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Prison Legal News: January, 2005

Issue PDF
Volume 16, Number 1

In this issue:

  1. Florida's Private Prison Industry Corporation Under Siege (p 1)
  2. Is There A Winning Argument Against Excessive Rates For Collect Calls From Prisoners? (p 6)
  3. Prison Needle Exchanges Around the World (p 7)
  4. Latest Honduran Prison Massacre: "Homies Were Burning Alive" (p 8)
  5. Texas "Gang Expert" Indicted for Sex Assaults (p 11)
  6. Ex-Rikers Island Chief Indicted (p 12)
  7. From the Editor (p 12)
  8. Massachusetts Court Enjoins Sheriff from Charging Jail Prisoners Assorted Fees (p 13)
  9. Don't Build It Here - The Hype Versus the Reality of Prisons and Local Employment (p 14)
  10. Washington Jail Settles Wrongful Death Suit For $1.6 Million (p 17)
  11. California Initiative To Soften "3-Strikes" Law Defeated; DNA Collection From Arrestees Approved (p 18)
  12. Washington Prison's Water System and Meat Contaminated With Feces (p 19)
  13. Qualified Immunity Denied to Supervising Driver's License Examiner in Oklahoma Prisoner's Rape (p 20)
  14. New York Prisoner's Retaliation Suit Remanded for Trial (p 20)
  15. HIV Is Occupational Disease for Connecticut Prison Guards (p 21)
  16. DNA Profiling of Conditionally Released Federal Offenders Upheld (p 22)
  17. Los Angeles Voters Reject 5,000 More Cops; Invest In Clear Ocean Instead (p 23)
  18. Washington ISRB Departure From Standard Sentencing Range Upheld (p 24)
  19. Misidentification Requires Washington Jail Officials Take Reasonable Steps to Confirm Identity (p 24)
  20. Texas Supreme Court clarifies Procedures For Civil Court Prisoner Appearances (p 25)
  21. Uprisings at CCA Prisons Reveal Weaknesses in Out-of-State Imprisonment Policies (p 26)
  22. Colorado DOC Report: CCA At Fault for Crowley Uprising (p 31)
  23. City Settles In Death of Prisoner at CCA-Operated Tulsa Jail (p 32)
  24. Kansas Supreme Court Upholds Gift Subscription Ban (p 33)
  25. Non-Contact Visits for Pennsylvania Sex Offenders Upheld (p 34)
  26. Total Confinement: Madness and Reason in the Maximum Security Prison (p 35)
  27. Gang Validation in Retaliation for Filing Grievances Is Actionable (p 36)
  28. Verdict for Other Defendants Cannot Negate Jury Question of Warden's Liability in Transsexual's Assault (p 36)
  29. Illinois ETS Injury Claim Allowed To Proceed; Out-of-State Legal Materials Ordered Provided (p 38)
  30. Public and Press Have First Amendment Right to Access Court Docket Sheets (p 39)
  31. Prisoner Stated Deliberate Indifference Claim, But Summary Judgment Denial Reversed (p 40)
  32. Verdict for Other Defendants Cannot Negate Jury Question of Warden's Liability in Transsexual's Assault (p 40)
  33. News in Brief (p 42)
  34. Arizona Adopts Favorable Termination Rule in Attorney Malpractice Suits (p 44)

Florida's Private Prison Industry Corporation Under Siege

by David M. Reutter

As early as 1980, drugstore mogul Jack Eckerd was convinced a private company could provide higher profits to Florida if it ran the state's Prison Industries. After Eckerd's lobbying of the Florida Legislature, that Legislature enacted laws to create Prison Rehabilitative Industries and Diversified ...

Is There A Winning Argument Against Excessive Rates For Collect Calls From Prisoners?

by Madeline Severin, 25 Cardozo Law Review 1469, March, 2004

Review by John E. Dannenberg

We all know about how prisons and jails conspire with telephone companies to bilk recipients of prisoner phone calls via exorbitant chargesswollen by kickbacks approaching 60%but how does one legally challenge this scheme?

Yeshiva ...

Prison Needle Exchanges Around the World

Did you know the first prison needle exchange program was started in Switzerland in 1992? Would you guess that the five other countries maintaining needle exchange programs in their criminal justice systems are Germany, Spain, Moldova, Kyrgyzstan and Belarus? In the United States, where Los Angeles television stations recently refused ...

Latest Honduran Prison Massacre: "Homies Were Burning Alive"

In first-ever interviews, representatives of the Mara Salvatrucha (MS) gang in Tegucigalpa, Honduras this May described how security forces were to blame for the May 17, 2004 prison fire that killed 105 of those they call their homeboys. In addition to starting the fire, police and prison guards allegedly kept ...

Texas "Gang Expert" Indicted for Sex Assaults

On June 17, 2004, top Texas prison administrator Salvador "Sammy" Buentello was indicted on felony charges that he sexually assaulted three female employees of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ). A week earlier Buentello had been indicted on four misdemeanor charges of official oppression for alleged sexual harassment.

In ...

Ex-Rikers Island Chief Indicted

Anthony Serra, formerly the second in command at the New York City Department of Corrections (DOC), has been indicted for felony grand larceny and 145 counts of misdemeanor violations of the Conflict of Interest Law. He faces up to 15 years in prison for the theft and a $5,000 ...

From the Editor

Welcome to the first issue of 2005. The year is starting pretty much the way it ended in terms of political progress for prisoners' rights: not very good at all. The ongoing, simmering outrage of the abuse of Iraqi and Afghan prisoners by the US military in those countries and ...

Massachusetts Court Enjoins Sheriff from Charging Jail Prisoners Assorted Fees

Massachusetts Court Enjoins Sheriff from
Charging Jail Prisoners Assorted Fees

by Michael Rigby

The sheriff of Bristol County, Massachusetts, has been enjoined from gouging prisoners and their families on jail service fees in accordance with his Inmate Financial Responsibility Program (IFRP).

Under the program, prisoners in the Bristol County Jail ...

Don't Build It Here - The Hype Versus the Reality of Prisons and Local Employment

Don't Build it Here - The Hype Versus the Reality of Prisons and Local Employment

by Clayton Mosher, Gregory Hooks, and Peter Wood

Fueled by the war on drugs, Draconian sentencing policies, and more general get tough on crime policies, the United States has experienced phenomenal growth in prison populations ...

Washington Jail Settles Wrongful Death Suit For $1.6 Million

On October 12, 2004, Jefferson County, Washington, agreed to pay $1.6 million to settle a lawsuit arising from the wrongful death of Kevin Bledsoe in the Jefferson County Jail. The settlement is one of the largest ever for excessive use of force by a county in the Pacific Northwest ...

California Initiative To Soften "3-Strikes" Law Defeated; DNA Collection From Arrestees Approved

California Initiative To Soften "3-Strikes" Law Defeated;
DNA Collection From Arrestees Approved

Proposition 66 (Prop. 66), a voter Initiative Act placed on the ballot by prisoners' families to soften California's unforgiving "3-Strikes" law by qualifying an offense as a third strike only if it is an enumerated "serious" or ...

Washington Prison's Water System and Meat Contaminated With Feces

On August 20, 2004, fecal coliform and E. coli were found in the water system at the McNeil Island Correction Center (MICC) near Steilacoom, Washington. E. coli was also found in about 6,000 pounds of ground beef produced at a meat processing plant on the Island prison. Both types ...

Qualified Immunity Denied to Supervising Driver's License Examiner in Oklahoma Prisoner's Rape

by David M. Reutter

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals has held that a state driver's license examiner who exercised supervisory control over a prisoner acted as a state actor and can be held liable for raping her. Pamela Smith, a former prisoner of Oklahoma's Tulsa Community Correction ...

New York Prisoner's Retaliation Suit Remanded for Trial

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed a district court's grant of summary judgment to guards in a prisoner's retaliation suit. This action was filed by New York prisoner Anthony Bennett, alleging he was retaliated against for successfully prosecuting a previous lawsuit and filing grievances.

In 1995 ...

HIV Is Occupational Disease for Connecticut Prison Guards

HIV is Occupational Disease for Connecticut Prison Guards

The Connecticut Supreme Court held that the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is an occupational disease for prison guards who are members of prison emergency response units. The court also held that the estate of a deceased guard filed a timely claim for ...

DNA Profiling of Conditionally Released Federal Offenders Upheld

DNA Profiling Of Conditionally Released Federal Offenders Upheld

by John E. Dannenberg

A sharply divided en banc Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held that the United States does not violate the Fourth Amendment when it requires "DNA profiling", a practice compelling the submission of DNA samples from certain ...

Los Angeles Voters Reject 5,000 More Cops; Invest In Clear Ocean Instead

by John E. Dannenberg

Los Angeles, California voters, in a November 2004 campaign marred by scare tactics, rejected a 1/2 cent sales tax measure (Measure A) that would have raised $560 million per year to pay for 5,000 added cops. At the same time, the voters approved a ...

Washington ISRB Departure From Standard Sentencing Range Upheld

Washington ISRB Departure from Standard Sentencing Range Upheld

The Washington Supreme Court has affirmed the State Indeterminate Sentence Review Board's (ISRB) extension of a sex offender's sentence beyond the standard range under the state's Sentencing Reform Act (SRA). Chapter 9.94A RCW.

In 2002 Lincoln Addleman had ...

Misidentification Requires Washington Jail Officials Take Reasonable Steps to Confirm Identity

The Washington State Supreme Court has held jail personnel have a duty to take steps to promptly release a detainee once they know or should know, based on information provided to them that the person they are holding is not the person named in an arrest warrant.

This matter was ...

Texas Supreme Court clarifies Procedures For Civil Court Prisoner Appearances

Texas Supreme Court Clarifies Procedures For Civil Court Prisoner Appearances

by Matthew T. Clarke

The Supreme Court of Texas recently clarified the procedures a prisoner must follow to secure the right to personally appear in a civil court proceeding. In doing so, it partially overruled most of the case law ...

Uprisings at CCA Prisons Reveal Weaknesses in Out-of-State Imprisonment Policies

by Matthew T. Clarke

States strapped by tight budgets and pressed by a swell of prisoners are faced with the Hobson's choice of releasing prisoners early to ease overcrowding or building prisons they can ill afford to construct and staff. Private prison corporations seem to offer a third choice ...

Colorado DOC Report: CCA At Fault for Crowley Uprising

by Matthew T. Clarke

On October 12, 2004, the Colorado Department of Corrections (DOC) issued an extensive, 179-page After Action Report on the July 20, 2004, riot at the Crowley County Correctional Facility (CCCF) which is run by Corrections Corporation of America (CCA). The report places most of the blame ...

City Settles In Death of Prisoner at CCA-Operated Tulsa Jail

The City of Tulsa, Oklahoma, has agreed to settle its part in a federal lawsuit over the death of a Native American prisoner in the Tulsa Jail. According to the November 7, 2003 settlement, the city will pay the man's family $200,000 and improve its police training program ...

Kansas Supreme Court Upholds Gift Subscription Ban

The Kansas Supreme Court ruled that the Kansas Department of Corrections' (KDOC) rule IMPP 11-101, which prohibits prisoners from receiving gift subscriptions to magazines and newspapers, does not violate the prisoners' constitutional rights under the First Amendment.

Reversing the Kansas Court of Appeals' decision contra in Rice v. Kansas, 76 ...

Non-Contact Visits for Pennsylvania Sex Offenders Upheld

The Pennsylvania Court of Appeals held that a convicted sex offender confined at the State Correctional Institution at Waymart (SCI-Waymart) did not have a right to contact visits with minor children.

Jeffrey Garber, a prisoner of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (PDOC) filed a Petition for Review, challenging the constitutionality ...

Total Confinement: Madness and Reason in the Maximum Security Prison

Total Confinement: Madness and Reason
in the Maximum Security Prison

by Lorna A. Rhodes, University of California Press, 2004 (329 pages, $19.95).

Reviewed by David C. Fathi

Like chain gangs and boot camps before them, "supermax" prisons were a raging fad in the 1990syet another round in the perpetual ...

Gang Validation in Retaliation for Filing Grievances Is Actionable

The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held that a state prisoner stated a valid claim under the First Amendment when he claimed that in retaliation for his having filed several grievances, prison officials revisited previously rejected gang affiliation insinuations and now branded him a gang member.

California prisoner ...

Verdict for Other Defendants Cannot Negate Jury Question of Warden's Liability in Transsexual's Assault

Section 1983 May Be Used To Challenge Disciplinary Hearings Not Affecting Total Length of Confinement

by John E. Dannenberg

The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals joined four other circuits in holding that when challenging the procedure or result of a prison disciplinary hearing, one may utilize 42 U ...

Illinois ETS Injury Claim Allowed To Proceed; Out-of-State Legal Materials Ordered Provided

by John K Dannenberg

Resolving two distinct complaints of an Illinois state prisoner, the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that (1) where injury from ETS [second-hand cigarette smoke] was alleged at one prison, transfer to another prison with the same problem did not provide the state with ...

Public and Press Have First Amendment Right to Access Court Docket Sheets

by David M. Reutter

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals has held that the public and press enjoy a qualified First Amendment right of access to court docket sheets. This case was filed by the Hartford Courant and The Connecticut Law Tribune, challenging the Connecticut state court system's practice ...

Prisoner Stated Deliberate Indifference Claim, But Summary Judgment Denial Reversed

Prisoner Stated Deliberate Indifference Claim, but Summary Judgment Denial Reversed

In a case with a long, unusual procedural history, the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a federal district court's denial of prison officials' motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim in a prisoner's ...

Verdict for Other Defendants Cannot Negate Jury Question of Warden's Liability in Transsexual's Assault

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals held a warden may be found to be deliberately indifferent to a male-to-female transsexual prisoner's safety where the prisoner was housed in the Protective Custody Unit (PCU) with a predatory prisoner. Traci Greene, a prisoner at Ohio's Warren Correctional Institution, was preoperative ...

News in Brief

News in Brief:

Afghanistan: On December 17, 2004, troops of the American puppet regime stormed the Pul-e Charkhi jail in Kabul where four prisoners, three Pakistanis and an Iraqi, had attempted to escape by killing and disarming a jail guard and using his automatic rifle to escape the prison. The ...

Arizona Adopts Favorable Termination Rule in Attorney Malpractice Suits

The Arizona Supreme Court has ruled that a cause of action accrues for attorney malpractice on the date the case is finalized in favor of the defendant because of the attorney's ineffective assistance. This rule is called the favorable termination rule, and is employed by many states.

James R ...