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Articles by Matthew Clarke

Tennessee: Federal Court Grants Class-Action Status in Shareholder Suit Against CoreCivic

by Matt Clarke

On March 26, 2019, a federal district court in Tennessee granted class-action certification in a shareholder lawsuit brought against CoreCivic, formerly Corrections Corporation of America, that alleged the company made statements misrepresenting the quality and value of its services, resulting in losses to stockholders.

The suit was ...

Fifth Circuit Holds Transgender Prisoner Not Entitled to Sex Reassignment Surgery

by Matt Clarke 

In a 23-page opinion issued on March 29, 2019, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals held the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) did not violate the Eighth Amendment by refusing to provide an evaluation for sex reassignment surgery, or the surgery itself, to a prisoner ...

Native American Prisoners Win Lawsuit Over Right to Wear Long Hair

by Matt Clarke 

On January 24, 2019, a Texas federal district court held that three Native American prisoners had the right to wear long hair as required by their religious beliefs.

Teddy Norris Grey Hawk Davis, Robbie Dow Goodman, William Casey and Raymond Cobbs, who are adherents of a ...

“Game of Kings” Has Large Following, Long History Behind Bars

by Matt Clarke 

For centuries, chess has been known as the “Game of Kings” for its ability to teach participants focus, planning and tactics. But kings are not the only people who can benefit from the strategic instruction offered by the ancient game. Chess has long been enjoyed by ...

D.C. Court Awards $501 Million in Suit Against North Korea for Torture-Death of Prisoner

by Matt Clarke 

On December 24, 2018, a federal court awarded $501.1 million to the parents of Otto Warmbier after he was tried, convicted and imprisoned by North Korean officials in an attempt to extract concessions from the United States, and tortured to such an extent that he ...

Some Prisons Are Using Virtual Reality for Reentry and Other Programs

by Matt Clarke 

Since 2016, Colorado has been using virtual reality (VR) reentry programs for some long-term prisoners. Other states, most notably Pennsylvania and Alaska, are also experimenting with VR for reentry training and other purposes.

In 2012, the Colorado Department of Corrections (DOC) was faced with a dilemma ...

South Carolina Fails to Evacuate Prisoners Threatened by Hurricane

by Matt Clarke

In September 2018, when Hurricane Florence bore down on the U.S. coast as a dangerous Category 4 storm, over a million people in Virginia, South Carolina and North Carolina were told to flee inland. Many did – especially those whose homes were located in mandatory evacuation ...

Eighth Circuit Holds Guards Not Liable for Disregarding Prisoner’s Stroke Symptoms

by Matt Clarke

The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals held on March 7, 2019 that prison guards could not be held liable for failing to act on a prisoner’s self-reported symptoms that medical staff had incorrectly diagnosed as the flu.

Barton Roberts was incarcerated at the Minnesota Correctional Facility in ...

$300,000 Settlement in Lawsuit over Minnesota Prisoner’s Suicide

by Matt Clarke

In December 2018, Minnesota agreed to pay $300,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by the family of a prisoner who committed suicide while guards ignored orders to keep him under constant observation, then forged documents to cover up their lapses. 

William Roy St. John, 47 ...

Texas Lawmakers Consider State Jails a “Complete Failure”

by Matt Clarke 

In 2019, the Texas House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence issued a report that called the state jail system “a complete failure.” Created in 1993, the category of crime known as a state jail felony was intended to segregate certain nonviolent, low-level offenders – especially those ...