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Articles by Jo Ellen Nott

Oklahoma Prison Guard and Gilbert Postelle’s Brother Among 125 Convicted in Drug Ring

By Jo Ellen Nott

On April 5, 2022, federal prosecutors announced convictions in a massive drug-trafficking conspiracy for 125 associates of an Oklahoma-based prison gang, one of whom was a state prison guard and another the incarcerated brother of recently executed Oklahoma prisoner Gilbert Postelle.

David Postelle, 39, who headed ...

Warden Accused of Sexual Misconduct and Forced to Take Leave from Job at Violence-Plagued Alabama Prison

By Jo Ellen Nott


The warden was escorted from Alabama’s Limestone Correctional Facility and placed on mandatory leave on March 19, 2022, following allegations of sexual misconduct and the near-fatal stabbing of a minimum-security prisoner there.

The prisoner, who has not been identified, was stabbed during what was described ...

Massachusetts DOC Will Close Long-Time Maximum-Security Prison

by Jo Ellen Nott

The Massachusetts Department of Corrections (DOC) announced on April 7, 2022, that it will close one of its oldest prisons, Massachusetts Correctional Institution (MCI) Cedar Junction, citing a falling incarceration rate and nearly $30 million in needed repairs.

The maximum-security prison designed to hold 568 prisoners ...

At Least 35 Florida DOC Employees and Contractors Arrested in Just Over a Year

By Jo Ellen Nott

An examination of Florida Department of Corrections (DOC) employee and contractor arrests from March 2021 to April 2022 revealed that 18 were charged with introducing contraband, and another 10 were charged with assaulting prisoners. Six more were charged with having illicit relationships with prisoners under their ...

Deaths and Violence Mount at Overcrowded Alabama Prisons While Parole Rate Hits New Low

by Kevin Bliss and Jo Ellen Nott

On February 5, 2022, the federal Department of Justice (DOJ) announced a nine-year sentence had been handed down to the last of four Alabama prison guards convicted of beating state prisoners they suspected of smuggling contraband at Elmore Correctional Facility (ECF).

Three days ...

Alabama Plan to Relieve Prison Overcrowding: Tap COVID-19 Funds to Build “Mega-Prisons”

by Jo Ellen Nott

When Alabama Governor Kay Ivey (R) signed legislation in October 2021 to take $400 million of the state’s pandemic relief funds from the American Rescue Plan to build a trio of massive prisons, it was an attempt to assuage federal officials who have been investigating the ...

$325,000 to Detainee Assaulted at East Texas Jail, 90 Days to Former Deputy Who Beat Him While Restrained in Wheelchair

by Jo Ellen Nott

On February 24, 2022, a former sheriff’s deputy in Harrison County, Texas, was sentenced for savagely beating a restrained detainee at the county jail, an assault which had already cost the County a $325,000 settlement the year before. For pleading guilty to “official oppression” in the ...

No Charges So Far Against Former Arizona Corrections Director After Boozy Standoff with Police

by Jo Ellen Nott

Before an armed standoff with Tempe police on January 6, 2022, former Arizona prisons chief Charles Ryan had been home drinking tequila. A lot of tequila. “Half a large bottle,” according to his wife. Then she heard a gunshot and found Ryan in the bathroom, bloodied ...

Colorado Prisoners Sue DOC and Governor for Violation of State Constitutional Prohibition Against Slavery

by Jo Ellen Nott

On February 15, 2022, two prisoners at the Fremont Correctional Facility in Cañon City, Colorado, filed a proposed class action lawsuit against the State of Colorado, Governor Jared Polis (D) and the state Department of Corrections (DOC), accusing them of violating a recent state constitutional amendment ...

Teen Who Murdered Out of Jealousy Killed in Exercise Yard of Northern California Prison

By Jo Ellen Nott

Nineteen-year-old Michael Hastey, sentenced in June 2021 to life with possibility of parole for murdering a romantic rival two years before in Trinity County, was killed by two other prisoners at the High Desert State Prison (HDSP) in Northern California on February 18, 2022.

Guards at ...