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Articles by Edward Lyon

Mentally Ill Maine State Prisoner Finally Leaves Solitary, But Can’t Push State Lawmakers to Pass Bill Limiting Its Use

by Ed Lyon

By the time he was released from Maine State Prison (MSP) on March 7, 2022, Zachary Swain estimated he had spent half of his seven-year prison term in solitary confinement, isolated over 23 hours per day.

Swain, 25, was a high school senior when he stabbed someone ...

“The Worst Kind of Work” Thai Prisoners Forced into Labor, Often Without Pay

by Ed Lyon

In February 2022, watchdog groups called for a U.S. ban on imports of fishing nets from Thailand, after a December 2021 report by Thomson Reuters Foundation that found some of that country’s 280,000 prisoners are being forced to make the nets by hand under threat of punishment ...

Massachusetts Supreme Court Continues Trend of Easing Prison COVID-19 Protocols

by Ed Lyon

Even as the COVID-19 pandemic persisted and more variants appeared in late 2021, courts were steadily easing restrictions to mitigate its spread in prisons. A case in point: Massachusetts, where initially strong rulings by the state Supreme Court eroded over time.

As early as January 2020, before ...

COVID-19’s Impact on Prisoners Far Worse Than It Needed to Be

by Kevin Bliss and Ed Lyon

In September 2021, a year and a half into the COVID-19 pandemic, the nonprofit research and advocacy group Prison Policy Initiative (PPI) gave a failing grade to 42 U.S. states for their efforts to mitigate the spread of the disease in their prisons and ...

Lawsuits Filed Over Withheld Pain Medications That Left Ailing New York Prisoners in Agony

by Ed Lyon

Two suits playing out in federal court in New York in mid-2022 will determine whether the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) is held to account for a policy that denied pain-relieving medication to state prisoners for years.

Back in March 2016, as the opioid ...

Guards Saluting Fascism on the Job—Literally

by Ed Lyon

Prison guards in Arizona, Utah and West Virginia have recently been reported indulging white supremacist and anti-prisoner views on the job.

Most recently, members of the Arizona Department of Corrections (DOC) Special Tactics and Operations team proudly sported patches bearing a skull and crossbones, eerily reminiscent of ...

Russia Drops Charges Against Prison Torture Whistleblower

by Ed Lyon

Here’s a story with a familiar ring to it: A massive prison bureaucracy, which regularly clears its staff when prisoners are brutally abused, is forced by leaked video to finally hold someone to account—so it goes after the whistleblower.

This is the basic outline of what happened ...

Securus Rolls Out “Free” E-tablets to Texas Prisoners

by Ed Lyon

Texas state prisoners have begun receiving free tablet computers from Securus Technologies. By February 18, 2022, the state’s privately contracted provider had distributed 3,500 “e-tablets” to prisoners in seven of its 61 state prisons—Diboll, Bell, Henley, Kegans, Kyle, Stevenson and Halbert units—according to a tweet from the ...

Settlement Finally Reached in Prisoners’ Hep-C Class-Action Against Connecticut DOC

by Ed Lyon

Nearly four years after a group of Connecticut prisoners sued the state Department of Corrections (DOC) for denying treatment for their infection with the Hepatitis-C virus (HCV)—and a year after the parties reached a settlement that a federal judge then rejected—a superseding settlement agreement was reached on ...

Seventh Circuit Reinstates Suit of Epileptic Illinois Prisoner Who Suffered Seizure and Fell From Top Bunk

by Ed Lyon

On October 26, 2021, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit reversed the decision of a federal district court in Illinois to dismiss a suit brought by an epileptic prisoner forced to sleep in an upper bunk from which he fell when having a seizure ...