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Articles by Edward Lyon

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 ...

Civil Commitment Used to Imprison Drug Users in Massachusetts

by Ed Lyon

While most states have laws allowing the involuntary civil commitment (ICC) of the mentally ill, some states extend such laws to addicted drug abusers. Massachusetts is the only state to specify by statute that people whose substance abuse problems “pose a serious risk of harm” can be ...

Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department Reports Inaccurate Jail Violence Data

by Ed Lyon

Already rocked by a scandal that put its former sheriff and his top deputy behind bars, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) has come under fire for its inconsistent reporting of violent incidents in the county’s jail system, which is the largest in the nation.

According ...

Adolescent Texas Prisoners Moving To Different Prison

by Ed Lyon

Some youthful offenders in Texas will soon be moved to a former death row wing in the Ellis Unit in Huntsville.

Children ages 14 to 17 who are certified as adults, tried and sentenced to prison for committing crimes, take part in a Youthful Offender Program (YOP). ...