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Articles by Jayson Hawkins

Tenth Circuit Denies Qualified Immunity to Colorado Prison Officials Who Shut Down Native American Religious Activities

by Jayson Hawkins

On July 21, 2021, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit affirmed the ruling of a lower court in Colorado that denied a motion by state prison officials to dismiss a prisoner’s civil rights claim on the grounds that they enjoyed qualified immunity (QI).

Officials ...

Settlement Relieves Death Row Isolation in Louisiana: Four Hours Daily Out of Cell, Five Hours Per Week in New Yard

by Jayson Hawkins

In recent years, courts have begun to recognize that extended periods of solitary confinement are detrimental to the physical and mental health of prisoners. While some prisoners are placed in segregation for disciplinary reasons, those sentenced to death are often housed in solitary for decades while awaiting ...

After Sixth Death in Six Years, Virginia Jail Cuts Ties with Corizon Health

Corizon Employee Charged with Falsifying Records

by Jayson Hawkins and Keith Sanders

On February 1, 2022, a 41-year-old Black man being held on a trespassing charge was found unresponsive in his cell at the jail in Arlington County, Virginia. His death later that day, which is still under investigation, came ...

Another Death by Taser in Sangamon County, Illinois Jail

by Jayson Hawkins

Many issues surrounding criminal justice and law enforcement have been up for debate in recent years, yet the jury is back on the question of Tasers used on people in custody. The weapon has been banned by the biggest private prison corporations in America, as well as ...

St. Louis Jail Guard Charged with Allowing Brutal Beating of Prisoner

by Jayson Hawkins

A former guard at the St. Louis Justice Center (SLJC) was indicted by a federal grand jury on July 28, 2021, on charges that she allowed two prisoners to beat a third in March 2021. That was after she had pleaded guilty to state charges filed for ...

Washington Federal Court Grants Preliminary Injunction Halting Release of Transgender Prisoners’ Personal Information; Class Certified

by Jayson Hawkins

On April 8, 2021, the Federal court for the Eastern District of Washington issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) to preserve the status quo and halt the release by the Washington Department of Corrections of records containing personal information including documents related to identifying prisoners who are ...

Montana Renews CoreCivic Contract; Major Water and Sewage Problems Persist

by Jayson Hawkins

The private prison industry has been under fire recently across the country—from lawsuits filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to federal policies mandating a slow and unsteady move away from for-profit prisons to scandals arising from inhumane conditions and rampant sexual assaults.

Feeling the heat ...

Disenfranchisement the Old Fashioned Way

A federal district court judge looks at the history and impact of keeping prisoners from the polls

by Jayson Hawkins

In the aftermath of the 2020 election, legislatures across the nation responded to claims of election fraud by proposing a flurry of election laws that seem to be aimed at ...

Massachusetts Prisons Pledge to End Solitary

by Jayson Hawkins

The Massachusetts Department of Corrections (DOC) surprised many critics with a June 2021 announcement of its intent to eliminate solitary confinement as it currently exists in the state prison system.

State Public Safety and Security Secretary Thomas Turco said in a statement that after a comprehensive review, ...

$170,000 Settlement and New Policy on Gender Identity from Lawsuit Against New Jersey DOC

by Jayson Hawkins

The New Jersey Department of Corrections had a policy of housing prisoners according to their gender assignment at birth, regardless of whether they are transgender or of any non-binary sexual orientation. As a result, when Sonia Doe (not her real name) was sentenced to prison, she was ...