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Articles by Matthew Clarke

Academics Find Prisoners Denied Access to Public Information

by Matt Clarke

On April 18, 2023, Loyola University’s College of Law published a paper detailing the ways prisoners are often denied access to public records that those not incarcerated can easily obtain. Professor Andrea Armstrong and Distinguished Professor of Law Dr. Norman C. Francis described how various state statutes ...

$3.25 Million Settlement Reached With Defendants Jailed in Missouri “Debtor’s Prison” for Unpaid Fines, Fees

by Matthew Clarke

On April 5, 2023, the federal court for the Eastern District of Missouri gave final approval to a $3.25 million settlement in a class-action lawsuit alleging the City of Maplewood improperly jailed defendants in a modern-day debtor’s prison simply because they were unable to pay fines, fees, ...

$2.125 Million Paid So Far for Virginia Prisoner’s Death from Treatable Aneurism

by Matt Clarke

On April 5, 2023, the federal court for the Eastern District of Virginia refused a motion for judgment as a matter of law, or in the alternative a new trial, made by defendant prison officials and their private medical contractor, Armor Correctional Health Services, in a civil ...

“Frozen in Solitude’’: Heat-Sensitive Texas Prisoners Get More Than Air Conditioning Locked Inside Former Segregation Cells

by Matt Clarke

After the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) settled a lawsuit over life-threatening excessive heat at the Wallace Pack Unit in 2018, it realized it needed to apply the suit’s heat-sensitivity criteria systemwide – and found a quick solution.

For years, officials had been moving prisoners out ...

$8.25 Million Verdict Against Former Colorado Sheriff for Detainee’s Sexual Assault During Jail Transfer

by Matt Clarke

On October 4, 2022, a federal jury in Colorado awarded $8.25 million to a woman taken by a former sheriff to his home and sexually assaulted as he was transporting her to another jail.

Peatinna Biggs, 46, who is developmentally disabled, was in custody of Sedgwick County ...

Insider Trading Charges Dropped Against JPay Founder

by Matt Clarke

On December 5, 2022, federal prosecutors moved to dismiss insider trading charges against JPay founder Ryan Shapiro, 45. For a hefty fee, the firm provides financial and communications services to people incarcerated in jail and prisons. JPay was acquired by Securus Technologies in April 2015. Both are ...

$5,000 Settlement for Warrantless Search of Pro Se North Carolina Prisoner’s Cellphone

by Matt Clarke

A North Carolina prisoner who alleged his constitutional rights were violated during his arrest and pretrial detention eventually filed five federal lawsuits. Three were dismissed by the federal court for the Eastern District of North Carolina. One is still pending. Another was settled on August 12, 2021, ...

Exasperated Federal Judge Issues Permanent Injunction to Arizona DOC in Healthcare Class-Action

by Matt Clarke

On April 7, 2023, a visibly annoyed U.S. District Judge Roslyn Silver issued a highly-detailed permanent injunction (PI) specifying what must be done by the Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation, and Reentry (DCRR) to meet minimum constitutional standards in providing prisoner healthcare and mental health care, as ...

Third Circuit Revives Forced-Labor Claims of Jailed Pennsylvania Child Support Debtors

by Matt Clarke

On February 8, 2023, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit reinstated claims by Pennsylvania child support debtors jailed for civil contempt, who argued they were unfairly forced to perform unsafe and nearly uncompensated labor at a privately-operated, county-owned recycling center.

William Burrell, Jr. was ...

Corizon Executes “Texas Two-Step,” Spinning Off Debt Into Bankrupt New Firm to Avoid Paying Creditors and Lawsuit Winners

by Matt Clarke

Corizon Heath, Inc. has engaged in legal maneuvers over the course of the past year that are intended to limit how much it must pay on over $38 million in debt to companies that supplied it with staffing, medical supplies and real estate, as well as plaintiffs ...