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Articles by Jo Ellen Nott

Guards Not Vaxxing Across the U.S.

Government Continues Showing Cruel Indifference to Prisoners’ Lives

by Jo Ellen Nott

Entering the third year of the COVID-19 pandemic, those incarcerated in U.S. prisons remain sitting ducks for the ever-mutating virus, due to their poor access to health care and their inability to socially distance in particular. So the ...

Federal Judge Finds Alabama DOC Mental Health Care Horrendous, Orders: Start Hiring

by Jo Ellen Nott

On December 27, 2021, four years after calling Alabama’s treatment of mentally ill prisoners “horrendously inadequate”—due largely to chronic understaffing—a federal judge issued a new mandate to the state Department of Corrections (DOC), saying in effect: “Start hiring.”

That was a key takeaway from a massive ...

Second Circuit Holds N.Y. Prisoner’s Short-Term Injury May Qualify As Disability under ADA

by Jo Ellen Nott

On June 30, 2021, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit rejected a district court’s finding that a New York prisoner’s knee injury did not qualify as a disability due to its short-term nature.

The prisoner, Davonte Hamilton, suffered a dislocated knee and ...

Rhode Island Joins the Movement to End Prison Gerrymandering

by Jo Ellen Nott

In February 2022, Rhode Island joined twelve other states that have addressed “prison gerrymandering,” the practice which counts people in prison as residents of the cell in which they are detained instead of the place where they live.

In a 2017 paper, the Center for Administrative ...

The California Reporting Project: Journalists and Berkeley Students Key to Game Changing Database of Police Misconduct

by Jo Ellen Nott 

A cadre of journalists at six news outlets in California joined together to request police misconduct records after these documents became available to the public with the passage of the “Right to Know Act” or SB 1421 in 2018. The group they formed is called the ...

Armored Car Company Victim of Multiple ‘Highway Robberies’ by Cops Files Federal Lawsuit for Recovery of Seized Cash

by Jo Ellen Nott 

Armored car company Empyreal headquartered in Pennsylvania says “we’re not going to take it anymore” as police departments in Kansas and California have used pretextual stops to seize millions of dollars being transported to banks from marijuana dispensaries. Empyreal Logistics filed a federal lawsuit in California ...

Cops, Leave Those Kids Alone: New York Will Not Criminalize Children Under 12

by Jo Ellen Nott  

New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed a bill in early January of this year protecting children under the age of 12 from arrest and criminal adjudication for virtually all crimes in New York.  The bill will go into effect in 2023.  

The prior law provided ...

LEWIS Registry: First Crowd-Sourced Public Database for Police Misconduct

by Jo Ellen Nott 

The LEWIS Registry, the first crowd-sourced public database for police resignations or terminations due to misconduct, honors the legendary civil rights activist Rep. John Lewis who was a victim of police brutality and whose name it bears. The catalog is an effort of the University of ...

California State Senator Introduces Bill to Increase Gate Money Substantially

by Jo Ellen Nott

On February 18, 2022, Democratic California state Sen. Sydney Kamlager introduced legislation to increase the amount of money individuals receive when released from state prisons. These funds, commonly called “gate money,” are given to help prisoners transition from life behind bars to the larger and costly ...

HRDC Sues for Records Denied by Sheriff and Jail in Will County, Illinois

by Jo Ellen Nott

The Human Rights Defense Center (HRDC), the nonprofit that publishes Prison Legal News and Criminal Legal News, filed suit in Illinois state court on February 7, 2022, accusing the Will County State’s Attorney’s Office (WCSAO) of improperly withholding public records.

HRDC filed its suit three ...