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Articles by Matthew Clarke

Georgia Jail Settles Suit Filed by Mentally Ill Female Detainees With Policy Changes and $1.2 Million in Attorney Fees and Costs

by Matt Clarke

On April 4, 2022, the federal court for the Northern District of Georgia gave final approval to a settlement in a lawsuit brought by mentally ill women incarcerated at the South Fulton Jail. The agreement included numerous changes to jail policies and practices, along with monitoring and ...

Fifth Circuit Affirms Denial of Qualified Immunity to Texas Jailers Who Refused Medical Care to Detainee Dying of Drug Overdose

by Matt Clarke

On June 1, 2022, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit upheld a district court’s denial of qualified immunity (QI) to staff in a Texas jail who allegedly ignored the medical needs of a prisoner for 32 hours while he “moaned in pain, twitched, thrashed, ...

ACLU Pries Loose Employment Record of New Hampshire Trooper Who Detained Woman on Falsified Evidence, Leading to $237,500 Settlement

by Matt Clarke

On July 6, 2022, the New Hampshire Personnel Appeals Board upheld the firing of former State Trooper Haden Wilber, who allegedly illegally searched a woman during a traffic stop, found suspected heroin residue, and then — together with fellow Trooper Matthew Locke — falsified evidence that got ...

Third Illinois Guard Found Guilty In Fatal Beating of Handcuffed State Prisoner, but Attorney General Refuses To Settle With Family

by Matt Clarke

On August 23, 2022, a jury convicted the last of three ex-prison guards indicted in the fatal beating of a prisoner at Western Illinois Correctional Center (WICC) four years earlier.

Former Lt. Todd Sheffler, 54, was found guilty of conspiracy to deprive civil rights, tampering with a ...

Census Bureau Report Finds Risk of Death Nearly Triples for Prisoners After Release

by Matt Clarke

In February 2022, the U.S. Census Bureau published what may be the first multi-state report on the mortality of released prisoners. After their incarceration, “former prisoners have higher mortality rates than their demographic counterparts in the general population,” the study warned.

The study compared the deaths of ...

Ohio County Pays $4 Million To Settle Claim Over Death of Jail Detainee

by Matt Clarke

On December 9, 2021, an agreement was reached by Richland County, Ohio, paying $4 million to settle claims in a suit that was about to be brought by the family of Alexander Jose Rios, a pretrial detainee who died at the county jail following an altercation with ...

$7 Million Paid to California Detainee Left Quadriplegic Due to Jail Guards’ Alleged Negligence

by Matt Clarke

On February 11, 2022, California’s Santa Clara County paid $7 million to settle its part of a lawsuit brought by a former detainee who suffered a spinal injury in his cell at the county’s Elmwood Correctional Center, where responding guards and ambulance staff were allegedly so negligent ...

Four Prisoners Murdered at Three California Prisons Within Eight Days

by Matt Clarke

Within eight days spanning the end of April and beginning of May 2022, four prisoners were murdered in separate incidents at three California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) prisons. At least eight prisoners are being investigated in connection with the murders, all but one of which ...

Federal Court Says Illinois Statute Barring More Than One Sex Offender per Address Is Unconstitutional

by Matt Clarke

On July 11, 2022, the federal court for the Northern District of Illinois enjoined the state Department of Corrections (DOC) from keeping 25 sex offenders imprisoned who were eligible for mandatory supervision release (MSR) but whose new housing violated a state law that bars more than one ...

Fifth Circuit Upholds Dismissal of Texas Prisoners’ Challenge to Pandemic Prison Conditions for Failure to Exhaust

by Matt Clarke

On March 9, 2022, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of a lawsuit challenging the adequacy of pandemic precautions taken by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ), holding that there was no exception for a pandemic emergency to the requirement ...