Housing Insecurity are Hurdles for Former Prisoners

by Derek Gilna

More than a half-million Americans are homeless on any given day, and for the five million ex-prisoners in the U.S., the rate of homelessness is almost 10 times higher than among the general population. According to a report issued by the Prison Policy Initiative in August 2018, ...

Brookings Institute Study Finds Direct Connection between Poverty and Crime Rates

by Derek Gilna

The Brookings Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based research group, has published a study that demonstrates, through empirical data, what many have long suspected: That extreme poverty leads to increased crime rates. The same study, “Work and Opportunity Before and After Incarceration,” published on March 14, 2018, also confirms ...

New York City Council Passes Ordinance to Make All Jail Phone Calls Free

by Derek Gilna

On July 18, 2018 the New York City Council passed Introduction No. 741-A, which ended the practice of telecom companies profiting from providing phone services for prisoners at inflated rates. Instead, all domestic calls made from the city’s jail system, including the Rikers Island complex, will be ...

New Jersey Federal Court Certifies Class-Action Suit Against Global*Tel Link

by Derek Gilna

The U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey has certified a class-action lawsuit against Global Tel*Link (GTL), one of the nation’s largest prison telecom companies. According to the court, the plaintiffs – including prisoners and their family members – alleged violations of the New Jersey ...

Investigation of Central New York Central Psychiatric Center Turns Up Drugs

by Derek Gilna

 The Central New York Psychiatric Center, located near Syracuse, New York, which houses sex offenders, already roiled by claims of employee misconduct and mismanagement, was hit with new charges of illegal drugs, unreported violent assaults and sexual misconduct.

            New York state troopers were searching all employees ...