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Articles by Michael Rigby

Death at North Carolina Lock Up Spotlights Troubled Jail System

Death At North Carolina Lock Up Spotlights Troubled Jail System

by Michael Rigby

The death of Christopher Lee Wood
at North Carolina's Cherokee County jail has served to illuminate a sordid history of prisoner abuse, FBI investigations and lawsuits. It has also resulted in the sheriff and the chief jailer ...

Massachusetts Jail Guards Assault Mentally Disabled Prisoner

Massachusetts Jail Guards
Assault Mentally Disabled Prisoner

by Michael Rigby

Six Essex County jail guards were
suspended and one fired after they assaulted a mentally challenged prisoner in the jail infirmary by forcing him to eat cake while handcuffed. Author Austin, a mentally challenged prisoner who suffers from fetal alcohol ...

Federal Judge Strikes Down Iowa Prison's Faith-Based Rehabilitation Program

A federal judge in Iowa has ruled that the state's partial funding of a Christian rehabilitation program is unconstitutional. In a 140-page opinion issued on June 2, 2006, U.S. District Judge Robert W. Pratt ordered the Iowa Department of Corrections (IDOC) to disband the program within 60 days and directed ...

Number of Presidential Pardons Declining

In spite of a rising number of requests, presidential pardons have become virtually non-existent under the George W. Bush administration. During his first two years in office Bush neither granted any pardons nor commuted any sentences. On December 23, 2002, Bush finally issued pardons to seven people who had been ...

Behind the Walls: A Guide for Families and Friends of Texas Prison Inmates

by Jorge Antonio Renaud, University of North Texas Press, 2002, soft cover, 218 pages, $14.95

Review by Michael Rigby

If you or someone you know is one of the nearly 150,000 people incarcerated in a Texas prison, then Behind the Walls: A Guide for Families and Friends of Texas Prison ...

Illinois Governor Commutes All Death Sentences

On January 11, 2003 Governor George Ryan ensured himself a place in the history of criminal justice reform by commuting the death sentences of 167 people. It was the most sweeping act of its kind by a governor in U.S. history.

Most of the 164 men and 3 women who ...

Houston Crime Lab Closed, Prisoner Freed

On March 6, 2003, the Houston Police Department (HPD) Chief C. O. Bradford announced that the department's DNA crime lab had been shut down and that internal affairs had launched an investigation into possible criminal and other misconduct.

The announcement came six days before Josiah Sutton, who had been serving ...

$14 Million Settlement in U.S. Corrections Corporation Pension Plan Suit

In accordance with a July 29, 2002 ruling by U.S. District Judge Jennifer B. Coffman, as many as 700 former guards who worked at private prisons in Kentucky operated by U.S. Corrections Corp. could share in settlement of $14 million or more. In her 49 page opinion, Coffman held that ...

Prisons Experience Outbreaks of Infectious Disease

Prisons in Vermont and Pennsylvania dealt with serious outbreaks of infectious disease this past August resulting in the disinfection of an office complex and the filing of a class action lawsuit, respectively.


In late July 2002, an outbreak of Legionnaire's Disease, a sometimes fatal bacterial infection, began in Vermont's ...

Arizona Guards Continue to Rape Prisoners

Two guards at Arizona's Perryville prison are facing numerous charges, substantiated by internal investigations, of sexual misconduct with prisoners.

Derrick Renard Allen was indicted in late April 2002 by a state grand jury on 8 counts of sexual assault and 2 counts of smuggling contraband into the prison; he was ...