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Articles by Mark Wilson

Tenth Circuit Vacates Class Certification in Jail Conditions Suit; Case Settles Following Remand

On February 4, 2009, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals granted a Colorado sheriff’s interlocutory appeal challenging a class certification order and remanded the case for further proceedings, where it eventually settled in April 2011.

Four jail prisoners sued Garfield County officials alleging, among other things, that the use of ...

Sixth Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Michigan Legal Mail Case

The Sixth circuit court of appeals affirmed a lower court’s sua spente dismissal of a Michigan prisoner’s suit against a guard for reading his legal mail two times and issuing him a misconduct report.

Michigan prisoner Aubrey Stanley sued guard Randy Vining and others, alleging that Vining violated his constitutional ...

Michigan Jail Nurse Denied Qualified Immunity in Detainee Death Case

By Mark Wilson

The Sixth Circuit affirmed the denial of a Michigan jail nurse’s motion for summary judgment on qualified immunity ground related to a prisoner’s death from untreated alcohol withdrawal.

On March 1, 2004, Larry Bertl was arrested for driving while intoxicated in Michigan. His blood-alcohol level was 0.26. ...

Class Certification Denied in Colorado Jail Mental Health Challenge

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed the denial of class-action certification in a lawsuit concerning mental health care at a Colorado jail.

Several prisoners at the El Paso County Jail filed suit in federal court in 2002, alleging inadequate treatment of their mental illnesses. They challenged a wide ...

Massachusetts Prisoner Suicides More Than Four Times National Average

Massachusetts has a relatively low state prison population, with approximately 11,000 prisoners. Yet its annual prisoner suicide rate has topped an alarming 71 suicides per 100,000 prisoners – more than four times the national average of 16 per 100,000 as reported by the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice ...

Staff Smuggle Drugs and Porn to Washington Civil Commitment Prisoners

A Washington Special Commitment Center (SCC) nurse who fell in love with a civilly committed violent sex offender pleaded guilty to smuggling him drugs and homemade pornographic videos; the offender and two other people were charged with drug-related offenses.

SCC opened in 1990 at the Monroe Correctional Complex, but later ...

Virginia ACLU Requests DOJ Investigation into Jail Deaths

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Virginia has asked the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate conditions at the Richmond City Jail following the June 2010 deaths of two prisoners, one of which was heat-related while the other may have been heat-related.

Between 2000 and 2007, 8,097 detainees ...

Seventh Circuit Remands Illinois “Crutch Policy” Case; District Court to Evaluate Class Certification for Damages

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court’s denial of class certification for injunctive relief, but remanded for further consideration of class certification for damages in an Illinois jail medical care case.

On April 22, 2001, Illinois prisoner Gilbert Arreola broke his ankle playing soccer. Five days later, ...

Massachusetts Strip Search Class-Action Nets $1,162,468

Massachusetts has agreed to pay $1,162,468 to settle a class-action suit on behalf of 486 detainees who were strip searched without cause at the Franklin County Jail.
The sheriff maintained a policy of routinely strip searching all detainees who were admitted to the jail. The policy did not require individual, ...

Billing Medicaid Would Save NC $11.5 Million in Prison Medical Care Costs

The North Carolina Department of Corrections (NCDOC) “could save about $11.5 million a year by requiring hospitals and other medical service providers to bill Medicaid for eligible inmate inpatient hospital and professional services,” according to an August 2010 report by the North Carolina State Auditor’s Office.

The NCDOC “cooperates with ...