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Articles by Mark Wilson

Washington Prison Guard’s Murder Results in Demotions, Firings and $26,000 Fine

An outside investigation has determined that the murder of a Washington Department of Corrections (WDOC) guard was the result of poor staff management and training by prison officials.

On January 29, 2011, prisoner Byron Scherf, 52, strangled WDOC guard Jayme Biendl, 34, to death in the chapel of the Monroe ...

BOP Fails to Prove Non-Exhaustion Following Pavey Hearing

On June 7, 2011, an Illinois U.S. District Court held that federal prison officials had failed to satisfy their burden of proving a prisoner did not exhaust administrative remedies before bringing suit.

Chad Alan Hicks was confined at the Chicago Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC), a federal Bureau of Prisons facility, ...

Oregon Jail Suicides Lead Grand Juries to Fault Prevention Efforts, Staff Training

A January 3, 2011 grand jury report found that suicide prevention was a major concern at the Multnomah County Detention Center (MCDC) in Portland, Oregon. Seventeen days later that finding was tragically underscored by the jail’s third suicide in 10 months.

On January 18, 2011, Michael J. Holmes, 37, was ...

Oregon Aggravated Murder Statute Creates Liberty Interest

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has held that Oregon’s aggravated murder statute creates a protected liberty interest in parole eligibility.

In 1982, Oregon state prisoner Douglas Miller was convicted of aggravated murder and sentenced to life imprisonment with a 30-year minimum under ORS 163.105(1).

Prisoners convicted of aggravated murder ...

90% Remittitur of $750,000 Strip Search Verdict Vacated; Plaintiffs Accept $440,385.08 on Remand

On June 30, 2010, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals held that a district court had abused its discretion in reducing a $750,000 jury award to $75,000 in a case raising illegal strip search claims involving two retired school teachers who were arrested while protesting President George W. Bush and ...

Prisons Are Breeding Ground for Terrorists?

“Prisons are often described as ‘hotbeds’ of terrorism,” but they can also become important “net contributors in the struggle against terrorism” according to a July 2010 joint study by the London-based International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence (ICSR) and the National Consortium for the Study of ...

Sixth Circuit Upholds Tennessee’s Financial Obligation Re-Enfranchisement Law

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a Tennessee statute that bars the restoration of voting rights to ex-felons who have outstanding restitution or child support obligations.

Tennessee law disenfranchises convicted felons but allows reinstatement of their voting rights upon completion of their sentence and satisfaction of certain conditions. ...

Third Circuit Upholds Pennsylvania Sex Offender Treatment Parole Requirement

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals held that a sex offender treatment requirement did not violate a Pennsylvania prisoner’s constitutional rights.

In 1987, Clifford Newman was convicted of several sex offenses and sentenced to 20 years in prison. Despite losing all of his appeals he continued to maintain his innocence. ...

Oregon Settles Prisoner’s Heart Failure Medical Mistreatment Case for $390,000

“This poor woman had two valves diseased, both of them stressing her heart out, giving her heart failure,” said Dr. Sanjiv Kaul, head of cardiovascular medicine at Oregon Health Sciences University (OHSU), speaking of Katherine Anderson, a 31-year-old Oregon Department of Corrections (ODOC) prisoner. “Any person with decent common sense ...

Mentally Ill NC Prisoner “Becomes Ill,” Quadriplegic; Billy Club Impressions Found 30 Hours Later

By Mark Wilson

“I lock in the hole now the staff say I die at Alexander” Correctional Institution (ACI), wrote mentally ill North Carolina prisoner Timothy Helms on June 20, 2008.
Fifteen days later, guards had beaten him so severely that he still had billy club impressions on his upper ...