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Articles by Matthew Clarke

Seventh Circuit Reinstates Lawsuit Over Illinois Jail’s Denial of Legal Publication Without Notice

by Matt Clarke 

On February 8, 2019, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals held that a district court erred when it reframed a former Illinois jail prisoner’s lawsuit over denial of a legal publication as a broad First Amendment challenge to the facility’s policy of prohibiting prisoners from receiving ...

Second Circuit Reinstates Prisoner’s Lawsuit Dismissed for Failure to Comply with F.R.C.P.

by Matt Clarke

On February 15, 2019, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated a prisoner’s pro se lawsuit that had been dismissed for failure to comply with Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 8 and 20. In doing so, it held that such sua sponte dismissals should be reviewed de ...

L.A. Sheriff Claims Jail Reforms Resulted in More Violence; Court Appointed Monitors Disagree

by Matt Clarke 

Newly elected Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva held a press conference in late January 2019, claiming that court-ordered reforms in the county’s jail system had caused an increase in violence among its 18,000 prisoners – and that the previous sheriff had covered it up ...

Corizon Settles Lawsuit Over Colorado Jail Prisoner’s Death for $3.7 Million; County Pays Another $200,000

by Matt Clarke

A lawsuit over the 2015 death of Adams County, Colorado jail detainee Tyler Tabor was secretly settled for $3.9 million in August 2018. The settlement only became public after court documents were filed complaining that Corizon Health had met only $1 million of its $3.7 ...

Securus Hacked Again; Passwords, Personal Information, Location Data Compromised

by Matt Clarke

Some readers may recall how a hacker targeted Dallas, Texas-based Securus Technologies, a prison telecom company, resulting in the records of some 70 million phone calls made by over 63,000 prisoners being released on the Internet in November 2015. That incident revealed Securus was recording prisoners’ ...

Seventh Circuit Holds Heck May Not be Circumvented by Waiving Claims Related to Prison Disciplinary Punishment

by Matt Clarke 

On February 5, 2019, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals held that a prisoner cannot waive challenges to portions of his prison discipline to circumvent the requirements of Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994) and Edwards v. Balisok, 520 U.S. 641 (1997). Rather ...

Ohio County Pays $115,000 to Settle Second Suit Over Restraint Chair Pepper-Spraying

by Matt Clarke

On January 8, 2019, Montgomery County, Ohio agreed to pay $115,000 to resolve a federal civil rights lawsuit brought by a former jail prisoner who was pepper-sprayed while “largely strapped into” a seven-point restraint chair.

Charles Wade was being booked into the Montgomery County Jail on ...

Report and Video of Arizona Prison Riot Released

by Matt Clarke

In December 2018, the Arizona Department of Corrections (ADC) released surveillance video of a major riot that occurred at the Arizona State Prison Complex-Yuma’s medium-security Cheyenne Unit on March 1, 2018. The ADC had previously issued a report on the disturbance, in which one prisoner was killed ...

Long-Term Recidivism Studies Show High Arrest Rates

by Matt Clarke 

Two reports on long-term recidivism among prisoners released from state and federal prisons showed very high arrest rates. The rate for state prisoners was 83% over a nine-year study period, while it was 39.8% for nonviolent and about 64% for violent federal prisoners over an ...

Kansas Federal Court Awards Prisoner $250,000 for Guard’s Excessive Force

by Matt Clarke 

On December 7, 2018, a federal district court awarded a Kansas Department of Corrections (DOC) prisoner $250,000 in a lawsuit over a guard’s excessive use of force. 

Wesley L. Adkins filed a pro se civil rights action after he was assaulted by DOC guard ...