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Articles by Mark Wilson

Oregon Supreme Court Holds Corizon Health and Other Jail Contractors Liable Under State Disability Rights Laws

by Mark Wilson

On June 3, 2022, the Oregon Supreme Court ruled that private companies providing services in jails and prisons are liable under state disability rights laws — even though jails and prisons themselves are not liable.

In October 2015, Andrew Abraham was arrested and confined in Clackamas County ...

Federal Judge Says Alaska DOC Policy Rejecting Prisoner Mail Without Notice Violates Due Process

by Mark Wilson

Can a prisoner’s mail be rejected without any notice whatsoever? Not without violating his Fourteenth Amendment due process rights. That was the decision of a federal court in Alaska on December 14, 2021.

At issue was a discrepancy in the mail policy of the state Department of ...

ICE Ignores Inspector General’s Call for Immediate Removal of Migrant Detainees from CoreCivic New Mexico Detention Facility

by Mark Wilson

Months after a government watchdog found wretched conditions at a privately operated New Mexico prison and called on federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to remove its migrant detainees, they remained there, holding a hunger strike in protest in September 2022.

Both ICE officials and the prison’s ...

COVID-19 Injunction Lapses in Oregon, Another Fails in Massachusetts

by Mark Wilson

On June 21, 2022, a preliminary injunction granted by the federal court for the District of Oregon expired, ending its mandate that state prison employees comply with the COVID-19 masking policy of the state Department of Corrections (DOC).

Aaron Hanna, a prisoner at Two Rivers Correctional Institution ...

Fourth Circuit: Prison Officials Not Liable for Poor Conditions Unless Prisoner Also Alleges They Knew About Them And Did Nothing

By Mark Wilson

Prisoners making court challenges to their conditions of confinement must walk a legal tightrope to avoid pitfalls fatal to their claims. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit schooled a North Carolina prisoner in this on January 20, 2022, when it dismissed claims he was ...

Looking Deep Inside America’s Legalized Torture Chambers

by Mark Wilson

There are many ways to destroy a person, but one of the simplest and most devastating is through prolonged solitary confinement. Deprived of meaningful human interaction, otherwise healthy prisoners become unhinged. … Not only psychological or social identity but the most basic sense of identity is threatened ...

Third Circuit Holds Consent of All Parties to Magistrate Judge Jurisdiction Required Before Judgment Against Pennsylvania Prisoners

by Mark Wilson

On February 10, 2022, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit reversed a lower court’s dismissal of two Pennsylvania prisoners’ federal civil rights claims because not all parties had consented to a magistrate judge’s jurisdiction.

In its precedential opinion, the Court said that the Federal ...

SCOTUS Lets “State Secrets” Privilege Bar CIA Contractor Testimony About Torture Already Publicly Known

by Mark Wilson

Saying that “sometimes information that has entered the public domain may nonetheless fall within the scope of the state secrets privilege,” the U.S. Supreme Court agreed with Department of Justice (DOJ) lawyers on March 3, 2022, blocking CIA contractors from testifying about brutal torture that a terror ...

Idaho Provides Nation’s Second Gender Confirmation Surgery for Transgender Prisoner

by Mark Wilson

“I feel whole and connected in myself.”

That’s what transgender Idaho prisoner Adree Edmo had to say after receiving gender confirmation surgery (GCS) in July 2020, just under a year after a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit cleared the way. Edmo, ...

After Summary Judgment Denied, California Jail Officials Pay $55,000 for Breaking Detainee’s Arm

by Mark Wilson

On July 27, 2021, just 25 days after a federal court in California denied summary judgment to San Mateo County Jail guards on a detainee’s excessive force claims, county officials quickly paid him $55,000 for breaking his arm.

When the detainee, Oscar Tapia-Carmona, was booked into the ...