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Articles by Scott Grammer

HRDC Obtains Settlement, $16,000 in Fees and Costs, Against BOP in FOIA Case

by Scott Grammer

On June 7, 2019, the Human Rights Defense Center (HRDC), the parent organization of Prison Legal News, entered into a settlement agreement in a public records case involving the federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP). The settlement stemmed from a May 2018 complaint filed against the BOP ...

South Carolina Prison Industries Employee Fired for Writing Tell-All Book

by Scott Grammer

Daryle Starks is a retired chief pet­ty officer of the U.S. Navy, with 24 years in the service. He was working at South Carolina’s Tyger River Correctional Institution, supervising prisoners as they made hardwood flooring on the overnight shift, when he wrote a self-published book titled ...

BJS Report Finds Sex Offenders Among Former Prisoners Least Likely to Re-Offend

by Scott Grammer

In May 2019 the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) issued a report, titled “Recidivism of Sex Offenders Released from State Prison: A 9-Year Follow-Up (2005-14),” that examined 67,966 former prisoners over a nine-year period after their release in 30 different states in 2005. The report explained that ...

Life Sentence for Joyriding Overturned in California

by Scott Grammer

Kenneth Oliver, 52, was only 29 when he received a life sentence under California’s “three strikes” law for repeat felons. He was arrested while joyriding in a stolen car as a passenger, and a stolen handgun was later found in his hotel room. His previous convictions included ...

Fourth Circuit Agrees Virginia’s Death Row Conditions Violated Eighth Amendment

by Scott Grammer

Almost 120 years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court recognized the harm that solitary confinement causes. Prior to 2015, prisoners on Virginia’s death row were housed in solitary in 71-square-foot cells (about the size of a sub-compact car) for 23 to 24 hours per day. They were only ...

Colorado Prisoner Receives $200,000 Settlement in Excessive Force Case

by Scott Grammer

On September 10, 2014, Colorado prisoner Shawn Lovett was serving a 30-year sentence at the Centennial Correctional Facility in Fremont County when he was moved from one part of the prison to another by guards Shannon Proud and Anthony Martinez. Video footage showed Martinez jerking Lovett’s ankle ...

Four Ohio Prisoners Shackled to Table Stabbed by Fellow Prisoner

by Scott Grammer

On June 4, 2017 at the maximum-security Southern Ohio Correctional Facility (SOCF) in Lucasville, four prisoners who were playing cards while shackled to a table in a dayroom area were attacked and stabbed by another prisoner, convicted murderer Greg Reinke.

Surveillance video footage captured the 37-year-old Reinke ...

Organization Connected to Missouri Prison Director Gets No-Bid Contract

by Scott Grammer

Staffing shortages in the Missouri Department of Corrections (MDOC) have been problematic for a number of years, due in part to a high turnover rate fueled by the fact that MDOC employees are among the lowest-paid in the nation, with salaries starting at $28,000 per year. In ...

Court Orders Changes to Alabama Prison System After 15 Suicides; Feds Threaten Suit

by Scott Grammer

A May 4, 2019 federal district court order in a five-year-old lawsuit over inadequate mental health care and a resultant high suicide rate in Alabama’s prison system was entered “in the wake of 15 inmate suicides in a 15-month period.”

The order stated that the Alabama Department ...

Department of Justice Report Shows Small Decrease in U.S. Prison Population

by Scott Grammer

A report by Jennifer Bronson, Ph.D. and E. Ann Carson, Ph.D., released by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) in April 2019, found that at the end of 2017, the state and federal prison population had decreased by 1.2 percent from the previous ...