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Articles by Douglas Ankney

$175,000 Awarded to Former California Detainee Whose Suit Prompted DOJ Investigation and Settlement Requiring Structural Changes at Jail

by Douglas Ankney

In June 2021, former San Luis Obispo County Jail detainee Steven J. York was awarded $175,000 to settle a lawsuit that also prompted an investigation of the jail by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). In addition to the monetary award, the settlement agreement requires Defendants San ...

$33 Million Awarded to Family of Oklahoma Jail Detainee Mocked By Nurse and Guards As He Died Begging for Help

by Douglas Ankney

On August 23, 2023, a jury in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma made a massive award of $33 million to the family of Terral B. Ellis, Jr., an Ottawa County Jail (OCJ) detainee who allegedly died begging for medical attention while a nurse ...

Grand Jury Slams Sacramento County for Delaying Jail Improvements Mandated in Consent Decree

by Douglas Ankney

Delays in improvements mandated in a 2020 consent decree resulted in at least six preventable detainee deaths at Sacramento County jails, according to a grand jury investigative report on June 2, 2023.

As PLN reported, the County’s two lockups were the subject of Mays v. Cty. of ...

Kansas DOC Claims Discrimination Against Wiccans Was “Inadvertent”

by Douglas Ankney

On September 27, 2023, the Kansas Department of Corrections (DOC) appeared to back down from a fight over providing state prisoners materials from a Wiccan shop—though it maintained a ban on correspondence from the shop owner and an associated coven.

For at least 20 years, MoonShadow Coven ...

Massachusetts High Court Calls Denial of Prisoner’s Medical Parole without Risk Assessment Arbitrary and Capricious

by Douglas Ankney

On April 3, 2023, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts called a medical parole denial by the state Commissioner of Correction arbitrary and capricious because it was made without a standardized risk assessment for prisoner applicant Martin McCauley, as required by Title 501 Code Mass. Regs. §17.02. ...

Third Circuit Revives Disabled New Jersey Prisoner’s Claim for Deprivation of Walking Cane

by Douglas Ankney

On September 19, 2023, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit reversed dismissal of prisoner Tremayne Durham’s suit blaming employees of the New Jersey Department of Corrections (DOC) for injuries he suffered in a shower slip-­and-­fall, after they denied him access to his cane and ...

Connecticut DOC Held Liable for Failure to Treat Transgender Prisoner’s Gender Dysphoria

Douglas Ankney

On September 15, 2023, the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut granted a transexual prisoner’s motion for summary judgment in a suit accusing the state Department of Correction (DOC) of violating her Eighth Amendment rights by failing to treat her gender dysphoria (GD).

Veronica-­May Clark is ...

$2,000 Paid to Former Arkansas Jail Detainees Given Horse Dewormer for COVID-­19

by Douglas Ankney

On September 7, 2023, five former detainees at Arkansas’ Washington County Detention Center (WCDC) informed the federal court for the Western District of Arkansas that they had accepted payment of $2,000 each to settle claims alleging that a jail doctor without their knowledge or consent dosed them ...

Nearly $11 Million Settlement Reached in Suit by BOP Prisoners Held Without Heat, Electricity During New York Winter Storm

by Douglas Ankney

On August 18, 2023, an agreement was reached by Defendant officials with the federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) paying $10,936,250 to settle claims brought in a class-action lawsuit by prisoners and detainees who suffered for a week without electricity or heat at Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) ...

Four Dead in One Month in San Bernardino County Jails, $3,232,500 in Settlements Paid So Far

by Douglas Ankney and Casey J. Bastian

A spate of jail deaths in California’s San Bernardino County dating back to 2017 has led to at least four legal settlements totaling $3,232,500. Two additional settlements netted another $35,000 for detainees allegedly beaten by guards. Meanwhile one of the most recent jail ...