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Prisoner Education Guide

Prison Legal News: February, 2004

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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 prison-building program.

Imprisoning citizens became popular business in the early 1990's. Companies like Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), Wackenhut Corrections Corporation (WCC) and Cornell were quick to take up the cause. CCA is the largest private prison company in the U.S. with fifty-nine facilities and nearly sixty-thousand prison and jail beds under its control. WCC maintains over forty-thousand prison and jail beds and employs about ten thousand people world wide. Cornell has fifty five prisons in twelve states and Washington D.C., holding around 13,000 prisoners.

Specializing in half-way houses and juvenile detention facilities, Cornell managed to corner close to seven percent of the private prison market. Only Correctional Services Corporation (CSC) rivaled Cornell in locking up adolescents.

For a while these merchants of human misery profited handsomely. But when the demand for prisons dwindled in the late 1990's their unscrupulous profits diminished like thirty pieces ...

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 due process in their censorship practices and their practice of punishing prisoners who write for PLN and other publications in exchange for payment. Both lawsuits have generated fair amounts of local and national publicity in terms of the ongoing suppression of free speech rights of publishers and prisoners alike by prison officials.

Unfortunately, PLN is in the vanguard nationally combating prison censorship. We remain dedicated to the idea that any prisoner in America should be able to receive PLN. In these times, this is a pretty radical idea. It is especially disheartening that it has fallen to a very small non-profit like PLN to fight these battles while the corporate media, who are also affected by these practices, sit on the sidelines doing nothing.

These lawsuits consume enormous amounts of staff time and resources, which means we lack the time and resources to work on other issues. We require the ...

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 fatally shot by a single shot to the chest from a prison guard's Mini-14 semi-automatic rifle during a fight on the PVSP Facility B yard. Initially, prison authorities reported a "major riot" among 300 prisoners. But eyewitness accounts, backed by videotapes of the incident, showed that no more than 50 prisoners were involved.

Upon release for the evening meal, two prisoners of rival Mexican gangs scuffled, following which everyone was sent back to their cells. After a determination that there would be no further problems, the meal release was continued. Thereafter, Enriquez was observed pummeling a rival gang member in the yard. After firing warning rounds and shouting warnings, two guards fired a live round each at Enriquez - one killing him.

In question was whether such deadly force was proper under guidelines promulgated after 39 prisoners were shot to death by CDC guards during the 1990s. The new standards ...

$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 Laslie, a former prisoner, supplied the trio with a getaway car.

Gil, Dick and McNeil worked in a building trades program at NHSP. On Wednesday, June 4, 2003 the three men managed to slip away unseen shortly after 10:00 a.m. Twenty minutes passed before they were missed.

Shielded by woods surrounding the work site the escapees made their way to Interstate 89 where they abandoned their prison clothes which were eventually found by a passing jogger. The ensuing search took New Hampshire State Police and Massachusetts State Police into surrounding states and even into Canada.

The media hyped the residents of nearby Concord to believe that the trio was possibly armed and dangerous.

"I'm sure it must have been hair-raising for many of the old folks on this street," said Dan O'Conner, a local resident and owner of a car dealership in Concord.

"You never give ...

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 from potentially deadly diseases that may be contained in body fluids.

In June, 2003, a Texas Court in Huntsville sentenced prisoner Bobby Ferguson, 37, to 50 years after he was convicted of harassing guard John Pope. The charge was based on Ferguson throwing a milk carton full of feces on Pope in January 2002. Ferguson was angry because he was forced to move out of his Huntsville prison cell into another cell without his belongings.

In Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, John Carl Marquez, 36, was arrested on suspicion of beating his wife. At the time of his arrest, Marquez spit in the arresting officer's face. Marquez was convicted of "placing bodily fluid upon a government employee." Despite Marquez and the arresting officer testing negative for any communicable disease, Marquez was sentenced to life in prison in July, 2003, as he had prior convictions.

The May 2003 edition of PLN reported ...

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 eligible to earn day-for-day ("half-time") credits will earn credits at the rate applicable to their sentence (i.e., 15%, 20% or none). Credit-earning status begins effective the date of arrival into reception. Details of the study program have not been announced.

Note: Theoretically, if California's normal complement of 64,000 incarcerated parole violators earned 1/2 time instead of 1/3 time, the prison population would be reduced by nearly 10,000. It remains to be seen if prisons are correspondingly closed or if parole agents simply sweep up more violators to fill the vacant beds. (See: PLN, Nov. 2003, p.1.)

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 from other guards for breaking the code of silence and telling the truth about the beatings. Additionally, one lieutenant resigned after he was demoted and suspended. The jail was seeking to fire one supervisor and a guard and suspended another lieutenant. A superintendent, a lieutenant, two sergeants and five guards received other disciplinary punishments. All of the disciplinary actions were related to the beatings and subsequent cover up attempts.

The fallout from the beatings has caused the withdrawal of Ernesto Velasco from consideration for head of the Illinois prison system. Velasco was the jail director at the time of the beatings and had become acting prison system director.

Focus On Three Beatings

Three beatings have received the greatest attention. One in February 1999, involved 40 members of the elite Special Operations Response Team (SORT) who, accompanied by 4 unmuzzled dogs, terrorized and beat 400 prisoners. In May 2000, there was ...

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, Colorado. Since around 2001 the ADX has implemented a local policy, Institutional Supplement FLM 5265.11B and C which bans all publications that contain articles or information by or about prisons and prisoners. The policy is purportedly evenly applied to all publications. For PLN this has translated into a total, blanket ban. The BOP claims that publications containing such articles thus become "inmate correspondence," permitting such censorship.

PLN has filed a Bivens suit against the BOP defendants in their official and individual capacities claiming that this blanket ban violates its right as a publisher to free speech under the First Amendment. Prior to the new policy, PLN was regularly delivered to its ADX subscribers.

The BOP complex in Florence houses 4 different security level prisons. Since it opened in 1995, Florence, especially the ADX and U.S. Penitentiary, have been among the most violent prisons in the United States. Several ...

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 seem surprising or unexpected in light of the tremendous increase in interest in prisoners' children over the past 2-3 years. But, in fact, it is consistent with the traditional approach to prisoners and their families, which was based upon several false assumptions, including:

Ø the assumption that most children of prisoners lived with their incarcerated parent prior to his/her incarceration;

Ø the assumption that most prisoners had lived in and would return to 2-parent, traditional nuclear families upon release; and

Ø the assumption that the obstacle to reunification of most prisoners and their children is simply incarceration.

None of these assumptions are correct. Many prisoners (and experienced practitioners who work with incarcerated parents and their families) have another perspective, recognizing that loss of contact between children and their parents in jail or prison is most often the outcome of complex family circumstances related to the causes of, but not ...

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, but still contested, placement in a house-trailer on state prison grounds in Soledad, California.

Brian DeVries, 44, molested at least nine boys. His known offenses began in 1978 in New Hampshire, where he molested the 5-year-old son of his landlord. While on probation, he sexually assaulted three boys aged 8, 10 and 12. In Florida, he molested four more boys, finally ending his career with an 8-year-old boy in San Jose, California. He completed his last prison sentence in 1997 and was committed to ASH under California's Welfare and Institutions Code § 6600 et seq. (1996 SVP law).

Under the SVP law, one must be reviewed for [supervised] release at least every two years, based upon psychological evaluations and subject to a court or jury trial. DeVries took the unusual step in 2001 of voluntarily having himself surgically castrated to reduce his sexual urges, subsequent to which he was approved ...

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 the bottom line is that prison law is a highly technical area of law full of highly byzantine rules and procedural default mechanisms that makes a criminal appeal look like a trip down a modern superhighway on a sunny day. Dan Manville's book Disciplinary Self-Help Litigation Manual provides a carefully guided tour of this circuitous area of the law and the numerous obstacles in the path of any potential litigant.

The book is a supplement to the author's Prisoner Self-Help Litigation Manual.2 Like that book, it is written from perspective of a prisoner helping himself. It is organized around the problems that a prisoner will find in his or her day to day prison life.3 The focus of the book is on the individual (usually pro se) litigant trying to deal with the adverse effect of a prison misconduct ticket. Such tickets can have long lasting ...

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 Newport in October, 2003. See January, 2004, PLN for details.]

Charles C. Palmer died of an overdose on April 20, 2003 in Vermont's Northern State Correctional Facility. (NSCF) An autopsy revealed that Palmer's system contained lethal amounts of morphine and alprazolom which is similar to valium.

According to Vermont DOC Commissioner Steve Gold, Palmer was not taking any medication prescribed by prison medical staff.

Eva LaBounty, a prisoner in Vermont's Dale Correctional Facility, died of a drug overdose on May 7, 2003. Her death is listed as suicide but another prisoner has been formally charged with giving LaBounty prescription drugs.

Beverly E. Pellerin faces criminal charges for supplying LaBounty with valium although valium is not one of the drugs that caused LaBounty's death. According to the death certificate, LaBounty overdosed on methadone and the antidepressants amitriptyline and bupropion.

Lawrence Bessette was found with a belt around ...

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 March 28.

In addition, the state Assembly's Select Committee on Prison Construction and Operations was to soon conduct its own hearing on the matter. "If there are regulations the department is not following or they are shortcutting any of the (regulations), that should be addressed," said Mark Leno (D), chairman of the Public Safety Committee.

Among the job placements sparking the investigations and hearings include a paroled rapist getting a job as a security guard, a felony drunk driver placed as a limousine driver, and a convicted child molester getting work as a youth corps worker.

Other questionable placements: a man convicted of kidnapping landed work in a boys home, a burglar being hired as a locksmith, a car thief hired on washing cars, and a paroled robber hired as an assistant boy scout leader.

But the case drawing the majority of the attention and outrage was the case ...

$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 to Human Rights Watch, one would be hard pressed to find a Palestinian who has not either themselves, a family member or a friend been imprisoned by Israel. Although no mention of a prisoner release is made in the US backed initiative, which seeks a resolution of the Israeli - Palestinian conflict and the establishment of a Palestinian state, pressure from political factions and the Palestinian community as a whole has made it a priority for the Palestinian leadership.

Since the beginning of the second Palestinian uprising against Israeli occupation (Intifada in Arabic) in September 2000, Israeli military forces have detained over 2,000 Palestinian children under the age of 18, some as young as 13 years. As of July 2003, approximately 350 were being held for interrogation, pending trial or while serving sentences issued by Israeli military courts in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT). Of these, ten are girls, and ...

$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 minor for immoral purposes in 1998. On January 16, 2002, Dutcher reached his earned early release date and was eligible for release to community custody. However, the DOC refused to allow him to submit a release plan since the End of Sentence Review Committee (ESRC) was referring him for civil commitment as a sexually violent predator. Dutcher sought relief via personal restraint petition.

The court first found that the former RCW 9.94A.150 (recodified in 2001 as RCW 9.94A.728) requires the DOC to allow sex offenders to earn early release days for good behavior, and to release them to community custody on their earned early release dates.

The court noted that DOC Policy 350.200 sets out the earned early release procedure. When Dutcher was convicted that policy required DOC staff to help all prisoners develop a plan for release on their earned early release dates. In ...

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 of the Union Correctional Institution in Raiford. Since February 2003, the Florida DOC has banned issues of PLN by claiming each issue constitutes a threat to prison security based on the ads for discount telephone services that PLN carries. PLN has carried such ads since 1998 without incident. At no point has the Florida DOC notified PLN of the censorship.

After affected prisoner subscribers informed PLN of the censorship, PLN contacted Crosby's office noting that prisoners cannot contract for the discount phone services advertised in PLN, only people with utilities can do so. Crosby referred PLN's demand letter to his general counsel who upheld the censorship. Just prior to filing suit, the FL DOC changed its mind and delivered all the censored issues. Then, they changed their minds again and decided they would continue censoring PLN based on its ad content.

The Florida DOC receives over $18 million ...

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 and painful death." The Montana Dept. of Corrections (MDOC) denied his administrative grievance for treatment on the grounds that no prisoner is receiving Hep-C treatment because it is "not yet available." Notably, Brown's offer to pay for his own treatment was also rejected.

His court petition alleged that such failure to treat Hep-C violated the Eighth Amendment's Cruel and Unusual Punishment Clause, averring that not permitting any treatment was an act of "deliberate indifference." Brown backed his petition with media articles including an Associated Press release reporting that 900 of Montana's 2,750 state prisoners have Hep-C. The court also cited to a June, 2002 Prison Legal News article which reported on two unpublished federal court decisions ordering treatment for Hep-C disease. (See: PLN, June 2002, p.16 "Two Federal Courts Grant Injunction For HCV Treatment.")

The Montana court rejected habeas corpus as a forum for Brown ...

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 be seen as anything else but a concession that they did overbuild and overestimate supermax capacity," said David Fathi, an attorney at the ACLU's National Prison Project. The Virginia Department of Corrections has another explanation for the overcapacity: the supermaxes made themselves obsolete by modifying prisoner behavior. Thus, according to the DOC, there are fewer supermax prisoners because so many "graduated down" from supermax to lower custody levels.

This claim is belied by statistics. Supermax incarceration is justified for about 1 percent of any prison system's population according to James Austin of the Institute on Crime, Justice and Corrections at George Washington University. Virginia built enough supermax beds to house 9 percent of its population. With the reduction, it now has slightly under 2 percent of its population in supermax cells. Additionally, a 1999 Human Rights Watch report on Red Onion supermax stated that "Little information was ever ...

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 genre of documentary prison literature.

As it stands, one-half of women serving time in prison in state prisons are African American. Behind that statistic lies the simple truth that most of those women have been abused, violated, pimped and/or undereducated by a public schooling system that seems to have largely abandoned even superficial interest in the advancement of low-income African American children. Could there be a more glaring example of the powerfully cruel intersections of classism, sexism and racism in our society than the disproportionate sentencing of Black women for mostly non-violent crimes?

Rather than answer the rhetorical question outright, Inner Lives makes this point through a brief (but solid) historical account of the biased treatment of lower-income Black women in the American criminal justice system.

With an understanding of the importance of oral narrative in African American feminist discourse, Johnson devotes the vast majority of her work to ...

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 grant of the officials' factually deficient summary judgment motion, which that court had obligingly construed instead as a Fed. Rule Civ.Proc. 12(b)(6) dismissal motion.

Texas state prisoner Edward Calhoun suffered from hypertension, asthma, epileptic seizures, and glaucoma - as well as knee and head injuries sustained in a fall. Because of his medical limitations, he was restricted by doctor's orders to no more than a four-hour per day work schedule that also restrained walking, standing and lifting. He alleged that he was abused by Security Captain Clyde Hargrove and Lieutenant Mark Atkins, whom Calhoun claimed maintained a pattern of harassment against him. For example, Hargrove repeatedly spit sunflower seeds on the floor and then ordered Calhoun to pick them up. Hargrove and Atkins allegedly forced Calhoun to work 10-14 hour days doing strenuous porter work, including moving furniture - sometimes without being permitted to eat. He also alleged ...

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 visitors they had taken hostage to protest both their conditions and the slow pace of the judicial system where thousands of prisoners are held for years awaiting trial and even longer awaiting sentencing.

Ecuador: On January 16, 2004, 20 female prisoners at a prison in Guayaquil staged a protest claiming they should be freed after awaiting trial for more than a year. The women forced their way to the roof of the prison, set tires ablaze and stripped off their clothing. During the four hour protest, prison officials allowed reporters to speak with the women, who noted that under Ecuadorian law prisoners cannot be detained for more than one year without trial.

Florida: On January 17, 2004, Cachetta Ann Barnes, 26, was arrested and charged with aggravated assault for stabbing two sisters, one of whom is pregnant, in an argument over a man. Barnes is employed as a guard at ...

$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 ...


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