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Prisoner Education Guide

Articles by Mark Wilson

Oregon Prison Industry Program Nets Record $28.5 Million as Prisoners Earn $1.25/Hour

by Mark Wilson

“I’m not going to get paid what I got paid on the street. But that’s part of acceptance of my life now,” Oregon prisoner James Sheppard said of his job with Oregon Correctional Enterprises (OCE), the state’s prison industry program. “Would I do this job if ...

Arkansas DOC Director’s Sole Discretion to Determine Competency for Execution Violates Due Process

by Mark Wilson

The Arkansas Supreme Court held that a state law granting the corrections director sole discretion to determine if a prisoner is competent to be executed violates state and federal due process protections.

Only the governor, the Department of Correction’s director and the clerk of the state Supreme ...

Tenth Circuit: Qualified Immunity Defeats 22-Year Solitary Confinement Claims

by Mark Wilson

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit held on August 29, 2018 that prison officials were entitled to qualified immunity in a lawsuit challenging a prisoner’s 22 years in solitary confinement. 

Kansas prisoner Richard Grissom was placed in solitary on August 4, 1996 ...

Alaska Disciplinary Order Vacated for Violating Wolff’s Statement of Reasons Requirement

by Mark Wilson

In an August 31, 2018 ruling, the Alaska Supreme Court held that a prison disciplinary order stating only that the prisoner was “guilty” violated his due process rights. 

In 1974, the U.S. Supreme Court held that due process requires prison disciplinary factfinders to produce “a ...

No Summary Judgment for Jail’s Denial of Mental Health Treatment; $150,000 Settlement

by Mark Wilson

On June 8, 2018, an Oregon fed-eral district court denied a summary judgment motion filed by jail officials, concluding that a reasonable jury could find a psychotic detainee’s 16-day confinement without treatment constituted deliberate indifference to his serious medical condition. 

The Lane County Sheriff’s ...

Maine Constitution Mandates “Prisoner Mailbox Rule”

by Mark Wilson

On July 24, 2018, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court held the state’s constitution requires adoption of a modified version of the “prisoner mailbox rule” when filing petitions for judicial review of prison disciplinary orders.

Maine prisoner Charles M. Martin was found guilty of a disciplinary infraction on April 25, 2016. Pursuant to 5 M.R.S. § 11002, he filed a petition for judicial review of that order by submitting it to prison authorities for mailing to the Superior Court on May 18, 2016. However, the court clerk did not receive the petition until May 26 – one day beyond the 30-day filing deadline imposed by § 11002(3).

The state moved to dismiss, arguing that the court lacked jurisdiction over the case because it was filed outside the 30-day deadline. Martin opposed the motion, urging the court to apply the prisoner mailbox rule established in Houston v. Lack, 487 U.S. 266 (1988). Under that rule, Martin’s petition would have been deemed filed when he gave it to prison officials for mailing on May 18, 2016, rather than when it was received by the court clerk. Concluding that § 11002(3) is “jurisdictional and mandatory,” ...

Montana Involuntary Committed Individuals May Be Restrained During Transport

The Montana Supreme Court held that Montana law does not preclude handcuffing involuntarily committed mentally ill people during transport to a state hospital. Accordingly, the district court did not abuse its discretion when it denied an involuntarily committed man’s request to not be handcuffed during transport.

J.J., a 30-year-old ...

Prosecutor Deciding Disparate Sentencing for Drug Convictions

by Mark Wilson

The Massachusetts Supreme Court held that the prosecutor, not the judge, determines the applicable sentence under drug laws that authorize two different sentences for the same conduct.

Massachusetts General Law, chapter 94C, section 32A criminalizes the distribution of controlled substances. Subsections (a) and (c) criminalize first-time distribution ...

$450,000 to Prisoner's Estate for Beating Death

by Mark Wilson

Oregon prison officials have paid $450,000 to settle state and federal claims that systemic gang violence resulted in a prisoner being murdered in his cell. Officials had previously admitted that staff negligence was a “substantial factor” in the murder.

In July 2010, Oregon prisoner Michael Clarence ...

Medicaid for Juvenile Detainees Rejected (Ohio)


Federal Prison Handbook



Disciplinary Self-Help Litigation Manual



Federal Prison Handbook




Disciplinary Self-Help Litigation Manual