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Articles by Kevin W. Bliss

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 of ...

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, ...

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 ...

Free Phone Calls for Juvenile Offenders Jailed in Memphis, Tennessee

by Kevin Bliss

In November 2018, Shelby County, Tennessee – which includes the City of Memphis – renegotiated its contract with Global Tel*Link (GTL), the phone service provider for around 5,000 prisoners at the county’s four detention facilities. The new contract eliminates charges for all calls between juvenile offenders and ...

$100,000 Settlement for Preventable Suicide in Virginia Department of Corrections

by Kevin W. Bliss

Dai’yaan Qamar Longmire, a 19-year-old from Virginia Beach, was serving a four-year sentence at the Indian Creek Correctional Center (ICCC) in 2014 when he committed suicide in his cell using a sheet tied to a ceiling vent.

Represented by Michael Hill, Longmire’s mother filed ...

County Detainees Protest Food Served at New Hampshire Jail

by Kevin W. Bliss

In mid-2018, prisoners at the Bristol County House of Correction (HOC) in Massachusetts participated in a hunger strike to protest inadequate food and medical care. Sheriff Thomas M. Hodgson said those were the same complaints prisoners have always made, which were without merit. He blamed outside ...

New Sheriff Ends Juvenile Solitary Confinement at North Carolina Jail

by Kevin W. Bliss

Elected in May 2018 and sworn in seven months later, Mecklenburg County, North Carolina Sheriff Garry McFadden has already made good on campaign promises to restore in-person visits at the local jail and to withdraw the county from the 287(g) program, which included running prisoners’ names ...

City of Philadelphia Sinks $5.6 Million into Prison Software Upgrade it Can’t Use

by Kevin W. Bliss

The Philadelphia Department of Prisons (PDP) has terminated a contract it established in 2014 with an information technology company, Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), to design a new Integrated Jail Management System (IJMS).

After investing $5.6 million of the $7.2 million contract total, PDP decided the ...