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Prison Legal News: July, 2000

Issue PDF
Volume 11, Number 7

In this issue:

  1. Prison Realty/CCA Verges on Bankruptcy (p 1)
  2. $820,000 Awarded to Informant and Wife for Assault (p 3)
  3. From the Editor (p 4)
  4. Louisiana Sheriff Busted in Private Prison Scheme (p 5)
  5. Habeas Hints: Williams Precedent (p 6)
  6. $1,800 Awarded in PA Retaliation Suit (p 7)
  7. Czech Prisons Reverberate as Thousands Protest (p 8)
  8. Washington Jail Settles Exercise Suit (p 9)
  9. Restrained Washington Prisoner Exonerated in Assault on Guard (p 9)
  10. Another Texas Prison System Lockdown-Politics as Usual? (p 10)
  11. $1.5 Million Awarded in Arizona Jail Medical Neglect Suit (p 11)
  12. Staff Representative in Medication Hearing Must Have Medical Knowledge (p 12)
  13. Brown Ad-Seg Due Process Claim Remanded for Hearing (p 12)
  14. Administrative Exhaustion not Jurisdictional Satisfied by Letters to Defendants (p 13)
  15. Texas Supreme Court Invalidates TDCJ-ID VitaPro Contract (p 13)
  16. Sixth Circuit Orders Retrial of Retaliation Suit (p 14)
  17. Showing Of Malice Under Eighth Amendment Excessive Force Test Not Required For Sexual Assault Claim (p 15)
  18. Liberty Interest In New York Work Release (p 16)
  19. Individual Analysis Required for Diabetic Class Action Damage Award (p 17)
  20. $97,500 Awarded in NY Prison Work Accident (p 17)
  21. No Pretrial Appeals of Motions to Dismiss (p 17)
  22. Arizona Jury Acquits CCA Escapees (p 18)
  23. Field 'Sleep Out' Without Adequate Toilet Facilities States An Eighth Amendment Violation (p 18)
  24. Iowa Supreme Court Holds Liberty Interest in Good Time Law (p 19)
  25. Slave Labor O.K. FLSA Does Not Apply to Detainees (p 20)
  26. Mailbox Rule Applies to Section 2254/2255 Motions (p 21)
  27. Private Prison Contract May be Invalid (p 21)
  28. Retaliation Claim Remanded for Hearing on Qualified Immunity (p 22)
  29. Prison Riots in Peru (p 23)
  30. $12,000 Awarded in NY Slip and Fall (p 24)
  31. IN Jail Settles Victim Suit for $650,000 (p 24)
  32. The Western Prison Project (p 24)
  33. Marriott Cancels Prison Protest Concert (p 25)
  34. News in Brief (p 26)
  35. $47,500 Settlement in Pennsylvania Restraint Suit (p 27)
  36. $100,000 Awarded Under ICCPR in GA Jail Suit (p 28)
  37. The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade (p 31)

Prison Realty/CCA Verges on Bankruptcy

On March 31, 2000, Prison Realty Trust, Inc. announced operating losses of $62 million for the year ended December 31, 1999. Its largest subsidiary and chief tenant, Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), reported a net loss of $203 million for 1999. Independent auditors of both Prison Realty and CCA indicated ...

$820,000 Awarded to Informant and Wife for Assault

A federal district court in New York issued pre- and post-verdict opinions in a negligence action brought by a prisoner and his wife against jail officials. In the pre-verdict ruling, the court held that the plaintiffs were entitled to amend their pleadings during trial and that jail officials have a ...

From the Editor

On May 16, 2000, the Prison Activist Resource Center in Berkeley sponsored a fundraiser party for PLN in San Francisco. The hip hop/dance party featured DJ Neta, Bamudhi, Local 1200 DJs, Vine Folks and Emma Said. PLN co-founder Ed Mead spoke at the party and PLN contributing writer Mark ...

Louisiana Sheriff Busted in Private Prison Scheme

In 1990, Dale Rinicker, then Sheriff of East Carroll Parish (county), Louisiana, saw a lot of money being made in the private "rent-a-jail" business and decided he wanted a piece of the action. So cooked up a scheme that would eventually net him close to half a million dollars before ...

Habeas Hints: Williams Precedent

This column is intended to provide "habeas hints "for prisoners who are considering or handling habeas corpus petitions as their own attorneys ("in pro per'). The focus of the column is habeas corpus practice under the AEDPA - the 1996 habeas corpus law which now governs habeas corpus practice throughout the ...

$1,800 Awarded in PA Retaliation Suit

On June 25, 1999, U.S. district court judge James McClure Jr. awarded $1,800 in damages to a Pennsylvania jail prisoner who was retaliated against for complaining about jail conditions. The judge also awarded $1 in nominal damages to another prisoner with a similar claim.

In 1993 a class ...

Czech Prisons Reverberate as Thousands Protest

by Julia Lutsy

An uprising at 21 of the Czech Republic's 33 prisons was touched off on January 10, 2000, when a guard turned off prisoners' television an hour early in the Vinarice prison in Central Bohemia. This gave rise to a hunger strike and, two days later, the ...

Washington Jail Settles Exercise Suit

On October 12, 1999, the King County (Seattle) jail in Washington settled a class action suit concerning the amount of outdoor exercise provided to ultra high security (UHS) prisoners and detainees.

In 1997 a class action suit was filed challenging the classification process and conditions of confinement for prisoners designated ...

Restrained Washington Prisoner Exonerated in Assault on Guard

by Terry A. Kupers and Marybeth Dingledy

Rodney Gitchel had been in 4-point restraints for two months inside the Special Offenders Center (S.O.C.) at the Monroe Correctional Complex in Washington when he struggled free of the restraints and assaulted the next guard who entered his cell. He faced ...

Another Texas Prison System Lockdown-Politics as Usual?

by Matthew T. Clarke

For the second time in two years, the entire Texas prison system was locked down in a delayed response to isolated incidents in two Texas prisons, once again raising the specter of political motivation for the lockdown. The previous lockdown was reported in the May 1999 ...

$1.5 Million Awarded in Arizona Jail Medical Neglect Suit

On April 15, 1999, a Maricopa County Superior Court jury awarded $1.5 million in damages to former Maricopa County (Phoenix, Arizona) jail detainee Timothy Griffin. Griffin was imprisoned for driving on a suspended license. Griffin has a history of ulcers. While in the jail Griffin suffered extreme abdominal pain ...

Staff Representative in Medication Hearing Must Have Medical Knowledge

The court of appeals for the Fourth circuit held that federal prison officials can forcibly give a federal pretrial detainee psychotropic drugs without a court hearing. But, if the prisoner has a prison staff member acting as his representative at the hearing, the staff member must be knowledgeable about medical ...

Brown Ad-Seg Due Process Claim Remanded for Hearing

Brown Ad-Seg Due Process Claim Remanded For Hearing

By Ronald Young

The Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia circuit held that a prisoner who received ten months of administrative segregation during a housing reassignment hearing did not receive the minimal process required by the Due Process Clause. The ...

Administrative Exhaustion not Jurisdictional Satisfied by Letters to Defendants

The court of appeals for the Sixth circuit reiterated that the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) requires administrative exhaustion in all cases, even where prisoners seek money damages not available via prison grievance systems. The court also held that the exhaustion requirement is not jurisdictional and that a prisoner exhausted ...

Texas Supreme Court Invalidates TDCJ-ID VitaPro Contract

The Texas Supreme Court reversed a lower appellate court's decision and held that the trial court had ruled correctly when it invalidated TDCJ-ID's contract with VitaPro Foods, Inc. of Montreal, Canada, for a soy-based meat substitute. The product was unpopular among prisoners and guards who claimed it made ...

Sixth Circuit Orders Retrial of Retaliation Suit

by Matthew T. Clarke

The Sixth Circuit court of appeals has ordered the retrial of a lawsuit by the surviving mother of a deceased ex-prisoner against a guard who allegedly retaliated against her son because the mother requested the guard's name and badge number.

1n 1993, Stephen Neal was ...

Showing Of Malice Under Eighth Amendment Excessive Force Test Not Required For Sexual Assault Claim

By Ronald Young

The court of appeals for the Tenth Circuit held that it was plain error to instruct a jury that, to find a prison guard liable on excessive force claim where the guard allegedly raped prisoner, it had to find both that he forced the prisoner to have ...

Liberty Interest In New York Work Release

By Ronald Young

The court of appeals for the Second circuit held that a prisoner has a protected liberty interest in her continued participation in a work release program, and entitled to a hearing which states the reason for her removal from the program, prior to her formal jurisdictional removal ...

Individual Analysis Required for Diabetic Class Action Damage Award

By Ronald Young

The court of appeals for the Third circuit held that the lower court erred in holding that all members of the plaintiff class past, present, and future of insulin-dependent diabetic prisoners alleged violation of their Eighth Amendment rights.

In 1990, Darryl rouse, an insulin-dependent diabetic then incarcerated ...

$97,500 Awarded in NY Prison Work Accident

On July 19, 1999, a Binghamton county court in New York awarded $97,500 in damages to Fred Thomas for an eye injury he suffered. while imprisoned in a New York state prison in 1993.

Thomas, then a 33-year-old prisoner at the Elmira Correctional Facility, was injured when an electric ...

No Pretrial Appeals of Motions to Dismiss

The Eighth circuit court of appeals held that it had no jurisdiction to hear interlocutory appeals on issues other than qualified immunity. The court also held it will review FRCP 60(b) motions for abuses of discretion.

Emmit Broadway was a pretrial detainee housed in a jail run by the ...

Arizona Jury Acquits CCA Escapees

Two Alaska state prisoners on trial for a 1996 escape from a private prison were acquitted by an Arizona jury. The prosecution was undoubtedly stunned by the verdict in what was considered to be an open and shut case. However, the prosecutor in the case had no post-verdict comments for ...

Field 'Sleep Out' Without Adequate Toilet Facilities States An Eighth Amendment Violation

By Ronald Young

The court of appeals for the Fifth circuit held that, for qualified immunity purposes, a prisoner who was forced to spend the night outdoors in a work field without adequate bathroom facilities and shelter demonstrated a violation of his clearly established Eighth Amendment rights. The court also ...

Iowa Supreme Court Holds Liberty Interest in Good Time Law

The Iowa supreme court held that Iowa prisoners have a due process liberty interest in their good time credits, but do not have a private cause of action under Iowa tort law for their negligent loss. Federal courts previously held that Iowa law did not create a liberty interest in ...

Slave Labor O.K. FLSA Does Not Apply to Detainees

by Matthew T. Clarke

The Third Circuit court of appeals has held that detainees who won their appeals, but the state appealed further, are still "duly convicted" detainees for purposes of the Thirteenth Amendment's prohibition on slavery, even if the detainee ultimately prevails on appeal. The Third Circuit also ...

Mailbox Rule Applies to Section 2254/2255 Motions

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals held that a prisoner's pleadings were filed at the time he mailed them, even though he used the prison's regular mail system instead of its legal mail system.

While incarcerated at the Federal Correctional Institution in E1 Reno, Oklahoma, Steven Gray filed ...

Private Prison Contract May be Invalid

Private Prison Contract May Be Invalid

The Colorado state court of appeals remanded a case to the trial court for a determination of the validity of a private prison contract. The court implied that the contract may be invalid but failed to indicate what, if any, remedy may exist if ...

Retaliation Claim Remanded for Hearing on Qualified Immunity

Retaliation Claim Remanded For Hearing On Qualified Immunity

By Ronald Young

The court of appeals for the Second circuit held that a district court's denial of summary judgement to prison guards on grounds of qualified immunity required remand to reconsider whether action against prisoner would have taken place in ...

Prison Riots in Peru

On Monday, Feb. 7, prisoners from the Communist Party of Peru (PCP, or "Shining Path" in the media) led an uprising at the maximum-security prison of Yanamayo in Puno, taking over 30 hostages. Seven guards and police were wounded, and one prisoner was killed, identified as Carlos Celso Ponce Torres ...

$12,000 Awarded in NY Slip and Fall

On July 15, 1999, the New York court of claims awarded pro se New York state prisoner Hamilton Thompson 112,000 for past pain and suffering. In 1996, while imprisoned at the Oneida Correctional Facility, Thompson slipped and fell in a puddle of water in his cell.

Prior to falling ...

IN Jail Settles Victim Suit for $650,000

On September 10, 1999, the Howard County jail in Indiana settled a lawsuit by crime victims for $650,000. A mother, 44, and her 9 year old daughter were physically and sexually assaulted by a prisoner who escaped from the jail by using a maintenance key to access a utility ...

The Western Prison Project

The Western Prison Project exists to help build a movement for progressive prison and criminal justice reform in our region (OR, WA, ID, MT, WY, UT, NV). We help support grassroots organizations work¬ing on prison issues (through research, coordination of joint projects, and tech¬nical assistance), and reach out ...

Marriott Cancels Prison Protest Concert

Sodexho-Marriot is a huge transnational corporation mainly consisting of hotel and food service operations. Marriott Dining Services, a subsidiary of Sodhexo- Marriott, operates the American University Tavern on the Washington D.C. campus of AU.

On February 15, 2000, a hip-hop concert was booked at the Tavern by AU Students ...

News in Brief

CO: On April 26, 2000, Bobby Fowler, 24, a captain at the Kit Carson Correctional Center in Burlington, was arrested and charged with felony criminal mischief for punching walls and knocking over a metal detector at the prison. The prison, operated by for profit Corrections Corporation of America, is chronically ...

$47,500 Settlement in Pennsylvania Restraint Suit

In May, 1999, the Northampton County Prison (NCP) paid Maria Merced $47,500 to settle a "hogtying" lawsuit she had filed. In August, 1996, while awaiting trial in the NCP, Merced argued with a guard and eventually spat on him. A number of guards then rushed into her cell, handcuffed ...

$100,000 Awarded Under ICCPR in GA Jail Suit

On February 24, 2000, a federal jury In Augusta, Georgia awarded 1100,000 in damages to a Danish citizen who was denied medical care and phone calls to his family in Denmark while he was awaiting trial in the Lincoln county jail in Georgia. The ruling is historic because it ...

The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade

By Alfred W. McCoy

Lawrence Hill Books, 1991

Review by Rick D. Card


Imagine America, the great crusader against illicit drugs, a nation willing to sacrifice hundreds of thousands of its citizens in the name of its War on Drugs. Now imagine that same sovereign secretly allied with known drug ...