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Articles by Douglas Ankney

Progress Made in Fight Against Prison Gerrymandering But Battle Continues

Mellon Foundation to Provide $5.25 Million in Program to Distribute Books to Prisoners

The program will provide the same 500-book collection to 1,000 prisons. ...

New Mexico Corrections Pays $1.4 Million to Settle Whistleblower Complaint Alleging Retaliation for Exposing Deficiencies in Corizon Medical Care

An October 15, 2020 report from the Santa Fe New Mexican revealed that in March 2020, the New Mexico Corrections Department (NMCD) paid $1.4 million to settle a whistleblower complaint that exposed deficiencies of private health-care provider Corizon Correctional Health Care (Corizon) and the NMCD’s failure to ...

Preliminary Studies: Black/Latino Populations Disproportionately Affected by COVID-19

CoreCivic and Securus Technologies Agree to Pay $3.7 Million to Settle Suit for Illegally Recording Attorney-Client Conversations

For Some Faiths in Los Angeles County Jails, Volunteer Chaplains Are in Short Supply

Many prisoners are from broken homes, were homeless, or otherwise have no one who cares about them. The attention and compassion of a chaplain are their only source of human warmth.

But Los Angeles County, with a daily jail population around 17,600, doesn’t pay jail chaplains.

Consequently, the jails depend on volunteers and that means, for some faiths, demand far exceeds supply. “Certain communities are not as well-represented,” said Sheriff’s Sergeant Alex Gamboa, who works in the office of Religious and Volunteer Services for the county’s jails.

Gamboa acknowledged that only about 20 people are listed as Jewish volunteers, most of whom come to the jails “every blue moon.” He says funding of chaplains isn’t necessary when some religions — like the Christian faiths — have dozens or hundreds of volunteers. According to Gamboa, “Half our chaplains don’t ...

Nine Months Later, DOJ Still Hasn’t Provided Senator Rubio With Answers About Rampant Sexual Abuse at Women’s Prisons

The complaint, filed under the Federal Tort Claims Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1346, names the United States as the defendant and describes horrific assaults. Plaintiffs Rachelle Beaubrun, Kayla Buchanan, Amanda Dimuro, Kristen Goduto, Kara Guggino, Sara Hoehn, April Johnson, Maggie Leon, Rebecca Mora, Terry Nagy-Philips, Lauren Reynolds, Ann Ursiny, Cristian Villalta-Garcia, and Karen Watson (collectively “Plaintiffs”) ranged in ages from 30 to 56 and were all first-time offenders incarcerated at the minimum security unit at Coleman Federal Correctional Institution (“Coleman”) in Sumpter County, Florida (with the exception of Plaintiff Guggino who was raped at the Federal Correctional Institution in Tallahassee before being transferred to Coleman and sexually assaulted again).

The complaint alleges that Officers Palomares, Kuilan, Phillips, Campbell, Vann, Gonzalez, Laudenstager, and Urdialez admitted to investigators that they sexually abused the ...

Members of Congress Probe Pentagon on Accreditation of Military Prisons

“The importance of maintaining military facilities, especially military confinement and corrections facilities, that meet basic health and safety standards cannot be overstated, and we are pleased that the Department takes this issue seriously enough to seek accreditation for its facilities,” the lawmakers wrote. “Unfortunately, however, it is not clear that the ACA treats its duties as accreditor with the same respect and care.”

The letter came on the heels of an investigation Warren opened last year into the private prison accreditation industry following widespread reports of mismanagement and poor conditions for detainees in facilities across the U.S.

The ACA touts itself as the “voice of corrections,” auditing private and public detention facilities and accrediting over 1,500 facilities in 49 states, D.C., and Puerto Rico. The ACA also audits and accredits several military corrections facilities in the U.S. and abroad. But documents provided to Warren’s office reveal that the ACA has not denied accreditation ...

$1.25 Million Settlement Against Tennessee County Over Sheriff’s Violations of Labor Law

Natasha Grayson, an employee of the Madison County Criminal Justice Complex (“MCCJC”), was the named plaintiff in the lawsuit, which was filed on July 2, 2019.

The suit named Madison County as the Defendant and sought to recover unpaid wages, overtime wages, liquefied damages, attorney’s fees, and statutory penalties under the FLSA on behalf of Grayson and other similarly situated current and former employees (Plaintiffs) of the Defendant. The suit alleged that Plaintiffs were hourly employees who worked eight-hour shifts, five days per week. But Defendant’s policies required Plaintiffs to arrive at the MCCJC and be ready for work 15 minutes before their shift began and to remain another 15 minutes after their shift ended. The Plaintiffs were not compensated for this time, and Defendant failed to log this time.

Since this period of 30 minutes each day was in excess of their 40 hour each week, Plaintiffs alleged the FLSA required they be compensated ...

Record Number of Laws Passed Reducing Barriers for People With Criminal Records

by Douglas Ankney  

Forty-three states, along with the District of Columbia and the federal government, passed “consequential legislation” in 2019 aimed at reducing barriers faced by people with criminal records.

The 152 laws significantly or completely eliminated obstacles to societal reintegration in areas of employment, housing, voting, jury duty and ...