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Articles by Derek Gilna

Study Highlights the Burden of Fees, Debt Collection on Criminal Defendants

In an October 2010 report examining the fifteen states that have the highest prison populations, the Brennan Center for Justice found that the practices of imposing new “user fees” on criminal defendants, raising the amounts of existing fees, and intensifying the collection of fees and other forms of criminal justice ...

Colorado Officials Lead Efforts to Modernize Afghan Prisons

Bill Zalman is the leader of a team of prison officials from Colorado that has been tapped to help train the wardens of Afghanistan’s prisons in modern correctional practices.
The head of the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State David T ...

Florida: Woman Settles Lawsuit Against Sheriff’s Officers for $67,500 after Arrest While in Premature Labor

In June 2010, Melanie Dawn Williams, who had been arrested by officers after allegedly running a red light on her way to the St. Vincent’s Medical Center emergency room in Jacksonville, Florida when she was in premature labor, accepted a settlement in her lawsuit instead of going to trial ...

New Research: Why Innocent People Confess to Crimes They Did Not Commit

A September 2010 article in the New York Times highlighted an interesting phenomenon that has become more evident in an era where DNA evidence is available to help conclusively prove guilt or innocence – the fact that many people confess to crimes they did not commit, and serve lengthy prison terms ...

Ohio Governor Spares Death Row Prisoner, Cites Problems with Evidence

Kevin Keith, 46, on Ohio’s death row for murdering two women and a 4-year-old child, and scheduled for execution on September 15, 2010, was spared by Ohio Governor Ted Strickland. In commuting the death penalty portion of Keith’s sentence on September 2, Governor Strickland stated, “This case is ...

BOP’s Furlough Notification Policy Not to be Addressed for Seven Years

A September 2010 report by the Office of the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Justice cast light on deficiencies with the Bureau of Prisons’ (BOP) furlough policy, and in doing so inadvertently highlighted the power of the federal prison employees’ union to delay changes in BOP policies ...

Ninth Circuit Holds Private Prison Companies Can Be Sued Under Bivens for Violating Federal Prisoner’s Rights

On June 7, 2010, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that Richard Lee Pollard, a prisoner in the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) at the Taft Correctional Institution (TCI) in California, could assert a Bivens claim against employees of a private prison ...

Correctional Medical Care Has Controversial Litigation History

Correctional Medical Care, Inc. (CMC), a private company that provides health care for prisoners in at least eight jails in New York and Pennsylvania, is embroiled in a lawsuit that alleges misconduct by corporate officials.

The president of Pennsylvania-based CMC, Emre Umar, was named in the suit as being responsible ...

Report: New Jersey DOC Should Upgrade Prisoner Reentry Programs

A report by Rutgers University released in January 2010 concluded that the New Jersey Department of Corrections could be doing more to help prisoners successfully reintegrate into society upon their release. The report was based on the results of a survey of 4,000 prisoners completed in August 2009, comprising ...

Federal Prisoner’s Death at FCI Pekin Triggers FBI Investigation

The November 13, 2009 death of Adam Montoya, a prisoner at the Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) in Pekin, Illinois, resulted in an investigation by the FBI.

The Associated Press (AP) reported that “an autopsy concluded that the 36-year-old inmate suffered from no fewer than three serious illnesses – cancer, hepatitis, and ...