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Articles by Kevin W. Bliss

New Bill Restricts Use of Solitary Confinement in New Mexico

by Kevin W. Bliss

In April 2019, newly elected New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed House Bill 364, which limits the use of solitary confinement for certain prisoners housed in New Mexico Corrections Department (NMCD) facilities and requires more transparency when solitary is used. 

Former NMCD Secretary Gregg ...

New Mexico Riot Raises Questions About Private Prison Company’s Competence

by Kevin W. Bliss

The police department in Clayton, New Mexico and the state police are investigating a September 23, 2017 incident at the Northeast New Mexico Correctional Facility (NENMCF), which grew into the state’s most dangerous prison uprising in the past 20 years.

“What happened that evening was unacceptable ...

New Indianapolis Jail Will Not be Run by a Private Prison Company, but is Being Built on Contaminated Land

by Kevin W. Bliss

The Indianapolis City-County Council has approved a proposal to enter into a 40-year lease to build a new 3,000-bed criminal justice center in the Twin Aire neighborhood of Indianapolis. The facility is expected to be completed by 2022 and will combine the Marion County courts ...

Canada: Long-Term Segregation of Mentally Ill Prisoners Unconstitutional; $20 Million in Damages

by Kevin W. Bliss

Recently, the Ontario Superior Court ruled that the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) violated the nation’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms by placing mentally ill prisoners in administrative segregation for extended periods of time, causing them to experience hallucinations, paranoia, self-inflicted abuse and suicidal tendencies.

Represented ...

Over $980,000 in Damages, Fees Awarded in Deliberate Indifference Case Against Wexford

by Kevin W. Bliss

Private prison medical care firm Wexford Health Sources, Inc. filed a motion in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, asking for judgment as a matter of law after being found liable for policies that created an atmosphere of deliberate indifference to the ...

California Jail Prisoners Claim Sleep Deprivation; Court Issues Injunction

by Kevin W. Bliss

In March 2019, Judge James Donato of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California issued a preliminary injunction that prohibited Alameda County’s jail system from depriving prisoners of their constitutional right to sleep. Judge Donato ordered jail officials to revise their ...

New Jersey Women’s Prison Again Under Investigation for Staff Sexual Abuse

by Kevin W. Bliss

In April 2019, an eighth guard at New Jersey’s Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women (EMCF) was arrested and charged with official misconduct and criminal sexual conduct.

Ciera Roddy, 32, faces charges similar to those that resulted in the conviction of Jason Mays, a senior guard ...

Prisoners Seek Comprehensive Hepatitis C Testing and Treatment

by Kevin W. Bliss

In December 2018, the U.S. District Court for South Carolina granted class-action status in a lawsuit filed against the Department of Corrections (DOC) by state prisoners claiming they received inadequate medical care due to a lack of testing during intake to check if they had ...

Louisiana State Prisoners Routinely Held Past Scheduled Release Dates

by Kevin W. Bliss

In the wake of a 2017 state audit that revealed Louisiana prisoners were regularly being held for weeks, months and sometimes even years past their scheduled release dates, a 2019 investigation of court records reviewed by the Times-Picayune, a New Orleans paper,found that at least ...

Florida City, County Decide to End Use of Prisoner Slave Labor

by Kevin W. Bliss

In January 2019, the city of Gainesville, Florida followed the lead of Alachua County by deciding to terminate its contract with the Florida Department of Corrections (FDOC) to provide prisoner work crews for such duties as ground maintenance, filling potholes and trash detail. Activists from the ...