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Articles by Matthew Clarke

Fifth Circuit Denies Qualified Immunity to Texas Sheriff Who Rehired Abusive Jailer Who in Turn Again Abused a Detainee

by Matt Clarke

On January 13, 2022, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit held that by rehiring a jailer who previously abused detainees at the jail, a Texas sheriff was not entitled to qualified immunity in a new suit brought by another prisoner making abuse allegations against ...

PrimeCare: Less Medical Care for Prisoners, Higher Expenses for Taxpayers, More Profits for Corporate Owner

by Matt Clarke

The news from Pennsylvania on April 4, 2021, had a sadly familiar ring to it: A prisoner died a preventable death in a county lockup, costing a bundle to settle, so county officials were turning to a private healthcare provider. They granted a multi-million-dollar annual contract—a million ...

$8.5 Million Paid by Pennsylvania DOC for Death of Asthmatic Prisoner Improperly Pepper-Sprayed

by Matt Clarke

On October 18, 2021, a federal court in Pennsylvania approved an $8.5 million settlement reached the prior month between the state Department of Corrections (DOC) and the family of an asthmatic state prisoner who died after being pepper-sprayed with oleoresin capsicum (OC) by guards at State Correctional ...

$2.2 Million Settlement Over Transgender Georgia Prisoner’s Suicide Is Largest in State DOC History

by Matt Clarke

On December 7, 2021, the parents of a 25-year-old transwoman who committed suicide while imprisoned in the Georgia Department of Corrections (DOC) dismissed their federal civil rights lawsuit against DOC officials after accepting a $2.2 million settlement the preceding October 27. See: Maree v. Igou, 2021 ...

$316,673 Settlement in New Mexico Prisoner’s Lawsuit Over Stabbing at GEO-Operated Private Prison

by Matt Clarke

On October 1, 2021, the New Mexico Corrections Department (NMCD) and the private operator of one of its prisons, the GEO Group, agreed to pay $316,673.53 to settle a lawsuit brought by a prisoner stabbed and severely injured by another prisoner at a GEO-operated state prison that ...

Ninth Circuit Says Nevada DOC Not Micromanaged by Requirement to Treat Prisoner’s Severe Mental Illness; Upholds Preliminary Injunction

by Matt Clarke

On August 30, 2021, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit took the Nevada Department of Corrections (DOC) to task over a four-year delay in providing a state prisoner the only drugs known to safely treat his severe mental illness. Swatting away DOC’s contention it ...

Ninth Circuit: Error to Instruct Jury to Defer to Medical Staff’s Asserted Security Justification for Terminating California Prisoner’s Morphine Prescription Without Tapering

by Matt Clarke

On September 15, 2021, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that a federal district court in California erred when it instructed the jury in a prisoner’s civil rights trial to defer to prison medical staff’s “security justification” for stopping his morphine medication abruptly—without ...

Texas Rangers Often Lackadaisical in Prisoner Death Investigations

by Matt Clarke

“The Texas Rangers are investigating.”

The words bring all the swagger of the Lonestar State’s frontier-justice history to reports of crime, lending a wild-west ring to them even today, when the state has 29 million residents, 85% of whom live in urban areas. But just how serious ...

Massachusetts Appellate Court Reinstates Prisoner’s Lawsuit Over Food Substitution

by Matt Clarke

On September 20, 2021, the Appeals Court of Massachusetts reversed a lower court’s decision to dismiss a lawsuit brought by a prisoner challenging frequent food substitutions at Massachusetts Correctional Institute in Norfolk, as well as the lack of a food substitution policy in the Massachusetts prison system. ...

$14.3 Million in Costs, Attorney Fees and Interest Awarded Against GEO Group in Suits for Not Paying Minimum Wage to Immigrant Detainee Workers in Washington

Brings total the firm is ordered to pay to $37.6 million

by Matt Clarke

On December 14, 2021, a Washington federal court issued additional orders in lawsuits against Florida-based private prison operator GEO Group for failing to pay immigration detainees the state-mandated minimum wage, adding over $14.3 million to the ...