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Articles by Matthew Clarke

Justice Department Releases Ten-Year Recidivism Study

Follows a half-million state prisoners released in 2008

by Matt Clarke

From 2016 through 2019, the last years for which reliable data are available, about 10.5 million arrests were made in the U.S. annually. Averaged over a decade, that’s less than one arrest for every three people. But a new ...

Sixth Circuit Holds Subjective Prong of Deliberate Indifference Test Inapplicable to Pretrial Detainee’s Claims; Reinstates Lawsuit

by Matt Clarke

On September 22, 2021, in a case with enormous impact on the way jails may treat pretrial detainees, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit decided that jail official do not need to have subjective knowledge of a serious risk to a detainee, and so ...

Federal Judge Sanctions Former Arizona DOC Director’s Foot-Dragging Attorneys in Pro Se Prisoner’s Suit

by Matt Clarke

On January 12, 2022, a federal judge advanced a former Arizona state prisoner one step closer to collecting fees for his own pro se legal work in a suit against the former Director of the state Department of Corrections (DOC), Charles Ryan, who had been required by ...

HRDC Appeals Denial of Public Records Request for Documentation of Secret Settlement in Maine Jail Prisoner’s Excessive Force Lawsuit

by Matt Clarke

On July 6, 2021, the Human Rights Defense Center (HRDC), publisher of Prison Legal News and Criminal Legal News, filed an appeal in Maine state court after being denied access to public records. PLN had sought a copy of the settlement in a lawsuit brought by ...

$10,000 Awarded by Nevada Federal Court to Prisoner Assaulted by Former State Prison Guard

by Matt Clarke

On June 23, 2021, the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada awarded a former state prisoner $5,000 for physical pain and another $5,000 for mental anguish caused by an unprovoked beating he received from a guard while shackled at Southern Desert Correctional Center (SDCC) nearly ...

North Carolina Renames Prisons Whose Names Honored Enslavers

by Matthew Clarke

On September 30, 2021, over 156 years after the end of the Civil War, the North Carolina Department of Public Safety (DPS) announced the renaming of four prisons and a drug addiction treatment facility whose previous names honored racists, enslavers, and chattel slavery.

The Morrison Correctional Institution ...

Eighth Circuit Rules Guard’s History of Excessive Force too Prejudicial or a Jury to Hear in Prisoner’s Excessive-Force Case

Another Guard Escapes Liability by Refusing to Participate

by Jacob Barrett and Matt Clarke

What happens to a prison guard accused of using excessive force who fails to show up for trial? A recent decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit says the answer there is: ...

Fifth Circuit Holds Private Immigration Detention Facilities Are Subject to Trafficking Victims Protection Act’s Prohibition Against Coerced Labor

by Matt Clarke

After a trio of federal court rulings in 2021 regarding the labor of immigrant detainees, the first one remained the clearest victory so far for plaintiffs. That was a decision on January 20, 2021, by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, holding that detainee ...

Fifth Circuit Says Federal Habeas Action May Not Be Used to Challenge Conditions of Confinement Related to COVID-19

by Matt Clarke

As previously reported by PLN, federal appellate courts in the U.S. have taken a dim view of challenges to conditions of confinement that place prisoners at elevated risk from COVID-19.

Early in the pandemic, in May 2020, the Eleventh Circuit stayed an injunction issued by a federal ...

After Second Circuit Rules in His Favor, Connecticut Prisoner Required to Exercise in Full Restraints for Six Months Takes $100,000 Settlement

by Matt Clarke

After a federal appeals court vacated a district court’s judgment in favor of Connecticut prison officials, they settled for $100,000 with a prisoner forced to exercise in full restraints for six months a decade ago.

On January 27, 2021, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second ...