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Articles by Matthew Clarke

Staffing Shortage at Ohio Legislative Oversight Committee has Interns Inspecting Prisons

by Matt Clarke

An administrative staffing shortage at the Ohio legislature’s bi-chamber, eight-member Correctional Institution Inspection Committee has left unpaid interns responsible for inspecting 27 adult prisons and three juvenile facilities. 

Five years ago, the Committee had six full-time employees – a director and five inspectors with backgrounds ...

Virginia Court Improperly Denied Transgender Prisoner’s Name Change

by Matt Clarke 

On December 13, 2018, the Supreme Court of Virginia held that a state circuit court improperly denied a transgender prisoner’s application for a name change. 

Federal prisoner Brian Allen Leonard filed an application in Virginia state court for a name change to Bree Anna ...

Georgia Jail Prisoner’s Lawsuit Over Mail Censorship Settled for $18,000

by Matt Clarke

 A Georgia county agreed to settle a jail prisoner’s lawsuit over censorship of mail and media and other issues at the Gwinnett County Detention Center after a federal magistrate recommended that it be allowed to proceed.

Adam Garber was a prisoner at the jail when, according to ...

Colorado: $190,000 Settlement for Prisoners Ordered Released but Kept in Jail for Inability to Pay $55 Fee

by Matt Clarke 

El Paso County, Colorado has agreed to settle a lawsuit brought by a woman who remained in jail for 27 days because she was unable to pay a $55 fee, even after a judge ordered her release on a personal recognizance bond.

According to court ...

New York City Settles Kalief Browder Lawsuit for $3.3 Million

by Matt Clarke 

The untimely death of Kalief Browder at age 22 sparked a nationwide movement to enact bail reform and end the use of segregation for young detainees. Both President Obama and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio cited Browder’s suicide – after he served two years ...

Strip and Body Cavity Searches: Looking for Contraband in all the Wrong Places

by Matt Clarke 

It is unknown whether the Supreme Court’s ruling in Florence v. Board of Chosen Freeholders of County of Burlington, 566 U.S. 318 (2012), which upheld the practice of strip searching jail prisoners absent individualized suspicion of illegal activity and regardless of the severity of their ...

Conflict of Interest in Texas Rangers’ Investigation of Deaths at LaSalle-Operated Jails?

by Matt Clarke 

In January 2019, the Dallas Morning News reported that Louisiana-based private prison company LaSalle Corrections, which operates eight jails in Texas, employs a former Texas Ranger whose son oversees that law enforcement agency. The Texas Rangers are responsible for investigating deaths at seven of the eight ...

For Years, Errors in Iowa’s Felon List Have Disenfranchised Eligible Voters

by Matt Clarke 

Iowa’s electronic database of registered voters, I-VOTERS, contains the names of about 69,000 convicted felons who are barred from casting ballots. But in June 2016, Iowa’s Secretary of State found that 2,591 of those names belonged to people who were not in ...

Congressional Report Finds Misconduct by BOP Administrators Often Ignored

by Matt Clarke

A memorandum from the House Subcommittee on National Security, released on January 2, 2019, concluded that misconduct by senior leadership in the federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) “appears to be largely tolerated or ignored altogether.” 

The committee reviewed thousands of pages of case files and ...

Colorado Voters Approve Constitutional Amendment Abolishing Prison Slavery

by Matt Clarke 

The second time was the charm. On November 6, 2018, Colorado voters overwhelmingly approved an amendment to the state’s constitution that abolished all forms of slavery and involuntary servitude, after rejecting a similar ballot measure in 2016. [See: PLN, Dec. 2018, p.48; Nov. 2017 ...