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Articles by Kevin Bliss

Seventh Circuit Lets Wexford Skate from “Appalling” Treatment of Illinois Prisoner With Painful Anal Abscess and Fistula

by Kevin W. Bliss
After an Illinois prisoner developed a painful anal abscess and fistula, his medical care was “appalling” and the prison healthcare system was “dysfunctional.” But that’s just negligence, and the Constitution doesn’t protect prisoners from that.

That’s the takeaway from a ruling by the U.S. Court of ...

Settlement Delivers Huge Gains for Montana Prisoners with Mental Illnesses

by Kevin W. Bliss

The Montana Department of Corrections (DOC) and Montana State Prison (MSP) entered into an agreement with Disability Rights Montana, Inc. (DRM) on March 10, 2022, settling a lawsuit DRM filed on behalf of state prisoners with serious mental illnesses (SMI) with a major overhaul to the ...

Nebraska Prison Staffing Crisis Sees Supervisors Take Demotions to Get Hourly Overtime Pay

by Kevin W. Bliss

Despite a watchdog report finding state prisons so short-staffed that some guard supervisors sought demotions to take advantage of ballooning hourly overtime pay, the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services (DCS) will not see any help from lawmakers this session, after an ambitious prison overhaul bill died ...

California Appeals Court Says Prop. 57 Doesn’t Require In-Person Parole Hearings

by Kevin W. Bliss

On March 28, 2022, the California Court of Appeals for the Third Appellate District ruled that a new “paper review” process for parole consideration did not violate the equal protection or due process rights of state prisoners affected by it.

After a federal district court ordered ...

Florida Now Digitizing Incoming Mail for State Prisoners

by Kevin W. Bliss

Starting from a four-prison pilot launched on January 18, 2022, the Florida Department of Corrections (DOC) has now banned state prisoners at all 128 of its facilities from receiving any tangible routine mail. Instead they are delivered electronic copies of their mail on tablets.

DOC has ...

Three Killed in Gang Activity at Mississippi Private Prisons Plus High-Profile Escape, But Only One MTC Guard Arrested

by Kevin Bliss

Though a state investigation concluded a Mississippi prisoner had inside help making a short-lived escape in September 2021, no charges have ever been announced for officials at East Mississippi Correctional Facility (EMCF), the privately operated prison where he was held.

In fact, even as allegations of rampant ...

A First Glance in Rear-View Mirror at Pandemic

by Kevin W. Bliss, Matt Clarke, Ashleigh N. Dye and Keith Sanders

As the COVID-19 pandemic recedes from the headlines, its full effect on prisoners and detainees is coming into clearer view. One of the first glimpses was provided in a December 2021 report by the federal Department of Justice ...

Settlement Improves ADA Accessibility Features, Health Care and Training in Florida Prisons

by Kevin Bliss

The Florida Department of Corrections (DOC) entered into another agreement with Disability Rights Florida, Inc. (DRF) on November 8, 2021, denying it had breached an earlier 2017 agreement regarding treatment of disabled prisoners, but promising to make several changes to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, ...

Class of Juvenile Prisoners Certified in Suit Against Florida DOC

by Kevin Bliss

O

n October 22, 2021, federal Judge Robert Hinkle of the Northern District of Florida certified a class of plaintiffs in a suit accusing the state Department of Corrections (DOC) of housing juveniles and juveniles with disabilities in solitary confinement under unconstitutional conditions.

G.H. and R.L. are ...

Virginia DOC’s Interference Hamstrings Local and Regional Jail Board

by Kevin Bliss

When the Virginia Board of Local and Regional Jails (BLRJ) met unannounced and in closed session on April 20, 2022—in plain violation of the state Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)—Executive Director Ryan McCord shrugged it off as a “typo” on the calendar.

But BLRJ has an enormously ...