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Prison Legal News: August, 2000

Issue PDF
Volume 11, Number 8

In this issue:

  1. Wackenhut Wracked by Sexual Abuse Scandals (p 1)
  2. $7,500 Award in NY Window Injury (p 3)
  3. Rockwall, TX Jailers Indicted in Sex-For-Contraband Case (p 3)
  4. Exhaustion Requirement Discussed, $86,250 Beating Award Upheld (p 4)
  5. $12,000 Awarded in NY Work Injury Suit (p 4)
  6. From the Editor (p 5)
  7. Sweeping ADA/RA Jail Settlement Benefits Hearing Impaired Prisoners (p 6)
  8. $14,950 Awarded in NY Window Frame Suit (p 7)
  9. BOP Settles Medical Death Suit for $700,000 (p 7)
  10. VA Warden Fired in Foodbank Theft (p 8)
  11. Sixth Circuit Terminates Glover v. Johnson (p 8)
  12. DOJ Sues Wackenhut Juvenile Prison (p 8)
  13. WA Class B Felonies Entitled to 1/3 Good Time Credits (p 9)
  14. Prison Protesters Arrested in DC (p 10)
  15. Washington Ends Prison Telemarketing (p 11)
  16. PLN Sues to Uncover Telemarketing Closure (p 12)
  17. Guard's Intentional Destruction of Typewriter States §1983 and Texas Tort Claims (p 13)
  18. America Behind Bars, video series from Deep Dish TV (p 14)
  19. WA Guard Discrimination Suit Settled for $250,000 (p 15)
  20. Notes From the Unrepenitentiary: Transcending Hell (p 16)
  21. SC Prisoners Settle Rape Suits (p 16)
  22. $2 Million Awarded in IL Medical Neglect Suit (p 17)
  23. $1.75 Million in Oregon Excessive Force Jail Settlement (p 17)
  24. Attorney Fee Award Against Prisoner Reduced (p 17)
  25. Political Prisoners in Spain (p 18)
  26. $800,000 Settlement in AZ Jail Restraint Suit (p 20)
  27. California Statute of Limitations Tolled (p 20)
  28. WA Court Costs Can be Remitted (p 21)
  29. One-Year NY SHU Atypical and Significant Hardship (p 22)
  30. $8,000 Awarded in NY Chair Collapse (p 23)
  31. CA 3 Strikers Entitled to Good Time (p 23)
  32. Right to Counsel Violated by Intrusive Guards (p 24)
  33. AL DOC Settles PLN Gift Subscription Lawsuit (p 24)
  34. One Dead, Thirty-one Hospitalized in TX Prison Riot (p 25)
  35. Jail Discrimination Violates Equal Protection (p 25)
  36. News in Brief (p 26)
  37. Ohio Prisons Change Birthing Policy (p 28)
  38. Escape Costs Private Transport Company (p 28)

Wackenhut Wracked by Sexual Abuse Scandals

Wackenhut Wracked By Sexual Abuse Scandals

by Ron Young

After a decade as a leading operator of corporate-owned prisons, Wackenhut Corrections has become a prisoner of its own problems.

In New Mexico, a 500-page legislative report written by five consultants calls for a near-total overhaul of state prison operations, including ...

$7,500 Award in NY Window Injury

On November 8, 1999, the New York court of claims awarded $15,000 in damages to a New York state prisoner who cut his arm while opening a malfunctioning window. In 1990, Neil Henry, a prisoner at the Fishkill Correctional Facility in New York, cut his arm while opening a ...

Rockwall, TX Jailers Indicted in Sex-For-Contraband Case

Rockwall, TX Jailers Indicted In Sex-For-Contraband Case

Three Rockwall County, Texas jailers were indicted and all plead guilty after allegations that jailers gave drugs and alcohol to female prisoners in exchange for sex. A jail captain also resigned in lieu of prosecution.

One female prisoner was indicted for introducing alcohol ...

Exhaustion Requirement Discussed, $86,250 Beating Award Upheld

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals held that the term prison conditions, as used in the Prison Litigation Reform Act at §1997e(a), includes claims of excessive force, thereby subjecting prisoner claims to the Act's administrative exhaustion requirement. The court also held that prisoner substantially complied with exhaustion requirements ...

$12,000 Awarded in NY Work Injury Suit

On June 28, 1999, the New York court of claims awarded Leon Bienkowski $12,000 for past general damages for injuries he suffered on a prison work detail. Bienkowski was a prisoner at the Elmira Correctional Facility in New York in 1996 when a spring loaded cylindrical plunger struck him ...

From the Editor

Remember that effective August 1, 2000, PLN's prisoner subscription rate will be $18 for 12 issues, and $9 for six issues. Prisoner subscriptions will be prorated at $1.50 per issue. Rates for non prisoners will remain the same, as those were raised two years ago.

The June and ...

Sweeping ADA/RA Jail Settlement Benefits Hearing Impaired Prisoners

by Matthew T. Clarke

A federal district court in California has approved a sweeping settlement of hearing impaired prisoners' claims in a civil rights, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and Rehabilitation Act (RA) class-action suit against the Santa Clara County (California) Department of Corrections (DOC). In doing so, the court ...

$14,950 Awarded in NY Window Frame Suit

On September 17, 1999, the New York court of claims awarded the estate of Carmine Tarantino $14,950 for injuries Tarantino suffered at the Attica Correctional Facility when a window frame came loose and struck him on the head. Tarantino died of unrelated causes prior to the damages trial in ...

BOP Settles Medical Death Suit for $700,000

In February, 1999, the federal Bu reau of Prisons settled a medical neglect suit for $700,000. David Deen, a BOP prisoner, was 30 years old and confined at the U.S. Penitentiary in Atlanta, Georgia for five months. He was prescribed nitroglycerin for chest pains and anti depressants by ...

VA Warden Fired in Foodbank Theft

On October 13, 1999, Vanessa Crawford was fired as warden of the Pocahontas Correctional Unit. Two other unidentified Virginia DOC employees were also fired. The firings stemmed From the theft of food at the Central Virginia Foodbank (CVF).

CVF was started in 1995 as a joint public/private venture whereby ...

Sixth Circuit Terminates Glover v. Johnson

In 1977, two groups of female prisoners of the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) brought two separate §1983 civil complaints against the MDOC and various staff alleging Equal Protection and First Amendment violations with regard to educational and vocational programming (female prisoners sought parity with male prisoners on these issues ...

DOJ Sues Wackenhut Juvenile Prison

In March, 2000, six teenage boys, brutalized by guards in a Wackenhut prison in Jena, Louisiana, were removed by the judge who sentenced them.

State Judge Mark Doherty of Orleans Parish Louisiana was so appalled by their treatment that he made a special trip to the Jena facility to check ...

WA Class B Felonies Entitled to 1/3 Good Time Credits

The Washington State Supreme Court has held: (1) a former statute placing cap on early release good time credits at 15% rather than 33% of total sentence for those "convicted of a serious violent offense or a sex offense that is a class A felony" applied only to serious violent ...

Prison Protesters Arrested in DC

In a reprise of the 1999 Seattle World Trade Organization protests, thousands of activists gathered in Washington DC on April 9-17 to oppose annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, the prison-industrial complex, and neoliberal economic policies.

Estimates of the number of demonstrators varied from 5 ...

Washington Ends Prison Telemarketing

By Paul Wright

On May 13, 1999, the Washington Department of Corrections ended its last remaining prison telemarketing program. As reported in the August, 1998, issue of PLN, prison telemarketing has had a controversial history in Washington prisons. In 1998 the Washington DOC ended its state run telemarketing operation at ...

PLN Sues to Uncover Telemarketing Closure

The accompanying story on the closure of the Washington Marketing Group (WMG) operation at the Washington State Reformatory in Monroe, Washington, occured in May, 1999. Shortly after it occurred PLN editor Paul Wright filed a Public Disclosure Act (PDA) request with the Department of Correction's Correctional Industries (CI) seeking ...

Guard's Intentional Destruction of Typewriter States §1983 and Texas Tort Claims

A Texas state court of appeals has held that a guard's intentional destruction of a prisoner's typewriter states a claim under 42 U.S.C. §1983 and Texas tort law.

Robert Gordon, a Texas state prisoner, filed suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and state tort law ...

America Behind Bars, video series from Deep Dish TV

AMERICA BEHIND BARS, video series from Deep Dish TV

Review By Janet Stanton

No society since Nazi Germany has built so many prisons in such a short time. Each of those prisons is a school or a hospital that will never be built.

--Mike Davis

This quote, from the cover ...

WA Guard Discrimination Suit Settled for $250,000

In the May, 1999, issue of PLN we reported the widespread racism among white prison employees in the Washington Department of Corrections (DOC) and the resulting hostile work environment it created for minority employees as well as prisoners.

In July, 1998, black Clallam Bay Corrections Center guards Doris Washington, Charles ...

Notes From the Unrepenitentiary: Transcending Hell

Notes From The Unrepenitentiary: Transcending Hell

By Marilyn Buck

Nuh Albert Washington was a friend, brother and comrade to me and many others. He died this Spring. He was a Black Panther, a Muslim and a soldier of the revolutionary Black Liberation Army. He was a political prisoner, a hostage ...

SC Prisoners Settle Rape Suits

On October 16, 1999, an unidentified former woman prisoner settled a lawsuit for $115,000. The woman claimed that in 1995 while she was imprisoned at the Women's Correctional Center in Broad River, South Carolina, prison guard Anthony Green raped her and South Carolina prison officials then denied her ...

$2 Million Awarded in IL Medical Neglect Suit

On February 2, 2000, a federal jury in Illinois awarded $2 million in damages to a prisoner blinded through medical neglect by prison officials. The damage award is believed to be the highest in a prisoner civil rights case in Illinois.

Karl Williams, a prisoner at the Pontiac Correction Center ...

$1.75 Million in Oregon Excessive Force Jail Settlement

On March 29, 2000, the Klamath County Jail in Medford, Oregon, paid $1.75 million to settle an excessive force lawsuit filed by a former jail detainee. In 1997 Dana Lecomte was in the Klamath county jail on charges of driving with a suspended license. Jail guards claim Leconte was ...

Attorney Fee Award Against Prisoner Reduced

A federal court in Virginia reduced an attorney fees award against a prisoner who filed a factually frivolous suit from $28,719 to $900.

John McGlothin, a Virginia state prisoner, filed a civil rights suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the warden and chaplain of his prison, claiming ...

Political Prisoners in Spain

Political Prisoners In Spain

By Julia Lutsky

Political prisoners exist in every country and every country denies their existence. Spain is no exception. It has seen three distinct waves of modern political prisoners: those who defended the popularly elected Spanish Republican Government against Francisco Franco's 1936-39 rebellion; those who ...

$800,000 Settlement in AZ Jail Restraint Suit

In August, 1999, the Maricopa County board of supervisors, approved an $800,000 settlement for a pretrial detainee subjected to excessive force in the Maricopa County (Phoenix) Jail in Arizona. Richard Post, a wheelchair bound paraplegic was arrested and taken to the county jail.

Post claimed he was denied a ...

California Statute of Limitations Tolled

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has held that; (1) amended California tolling statute could be retroactively applied to former prisoner's claim; and (2) former prisoner was not entitled to equitable tolling.

David Fink, a former California prisoner, filed a civil complaint under 42 U ...

WA Court Costs Can be Remitted

WA Court Costs Can Be Remitted

Appeals, Division One, held that: (1) the State may be awarded costs under RCW 10.73.160 even if an indigent prisoner's appeal raises debatable issues; and (2) a defendant whose conviction has been affirmed may petition the sentencing court at any time ...

One-Year NY SHU Atypical and Significant Hardship

by Matthew T. Clarke

A federal court in New York has held that one year in SHU is an atypical and significant hardship pursuant to Sandin v. Conner, 515 U.S. 472 (1995). The court also held that a prisoner must exhaust state remedies with respect to medical indifference claims ...

$8,000 Awarded in NY Chair Collapse

On November 24, 1999, the New York court of claims awarded $8,000 in damages to New York prisoner Troy Benjamin. In 1995 while Benjamin was a prisoner at the Collins Correctional Facility, the back of the chair he was sitting in fell off, causing him to fall backwards, separate ...

CA 3 Strikers Entitled to Good Time

The Supreme Court of California held that: a defendant sentenced under the three strikes law (Pen.Code § 1170.12) is entitled to presentence conduct credits under Pen.Code § 4019.

Otis Michael Thomas, a California prisoner, was found guilty of first degree residential burglary (Count 2, § 459), making a terrorist threat ...

Right to Counsel Violated by Intrusive Guards

A federal district court ruled that a criminal defendant's right to counsel was violated by the refusal of guards to allow unmonitored communication between him and his attorney.

On January 26, 1990 David Lakin and four other prisoners abducted two guards while attempting escape from the State Prison of ...

AL DOC Settles PLN Gift Subscription Lawsuit

On March 29, 2000, the Alabama Department of Corrections (DOC) settled a lawsuit filed by Prison Legal News and Alabama prisoner Aven Cotton. The Alabama DOC had previously required its prisoners to purchase books, magazines and newspaper subscriptions using funds from their prison trust fund accounts.

Gift books and subscriptions ...

One Dead, Thirty-one Hospitalized in TX Prison Riot

One Dead, Thirty-one Hospitalized In TX Prison Riot

A riot in a west Texas state prison Tuesday, April 25, 2000, has left one prisoner dead and thirty-one injured severely enough to require hospitalization according to National Public Radio. The riot, which had racial overtones, began in the dining facility of ...

Jail Discrimination Violates Equal Protection

The Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit held that different treatment of similarly situated prisoners because of their race, states an equal protection claim.

In 1998, Ricky L. Powells, a black prisoner, filed three separate lawsuits alleging that several defendants violated his rights during his incarceration at the Minnehaha ...

News in Brief

CT: On June 1, 2000, a mattress fire at the Northern Correctional Tnstitution, a control unit in Somers that includes the state's

death row, left three prisoners and four guards injured. The guards were treated for smoke inhalation, one prisoner suffered burns and two others were treated for smoke ...

Ohio Prisons Change Birthing Policy

In January, 2000, the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and corrections (DORC), announced it would change its policies for pregnant prisoners at the Franklin Pre-Release Center in Columbus, Ohio, which houses the state's pregnant prisoners. The policy change is a result of a lawsuit filed in 1999 by Sean Turner ...

Escape Costs Private Transport Company

A private prisoner transport company agreed to pay $50,000 to the state of North Dakota to defray the state's expenses for recapturing a prisoner who spent three months as a fugitive after escaping from one of its buses.

Convicted child killer Kyle Bell was being transported from North ...