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Articles by Edward Lyon

Minnesota Prisoner Wins Reprieve from Jail Debt in Federal Court

by Ed Lyon

Erik Daniel Christianson spent time in the Martin County jail in Minnesota on four occasions between 2013 and 2014. Under state “pay for stay” laws, prisoners are required to pay $25 for each day spent in jail. Accordingly, Christianson accrued a total of $7,625 in jail debt. ...

Virginia Prisoner Defeats Summary Judgment, Settles Religious Diet Case

by Ed Lyon

Aaron Carter is a Virginia state prisoner; he is also a member of the Nation of Islam. Due to his religion’s dietary restrictions, he was enrolled in the prison system’s Common Fare program (CFP), which serves both halal and kosher meals.

On October 1, 2015, the CFP ...

Illinois Prisoner Loses Use of Force Suit on Evidentiary Rulings

by Ed Lyon

Thomas Lovelace and another prisoner fought over some pencils on November 6, 2011, at the Dixon Correctional Center in Illinois. Guards handcuffed Lovelace and placed him in a van to be transported to a segregation unit.

Lovelace kicked at one of the van’s windows, breaking it. Guards ...

Michigan Prisoner Publishes Book, State Sues for His Proceeds

by Ed Lyon

Curtis Dawkins is serving life without parole in Michigan. He has been imprisoned since 2005, after a crack-fueled series of crimes committed on Halloween night the year before left Tom Bowman dead. Dawkins is also a fiction writer whose first book, penned during his incarceration, was purchased ...

Inadequate Health Services for Native American Prisoners

by Edward B. Lyon, Jr.

Members of various Native Americans tribes live in reservations across the United States, where they police themselves and maintain tribal jails for detention. Federal funds are used to operate those facilities and a multitude of agencies – including the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), Interior ...

California Prison Psychiatrist Faces Harassment, Retaliation from State Officials

by Ed Lyon

Psychiatrist Anthony Coppola, employed in California’s prison system, was a warden’s dream employee. He often worked overtime and on his days off when his primary job at a prison in Tracy, California was short staffed. As a result of his hard work, he amassed a huge backlog ...

Arizona Man Falsely Arrested, Prosecuted by Iowa Officials Accepts $285,000 Settlement

by Ed Lyon

Early on January 1, 2017, Tristan Hermanson was with a woman in his apartment in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Two men entered, assaulted him and stole money and his cell phone. The woman, Elizabeth Navarro, seemed to be working with the robbers. Hermanson was able to escape and ...

New Jersey Jail Scrutinized after Suicides; Guards Charged, Families Sue

by Edward B. Lyon, Jr.

The Cumberland County jail in Bridgeton, New Jersey, parts of which are nearly 80 years old, is scheduled for replacement in 2020. Meanwhile, the facility has been plagued with a high prisoner suicide rate and staff misconduct. From July 2014 to May 2017, four male ...

California: Whistle-blowing Prison Employee Fired, Loses Lawsuit

by Ed Lyon

For over two decades, federal courts have been issuing orders, injunctions and sanctions in an effort to force California’s prison system to provide adequate treatment to mentally ill prisoners. That approach does not appear to be working.

Joseph Damien Duran, 35, died on September 7, 2013 at ...

Lawsuit on Behalf of Prisoners in 1993 Lucasville Riot Challenges Ban on Media Access

by Ed Lyon

On April 11, 1993, hundreds of prisoners began rioting at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville, Ohio. The disturbance lasted eleven days, resulting in the deaths of nine prisoners and one guard. [See: PLN, June 1993, p.9; Dec. 1993, p.7].

Five prisoners were sentenced to death ...