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Prison Legal News: February, 2004

Issue PDF
Volume 15, Number 2

In this issue:

  1. Cornell Company - The Prison Industry's Enron (p 1)
  2. From the Editor (p 8)
  3. Justification for California Prisoner Shooting Death Disputed (p 8)
  4. $40.1 Million Verdict Against CSC in Texas Prisoner's Medical Neglect Death (p 9)
  5. Escaped New Hampshire Prisoners Caught Camping (p 10)
  6. Feces Flinging Prisoners Receiving Lengthy Sentences (p 11)
  7. Work-time Credits Commence Jan. 1, 2004, in California Reception Centers (p 11)
  8. Chicago's Brutal Jail Guards (p 12)
  9. PLN Sues Bureau of Prisons Over ADX Censorship (p 15)
  10. When Incarcerated Parents Lose Contact With Their Children (p 16)
  11. California Has Difficulty Placing First Released Sexually Violent Predator (p 18)
  12. Book Review: The Disciplinary Self-Help Litigation Manual: A Guided Tour of Wonderland (p 19)
  13. Prisoners and Guards Charged With Murder as Drugs and Brutality Plague State Prisons (p 20)
  14. California DOC Under Fire For Ex-Con Job Placements (p 22)
  15. $177,000 Awarded in California Jail Medical Neglect Trial (p 23)
  16. Palestinian Child Political Prisoners Detained by Israel (p 24)
  17. $850,000 Settlement in LA County Jail Failure to Medicate Wrongful Death (p 26)
  18. Washington Sex Offenders' Release Plans Must Be Processed (p 26)
  19. PLN Sues Florida DOC Over Censorship and Writer Punishment (p 27)
  20. CCA Abuse Goes Unpunished at New Jersey INS Detention Center (p 28)
  21. Montana Supreme Court Denies Hepatitis-C Treatment (p 29)
  22. Nassau County NY Settles Prisoner's Beating Death Suit for $7.75 Million (p 30)
  23. Virginia Downsizing Overbuilt Supermaxes (p 31)
  24. Court Mail Is Legal Mail; Damages and Fees Upheld in Legal Mail Opening (p 32)
  25. Book Review: Inner Lives: Voices of African American Women in Prison (p 33)
  26. Exceeding Doctor's Work Limit Order Actionable Under Eighth Amendment (p 34)
  27. Missouri Jail Guard Convicted of Urinating on Prisoners, County Settles for $100,000 (p 34)
  28. News in Brief (p 35)
  29. $900,000 Settlement in California Alcoholic's Jail Death From "DTs" (p 36)

Cornell Company - The Prison Industry's Enron

It was not an earthshaking day when Cornell Corrections was founded in 1991. It was more like a pebble plummeting over a cliff, leading to a landslide of greed and corruption. Backed by Dillon Read Venture Capital, David Cornell's callous creation rose like cream to the top of the ...

From the Editor

In this issue of PLN we report the filing of PLN's lawsuit against the federal Bureau of Prisons for their blanket ban on PLN at the ADX facility in Florence, Colorado and our suit against the Florida Department of Corrections for their blanket ban on PLN, the denial of ...

Justification for California Prisoner Shooting Death Disputed

Fresno County, California sheriff's investigators and California Department of Corrections' (CDC) officials disputed whether the shooting death of a Pleasant Valley State Prison (PVSP) prisoner on October 12, 2003 during a prison yard disturbance was justified based upon CDC's use-of-lethal-force protocol.


Alejandro Enriquez, a 28 year-old lifer, was ...

$40.1 Million Verdict Against CSC in Texas Prisoner's Medical Neglect Death

by John E. Dannenberg


A Tarrant County, Texas jury awarded $35 million for negligence in the death of a boot camp prisoner, plus $5.1 million in punitive damages, against Florida-based Correctional Services Corp. (CSC) and their nurse Knyvett Reyes. The August 27, 2003 $40.1 million verdict was the ...

Escaped New Hampshire Prisoners Caught Camping

Three escaped New Hampshire pris-oners were captured at a Massachusetts campground just one day after their daring daylight getaway.


Kevin Gil, Philip J. Dick and Christopher McNeil negotiated their temporary freedom from New Hampshire State Prison (NHSP) in Concord by cutting through two security fences topped with razor wire. Shane ...

Feces Flinging Prisoners Receiving Lengthy Sentences

An emerging trend of sentences reveals that courts are imposing lengthy sentences on prisoners who throw bodily fluids on guards. In recent years, State Legislators have created new felony offenses that heavily penalize anyone who flings bodily fluids on guards. The philosophy behind these laws, supposedly, is to protect guards ...

Work-time Credits Commence Jan. 1, 2004, in California Reception Centers

Beginning January 1, 2004, all California state prisoners in reception centers who are statutorily eligible for Penal Code § 2933 day-for-day work-time credits will automatically earn such credits by participating in a new mandatory in-cell-study educational program. This applies both to new commitments as well as parole violators. Those not otherwise ...

Chicago's Brutal Jail Guards

by Matthew T. Clarke


A series of brutal beatings of prisoners by guards at the Cook County (IL) Jail in Chicago has already resulted in more than $1.5 million being paid to prisoner victims with several unsettled lawsuits still in court. Two jail guards resigned after receiving death threats ...

PLN Sues Bureau of Prisons Over ADX Censorship

On December 10, 2003, PLN sued Harry Lappin, director of the Bureau of Prisons (BOP), former director Kathleen Hawk Sawyer; Robert Hood and Michael Pugh, the current and former wardens, respectively, of the Administrative Maximum (ADX) facility in Florence, Colorado. The lawsuit was filed in federal district court in Denver ...

When Incarcerated Parents Lose Contact With Their Children

When Incarcerated Parents Lose Contact with Their Children

by Denise Johnston and Michael Carlin, Center for Children of Incarcerated Parents


It is becoming increasingly common for incarcerated parents to lose contact with their children, or knowledge of their whereabouts, during their time in jail and/or prison. This phenomenon may ...

California Has Difficulty Placing First Released Sexually Violent Predator

The California Department of Correc-tions (CDC) released its first civilly committed sexually violent predator (SVP) in August, 2003, after he had "graduated" from seven years of rehabilitation at Atascadero State Hospital (ASH), CDC's lockup unit for SVPs. A large public outcry against his court-ordered release resulted in his eventual ...

Book Review: The Disciplinary Self-Help Litigation Manual: A Guided Tour of Wonderland

by Dan Manville, 350 pages, paperback

Review by Stuart G. Friedman


As any criminal litigator knows, dealing with prison issues feels like jumping through the looking glass and into Wonderland. Despite court statements suggesting that only a high school education is necessary to cope with this area of law,1 ...

Prisoners and Guards Charged With Murder as Drugs and Brutality Plague State Prisons

Vermont: Four prisoners died in the custody of the Vermont Department of Corrections during a five week period between April and May 2003. Only one died of natural causes. [Editor's Note: PLN contributing writer James Quigley committed suicide in Vermont DOC custody at the Northern State Correctional Facility in ...

California DOC Under Fire For Ex-Con Job Placements

In March 2003, California lawmakers launched an investigation seeking information as to why the state Department of Corrections (DOC) assisted in placing former prisoners in jobs that were termed questionable and inappropriate. DOC officials were called to testify and answer questions at a full policy and budget committee hearing on ...

$177,000 Awarded in California Jail Medical Neglect Trial

by John E. Dannenberg


On March 26, 2003, an Orange County, California Superior Court jury returned a verdict of $77,000 in compensatory damages against Orange County and County Sheriff Mike Carona, plus $100,000 in punitive damages, for ignoring a jail prisoner's known medical needs and thereby causing ...

Palestinian Child Political Prisoners Detained by Israel

Palestinian Child Political Prisoners Detained By Israel

by Catherine Cook


Since the political process between Israel and the Palestinians was reinvigorated in May 2003, prisoners, including children, have been high on the Palestinian political agenda. With one of the highest per capita incarceration rates in the world at times according ...

$850,000 Settlement in LA County Jail Failure to Medicate Wrongful Death

The County of Los Angeles (LA), California settled a wrongful death claim on March 14, 2003 brought by the wife of an LA County Jail prisoner who died 2 ½ days after incarceration in August, 1999 because he was not given needed medication for his chronic illnesses.


Jerone Woods, 55 ...

Washington Sex Offenders' Release Plans Must Be Processed

The Washington State Court of Appeals for Division 1 has held that the Washington Department of Corrections (DOC) must process sex offenders' release plans, even if they are being referred for civil commitment as sexually violent predators.


William Dutcher was a DOC prisoner serving 60 months for communicating with a ...

PLN Sues Florida DOC Over Censorship and Writer Punishment

On January 12, 2004, Prison Legal News filed suit in federal district court in Jacksonville, Florida, against James Crosby, Secretary of the Florida Department of Corrections and Chester Lambdin, the Warden of the Charlotte Correctional Institution, Joseph Thompson, warden of the Florida State Prison in Starke and Paul Decker, warden ...

CCA Abuse Goes Unpunished at New Jersey INS Detention Center

Maybe it was cynical courtroom theatre, or maybe the attorney for the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) believed it when he ridiculed the very idea that prison guards would retaliate against prisoners for conducting a hunger strike to protest their incarceration by the INS. In his closing for the defense ...

Montana Supreme Court Denies Hepatitis-C Treatment

A divided Montana Supreme Court denied a state prisoner's habeas corpus petition seeking treatment for his Hepatitis-C (Hep-C) disease because the factual basis presented was inadequate.


Keith Brown, incarcerated at the Crossroads Correctional Center in Shelby, Montana, alleged he suffers from diagnosed Hep-C disease and "is dying a slow ...

Nassau County NY Settles Prisoner's Beating Death Suit for $7.75 Million

On March 31, 2003, Nassau County, New York agreed to settle a suit brought in the wake of the beating death of Thomas Pizzuto at the hands of guards at the Nassau County Correctional Center. The $7.75 million settlement is described in published reports as "among the largest Nassau ...

Virginia Downsizing Overbuilt Supermaxes

Critics have long claimed that Virginia grossly overestimated its need for supermaxesprisons that ostensibly house "the-worst of the worst." Early in 2003, Virginia undertook actions which reduced the number of beds classified as supermax from 2,400 to 550. This seems to confirm the criticism.


"I think it can't ...

Court Mail Is Legal Mail; Damages and Fees Upheld in Legal Mail Opening

by Dan Manville


The Sixth Circuit has held that mail from a court is entitled to First Amendment protection, which means that prison officials had to open legal mail in the presence of the prisoner to check for contraband. Sallier v. Brooks, 343 F.3d 868 (6th Cir. 2003). The ...

Book Review: Inner Lives: Voices of African American Women in Prison

by Paula C. Johnson, 339 pp. ,


New York Univiversity Press, 2003, hardcover


Review by Silja J.A. Talvi


Attention to African American women in prison is paid so rarely, and with so little depth, that Paula C. Johnson's Inner Lives stands as an invaluable contribution to the emerging modern ...

Exceeding Doctor's Work Limit Order Actionable Under Eighth Amendment

The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held that prison officials' forcing of a prisoner to work in excess of a four hour doctor-established daily limit, resulting in dangerous blood pressure elevation, was sufficient to state an Eighth Amendment civil rights claim. It also overruled the district court's ...

Missouri Jail Guard Convicted of Urinating on Prisoners, County Settles for $100,000

The recent sentence imposed on a jail guard exhibits the disparities in physical integrity to which prisoners are entitled. This is revealed upon review of the sentence the guard received for urinating on prisoners and that imposed on prisoners who throw bodily fluids on guards.


On July 29, 2001, guards ...

News in Brief

Ecuador: On January 15, 2004, president Lucio Guitierrez declared the nation's prisons to be in a "state of emergency" and would immediately appropriate funds to be used to upgrade the nation's overcrowded, violent and dilapidated prison system. On January 12, 2004, rioting prisoners at two prisoners released 300 ...

$900,000 Settlement in California Alcoholic's Jail Death From "DTs"

The County of San Joaquin agreed to pay $550,000, and the City of Lodi, California, $350,000, in a March, 2003 settlement of the 42 U.S.C. § 1983 complaint by the surviving children of a 31 year-old detainee with a long history of alcoholism, who died in jail ...