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Articles by Jacob Barrett

Detainee Allegedly “Eaten Alive” by Vermin in Overcrowded Atlanta Jail

by Jacob Barrett

A detainee found dead in Atlanta’s Fulton County Jail (FCJ) on September 13, 2022, was “eaten alive” by insects, according to an attorney hired by the dead man’s family. Michael Harper said his clients were “horrified” by squalid conditions revealed in photos of the cell where 35-year-old ...

Ninth Circuit: Grievance Policy May Excuse Oregon Prisoner’s Failure to Exhaust Administrative Remedies

by Jacob Barrett

On October 12, 2022, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit vacated dismissal of an Oregon prisoner’s civil rights claims for failure to exhaust administrative remedies available in the state Department of Corrections (DOC), as required by the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), 42 U.S.C. ...

Nevada Pays Over $568,000 for Denying Prisoner Cataract Surgery, Ends “One Good Eye” Policy

by Jacob Barrett

On July 15, 2022, the federal court for the District of Nevada awarded $560,587.50 in fees to attorneys representing a state prisoner who earlier settled his medical neglect claim against the state Department of Corrections (DOC) for $7,500. In addition, DOC agreed to amend its policy effectively ...

Prisoner’s Experience in Solitary Wins PEN America Writing Award

by Jacob Barrett

Former prisoner Alex Tretbar won PEN America’s first-place award for poetry in September 2022 for his poem “Variations on an Undisclosed Location.” Tretbar, 33, penned the poem during his five-year incarceration with the Oregon Department of Corrections (DOC) at Deer Ridge Correctional Institution.

While incarcerated, Tretbar worked ...

Overdose Rate in New York Jails and State Prisons Double U.S. Average

by Jacob Barrett

According to an October 2022 report by the New York Attorney General’s Office of Special Investigations (OSI), the state’s prisons and jails have a drug overdose rate “double the rate for the overall United States population.”

Conditions in New York City’s Rikers Island have deteriorated to the ...

Oklahoma County Pays $1.1 Million After Jail Guards Fatally Beat Detainee

by Jacob Barrett

On September 1, 2022, the federal courtfor the Western District of Oklahoma granted dismissal to plaintiffs in a suit against Oklahoma County, after they agreed to a $1.1 million settlement in the death of a detainee killed by guards at the county jail in April 2017. According ...

California Appellate Court: State Prisoners Held in Jail and Those Held in Prisons Not Alike for Sentence Credits

by Jacob Barrett

On September 28, 2022, the Supreme Court of California declined to hear an appeal to a lower court’s decision that shrugged off differences in program credits available to state prisoners held in prisons and those held in local jails. That left standing a decision by the First ...

Telecoms Exploiting Legal Loopholes to Price Gouge Prisoners and Their Families

by Jacob Barrett

According to a report published by the Prison Policy Initiative (PPI) on December 15, 2022, for-profit telecom companies are using loopholes in the law to price-gouge prisoners and their families on the cost of phone calls and video visits.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has slowly set ...

New Mexico Supreme Court Rules Both Prisoners and Nonprofit Plaintiffs Subject to Requirement to Exhaust Administrative Remedies

by Jacob Barrett

On August 25, 2022, the New Mexico Supreme Court affirmed dismissal of a challenge to the state’s mismanagement of the COVID-19 pandemic in New Mexico prisons. Though not entirely agreeing with the lower court’s reasoning, the Court affirmed the result because none of the named prisoner plaintiffs ...

Washington Racks Up More Than $98 Million in Fines for Failure to Timely Hold Competency Hearings

by Jacob Barrett

In 2018, the State of Washington reached a settlement to reform its forensic health system. [See: PLN, Aug. 2017, p.22; May 2019, p.54.] As part of the settlement, the State agreed to follow the district court’s order “to achieve legislative changes to reduce the number of ...