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Prison Legal News: June, 2004

Issue PDF
Volume 15, Number 6

In this issue:

  1. Welcome to Guantanamo World (p 1)
  2. Ex Con "Helps Police" by Trying to Murder Sex Offenders (p 7)
  3. Law-and-Order Former Texas Attorney General Lands in Federal Prison (p 8)
  4. From the Editor (p 10)
  5. Court Continues Oversight and Orders Corrections in Georgia Jail (p 10)
  6. $450,000 Settlement in California Prison Murder Suit (p 11)
  7. California's Proposition 36 Parole Violator Drug Treatment Program Covers Probation Violators (p 11)
  8. Pro Se Tips and Tactics (p 12)
  9. Florida's Incarceration Cost Recovery Statute Constitutional (p 13)
  10. Federal Supermax Terrorist's New Home and Bargaining Chip; $1 Million Cells Planned (p 14)
  11. Wackenhut Changes Name to Geo Group, Politics Remain the Same (p 16)
  12. 2000 Census of Prisons, Prison Populations Published (p 17)
  13. $22 Million Washington Parole Liability Verdict Affirmed, Review Granted by State Supreme Court (p 18)
  14. The Inmate's Guide to Prison Health Care (p 18)
  15. Videotapes Prove Abuse of 9/11 Detainees by Federal Guards (p 19)
  16. Suits in Michigan and New Jersey Seek to Force HCV Treatment (p 20)
  17. Nebraska Prisoners Win Summary Judgment on Phone Access and Monitoring Issues (p 20)
  18. U. S. Supreme Court Rules Consent Decrees May Be Enforced (p 21)
  19. California's Budget Secret: Prisoners Form Core of Forest Fire Fighting Army (p 22)
  20. Capitalist Punishment: Prison Privatization & Human Rights (p 22)
  21. New York Prisoner Awarded $335,000 for Non-Treatment of Fistula (p 23)
  22. Amended Pennsylvania Parole Statute Ruled Ex Post Facto; Third Circuit Orders Release on Parole (p 24)
  23. Jury Finds for Corcoran Guards in Prisoner Rape Suit (p 25)
  24. Actual Damages Required to Maintain Suit Under Federal Privacy Act (p 26)
  25. $1.4 Million Awarded in Kansas Prisoner Death (p 26)
  26. Missouri Guards Liable for Refusing Prisoner's Seatbelt Request (p 27)
  27. $135,000 Paid in New York Jail Sexual Harassment Settlement (p 27)
  28. $1.5 Million Illinois Prison Rape Verdict Overturned (p 28)
  29. Indictment Dismissed for Failure to Comply with Interstate Agreement on Detainers (p 29)
  30. Pro Se Indiana Prisoner Awarded $100,000 in Failure to Protect Suit (p 30)
  31. Illinois Segregation Brutality Suit Fails Because Injury Was De Minimis (p 30)
  32. Jury Awards Maryland Prison Guard $1.6 Million for Discrimination (p 31)
  33. Do New York Shiite Prisoners Have a Right to Separate Services? (p 31)
  34. California Prisoner Not Earning Wages Is Denied Workers' Comp (p 32)
  35. Ninth Circuit Affirms California Parole Denial Based On "Some Evidence" (p 32)
  36. D.C. Prisoners Serving Life Sentences Have No Right to Earn Good Time Credits on Maximum Terms (p 33)
  37. California Pays $1.25 Million for Woman Crushed by State Prison Bus (p 33)
  38. Unearned Good Time Credits May Not Be Withheld as Disciplinary Sanction (p 34)
  39. County Must Disclose Detention Center Settlement to Newspaper (p 34)
  40. Preliminary Injunction Automatically Expired in 90 Days for Alabama Women Prisoners (p 35)
  41. Pauper's Declaration Sufficient for Cost Bond in Texas Medical Malpractice Suit (p 35)
  42. Administrative Hearings and Judicial Reviews Mandated for Sex Offender Classifications Without Current Felony Conviction. (p 36)
  43. RFRA May Protect Federal Prisoners' Right to Cast Spells (p 36)
  44. Capello Decision Remains Good Law (p 37)
  45. Injunctive Relief Granted for Parole Rescission Based on Free Speech (p 37)
  46. Kansas Trial Courts Have Latitude in Setting Restitution Payments (p 38)
  47. Notice Required in Texas Parole Date Rescission (p 38)
  48. Consent Decree Entered in Unconstitutional BOP Parole Revocation Procedures (p 38)
  49. Qualified Immunity Appeal Deemed Frivolous; California Pays Beaten Prisoner $149,500 (p 39)
  50. Plaintiff Entitled to Trial on Question of Whether Mental Illness Warrants Tolling Statute of Limitations (p 39)
  51. Arkansas Work Release Prisoner Entitled to Unemployment Benefits (p 40)
  52. PLRA Only Requires Exhaustion of Applicable Remedies (p 40)
  53. Kansas Good Time Regulations Enacted After Prisoner's Crime May Not Be Applied Retroactively (p 40)
  54. BJS Says 1 in 15 Adults Will Go to Prison (p 41)
  55. Los Angeles County Pays $2.75 Million for Illegal Strip Searches (p 41)
  56. News in Brief (p 42)
  57. Common Fund Required for Incentive Award (p 44)

Welcome to Guantanamo World

The clue for 17 across, a seven-letter
empty space in the Friday, March 26, New York Times crossword puzzle was "detainee's entitlement." It took me a while to break the code _ the Friday crossword's always a nightmare _ and discover that the "entitlement" was "one call" (which ...

Ex Con "Helps Police" by Trying to Murder Sex Offenders

Between April 12 and April 25, 2003,
Lawrence Trant, Jr., 56, tried to kill 8 registered sex offenders in Concord, New Hampshire. Trant set fire to a boarding house, to an apartment building and ultimately stabbed one man in the street. All of the victim's names and addresses were ...

Law-and-Order Former Texas Attorney General Lands in Federal Prison

Law-and-Order Former Texas Attorney General
Lands in Federal Prison

by Matthew T. Clarke


Dan Morales, the former Texas at
torney general who ran on a law-and-order platform, was sentenced on October 31, 2003, to four years in federal prison after pleading guilty to mail fraud and filing a false income ...

From the Editor

This month's cover story reports on
the U.S. government's clandestine network of prisons around the world. The story was written before the news about the torture and murder of Iraqi prisoners appeared. The only thing that would have been unusual would have been the news that prisoners ...

Court Continues Oversight and Orders Corrections in Georgia Jail

by David M. Reutter


"The Court is totally out of patience with the assurances and promises that compliance will be achieved" with the Final Settlement Agreement signed on January 24, 2000. So said Judge Shoeb, U.S. District Court Northern District of Georgia, when ordering Fulton County, Georgia, to ease ...

$450,000 Settlement in California Prison Murder Suit

The California Department of Corrections (CDC) agreed on October 15, 2003 to pay $450,000 to settle the civil rights complaint brought by the surviving family of a prisoner murdered by his cellmate.

Jeffrey Ford, an effeminate homosexual serving prison time for petty theft at the California Medical Facility in ...

California's Proposition 36 Parole Violator Drug Treatment Program Covers Probation Violators

by John E. Dannenberg


The California Court of Appeal judicially extended the reach of California's parole violator alternative drug treatment program, Proposition (Prop.) 36 (Nov. 7, 2000, codified at Penal Code §§ 1210, 1210.1, 3063.1) to include similarly situated probation violators. Prop. 36, which permits a drug treatment ...

Pro Se Tips and Tactics

The Supreme Court recently decided
another in a series of cases about when prisoners can sue directly under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, versus when they must first employ habeas corpus proceedings, to challenge actions by prison officials. The difference is very important because if a prisoner must follow the ...

Florida's Incarceration Cost Recovery Statute Constitutional

The Florida Supreme Court held that
a Florida statute that imposes civil liens for recovery of incarceration cost and victim restitution violates neither the Ex Post Facto Clause or Due Process. Florida prisoner 011ie James Goad, who has been incarcerated since February 1991, initiated a "civil action" against the Florida ...

Federal Supermax Terrorist's New Home and Bargaining Chip; $1 Million Cells Planned

Federal Supermax Terrorist's New Home and Bargaining Chip;
$1 Million Cells Planned

by Bob Williams


The United States PenitentiaryAdministrative Maximum Facility goes by many names: ADX, Supermax, Alcatraz of the Rockies. It has been the federal Bureau of Prison's (BOP) home to problem and high profile prisoners since ...

Wackenhut Changes Name to Geo Group, Politics Remain the Same

The old maxim, the more things change, the more they stay the same," could have been tailored to Wackenhut these days. Although Wackenhut Corrections has spun off from its parent company, Wackenhut Corporation, there's no indication that the political involvement which brought it this far will change anytime soon ...

2000 Census of Prisons, Prison Populations Published

The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), in August 2003, released the findings of its Year 2000 Census of State and Federal Prisons. The report found that from the previous census in 1995 to 2000 the number of Federal, State, and privately-operated prisons increased from 1,464 facilities to 1,668 ...

$22 Million Washington Parole Liability Verdict Affirmed, Review Granted by State Supreme Court

$22 Million Washington Parole Liability Verdict Affirmed,
Review Granted by State Supreme Court


On August 8, 1997, Vernon Valdez
Stewart stole a car, sped through an intersection in Tacoma, Washington, and collided with another vehicle. The accident killed the driver of the other car, Paula Joyce. Stewart was under community ...

The Inmate's Guide to Prison Health Care

by Dr. D.M. Granit, Two Rainbow Publishing Co., Oct. 2003, 106 pp.

Review by John E. Dannenber


The Inmate's Guide to Prison Health
Care offers prisoners a unique perspective on how to get the best response to their health care needs: being a better patient. Dr. D.M ...

Videotapes Prove Abuse of 9/11 Detainees by Federal Guards

by Matthew T. Clarke


On December 18, 2003, Glenn A.
Finer, Inspector General of the U.S. Justice Department, released a report which found that guards at the Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) in Brooklyn, New York, physically and verbally abused detainees arrested as part of a federal immigration sweep following ...

Suits in Michigan and New Jersey Seek to Force HCV Treatment

A groundswell of prisoner litigation is taking aim at states to force them to comprehensively and meaningfully address HCV in prison. These suits, often brought as class actions, seek to mandate a protocol for HCV detection and treatment that satisfies Eighth Amendment guarantees against cruel and unusual punishment.


New Jersey ...

Nebraska Prisoners Win Summary Judgment on Phone Access and Monitoring Issues

Nebraska Prisoners Win Summary Judgment on
Phone Access and Monitoring Issues

by Matthew T. Clarke

A Nebraska state district court
granted Nebraska state prisoners' summary judgment on issues involving the monitoring and recording of phone calls to government officials, courts, and attorneys, and the denial of calls to some attorney ...

U. S. Supreme Court Rules Consent Decrees May Be Enforced

In a decision with implications for
prisoners' suits, the United States Supreme Court held that consent decrees may be enforced by federal courts. In 1993, mothers of children eligible for Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis, and Treatment (EPSDT) services under Medicaid sued several Texas state officials under 42 U.S ...

California's Budget Secret: Prisoners Form Core of Forest Fire Fighting Army

California's Budget Secret: Prisoners Form Core
of Forest Fire Fighting Army

by Peter Wagner


In California, up to three quarters of
the crew members fighting California fires are prisoners. In exchange for a reduction in sentence length, 4,100 minimum security prisoners work fighting fires and on public works ...

Capitalist Punishment: Prison Privatization & Human Rights

Capitalist Punishment: Prison Privatization & Human Rights

Edited by Andrew Coyle, Allison Campbell, & Rodney Neufeld,Clarity Press, Inc;

Zed Books (2003) 234 pp. Softback

Review by Mark Wilson


Proponents of prison privatization argue that for-profit prisons make good sense, "promis[ing] reduced costs to governments, better and more cost-effective services to prisoners and increased security for people living in communities where prisons are ...

New York Prisoner Awarded $335,000 for Non-Treatment of Fistula

On November 20, 2002, a state court of claims in Rochester, New York, awarded the estate of Olevia Ousley-Winters $335,000 after determining that prison doctors failed to properly diagnose and treat Ousley-Winters' medical condition. (Ousley-Winters died prior to trial, apparently from unrelated causes.)

While imprisoned at the Westchester County ...

Amended Pennsylvania Parole Statute Ruled Ex Post Facto; Third Circuit Orders Release on Parole

Amended Pennsylvania Parole Statute Ruled Ex Post Facto; Third Circuit Orders Release On Parole

by John E. Dannenberg


The US District Court (E.D. Pa.) held that a 1996 amendment to the Pennsylvania Probation and Parole Act violated constitutional ex post facto protections because it increased to a significant degree ...

Jury Finds for Corcoran Guards in Prisoner Rape Suit

On Tuesday, October 21, 2003, a
jury found four employees at California State Prison, Corcoran not responsible for the rape of prisoner Eddie Webb Dillard by a fellow prisoner. The verdict was read by District Judge Anthony W. Ishii, following a four week trial and six hours of deliberation by ...

Actual Damages Required to Maintain Suit Under Federal Privacy Act

Actual Damages Required to Maintain Suit
Under Federal Privacy Act


The United States Supreme Court recently held that a showing of actual damages is required in order to maintain a civil action brought under the Privacy Act of 1974. The Privacy Act regulates the collection, maintenance, use, and dissemination of ...

$1.4 Million Awarded in Kansas Prisoner Death

In August, 2003 a State Jury in
Leavenworth County, Kansas, awarded the son of a Kansas State prisoner who was killed after being stabbed by another prisoner on August 8, 2000, $1.4 million. Donald R. Grisham was stabbed on his 27th birthday at the Lansing Correctional Facility laundry room ...

Missouri Guards Liable for Refusing Prisoner's Seatbelt Request

Missouri Guards Liable For Refusing Prisoner's Seatbelt Request

by John E. Dannenberg


The Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals permitted a 42 U.S.C § 1983 complaint to proceed against five Missouri Department of Corrections (MDOC) transportation guards for injuries suffered by a shackled prisoner in a prison ...

$135,000 Paid in New York Jail Sexual Harassment Settlement

A New York City Department of Corrections guard reached a settlement of $135,000 in her federal civil rights suit alleging sexual harassment. Guard Virginia Jones began a consensual sexual relationship with Captain Michael Baxter in March 1998. Jones contended that in September 1998, she ended the relationship with Baxter ...

$1.5 Million Illinois Prison Rape Verdict Overturned

In a 2-to-1 decision, the U.S. Court of
Appeals for the Seventh Circuit overturned a jury's $1.5 million verdict in favor of a prisoner who was sexually assaulted by his cellmate.


Anthony Riccardo and Juan Garcia were both housed in the segregation unit of the Centralia Correctional ...

Indictment Dismissed for Failure to Comply with Interstate Agreement on Detainers

The Wyoming Supreme Court reversed a conviction and dismissed the underlying indictment because the State failed to bring the defendant to trial within the time period allotted in the Interstate Agreement on Detainers (IAD).


In 1997, Janvirgo Odhinn was sentenced to two to four years in the Nebraska Department of ...

Pro Se Indiana Prisoner Awarded $100,000 in Failure to Protect Suit

On May 21, 2002, an Indiana federal district court held that state prisoner Robert Pierson was entitled to $100,000 in compensatory damages because prison officials failed to protect him from assault by another prisoner.

Pierson, 51, arrived at the Indiana State Prison in Michigan City in August 1997 and ...

Illinois Segregation Brutality Suit Fails Because Injury Was De Minimis

Illinois Segregation Brutality Suit Fails Because
Injury Was De Minimis

by John E. Dannenberg


An Illinois state prisoner who alleged
in a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 civil rights complaint that he had been maliciously injured by prison guards escorting him to administrative segregation, lost his appeal of the unfavorable ...

Jury Awards Maryland Prison Guard $1.6 Million for Discrimination

In July 2003, a federal jury in Maryland awarded a former prison guard $1.6 million for the discrimination and hostile work environment he endured while on the job at a Maryland prison.


Mathen Chacko, a native of India, alleged in the lawsuit that for 20 years while employed as ...

Do New York Shiite Prisoners Have a Right to Separate Services?

by Matthew T. Clarke


The Second Circuit Court of Appeals
has held that a district court improperly dismissed a suit by Shiite Muslim New York state prisoners seeking separate religious services from the Sunni Muslims.


Thomas Pugh, Edward Hamil and Clay Chatin, New York state prisoners, filed suit against under ...

California Prisoner Not Earning Wages Is Denied Workers' Comp

California Prisoner Not Earning Wages is Denied Workers' Comp.

by John E. Dannenberg


The California Court of Appeals held
that a prisoner injured on his job in the prison laundry was entitled to a $0.00 Workers' Compensation Insurance Fund (Fund) award based upon his actual wages (no money - only ...

Ninth Circuit Affirms California Parole Denial Based On "Some Evidence"

Ninth Circuit Affirms California Parole Denial
Based On "Some Evidence"

by John E. Dannenberg


The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed the U.S. District Court, E.D. Calif. denial of a California state lifer's federal habeas petition which had found "some evidence" to support one of ...

D.C. Prisoners Serving Life Sentences Have No Right to Earn Good Time Credits on Maximum Terms

The United States Court of Appeals
for the District of Columbia recently held that prisoners serving life sentences with the possibility of parole have no right to earn good time credits on their maximum terms.


In the Mid-1980's, Eric Glascoe, Jibril Ibrahim, and Bobby Morgan ("petitioners") were each convicted ...

California Pays $1.25 Million for Woman Crushed by State Prison Bus

A Ventura County, California jury
awarded $1.25 million on August 6, 2002 for the wrongful death of an 88 year-old woman who was run over by a full sized state prison bus as it was turning right out of the Fred C. Nelles Youth Correctional Facility in Whittier, California ...

Unearned Good Time Credits May Not Be Withheld as Disciplinary Sanction

Unearned Good Time Credits May Not Be Withheld As Disciplinary Sanction

by Bob Williams


The West Virginia Supreme Court of
Appeals has held that a state prisoner may not lose more good time credits as a disciplinary sanction than those actually earned as of the disciplinary hearing date.


Randy Bailey ...

County Must Disclose Detention Center Settlement to Newspaper

The New Mexico State Court of Appeals has ruled that Dona Ana County must disclose to the Las Cruces Sun-News records relating to a civil suit settlement between the County and female jail detainees who were sexually abused by jail guards. Sun-News attorney fees were also awarded.


In 1999 a ...

Preliminary Injunction Automatically Expired in 90 Days for Alabama Women Prisoners

The U.S. District Court for the
Middle District of Alabama has brought to a halt prospective relief from unconstitutional conditions at an Alabama state women's prison because a previously entered preliminary injunction was allowed to expire under the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA).


As reported in the September ...

Pauper's Declaration Sufficient for Cost Bond in Texas Medical Malpractice Suit

Pauper's Declaration Sufficient for Cost Bond
in Texas Medical Malpractice Suit

by Matthew T. Clarke


A Texas court of appeals has held
that a prisoner's unsworn declaration in support of his seeking to proceed as a pauper satisfies the statutory requirement under Article 4590i, § 13.01(a), Texas ...

Administrative Hearings and Judicial Reviews Mandated for Sex Offender Classifications Without Current Felony Conviction.

Mandating administrative hearings
and allowing for judicial review, the Colorado Court of Appeals has reversed a state district court's dismissal of a prisoner's challenge to his Colorado Department of Corrections (CDOC) sex offender classification.


Albert Fisher, serving time in the CDOC for aggravated motor vehicle theft, was classified ...

RFRA May Protect Federal Prisoners' Right to Cast Spells

RFRA May Protect Federal Prisoners'
Right to Cast Spells


The U.S. Court of Appeals for the
Seventh Circuit (7th Circuit) has reinstated a federal prisoner's religious freedom lawsuit under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), 42 U.S.C. § 2000bb-1.


Kerry O'Bryan, a federal prisoner, was kept ...

Capello Decision Remains Good Law

The Washington Court of Appeals,
Division I, held that the Legislature exceeded its authority when it attempted to statutorily overrule the appellate court's decision in In re Personal Restraint of Capello, 106 Wn. App. 576, 24 P.3d 1074, review denied, 145 Wn.2d 1006 (2001). The appellate court ...

Injunctive Relief Granted for Parole Rescission Based on Free Speech

Injunctive Relief Granted for Parole Rescission
Based on Free Speech


U.S. District Judge Joseph E. Irenas
of New Jersey recently granted Edward Forchion's request for a preliminary injunction reinstating him to New Jersey's Intensive Supervised Parole (ISP) pending trial on his claim that state officials reincarcerated him ...

Kansas Trial Courts Have Latitude in Setting Restitution Payments

The Kansas Supreme Court has ruled
that K.S.A.2002 Supp. 21-4603d allows state trial courts to order prisoners to pay restitution from their prison accounts, and to order that a portion of such accounts be exempt from collection.


William Puckett was convicted of aggravated escape after he escaped ...

Notice Required in Texas Parole Date Rescission

Notice Required in Texas
Parole Date Rescission


In an en banc opinion, the Texas Court
of Criminal Appeals has held that the parole board must provide a prisoner prior notice of a hearing before reconsidering its decision to grant the prisoner mandatory supervision release.


Charles Albert Barry, a Texas state ...

Consent Decree Entered in Unconstitutional BOP Parole Revocation Procedures

Consent Decree Entered in Unconstitutional BOP
Parole Revocation Procedures

by Bob Williams


The United States District Court for
the District of Columbia has approved a Consent Decree correcting unconstitutional parole revocation procedures of the United States Parole Commission (USPC) for the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area.


Pursuant to the National ...

Qualified Immunity Appeal Deemed Frivolous; California Pays Beaten Prisoner $149,500

( In a prisoner 42 U.S.C. § 1983 suit alleging the brutal beating of a San Quentin prisoner by six guards, United States District Judge Charles Breyer (N.D. Cal.) threatened sanctions against California's State Attorney General Bill Lockyer if the state stooped to appeal Breyer's ruling denying ...

Plaintiff Entitled to Trial on Question of Whether Mental Illness Warrants Tolling Statute of Limitations

The United States Court of Appeals
for the First Circuit recently held that a mentally ill woman presented sufficient evidence to warrant a trial on her claim that mental illness prevented her from filing suit for nearly 30 years.


In May 2002, Kristin Douglas filed a civil rights suit against ...

Arkansas Work Release Prisoner Entitled to Unemployment Benefits

The Arkansas Court of Appeals, Division, II, held that a work release prisoner who loses his job as a result of a transfer to a prison to prepare him for parole is entitled to unemployment benefits as a result of losing his job. Kirk Rankin was an Arkansas state prisoner ...

PLRA Only Requires Exhaustion of Applicable Remedies

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the
Second Circuit has reversed a federal district court dismissal of a prisoner's civil rights lawsuit for failure to exhaust available administrative remedies, as required by the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a). The Second Circuit found ...

Kansas Good Time Regulations Enacted After Prisoner's Crime May Not Be Applied Retroactively

Kansas Good Time Regulations Enacted After Prisoner's
Crime May Not Be Applied Retroactively


The Kansas Supreme Court recently
held that an amended version of the Department of Corrections (DOC) regulation governing the award of good time credits cannot be applied to prisoners whose offenses were committed prior to the ...

BJS Says 1 in 15 Adults Will Go to Prison

The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS)
reported in August 2003 that, if current American incarceration rates continue, 1 of every 15 persons born in the year 2001 will be incarcerated at some point in their adult lives. The report also found that at the end of 2001 there were 1 ...

Los Angeles County Pays $2.75 Million for Illegal Strip Searches

by John E. Dannenberg


The County of Los Angeles settled
for $2.75 million the complaints of illegal strip searches and body cavity searches of female demonstrators at the Democratic National Convention in August, 2000, and the mistreatment and over detention of all plaintiffs. An additional settlement with the City ...

News in Brief

Arizona: On June 1, 2004, over 20 prisoners in the Yavapai county jail became very ill after an unidentified person put industrial soap in the dinner meal's iced tea. One prisoner was in critical condition and several others were hospitalized afterwards. Police were investigating.


Brazil: On May 30, 2004 ...

Common Fund Required for Incentive Award

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals
held a named class representative may not receive an incentive award unless a common fund is established. Prisoner C. Pepper Moore, who was named a class representative in 1988 in Hadix v. Johnson, which was a class action suit challenging conditions of confinement at ...