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Articles by Matthew Clarke

Eighth Circuit Denies Qualified Immunity to Private Companies Providing Missouri Prisoner’s Health Care

by Matt Clarke

On August 24, 2021, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit held that private companies providing health care for prisoners are not entitled to assert qualified immunity or appeal its denial.

The underlying case was filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of ...

$170,000 in Attorney’s Fees, Solitary Confinement Reforms Achieved in Settlement of Maine Prisoner’s Lawsuits

by Matt Clarke

In July 2021, the Maine Department of Corrections (DOC) settled state and federal lawsuits brought by a prisoner kept in solitary confinement for 22 months without seeing any evidence of a disciplinary violation. DOC agreed to reform its solitary confinement policies, including a 30-day cap on stays ...

Medical Paroles Revoked in California and Massachusetts

by Matt Clarke

Medical parole has always been rare, but new policies in California and Massachusetts are causing medical parolees to be reincarcerated and further limiting those eligible for medical parole.

California has approved 210 medical paroles since 2014, far more than most other states. But its new policy announced ...

Federal Court Sanctions Wexford for Discovery Abuse in Illinois Prisoner’s Suit

by Matt Clarke

On June 3, 2021, a federal court in Illinois granted a state prisoner’s motion for sanctions against Wexford Health Sources for responding to a specific discovery request by providing 272,000 pages of documents it had converted into a nearly useless format.

With the assistance of Oakbrook attorney ...

$199,000 Awarded to California Detainee Assaulted by Santa Clara County Jail Guard

by Matt Clarke

On July 13, 2021, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California awarded a former Santa Clara County pretrial detainee $11,000 in damages for injuries received when he was assaulted by a guard at the county jail. The Court then charged the defendant another $188,340.08 ...

Ninth Circuit: California Jail Prisoners Have No Constitutional Right Per Se to Outdoor Recreation and Direct Sunlight

by Matt Clarke

On August 26, 2021, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld a district court’s decision not to expand a preliminary injunction issued on behalf of California jail detainees to include a requirement of access to outdoor recreation and direct sunlight for convicted prisoners.

The ...

BOP Greenlights Sex Reassignment Surgery for Federal Prisoner in Texas

Wisconsin DOC Ordered to Provide the Surgery, Too

by Matt Clarke and Chuck Sharman

In a federal court filing on January 31, 2022, the U.S. Bureau of Prisons (BOP) indicated that a transgender prisoner in Texas could be cleared for gender conforming surgery (GCS) as early as March 2022. If ...

Department of Justice Reports on Two Decades of Prisoner Suicides

by Matt Clarke

When actor Peter Robbins died by suicide in California on January 18, 2022, the news saddened fans of Charlie Brown, whose voice he provided for animated Peanuts specials in the 1960s. But Robbins, 65, also struggled with mental illness behind bars, spending four years in a San ...

Federal Court Hears that Mental Healthcare in Louisiana Prison is “Almost Non-existent”

State’s “scorched-earth” strategy runs up $3 million legal tab

by Matt Clarke

A bench trial opened at a federal court in Louisiana on January 10, 2022, with dramatic testimony from a former state prisoner, who said he witnessed guards at the David Wade Correctional Center (DWCC) order a mentally ill ...

California Court of Appeal Holds Prisoner May Challenge Administrative Disciplinary Violation Already Served

by Matt Clarke

A recent ruling by a California courtunderlines the importance for a prisoner to zealously guard his prison record, even after a challenge seems moot, for the impact it may yet hold in the future.

The decision on September 3, 2021, by the state Court of Appeal, held ...