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Articles by Kevin W. Bliss

Meek Mill and Michael Rubin Start Criminal Justice Reform Organization

by Kevin W. Bliss

Robert Rihmeek Williams was 18 when he was arrested and convicted for possession of guns and drugs. Following his release he began a successful career as a hip-hop artist by the name of Meek Mill, with multiple platinum selling albums.

Thirteen years later Mill was still ...

Continued Problems with Mental Health Care, Suicides in Alabama DOC

by Kevin W. Bliss

Counting 13 suicides among Alabama state prisoners within a 14-month period ending in early February 2019, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has accused the Alabama Department of Corrections (DOC) of not complying with a federal court order mandating improvements in mental health care. The SPLC ...

Florida Fleeces Prisoners with High Canteen Prices

by Kevin W. Bliss

The Florida Department of Corrections (FDOC) has expanded the use of private contractors in the state’s prison system. With an annual budget of about $2.4 billion, the FDOC is increasingly shifting the burden of those costs to prisoners and their families through privatization.

Revenue from ...

Lack of Outdoor Recreation for D.C. Jail Prisoners “Dehumanizing”

by Kevin W. Bliss

A round 60 protestors gathered in Washington, D.C. on Valentine’s Day 2019. The protest centered around two D.C. jails – the Central Treatment Facility (CTF) and Central Detention Facility (CDF). Family members and advocates for prisoners held at those facilities were protesting the fact ...

$301,000 Awarded in Lawsuit Over Suicide at Illinois Jail

by Kevin W. Bliss

In December 2018, a federal jury awarded Dwayne White $301,000 in a wrongful death claim filed on behalf of his brother, Bradley C. Scarpi, against St. Clair County, Illinois. Represented by attorney Vanessa del Valle with the MacArthur Justice Center at the Northwestern University School ...

Cancellation of Illinois Prison Debate Class Debated in Court

by Kevin W. Bliss

In August 2018, Katrina Burlet brought suit in federal court against John Baldwin, director of the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC), and Assistant Director Gladyse Taylor. The complaint, filed on behalf of Burlet by Uptown People’s Law Center legal director Liz Mazur, claimed the defendants had ...

Humane Treatment for Terminally Ill Prisoners

by Kevin W. Bliss

“No prisoner dies alone.” That’s the motto of a group of prisoners, pastoral care workers and other volunteers at the California Medical Facility’s (CMF) hospice program, one of only two licensed prison hospices in the state. Begun in the early 1990s during the height ...

Georgia Pays More Than $3 Million to Settle Prison Medical Negligence Suits

by Kevin W. Bliss

The state of Georgia paid over $3 million in 2018 to settle lawsuits involving two former doctors hired by Augusta University’s Georgia Correctional HealthCare (GCHC) to work in state prisons. Dr. Yvon Nazaire and Dr. Chiquita Fye were named in five suits alleging negligence and deliberate ...

Alabama DOC Refuses Muslim Spiritual Adviser in Execution Chamber

by Kevin W. Bliss

Domineque Hakim Marcelle Ray, 42, was put to death by lethal injection at Alabama’s Holman Correctional Facility on February 7, 2019, after his request to have his Muslim spiritual adviser, Imam Yusef Maisonet, present in the execution chamber was denied. [See: PLN, Mar. 2019, p ...

Prisoner Who Inspired First Step Act Is First Released

by Kevin W. Bliss

Federal prisoner Matthew Charles, 52, was released in January 2019 after serving over 21 years of his 35-year sentence for selling crack cocaine in 1996. He was one of the catalysts for, and the first beneficiary of, the First Step Act which was recently signed into ...