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Articles by Matthew Clarke

Ninth Circuit Tells Federal Prisoner in California to Wait Until Incarcerated Before Applying for Compassionate Release

by Matt Clarke

On April 4, 2022, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that a convicted and sentenced federal criminal defendant who had not yet been incarcerated was not eligible for compassionate release under 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(l)(A)(ii).

In October 2019, George Fower pleaded guilty in ...

D.C. Circuit Grants BOP Medical Director Qualified Immunity in Suit Over Delayed Treatment of Prisoner’s Hepatitis C

by Matt Clarke

On July 5, 2022, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit held that the medical director of the federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) was entitled to qualified immunity (QI) in a prisoner’s lawsuit over delayed treatment of his Hepatitis-C with direct-acting antiviral (DAA) ...

‘Plainly Grossly Inadequate’: Federal Court Finds Arizona Prison Healthcare Deliberately Indifferent to Prisoners’ Risk of Serious Harm

by Matt Clarke

On June 30, 2022, the federal court for the District of Arizona found that the healthcare state prisoners get is frankly awful — unconstitutionally so. As is the amount of time many spend in isolation, where their psychiatric ailments are ignored, and they go hungry not only ...

Eighth Circuit Says Judge Dismissing Claim of Federal Prisoner in Arkansas Was Premature in Counting It a PLRA ‘Strike’

by Matt Clarke

On January 12, 2022, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit said a lower court erred in declaring that a federal prisoner’s dismissed lawsuit counted as the first of three “strikes” allowed under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g). Why? Because only the judge who counts the ...

CDCR’s Medication Assisted Treatment Program for Substance Abusers is a Resounding Success

by Matt Clarke

Between 2016 and 2019, fatal drug overdoses more than doubled for California state prisoners. The state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) said that hospitalizations for drug overdoses rose almost as fast. Clearly, a new approach was needed to stem prisoner drug use.

That resulted in the ...

Texas Prisoner Killed After Wounding Guard in Escape and Killing Family While on the Run

by Matt Clarke

On May 12, 2022, as Texas state prisoner Gonzalo Lopez, 46, was being transported in a prison bus to a medical appointment, he used a “prison-made knife and key” to loosen his restraints. He then cut through the metal cage for high-risk prisoners in which he was ...

Nevada Supreme Court: DOC Owes Parolee Credit for Any Days Over 60 Awaiting Revocation in Prison

by Matt Clarke

On May 24, 2022, the Supreme Court of Nevada ordered the state Department of Corrections (DOC) to credit a parolee for time he spent in custody awaiting parole revocation that exceeded the 60-day window state law provides for proceedings to begin.

After he was paroled, state prisoner ...

New Federal ‘Fresh Start’ Student Loan Policy May Help Prisoners in Default

by Matt Clarke

On April 26, 2022, the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) announced a new “fresh start” policy for people whose student loans are in default, and it may help prisoners who would otherwise be barred from receiving Pell Grants when they become available next year.

The policy brings ...

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, ...