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Articles by Kevin Bliss

Class of Juvenile Prisoners Certified in Suit Against Florida DOC

by Kevin Bliss


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 ...

COVID-19’s Impact on Prisoners Far Worse Than It Needed to Be

by Kevin Bliss and Ed Lyon

In September 2021, a year and a half into the COVID-19 pandemic, the nonprofit research and advocacy group Prison Policy Initiative (PPI) gave a failing grade to 42 U.S. states for their efforts to mitigate the spread of the disease in their prisons and ...

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

by Kevin 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 in ...

Eleventh Circuit Reinstates Florida Detainee’s Excessive-Force Claim Against Cop Who Sucker-Punched Him in Cell

by Kevin Bliss

On November 19, 2021, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit overturned a lower court’s decision to rule there was sufficient evidence requiring a jury finding in a case against the City of Miami Beach and one of its police officers, who is accused of ...

Illinois Department of Corrections Cancels Contract with Canteen Provider Keefe

by Kevin Bliss

On December 14, 2021, the Illinois Department of Corrections (DOC) canceled its contract with the Keefe Group as provider of prison commissary items. The next day, the state’s chief procurement officer, Ellen Daley, released a 25-page ruling determining the firm’s bid was improper and erroneous.

DOC had ...

COVID-19 “Wonderful” to Oklahoma County Jail

By Kevin W. Bliss
Audio released on February 8, 2022, captured Oklahoma County Jail (OCJ) administrator Greg Williams and Oklahoma County Detention Center communications director Mark Opgrande in a discussion two months earlier about how the COVID-19 pandemic had benefitted the jail, with Williams commenting that the disease which has ...

Deaths and Violence Mount at Overcrowded Alabama Prisons While Parole Rate Hits New Low

by Kevin Bliss and Jo Ellen Nott

On February 5, 2022, the federal Department of Justice (DOJ) announced a nine-year sentence had been handed down to the last of four Alabama prison guards convicted of beating state prisoners they suspected of smuggling contraband at Elmore Correctional Facility (ECF).

Three days ...

$1.5 Million Awarded for Failure to Protect Rikers Jail Prisoner Who Was Attacked Repeatedly

by Kevin W. Bliss

On June 2, 2021, a federal jury in New York City ruled in favor of a prisoner at the city’s notorious Rikers Island jail complex, deciding the city and the jail’s warden were liable for injuries he suffered there in a 2009 gang attack and awarding ...

Ninth Circuit Overturns California Law Banning Private Prisons

by Kevin Bliss

On October 5, 2021, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit struck down a California statute, Assembly Bill 32 (AB 32), barring private companies from entering new contracts with any government—including the federal government—to operate jails, prisons, or detention centers in ...