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Articles by Edward Lyon

Prisoner Suicide Rates Highest in California

by Ed Lyon

While an estimated 40 percent of all prisoners have a diagnosed mental health condition, the number of prisoners suffering from a serious mental illness reached 14 percent of the general prison population by 2018. Mentally ill prisoners are much more likely to commit suicide.

The three largest ...

New York City Prisoner Shackled While Giving Birth; $610,000 Settlement

by Ed Lyon

A New York City resident, identified as Jane Doe in a lawsuit, gave birth on February 8, 2018 at 6:14 a.m. Although ordinarily not an unusual event, the circumstances leading up to and subsequent to this birth were anything but routine.

Doe was arrested on February 7, ...

California Begins Weaning Itself from Private Prisons – More or Less

by Ed Lyon

California governor Gavin Newsom entered office in early 2019 vowing to end the use of private prisons – including those in which federal immigration authorities detain asylum seekers – because for-profit prisons “lead to over-incarceration” and “do not reflect our values.” For many years, California sent prisoners ...

A Place for Released Prisoners to Go Home

by Ed Lyon

A new program that began in 2018 in Alameda County, California aims to assist former prisoners with housing needs. The Homecoming Project matches newly released prisoners with hosts who are subsidized in what founder Alex Busansky describes as an Airbnb-style solution to the acute need to house ...

Civilly Dead Prisoner Unable to Sue in Rhode Island

by Ed Lyon

Rhode Island’s “civil death” statute (GL 1956 § 13-6-1) provides that a person serving a life sentence in that state is “civilly dead” and therefore legally unable to avail him or herself of relief in a state civil court after their sentence is affirmed.

On November 14, ...

Preliminary Injunction Sought Over Contaminated Drinking Water at Connecticut Prison

by Ed Lyon

Stamford, Connecticut attorneys David P. Friedman and Lorey Rives Leddy are representing prisoners at the Osborn Correctional Institution (OCI) over environmental hazards at that facility.

Not only are the prisoners routinely exposed to toxic and cancer-causing materials like PCBs and asbestos, they also have been drinking water ...

California Family Mourns Son Who Committed Suicide in Jail, Receives $1.65 Million Settlement

by Ed Lyon

At least three major federal lawsuits involving the jail in Monterey County, California had been filed prior to Erick DeAnda’s death at the facility on September 16, 2015, in an isolation cell in a unit designated for mentally ill prisoners.

DeAnda was 24 years old when he ...

Oklahoma Breaks Pattern of Protracted, Expensive Prison Conditions Litigation

by Ed Lyon

For the last 50 to 60 years, improvements in prison conditions have typically only come about through lengthy, adversarial litigation. During and after losing such lawsuits, state prison systems often delay, fail to adhere to consent decrees and are sometimes cited for contempt until, finally, they grudgingly ...

Deaths at Georgia Jail Spur Investigations, Lawsuit

by Ed Lyon

Shali Tilson, 22, had struggled with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia since he was eight years old. His conditions were managed by medication, though due to their adverse side effects he stopped taking them during high school. He appeared to be successfully coping through a combination of diet ...

Fifth Circuit Reverses Denial of Qualified Immunity to Prison Officials

by Ed Lyon 

On September 9, 2019, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a Louisiana district court’s denial of qualified immunity to three of four defendants in a prisoner’s civil rights suit.

State prisoner Clarence Jason was on the recreation yard when another prisoner he had argued with ...