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Articles by Kevin W. Bliss

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 ...

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 ...