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Articles by Kevin Bliss

Iowa Ombudsman Calls Out DOC For Unfair Prisoner Discipline

by Kevin W. Bliss

The Iowa Ombudsman Office (IOO) released its Annual Report on December 15, 2022, calling out the state Department of Corrections (DOC) for unfairly addressing several difficulties it faces, including the abuse of K2 by prisoners.

Like many states, Iowa has struggled with the synthetic drug, which ...

Effort Stalls to Help Virginia Prisoners Overcharged for Canteen Sales and Phone Calls

by Kevin W. Bliss

When the Virginia House of Delegates’ Public Safety Subcommittee adjourned its meeting on January 19, 2023, it failed to advance several proposals for cutting prison and jail canteen costs, as well as one providing access to free communications for all state prisoners.

Virginia Delegate Irene Shin ...

“Nothing Has Changed”: Four Dead in Six Weeks at California County’s “Deadliest Jail”

by Kevin W. Bliss

On February 28, 2022, Candice “Cody” Vanburen became the fourth person to die in just six weeks at the Santa Rita Jail (SRJ) in California’s Alameda County. Now prisoner rights advocates fault the county’s Board of Supervisors for refusing to hold the office of Sheriff Yesenia ...

California Governor Vetoes State’s Humane Solitary Confinement Bill

by Kevin W. Bliss

The California Mandela Act –
Assembly Bill (A.B.) 2632 – passed with an overwhelming majority of votes from state legislators in August 2022, limiting the use of solitary confinement in prisons, jails and immigration detention centers in the state. But it was vetoed by Gov. Gavin ...

SCOTUS Helps Revive Malicious Prosecution Claim Against Chicago Police Officers

by Kevin Bliss and David M. Reutter

On July 14, 2022, in a case on remand from the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit agreed that a “result opposite” was dictated to the opinion it had issued in a malicious prosecution case the year ...

Pennsylvania County Commissioner Barred from DA’s Email After Own Prison Record Is Purged and Jail Key Copied

by Kevin W. Bliss

On January 3, 2023, when Debi Domenick was re-appointed to serve as Vice-Chairwoman for the Board of Commissioners of Pennsylvania’s Lackawanna County, she chided her colleagues to face their duties and not “worry about how it’s going to affect them politically.”

Which is ironic, since Domenick’s ...

Tenth Circuit Says Prison Work Assignment Covered Under ADA Protections

by Kevin W. Bliss

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit ruled on August 25, 2022, that prison employment falls under federally funded programs protected by Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. ch. 126, § 12101 et seq., as well as the Rehabilitation ...

Former Tennessee Police Chief Sentenced to Six Years for Abusing Arrestees

by Kevin W. Bliss

A former high-ranking Tennessee law enforcement official was sentenced to six years in federal prison on August 26, 2022, for repeatedly punching arrestees in the face while they were handcuffed. Anthony Glen “Tony” Bean, 62, was the Chief of Police in Tracy City in 2014, when ...

Former Texas Prisoner Wins 12-Year Fight for Justice

by Kevin W. Bliss

In May 2006, Daryl Davis was serving a 37-year sentence for beating his girlfriend with a beer bottle, when he was assaulted — twice — at Texas’ Polunsky Unit by members of a Black prison gang, the Mandingo Warriors. They viciously beat Davis, once with a ...

Georgia Jails Faulted in Struggle With High COVID-19 Infection Rates

by Kevin W. Bliss

Nearly all of Georgia’s 159 counties struggled with medium to high levels of COVID-19 infections, especially in county jails. But an Atlanta Journal-Constitution investigation published on August 22, 2022, blamed a laissez-faire approach to pandemic precautions.

No state or local law required Georgia’s jails to follow ...