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Prison Legal News: September, 2005

Issue PDF
Volume 16, Number 9

In this issue:

  1. Inside the American Correctional Association (p 1)
  2. Do You Like Adventure? Prisons for Iraq (p 5)
  3. What's Wrong With the ACA? (p 7)
  4. From the Editor (p 8)
  5. USP Beaumont, Texas: Murder and Mayhem in the Thunder Dome (p 10)
  6. Interest Awarded in New Hampshire Canteen Surcharge Fee (p 12)
  7. CCA Guard Arrested for Sexually Abusing Vermont Prisoners (p 13)
  8. First They Came For Lynne Stewart (p 14)
  9. Houston Grand Juries Mostly Law-Enforcement (p 16)
  10. Parole Violators Flood Pennsylvania Prisons (p 17)
  11. Michigan: Money Bilked From Prisoners (p 18)
  12. Texas Prison Expert Pays the Price for Telling the Truth (p 18)
  13. $7,500 of Personal Injury Award Exempt From Attachment By Illinois DOC (p 19)
  14. Nebraska Law Automatically Restores Felon Voting Rights (p 19)
  15. Habeas Hints (p 20)
  16. Antibiotic Resistant Staph Infections Continue to Plague Prisons, Jails (p 22)
  17. Iowa's Governor Grants Ex-Prisoners Automatic Voting Rights Restoration (p 23)
  18. Florida Bans Sex Offenders from Hurricane Shelters (p 23)
  19. 300 More Washington Prisoners Headed to CCA Prisons (p 24)
  20. Mother Of New York Prisoner Awarded $377,200 For Suicide (p 24)
  21. New York Prisoner Awarded $5,250 for Prison Welding Shop Injury (p 25)
  22. Hawaii Settles Class Action Wrongful Imprisonment Suit for $1.2 Million (p 26)
  23. New York Prisoner Awarded $1,000 For Uncleaned Prosthetic Eye (p 27)
  24. U.S. Supreme Court: Michigan Plea Bargainers Have Right to Counsel On Appeal (p 28)
  25. Massachusetts DOC Fails to Meet Women's Special Needs (p 29)
  26. Acting Pro Se, NJ Prisoner Beats Charges of Spitting on Guard (p 30)
  27. Only One California Jail Has State-Mandated Psychiatric Treatment Center Licensure (p 30)
  28. Miami-Dade Pays $6.25 Million to Settle Illegal Strip Search Suit (p 31)
  29. California Guards Assigned Word Puzzles to Satisfy Training Requirements (p 31)
  30. Summary Judgment for CMS/NJ DOC Reversed in Physical Therapy Suit (p 32)
  31. California Guards Union Intimidates Prison Staff For Infracting Guard Misconduct (p 32)
  32. Ban On Male Guards In Michigan Women's Prisons Upheld (p 34)
  33. Seventh Circuit Upholds Indiana Sex Offender's Banishment From City Parks (p 36)
  34. Seventh Circuit Reverses Summary Judgment for CMS, Prison Doctor (p 36)
  35. Ninth Circuit Upholds Preliminary Injunction Against Webcams In Arizona Jail (p 37)
  36. Confiscation of "New Afrikan" Literature May Violate First Amendment (p 38)
  37. Guard Denied Qualified Immunity in MI Prisoner's Retaliation Claim (p 39)
  38. Washington Prisoner's Uninformed Disciplinary Plea Agreement Upheld (p 40)
  39. Rehabilitated California Ex-Cons Have No Privacy Protection From Media Productions Based Upon Public (p 40)

Inside the American Correctional Association

by Silja J.A. Talvi

[Ed. note: Prison Legal News goes undercover at the American Correctional Association's 2005 winter conference in Phoenix, Arizona. It's just business," as one prison medical administrator puts it. And what a surreal business it is.]

There is no doubt that good work is ...

Do You Like Adventure? Prisons for Iraq

by Silja J.A. Talvi


DynCorp International, a subsidiary of Computer Sciences Corporation, was in heavy recruit-ment mode at the Winter, 2005 ACA Conference.
The Dawn of Liberty," blared one flyer. Join Us in the Fight for Freedom EVERYWHERE.

To get current and former correctional employees to consider exciting opportunities ...

What's Wrong With the ACA?

The American Correctional Association (ACA) is the largest and best-known organization of prison and jail staff in the country. It offers higher education programs designed to train prison industry professionals and, like a traditional professional association, it certifies persons as members in good standing of the profession. Of course, the ...

From the Editor

by Paul Wright

As mentioned in previous issues of PLN, our website has been a major undertaking and now makes available all back issues of PLN in various formats, including all articles in PLN's customized and searchable database as well as the issues in PDF format. The website has ...

USP Beaumont, Texas: Murder and Mayhem in the Thunder Dome

Located in East Texas, the Federal Correctional Complex (FCC) at Beaumont is made up of a trio of federal prisons that are home to 5,667 prisoners. These prisons are run by the Bureau of Prisons, which is the federal arm of the U.S. prison system and an agency ...

Interest Awarded in New Hampshire Canteen Surcharge Fee

The New Hampshire Supreme Court held that the state was required to pay interest to all prisoners who receive pecuniary damages as a result of" Starr v. Governor, the New Hampshire canteen surcharge case.
Darren Starr, a prisoner of the New Hampshire State Prison system brought suit challenging the legality ...

CCA Guard Arrested for Sexually Abusing Vermont Prisoners

Sexual abuse by a Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) guard has spurred three lawsuits against CCA and resulted in the guard's arrest.
The legal activity resulted from incidents at CCA's prisons at the Marion Adjustment Center (MAC) and St. Mary's Kentucky. MAC was home to Vermont prisoners ...

First They Came For Lynne Stewart

First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out
because I was not a communist;
Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out
because I was not a socialist;
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out
because ...

Houston Grand Juries Mostly Law-Enforcement

Houston Grand Juries Mostly Law-Enforcement and Government Employees

by Matthew T. Clarke

Ever since a ruling by the U. S. Supreme Court in Smith v. State of Texas, 311 U.S. 128, 61 S.Ct. 164, 85 L.Ed. 84 (1940), grand juries have been required to represent a broad ...

Parole Violators Flood Pennsylvania Prisons

In the latest performance of justice by the numbers, a behind the scenes power struggle is playing out between the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (DOC) and the state Board of Probation and Parole (BPP). As usual, prisoners are caught in the middle.

Conflicting priorities are fueling the dispute. The DOC ...

Michigan: Money Bilked From Prisoners

Michigan: Money Bilked From Prisoners Used For Bonuses

While Michigan was trying to boost its cash-starved budget through spending cuts and tax increases, those in the Attorney General's Office were feasting on money squeezed from state prisoners.
In October 2004, Attorney General Mike Cox paid $340,000 in merit ...

Texas Prison Expert Pays the Price for Telling the Truth

by Matthew T. Clarke

Tony Fabelo was the head of the Texas Criminal Justice Policy Council for two decades. He survived multiple changes of administration by doing a great job as the state's top number-cruncher on prison issues. Legislators of both parties say the Cuban-born Ph.D., a nationally-known ...

$7,500 of Personal Injury Award Exempt From Attachment By Illinois DOC

A court of appeals in Illinois ruled that the Illinois Department of Corrections (DOC), which was seeking to attach a settlement awarded a prisoner in a personal injury suit, could not attach $7,500 of the award. That ruling was later affirmed by the Illinois supreme court.

Lonnie Booth was ...

Nebraska Law Automatically Restores Felon Voting Rights

On March 10, 2005, Nebraska lawmakers overrode a veto by the governor and passed legislation automatically restoring the voting rights of felons.
With the passage of Legislative Bill 53, Nebraska felons will automatically have their voting rights restored two years after completing their sentences, including any parole or probation. Currently ...

Habeas Hints

This column is intended to provide habeas hints" to prisoners who are considering or handling habeas corpus petitions as their own attorneys (in pro per). The focus of the column is habeas corpus practice under the AEDPA, the 1996 habeas corpus law which now governs habeas corpus practice throughout the ...

Antibiotic Resistant Staph Infections Continue to Plague Prisons, Jails

Antibiotic Resistant Staph Infections Continue
to Plague Prisons, Jails

by Michael Rigby

Chelsea Johnson, 30, said it began as a small pimple that formed on her right cheek shortly after she arrived at the Orange County Jail in 2003. Three days later, her entire face was swollen and she felt ...

Iowa's Governor Grants Ex-Prisoners Automatic Voting Rights Restoration

Iowa's Governor Grants Ex-Prisoners Automatic
Voting Rights Restoration

by Matthew T. Clarke

On July 6, 2005, Governor Tom Vilsack of Iowa signed an Executive Order which enacted a blanket restoration of citizenship rights to ex-prisoners who have completed their sentences. This allows persons previously convicted of a felony or ...

Florida Bans Sex Offenders from Hurricane Shelters

Florida Bans Sex Offenders from
Hurricane Shelters

A new Florida policy bans sex offenders who are not allowed contact with children from public hurricane shelters. Instead, they will be shuttled to their own shelters-prisons across Florida.

The rule applies to offenders not allowed contact with children as a condition of ...

300 More Washington Prisoners Headed to CCA Prisons

As we predicted, Washington's sentencing reform" has sharply increased the state's prison population to approximately 17,6001,400 prisoner's overcapacityadding 2,100 prisoners within the last two years alone.
Worse yet, nothing, including slashing sentences by up to 50 percent for a few hundred prisoners, has stemmed ...

Mother Of New York Prisoner Awarded $377,200 For Suicide

On March 14, 2005, a court of claims in White Plains, New York, awarded $377,200 to the mother of a suicidal state prisoner who died while in custody.

While serving time at New York's Green Haven Correctional Facility for automobile-related crimes, William E. Newborn Jr. became concerned about ...

New York Prisoner Awarded $5,250 for Prison Welding Shop Injury

On July 27, 2004, the Court of Claims in Rochester, New York, awarded Noel Atkinson, a New York state prisoner, $5,250 for past pain and suffering due to an injury he received while working in a welding shop at the Cape Vincent Correctional Facility. During the bench trial, Judge ...

Hawaii Settles Class Action Wrongful Imprisonment Suit for $1.2 Million

The state of Hawaii has agreed to pay $1.2 million to settle a class action federal lawsuit involving hundreds of wrongfully imprisoned individuals. The state also agreed to implement measures ensuring the timely release of prisoners.

The lawsuit, brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 by the American Civil ...

New York Prisoner Awarded $1,000 For Uncleaned Prosthetic Eye

On September 1, 2004, a court of claims in White Plains, New York, awarded $1,000 to a state prisoner because prison personnel failed to timely clean his prosthetic eye, causing him pain and suffering.

Lionel Walker, a prisoner at the Fishkill Correctional Facility, went to the infirmary on July ...

U.S. Supreme Court: Michigan Plea Bargainers Have Right to Counsel On Appeal

by John E. Dannenberg

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Michigan defendants convicted pursuant to a plea of nolo contendre or to a plea bargain are constitutionally entitled to appeal their convictions to the Michigan Court of Appeals, and if indigent, are entitled to a state appointed attorney. In ...

Massachusetts DOC Fails to Meet Women's Special Needs

by Michael Rigby

The failure of the Massachusetts Department of Corrections (MDOC) to address the special needs of women in prison impedes the effective maintenance of family ties, according to a March 2005 research report by the University of Massachusetts's Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy.

In ...

Acting Pro Se, NJ Prisoner Beats Charges of Spitting on Guard

A New Jersey jury took only three hours to declare William Victor not guilty of spitting on a Northumberland County Prison (NCP) guard in 2003. NCP's warden called the verdict ridiculous." Considering Victor proceeded through trial representing himself, incredible is a more fitting adjective.

Charged with aggravated harassment by ...

Only One California Jail Has State-Mandated Psychiatric Treatment Center Licensure

by John E. Dannenberg

Although California law has since 1998 required all county jails that provide inpatient medical or psychiatric care to have a correctional treatment center license, only one (Los Angeles) has obtained one. The issue was highlighted when the San Jose Mercury News wrote that the Santa Clara ...

Miami-Dade Pays $6.25 Million to Settle Illegal Strip Search Suit

A Florida federal district court has approved a $6.25 million settlement in a lawsuit alleging thousands of female prisoners were illegally strip searched at the Miami-Dade County Correctional Facilities.

The settlement entitles l0,000 women who were strip searched after being picked up on prostitution or other minor charges ...

California Guards Assigned Word Puzzles to Satisfy Training Requirements

California State Assembly Member Rudy Bermudez, himself a member of the powerful prison guards union (CCPOA) while on leave from his prison job to serve elective office, sharply criticized the practice of solving word puzzles used by California prison guards to complete part of their annual training requirement.

It's ...

Summary Judgment for CMS/NJ DOC Reversed in Physical Therapy Suit

A New Jersey state appellate court issued an unpublished opinion reversing a lower court's grant of summary judgment to Correctional Medical Services (CMS) and the New Jersey Department of Corrections (DOC).

On November 7, 1996, Craig Szemple, a prisoner at the New Jersey State Prison, under went two surgeries ...

California Guards Union Intimidates Prison Staff For Infracting Guard Misconduct

California Correctional Peace Officers Association (CCPOA) local chapter president Chris Trott, of Calipatria State Prison in Imperial, admitted his union placed a rat trap on the prison CCPOA bulletin board in an intimidating retort to three union members having been placed on paid administrative leave pending an investigation regarding their ...

Ban On Male Guards In Michigan Women's Prisons Upheld

The U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has held that a Michigan Department of Corrections policy prohibiting male guards from holding certain positions in the state's female prisons did not violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

For many years, the problem of sexual abuse ...

Seventh Circuit Upholds Indiana Sex Offender's Banishment From City Parks

In a decision that further restricts the already limited movement of sex offenders, the en banc U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has held that banning a convicted child molester from all public parks in the City of Lafayette, Indiana, did not violate the offender's constitutional rights under ...

Seventh Circuit Reverses Summary Judgment for CMS, Prison Doctor

In an unpublished decision, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a grant of summary judgment to a prison doctor, holding that the doctor manifested a substantial departure from accepted professional judgment in the treatment of a prisoner's cluster headache condition.

Illinois prisoner James Edens suffers from cluster headaches ...

Ninth Circuit Upholds Preliminary Injunction Against Webcams In Arizona Jail

The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a preliminary injunction prohibiting an Arizona sheriff from displaying live video of prisoners in the Maricopa County Jail on the internet.

This case arises from Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's latest publicity stunt. Already known for humiliating prisoners by ...

Confiscation of "New Afrikan" Literature May Violate First Amendment

Confiscation of "New Afrikan" Literature May Violate First Amendment

The Second Circuit Court o Appeals reversed a New York district court's dismissal of a prisoner's complaint alleging violation of his rights under a Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) and his rights to free exercise and ...

Guard Denied Qualified Immunity in MI Prisoner's Retaliation Claim

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeal has affirmed a Michigan District Court's order denying a guard's qualified immunity defense in a suit filed by prisoner David J. Scott, a prisoner at Carson City Regional Facility. Scott's complaint alleged guard Philip Bair retaliated against him for filing grievances ...

Washington Prisoner's Uninformed Disciplinary Plea Agreement Upheld

The Washington Court of Appeals, Division I, upheld a prisoner's disciplinary plea agreement even though his punishment was more extensive than what he had agreed to. The agreement was only upheld, however, because no good time was taken.

Garridan Nelson, a Washington state prisoner in the Airway Heights Correctional ...

Rehabilitated California Ex-Cons Have No Privacy Protection From Media Productions Based Upon Public

Rehabilitated California Ex-Cons Have No Privacy Protection From Media Productions Based Upon Public Court Records

by John E. Dannenberg

The California State Supreme Court, reversing its 33 year old precedent, held that privacy rights of a former prisoner were trumped by the First and Fourteenth Amendment rights of television producers ...