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Articles by Matthew Clarke

North Carolina Renames Prisons Whose Names Honored Enslavers

by Matthew Clarke

On September 30, 2021, over 156 years after the end of the Civil War, the North Carolina Department of Public Safety (DPS) announced the renaming of four prisons and a drug addiction treatment facility whose previous names honored racists, enslavers, and chattel slavery.

The Morrison Correctional Institution ...

Eighth Circuit Rules Guard’s History of Excessive Force too Prejudicial or a Jury to Hear in Prisoner’s Excessive-Force Case

Another Guard Escapes Liability by Refusing to Participate

by Jacob Barrett and Matt Clarke

What happens to a prison guard accused of using excessive force who fails to show up for trial? A recent decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit says the answer there is: ...

Fifth Circuit Holds Private Immigration Detention Facilities Are Subject to Trafficking Victims Protection Act’s Prohibition Against Coerced Labor

by Matt Clarke

After a trio of federal court rulings in 2021 regarding the labor of immigrant detainees, the first one remained the clearest victory so far for plaintiffs. That was a decision on January 20, 2021, by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, holding that detainee ...

Fifth Circuit Says Federal Habeas Action May Not Be Used to Challenge Conditions of Confinement Related to COVID-19

by Matt Clarke

As previously reported by PLN, federal appellate courts in the U.S. have taken a dim view of challenges to conditions of confinement that place prisoners at elevated risk from COVID-19.

Early in the pandemic, in May 2020, the Eleventh Circuit stayed an injunction issued by a federal ...

After Second Circuit Rules in His Favor, Connecticut Prisoner Required to Exercise in Full Restraints for Six Months Takes $100,000 Settlement

by Matt Clarke

After a federal appeals court vacated a district court’s judgment in favor of Connecticut prison officials, they settled for $100,000 with a prisoner forced to exercise in full restraints for six months a decade ago.

On January 27, 2021, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second ...

Corporations Using Prisoners to Fight Phantom Labor Shortage

by Matt Clarke

Recently, during an industrial conference, executives from Waste Management Services (which recorded $15.22 billion in 2020 revenues), discussed using immigrants as truck drivers, and other industry executives suggested using prison or work-release programs to fill openings in the sanitation, waste, and recycling industry.

But Chuck Stiles, director ...

Fifth Circuit Refuses to Issue Injunction After Mississippi Psychiatric Prison Improves Conditions

by Matt Clarke

On August 5, 2021, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit refused to reverse a district court and order an injunction against the Mississippi Department of Corrections (DOC) because, during the pendency of the lawsuit, DOC had improved conditions at the East Mississippi Correctional Facility ...

Texas Agrees to Settlement Providing Prisoners Hep C Treatment, Will Pay $950,000 in Attorney Fees

by Matt Clarke

A trio of pro se prisoner appeals denied by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit on September 22, 2021, left intact an agreement approved earlier in the year by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, under which the Texas Department ...

Third Circuit Revives Pennsylvania Prisoner’s Lawsuit Over Censorship of Incoming Mail Containing Key Evidence

by Matt Clarke and Dale Chappell

On August 9, 2021, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit reversed the dismissal of a prisoner’s lawsuit alleging his due-process and access-to-courts rights were violated when the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (DOC) failed to notify him it had censored a letter ...

NJ Supreme Court: Excess Time in Prison Must Be Used to Reduce Parole Period

“Parole is the legal equivalent of imprisonment”

by Matt Clarke

On August 3, 2021, the Supreme Court of New Jersey held that the time a prisoner spent in prison in excess of that allowed by his sentence must be used to reduce his period of parole supervision.
Paulino Njango agreed ...