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Articles by Kevin Bliss

Hawaii Prisoners Rebel Over Prison Conditions, Fined For Damages

by Kevin Bliss

Prisoners of the Maui Community Correctional Center (MCCC) rioted March 11, 2019, over unstable, inhumane and unconstitutional living conditions. Complaints about broken telephones, uncollected mail, overcrowding, shortened visits and other problems resulted in prisoners from two modules destroying showers and toilets, setting living areas on fire, and ...

Taft Correctional Institution Scheduled to Close in 2020 ... Maybe

by Kevin Bliss

In October 2019, the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) announced that it planned to close the Taft Correctional Institution (TCI) by January 31, 2020. The prison in California has had an increasing number of infrastructure problems over the past 15 years. Seismic and geological concerns have affected the ...

New York City Department of Correction Attempts to Humanize Prisoners

by Kevin Bliss

New York City Department of Correction (DOC) Chief of Department Hazel Jennings issued an order to all employees on October 8, 2019 that “prohibited [referring] to persons in ... custody using terms such as i.e. packages, bodies, etc.,” in a move intended to create a more humane ...

20 Years Sees No Improvement in California Prison’s Mental Health Care; Suicide Results in $1.5 Million Settlement

by Kevin Bliss

In a wrongful death lawsuit filed by attorney Lori Rifkin on behalf of the family of Erika Rocha, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) agreed to pay $1.5 million to Rocha’s sisters, Geraldine and Freida, and her stepmother, Linda Reza.

The complaint claimed that Rocha’s ...

Growing Concerns Over Medical Debt Leading to Jail Time

by Kevin Bliss

Watchdog organizations are becoming concerned with medical costs and collections due to practices such as balanced billing and debt collections court, where thousands of dollars of unexpected medical expenses overwhelm patients, and those who fail to pay must submit to periodic court hearings or find themselves facing ...

California Department of Corrections Tries End-Run Around Federal Court

by Kevin Bliss

U.S. District Court Judge Kimberly J. Mueller stated in an October 2019 evidentiary hearing that the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) knowingly presented misleading information to the court to appear more compliant with a prior ruling that found its mental health program was insufficient and ...

Alaska: Juvenile Justice Official Sentenced for Possession of Child Pornography

by Kevin Bliss

David Weston, Jr., 55, was one of several Anchorage officials with authority over juvenile offenders who have been charged with possession of child pornography.

A sting operation in 2017 had an undercover FBI agent post an advertisement on Craigslist looking for a babysitter for his 10-year-old daughter ...

New York County to Pay $440,000 Settlement in Wrongful Jail Death Suit

by Kevin Bliss

Onondaga County, New York agreed to a $440,000 settlement in a wrongful death claim filed by attorney Richard Priest on behalf of Rebeka Kwiatkowski after her daughter, Chanel Lakatocz, died at the Onondaga County Justice Center (OCJC) from opioid and alcohol withdrawal.

Lakatocz was arrested on August ...

Former Seventh Circuit Judge Posner Founds Short-Lived Project to Help Pro Se Litigants

by Kevin Bliss

An assistance project for pro se litigants, started by retired federal judge Richard Posner, shut down after just over a year because there was much greater demand than could be provided by the organization.

Posner, who sat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ...

Wisconsin Pays Another $5 Million for Abuse at Controversial Juvenile Facility

by Kevin Bliss

Wisconsin has agreed to settlements with three juveniles who alleged abuse while they were held at the Lincoln Hills School for Boys/Copper Lake School for Girls (LH/CL). Paige Ray-Cluney, Laera Reed and Jacob Bailey will receive a total of $4.78 million, bringing Wisconsin’s payouts in lawsuits concerning ...