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Articles by Jo Ellen Nott

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...