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Articles by Matthew Clarke

Eighth Circuit Upholds Arkansas Sex Offender Registration/Residency Restrictions

by Matthew T. Clarke

On July 13, 2006, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal of a civil rights challenge to provisions of the Arkansas Sex Offender Registration Act, Ark. Code Ann. § 12-12-901 et seq., and to a criminal statute that made it a Class D felony ...

Oklahoma Pays $844,000 for Comprehensive Performance Audit of DOC

by Matt Clarke

On January 4, 2008, MGT of America, Inc. released a performance audit of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections (DOC). The 285-page report cost $844,000 and provided several clues as to how the prison system could improve and save money. Chief among its recommendations were that the DOC ...

Human Rights Watch Report: Most Sex Offender Laws Misguided and Ineffective

by Matt Clarke

In September 2007, Human Rights Watch released a report entitled No Easy Answers: Sex Offender Laws in the US. The report concluded that most sex offender laws are ineffective and misguided in that they do not reduce the probability of future sex offenses or make the perpetrators ...

Fifth Circuit: Texas Prisoners Cannot be Disciplined for Trust Fund Deposits Initiated by Others

by Matthew T. Clarke

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals held that prison officials must introduce evidence that a prisoner participated in a monetary transfer before they can discipline him for trafficking and trading due to third-party trust fund deposits.

Hubert Earl Teague, a Texas state prisoner, filed a petition ...

Child Abuse Abounds in Wilderness and Boot Camp Programs

by Matt Clarke

On October 10, 2007, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO)--a federal governmental entity that audits, evaluates and investigates for Congress--released a report on residential treatment programs (RTPs) entitled Concerns Regarding Abuse and Death in Certain Programs for Troubled Youth. The report revealed widespread incidents of sometimes fatal ...

Compassionless Conservative Texas Judge Closes Court Promptly, Ensuring Execution

by Matt Clarke

Sharon Keller, 54, presiding judge of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, has come under sharp criticism for refusing to keep the court open twenty minutes past its usual closing time to permit a late filing.
The late filing request was to allow attorneys for a death-sentenced ...

Change in Texas Parole Law May Be Ex Post Facto Violation

by Matthew T. Clarke

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has held that a change in Texas parole laws requiring a two-thirds majority vote of the entire board for certain prisoners may violate the Ex Post Facto clause when applied retroactively to prisoners whose crimes occurred prior to the change ...

Record Number of Disciplinary Actions Against Texas Prison Guards

by Matt Clarke

As previously reported in PLN, a record number of Texas prison guards have been arrested in recent years [see: PLN, May 2007, p. 26]. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) has now confirmed that over a recent 12-month period, a record number of prison staff have ...

New Jersey Abolishes the Death Penalty

by Matt Clarke

On December 12, 2007, New Jersey became the second state since the reinstatement of the death penalty in 1976 to legislatively abolish the death penalty, replacing it with life without parole. That same day, New Jersey Governor Jon S. Corzine commuted the sentences of the eight prisoners ...

Texas Prison Health Care: On the Brink of Unconstitutionality, Again

by Matt Clarke

According to Texas prison healthcare officials, medical care in the state?s prison system is teetering on the brink of becoming unconstitutional.

?We?re toed up to the line. No doubt about it,? proclaimed Dr. Ben Raimer, University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) vice president for correctional healthcare. ?Right ...