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Articles by Scott Grammer

Coalition Fights to Ensure Jailed Voters in Arizona Can Vote

by Scott Grammer

In 1974, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that jail detainees who are under no voting disability — which essentially means that they have not yet been convicted of a felony and lost their right to vote — must be allowed the opportunity to vote pursuant to the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. But Arizona, and in particular Maricopa County, still doesn’t get it. Of the approximately 14,000 people in Arizona jails, about 60% are eligible to vote.

In 2020, a coalition composed of voting advocates, public defenders and people who were previously incarcerated, are trying to ensure that these people are allowed to vote, starting with Maricopa County.

During the 2008 election cycle, Joe Watson was in jail in Maricopa County but had not yet been convicted of a felony. When he asked guards for a ballot, he was laughed at. In a March 16, 2020 story, The Intercept quotes Watson as saying, “They just ignored me. There was nothing I could do. I was just denied my right to vote.”

During the 2018 midterms, Yonas Kahsai was in jail in Maricopa County and still legally able to vote. While in jail, he asked for ...

Public Relations Firm Terminates Contract With GEO Group

by Scott Grammer

GEO Group, a private prison company, had hired Edelman, the world’s largest public relations firm, to improve its public image. But Edelman found itself with a PR problem of its own because of its ties to GEO. The company has contracts from the Trump administration to run ...

Sacramento County Jail Settles Solitary Confinement Class Action Suit

by Scott Grammer

Sacramento County has two jails, which together house about 3,800 people at any one time. A July 2018 complaint filed in federal court by Lorenzo Mays, Ricky Richardson, Jennifer Bothun, Armani Lee, Leertese Beirge, Cody Garland, and the Prison Law Office and Disability Rights California, claims that ...

Senator Warren Has Plan To Ban Private Prison Contracts

by Scott Grammer

Massachusetts Democratic Senator and current presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren introduced a plan last June that would essentially ban all government entities, at any level, from contracting with private prison companies.

Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, another presidential candidate, also favors banning private prisons. If elected president, Sanders ...

Seventh Circuit Upholds Prison Guard’s Rape Convictions, But County Not Liable

by Scott Grammer

Darryl L. Christensen was a Polk County, Wisconsin jail guard who over the course of three years, between 2011 and 2014, repeatedly sexually assaulted two female prisoners. When this was discovered by jail administrators, Christensen resigned. He pleaded guilty to several counts of sexual assault and will ...

Report Published on Louisiana’s Extensive Use Of Solitary Confinement

by Scott Grammer

joint report published in June 2019by Solitary Watch, the American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana, and the Jesuit Social Research Institute/Loyola University New Orleans discusses the use of solitary confinement by the Louisiana prison system. The report, called “Louisiana on Lockdown,” includes statistics and testimony from more ...

Ministry Worker Banned from Mississippi Prisons After Asking About Plumbing Problems

by Scott Grammer

In August 2019, businessman Bryan Shaver worked as a volunteer prison minister at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman. On the 23rd of that month, he was told that the water in Parchman Unit 29 had been turned off and prisoners were relieving themselves on the floor ...

Ohio Prisoner Killed by Cellmate Who Mistakenly Thought He Was a Child Molester

by Scott Grammer

Kevin Nill, 40, was serving 18 months at the Lebanon Correctional Institution for attempted domestic violence involving an adult family member. On April 23, 2018, prison staff thought it would be a good idea to put 33-year-old Jack Welninski in the same cell as Nill. Welninski, serving ...

Corizon Settles EEOC Disability Discrimination Lawsuit for $950,000

by Scott Grammer

On September 18, 2018, the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC) filed suit in Arizona against Corizon Health, Inc. and Corizon LLC. The purpose of the litigation was “to correct Corizon’s nationwide unlawful employment policies and practices that discriminate on the basis of disability and to provide appropriate ...

Genesco CEO Denied Term on CoreCivic’s Board of Directors, but Board Refuses His Resignation

by Scott Grammer

Robert J. “Bob” Dennis, CEO of Gen­esco, a Nashville shoe and boot retailer, was first appointed to the board of directors of CoreCivic, the private prison company formerly known as Corrections Corporation of America, in February 2013. However, in May 2019 his time on the board was ...