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Articles by Kevin Bliss

North Carolina Prisoners Languish Without Air Conditioning

by Kevin W. Bliss

The North Carolina General Assembly approved a $30 million budget to air condition all state prisons in late 2021, but none of it had been spent by May 2022. That left about 15,400 of some 37,000 prisoners held by the state Department of Public Safety (DPS) ...

After Sixth Circuit Stops Attempted End-Run Around Rules, Former Kentucky Jail Detainee Settles Suit Against Southern Health Partners

by Kevin W. Bliss

On June 7, 2022, the federal court for the Eastern District of Kentucky dismissed the case of a former jail detainee after she reached a settlement with the lockup’s privately contracted healthcare provider. However, the amount and most of the terms of the settlement between Kimissa ...

Former Deputy Warden Gets Two Years for Assaulting Mississippi Prisoner

by Kevin W. Bliss

On September 2, 2022, the former deputy warden of Mississippi State Penitentiary in Parchman was sentenced to 24 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for a brutal assault that left a state prisoner with permanent injuries.

Melvin Hilson, 50, was ordered by ...

Settlement Reached in COVID-19 Class Action Against DC Jail

by Kevin W. Bliss and Jayson Hawkins

On April 12, 2022, the federal court for the District of Columbia approved a settlement agreement to resolve a class-action lawsuit which challenged conditions of confinement during the COVID-19 pandemic at the DC Jail. Like an earlier preliminary injunction (PI) issued in the ...

N.Y. Jail Sergeant Charged With Sexual Misconduct – Again

by Kevin W. Bliss

New York’s Erie County Sheriff’s Office (ECSO) fired a county jail guard on May 19, 2022, after several detainees came forward to accuse him of sexual misconduct. The move came a month after a grand jury indicted Robert M. Dee, 41, in April 2022 for forcible ...

Ohio County Pays $2.5 Million for Photographing Female Detainees’ Tattooed Private Areas

by Kevin W. Bliss

On January 7, 2022, Ohio’s Franklin County Board of Commissioners settled a suit brought by a class of former female detainees in the county jail who claimed their constitutional rights were violated when photographs of tattoos on or around their private areas were taken by deputies ...

Alabama Prisoner Who Escaped With Jail Guard Lover Charged in Her Death on the Run

by Kevin W. Bliss

On July 12, 2022, the District Attorney (DA) for Alabama’s Lauderdale County announced murder charges against a former detainee in the county jail who escaped with the help of a high-ranking guard, after which she fatally shot herself as authorities closed in to recapture him.

Vicky ...

Federal Court Affords Immigrant Children More Due Process Rights in California Class-Action

by Kevin W. Bliss

In a class-action suit filed by minor immigrants held in federal detention centers alleging deprivations suffered there, the federal court for the Central District of California granted plaintiffs a preliminary injunction on August 30, 2022, requiring the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) to provide specific ...

Death and Inhumane Living Conditions Persist in Nation’s Worst Jail

by Kevin W. Bliss

Crisis conditions continue at New York City’s Rikers Island jail complex, where 13 deaths have been recorded through the first eight months of 2022. Given a population of some 5,700 prisoners and detainees at the jail, that’s a death rate over twice as a high as ...

New Florida Law Shrouds Executions in Secrecy

by Kevin W. Bliss

On May 12, 2022, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed HB 873, “providing an exemption from public records requirements for information or records that identify or could reasonably lead to the identification of any person or entity that participates in an execution.”

Sponsored by state Sen. ...