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Articles by Matthew Clarke

$750,000 Settlement in Suit Over Prisoner Beaten and Raped for Three Days

by Matt Clarke

On May 17, 2019, the federal government settled a lawsuit brought by a man formerly incarcerated by the Bureau of Prisons (BOP), who had been placed in a segregation cell with another prisoner who previously threatened him, even though they were supposed to be kept apart.

This ...

Members of Congress Investigate Private Equity Firms that Own Companies Providing Prison Services

by Matt Clarke

On September 30, 2019, U.S. Senator and presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren and U.S. Representatives Mark Pocan and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez sent letters to five private equity firms – BlueMountain Capital Management, H.I.G. Capital, American Securities, Apax Partners and Platinum Equity.

The firms own companies that provide support services ...

L.A.’s Court-Ordered Community Supervision Enslaves and Impoverishes

by Matt Clarke

When a 33-year-old man was cited for littering for tossing trash and beer cans on a South Los Angeles sidewalk in 2013, an interpreter helped him plead no contest, and he was fined just $100 because the court recognized his inability to pay more. In lieu of ...

Former Nevada Prison Guard Who Fatally Shot Handcuffed Prisoner Enters Alford Plea

by Matt Clarke

On October 29, 2019, a former probationary Nevada prison guard entered a plea of nolo contendre to a felony charge of attempted performance of an act or neglect of duty in willful or wanton disregard of safety of persons or property resulting in death. The charge was ...

Deaths and Abuse During Private Prisoner Transport Trips

by Matt Clarke

Many prisoners transported by Prisoner Transportation Services of America, LLC (PTS) report being denied restroom breaks, food, liquids and essential prescription medications such as insulin, occasionally with fatal results. Others say they were physically or sexually abused by PTS staff. At least five prisoners have died while ...

Ohio Supreme Court Orders Prison Official to Produce Public Records

by Matt Clarke

On August 20, 2019, the Supreme Court of Ohio granted in part and denied in part a prisoner’s pro se petition for a writ of mandamus to compel a prison official to provide him with records he had requested pursuant to Ohio’s public records act, R.C. 149.43. ...

Denver Settles Female Deputies’ Sexual Harassment Lawsuit for $1.55 Million

by Matt Clarke

On September 9, 2019, the Denver City Council voted to pay $1.55 million to settle a lawsuit brought by female deputies who worked at the Denver jail. The settlement included $609,228.78 in attorney fees, and each of the 15 plaintiffs will receive $62,715.42. The suit complained of ...

Oklahomans Pay for Release of Woman Whose Case Helped Start Marijuana Reform Movement

by Matt Clarke

When she received a 12-year prison sentence for selling $31 worth of marijuana to a police informant in December 2009 and January 2010, first-time felony offender Patricia Spottedcrow, then-25, thought she wouldn’t see her four young children until they were teenagers. Then her story was featured in ...

California Jail Prisoner’s Broken Leg Nets $550,000 Settlement

by Matt Clarke

Nevada County, California and Correctional Medical Group Companies (CMGC) – now known as Wellpath – agreed to pay $550,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by a former jail prisoner who alleged his leg was broken by a jailer in an incident involving excessive force.

Christopher Joshua Howie, ...

Texas Convict-Leasing Burial Ground Uncovered

by Matt Clarke 

The first prison ever closed in Texas was the Central Unit in Sugar Land, which had originally been a leased convict labor camp known as the Imperial Sugar Company State Prison Farm. When the facility was established in 1867, the state leased its prisoners to the ...