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Articles by Roger Smith

Washington Jail Prisoners Suffer from Overcrowding, Abusive Guards, Inadequate Health Care and Indifferent Politicians

Since the mid-1990s, Washington State jail populations have increased exponentially. Obsolete facilities built decades ago to hold a handful of prisoners are now packed like sardine tins, with as many prisoners sleeping on the floor as in bunks. Overcrowding has resulted in numerous problems in terms of security and meeting ...

Washington Prison's Water System and Meat Contaminated With Feces

On August 20, 2004, fecal coliform and E. coli were found in the water system at the McNeil Island Correction Center (MICC) near Steilacoom, Washington. E. coli was also found in about 6,000 pounds of ground beef produced at a meat processing plant on the Island prison. Both types ...

Alaska Prisoners Cannot Challenge Conditions of Confinement Under State Post-Conviction Relief Statute

The Alaska court of appeals has dismissed a prisoner's suit challenging the conditions of his confinement in an Alaska prison under AS § 12.72.020(c), Alaska's post-conviction relief statute. This ruling came after the court found that it was without jurisdiction to decide the case under that ...

Washington Guards Shoot Now, Ask Questions Later

There had not been a prisoner shot to death by a guard at the Washington State Penitentiary (WSP) in Walla Walla, Washington for more than thirty years. That changed last year. During 2002, under the "capable" leadership of Richard Morgan, the new WSP superintendent, WSP guards shot two prisoners to ...

Washington DOC Settles ADA Suit for $8,000

In July 2002, Washington State Department of Corrections (DOC) officials agreed to pay Roger Smith and his disabled wife Laurie $8,000 to settle their lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 12132 et seq, Title II of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA).


Roger Smith arrived as a prisoner at ...

Washington Sex Offender Community Placement Dilemma

When "high-risk" sex offenders are released from Washington State prisons their pictures, names, addresses, and offenses are broadcast on the local news. Armed with that information, angry neighbors often drive them from the communities they're released to. With no one willing to hire them and no place to live ...

Arizona DOC's Endless Isolation of Suspected Gang Member Enjoined

Afederal District Court in Arizona recently enjoined Arizona Department of Corrections (ADOC) officials from indefinitely isolating a prisoner whom they suspect to be a gang member.

Mark Koch, an Arizona prisoner and successful prison litigator of long standing, was placed in solitary confinement (SMU II) in 1996 at the Florence ...

Washington's Island of Deviant Doctors

The McNeil Island Correction Center (MICC), located on McNeil Island near Steilacoom, Washington, has a long history of hiring misfits in its medical and psychological departments. In order to secure such a position it almost seems as though one must have drug or alcohol problems, a long history of incompetence ...

Washington Supreme Court Upholds 35% Seizure Law

Washington Supreme Court Upholds 35% Seizure Law; But Prisoners Entitled To Interest From Mandatory Savings Accounts

The Washington Supreme Court has declared RCW § 72.09.480 to be constitutional. The statute directs the Washington Department of Corrections (DOC) to seize 35% of most funds received by its prisoners, including money ...

Michigan DOC Sex Abuse Suit Nets Nearly $4 Million

On February 7, 2000, Michigan DOC officials agreed to settle a lawsuit with 32 women prisoners for $3,787,000 in damages, costs, and attorney fees. The women sued in a Michigan federal district court after being sexually abused by DOC guards.

The named plaintiff, Linda Nunn, and 31 others ...