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Prison Legal News: February, 2006

Issue PDF
Volume 17, Number 2

In this issue:

  1. Incompetence, Brutality and Scandal Infest Tennessee Prisons and Jails (p 1)
  2. Private Prisons Bilk $13 million From Florida; State Awards More Contracts (p 8)
  3. From the Editor (p 8)
  4. 8th Circuit Invalidates BOP Halfway House Policy; 7th Circuit Says Challenge Not Cognizable on Habeas (p 10)
  5. Private Prison Contractor Who Allegedly Diverted $1.6 Million in Telephone Revenues Sues California DOC (p 11)
  6. Florida Prisoner's Disciplinary Challenges Reversed for Further Proceedings (p 11)
  7. Seventh Circuit Reverses Judgment on Denial of Methadone (p 12)
  8. BOP's Failure to Provide Adequate Medical Treatment Nets Downward Departure Sentence (p 12)
  9. Second Circuit Upholds Guard's Rape Sentence Under Federal Guidelines (p 13)
  10. Washington DOC Must Ship Prisoners' Property For Free (p 13)
  11. Maryland's PHS Prison Health Care Under Fire, New System Implemented (p 14)
  12. 2005 Audit of California Parole Board Reveals Ongoing Deficiencies (p 16)
  13. Habeas Hints: How to Get DNA Testing (p 18)
  14. Prison Reform Revisited: The Unfinished Agenda, Pace University Law Review, Vol. 24, No. 2, Spring 2 (p 20)
  15. Arkansas Considers Prison Rape Law, Problems Evident (p 21)
  16. Florida's Privatization of Prisoner Canteen Services Under Scrutiny (p 22)
  17. Oregon Criminalizes Sex with Prisoners; & Other Legislative Developments (p 23)
  18. If the Shoe Fits: Did Colorado Prison Officials Look the Other Way While a Guard's Fetish Turned Vio (p 24)
  19. Whistleblowers Nail Cheating California Corrections Employees (p 26)
  20. New York Prisoner Attacked On Bus Awarded $600,000 (p 26)
  21. Florida DOC's No Bid Pharmaceutical Contract Scrutinized and Criticized (p 27)
  22. Bait and Snitch: The High Cost of Snitching for Law Enforcement (p 28)
  23. Chicago Settles Another Jail Brutality Suit for $362,500 (p 29)
  24. Federal District Court Awards Missouri Prisoner $2,500 For Excessive Force (p 30)
  25. Nebraska Native American Prisoners' Religious Program Reinstated (p 30)
  26. All Alone in the World: Children of the Incarcerated (p 31)
  27. California and Connecticut Reinstate Jobs of Fired Guards (p 32)
  28. Court Halts Practice of California Prison Guards Getting Unlimited Paid Time to Conduct Union Busine (p 32)
  29. Kentucky Prisoner Injured In Transport Vehicle Awarded $9,000 (p 33)
  30. Florida Jury Awards $225,000 in False Arrest/Malicious Prosecution Claim (p 34)
  31. American Bar Association Recommends Expanded Prisoner Telephone Access (p 34)
  32. U.S. Supreme Court: Faretta Does Not Establish Right Of Pro Se Defendant to Law Library Access (p 35)
  33. Massachusetts Prisoner Awarded $250,000 for Assault During Strip Search (p 35)
  34. Shackling of Women Prisoners During Labor and Delivery Ended In California (p 36)
  35. Poor Substance Abusers Imprisoned En Masse Without Treatment (p 36)
  36. Prisoners Labor at Wisconsin Wal-Mart Site (p 37)
  37. Georgia DOC Settles Failure-To-Protect Suit for $15,000 (p 38)
  38. Utah DOC Settles Wrongful-Death Suit Involving Exonerated Suspect For $150,000 (p 38)
  39. Company Uses Prison Slave Labor for $100 Million Military Contract (p 39)
  40. Registered Sex Offenders Murdered By Vigilante in Washington (p 40)
  41. NY State Prisoner Receives $400,000 Liver Transplant (p 40)
  42. New York Prisoner Awarded $2,500 for Delayed Eyeglasses (p 41)
  43. News in Brief (p 42)
  44. Low Pay Drives Tennessee Guards to Smuggle Drugs, Contraband into Prisons (p 44)

Incompetence, Brutality and Scandal Infest Tennessee Prisons and Jails

by Michael Rigby

Tennessee isn't known for its huge prison system, like Texas or California. Nor is the state's capital city, Nashville, recognized for massively overcrowded jails such as the ones in Los Angeles or New York City. But one thing is clear: Tennessee lockups are just as ...

Private Prisons Bilk $13 million From Florida; State Awards More Contracts

by David M. Reutter

Florida's Correctional Privatization Commission (CPC) consistently failed to safeguard the State's interests in its role as steward of privately operated correctional facilities," causing Florida's taxpayers to pay $12.7 million in questionable and excessive of cost. That conclusion was arrived at in a ...

From the Editor

In addition to PLN's own censorship litigation for prisoners we also undertake advocacy and support for prisoner rights on behalf of prisoners in other court cases. In the current supreme court term, PLN submitted an amicus brief in Goodman v. Georgia, a case involving prisoners' right to sue states ...

8th Circuit Invalidates BOP Halfway House Policy; 7th Circuit Says Challenge Not Cognizable on Habeas

8th Circuit Invalidates BOP Halfway House Policy;
7th Circuit Says Challenge Not Cognizable on Habeas

The Eighth Circuit Court Of Appeals reversed the denial of a federal prisoner's 28 U.S.C. § 2241 habeas corpus petition challenging the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) policy limiting halfway house placement to the ...

Private Prison Contractor Who Allegedly Diverted $1.6 Million in Telephone Revenues Sues California DOC

Private Prison Contractor Who Allegedly Diverted $1.6 Million in Telephone
Revenues Sues California DOC

A Bakersfield, California businessman, who lost a contract for his private prison housing California Department of Corrections (CDC) prisoners due to allegations that he misappropriated $1.6 million from prisoner collect telephone call revenues, has ...

Florida Prisoner's Disciplinary Challenges Reversed for Further Proceedings

Two separate Florida District Court of Appeals decisions have reversed the dismissal of two prisoners' civil actions that challenged disciplinary reports.

Prisoner Craig A. Savery was disciplined for possession of narcotics. Savery's initial appeal to Tomoka Correctional Institution's Warden was denied. His second administrative review to the Secretary ...

Seventh Circuit Reverses Judgment on Denial of Methadone

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a district court's grant of summary judgment to jail officials on claims of denial of methadone and inadequate medical care.

On April 27, 2000, Richard Foelker reported to the Outagamie County, Wisconsin, Jail to begin serving a sentence for driving under the ...

BOP's Failure to Provide Adequate Medical Treatment Nets Downward Departure Sentence

A Massachusetts federal district court has departed from the Federal Sentencing Guidelines because of the defendant's illness and the Bureau of Prisons' (BOP) failure to meet its burden that it could provide the most effective" medical treatment.

Robert Pineyro was charged for being a felon in possession of a ...

Second Circuit Upholds Guard's Rape Sentence Under Federal Guidelines

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held that multiple counts of prisoner sexual abuse against a prison guard had been properly grouped under federal sentencing guidelines.

While employed as a guard at the federal prison in Danbury, Connecticut, Ricardo Vasquez sexually assaulted 4 female prisoners on ...

Washington DOC Must Ship Prisoners' Property For Free

The Washington State Supreme Court (Supreme Court) has re-instated a lawsuit challenging Department of Corrections (DOC) Policy 440.000 (Policy). The Policy requires prisoners who are transferred to another prison to pay shipping costs for their property.

Lonnie Burton, Gordon Lebar, James Bringham and Michael Holmberg (collectively Burton), all Washington ...

Maryland's PHS Prison Health Care Under Fire, New System Implemented

by Michael Rigby

A Maryland prison is no place to get sick. Virtually every facet of prisoner health care, which has been provided by Tennessee-based Prison Health Services (PHS) since 2000, is in disarray. Prisoners sometimes receive the wrong medicine or none at all; records are poorly kept; physical exams ...

2005 Audit of California Parole Board Reveals Ongoing Deficiencies

The California Office of the Inspector General (OIG), the state's official watchdog" agency, conducted an audit of the Board of Prison Terms (BPT) in July 2005 to determine compliance with the OIG's prior recommendations to correct deficiencies and inefficiencies it identified in its 2002 and 2003 audits of ...

Habeas Hints: How to Get DNA Testing

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 ...

Prison Reform Revisited: The Unfinished Agenda, Pace University Law Review, Vol. 24, No. 2, Spring 2

Prison Reform Revisited: The Unfinished Agenda, Pace University Law Review, Vol. 24, No. 2, Spring 2004 (softback, 460 pp.)

Reviewed by John E. Dannenberg

In October 2003, Pace University Law School hosted a three-day symposium at its White Plains, New York campus, widely attended by leading academics, attorneys, prison reformers ...

Arkansas Considers Prison Rape Law, Problems Evident

by Michael Rigby

Nearly two years after the Prison Rape Elimination Act, (PREA) passed unopposed in the U.S. House and Senate, an attitude of indifference and skepticism surrounding prison sexual assaults still permeates the Arkansas Department of Corrections (ADC).

Signed into law on, September 4, 2003, as Public Law ...

Florida's Privatization of Prisoner Canteen Services Under Scrutiny

by David M. Reutter

An October, 2004, report issued by Florida's Auditor General (AG) criticizes a contract awarded to Keefe Commissary Services (Keefe) for the operation of the Florida Department of Corrections' (FDOC) 240 prison canteens. The three-year contract that privatized FDOC's prisoner canteen services became effective on ...

Oregon Criminalizes Sex with Prisoners; & Other Legislative Developments

In the wake of a huge scandal involving several high ranking, veteran prison officials engaging in sexual activity with female prisoners of the Coffee Creek Correctional Institution, Oregon has enacted legislation criminalizing custodial sexual misconduct.

The law, which became effective July 13, 2005, creates the offenses of Custodial Sexual Misconduct ...

If the Shoe Fits: Did Colorado Prison Officials Look the Other Way While a Guard's Fetish Turned Vio

If the Shoe Fits: Did Colorado Prison Officials Look the Other Way While a Guard's Fetish Turned Violent?

by Alan Prendergast

Suppose that you're the warden of a women's prison. Among your valued employees is a prison guard named Dave, whose job puts him in charge of ...

Whistleblowers Nail Cheating California Corrections Employees

The California State Auditor detailed four investigations of California Department of Corrections (CDC) employee misconduct completed between July 1 and December 30, 2004, where the tip-offs of miscreance were reported through California's Whistleblower Protection Act (Government Code § 8547 et seq.). Reportable transgressions under the Act include official government wrongdoing ...

New York Prisoner Attacked On Bus Awarded $600,000

On April 28, 2005, a New York prisoner was awarded $600,000 for injuries he sustained when other prisoners attacked him on a prison bus.
Plaintiff Daniel Arroyo, 17, was convicted of a youthful offense. On November 9, 1994, while being transported from court to the Rikers Island Correctional Facility ...

Florida DOC's No Bid Pharmaceutical Contract Scrutinized and Criticized

by David M. Reutter

A September 2004 Florida Auditor General's Report found numerous deficiencies in the Florida Department Of Corrections' (FDOC) pharmaceutical contract with Terry Yon & Associates, Inc. (TYA). The current three-year contract became effective January 1, 2004. Its estimated worth is $72 million.

To distribute prescribed pharmaceuticals, FDOC operates four cluster" pharmacies where health services' staff, records, equipment, and pharmaceutical inventories are consolidated. These four pharmacies provide pharmacy support to neighboring institutions.

The FDOC did not put its pharmaceutical contract out for bid prior to signing with TYA, concluding it was not required to under law because the contract was for health services involving examination, diagnoses, treatment, prevention, medical consultation, or administration. The Auditor General, however, concluded the contract with TYA does not appear to provide for health services described by law, making the service susceptible to open bidding.

The Auditor General further found that TYA is providing commodities that are available from other vendors. The repackaging of pharmaceuticals for unit dosing is not included in the list of statutory health services. Absent competitive procurement, FDOC cannot demonstrate the contract provides the best value for the state or that the contract was equitably awarded. That finding was amplified by FDOC's comparison of TYA prices with those of another pharmaceutical vendor, which found the other vendors repackaging prices were lower by about 30 percent than those of TYA.
The Auditor General found the contract disclosed several deficiencies. First, the contract pays TYA the vendor's medication cost plus 1.45 percent, plus a fee for the pharmaceutical package. The contract fails to address rebates or discounts that are common in the pharmaceutical industry. Second, the contract fails to contain a provision requiring TYA to advise FDOC of any complaint filed, investigations made, warning letters or inspection reports issued, or any disciplinary actions imposed on TYA by any federal or state oversight agency. A check of state oversight agencies reveals TYA received a warning letter on August 6, 2002, but the same letter never appeared in FDOC's records. Finally, the contract requires TYA to abide by all pertinent requirements of specified Florida Statutes and Administrative Codes. The contract cites rules repealed or transferred prior to the effective date of the contract.

The Auditor General's review found that TYA did not always fulfill the contract responsibilities and conditions. First, FDOC was never provided a copy of TYA's Florida Department of Health Pharmacy license or Federal Drug Enforcement Agency registration. TYA, also is required to provide FDOC a financial and compliance audit. One has never been provided. Next, TYA is supposed to provide a procedure manual for all four FDOC pharmacies. Two did not have a manual, and the manual the other two had were outdated. Moreover, TYA did not always recognize order limit maximums set by FDOC.
The Auditor General also found that contract monitoring by FDOC was extremely flawed. The Contract Manager had no training and utilized checklists that were not signed or dated, making frequency of monitoring visits undocumented.

TYA was also found by the Auditor General's report to have failed to timely fill orders as required by the contract. Eight of 40 orders reviewed were not timely filled. Those 8 orders were filled 1 to 10 days late. Because the date stamps on receiving reports did not always agree with the invoice, an additional 22 orders could not be determined for timeliness. Yet, the Contract Manager found TYA Met" the contract timeliness requirement.

The Auditor General's review found that 34 of the 40 invoices from TYA were not supported by adequate documentation. Specifically, the order forms or receiving reports for these 34 invoices are not available; did not identify the pharmacy placing the order; or were not properly signed to indicate the person who placed the order, authorized ...

Bait and Snitch: The High Cost of Snitching for Law Enforcement

by Alexandra Natapoff

The t-shirts scream Stop Snitchin'!

From Baltimore to Boston to New York; in Pittsburgh, Denver, and Milwaukee, kids are sporting the ominous fashion statement, prompting local fear, outrage, and fierce arguments over crime. Several trials have been disrupted by the t-shirts; some witnesses refuse to testify. Boston ...

Chicago Settles Another Jail Brutality Suit for $362,500

On December 17, 2004, the Cook County Board's Litigation Sub-Committee approved a settlement of $362,000, including attorneys' fees, in a case involving brutality against a Cook County jail prisoner by the jail's infamous Special Operations and Response Team (SORT). We have previously reported the brutality of the ...

Federal District Court Awards Missouri Prisoner $2,500 For Excessive Force

On January 25, 2005, a Missouri prisoner was awarded $2,500 for pain and suffering incurred when guards kicked him in the groin.
Lance A. Cole, 24, was arrested for violating his probation by possessing a gun. A day earlier Cole had injured himself while out socializing with friends: he ...

Nebraska Native American Prisoners' Religious Program Reinstated

by John E. Dannenberg

Native American prisoners and Nebraska's then Director of Corrections, Harold Clarke, reached a settlement agreement on March 15, 2005 in U.S. District Court (D. Neb.) to reinstate the Native American prisoners' club (Native American Spiritual and Cultural Awareness) (NASCA) and to permit medicine men ...

All Alone in the World: Children of the Incarcerated

By Nell Bernstein, The New Press; 303 Pages; $25.95

Reviewed by Sheerly Avni

In part because of the war on drugs, in part because of mandatory sentencing laws such as California's three strikes" law, and in part because we have gradually shifted our concept of justice from rehabilitation ...

California and Connecticut Reinstate Jobs of Fired Guards

In a process fabled for reinstating 6070% of the jobs of fired prison guards, a unanimous California State Personnel Board (SPB) ordered the positions of six previously dismissed Youth Authority guards restored with full back pay. And in a strikingly similar case, Connecticut did the same for one guard.

California ...

Court Halts Practice of California Prison Guards Getting Unlimited Paid Time to Conduct Union Busine

Court Halts Practice of California Prison Guards Getting Unlimited Paid Time to Conduct Union Business on the Job

In a recent expose, the Sacramento Bee revealed that the California prison guards union (CCPOA) cut a side deal two months after its last five-year contract was negotiated in 2001 that removed ...

Kentucky Prisoner Injured In Transport Vehicle Awarded $9,000

On June 3, 2005, a Kentucky jury awarded $9,000 to a prisoner who was injured while riding in a jail transport vehicle.

Plaintiff Steven Jarmon was imprisoned in a Louisville jail on robbery charges. On February 15, 2000, Jarmon, 38, and several other prisoners boarded a paddy wagon for ...

Florida Jury Awards $225,000 in False Arrest/Malicious Prosecution Claim

A Florida jury has awarded $225,000 in a case against the City of Clearwater and an individual detective on a claim of false arrest, malicious prosecution, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The Plaintiff claimed he was falsely arrested on child molestation charges and the prosecution was continued by ...

American Bar Association Recommends Expanded Prisoner Telephone Access

by John E. Dannenberg

The Criminal Justice Section of the American Bar Association (ABA) made a formal recommendation in its Report to the House of Delegates" (August 2005) (Report) that the ABA go on record as urging all federal and state governments to afford Prisoners reasonable opportunity to maintain communication ...

U.S. Supreme Court: Faretta Does Not Establish Right Of Pro Se Defendant to Law Library Access

U.S. Supreme Court: Faretta Does Not Establish Right Of Pro Se Defendant
to Law Library Access

In a per curiam ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the Ninth Circuit's grant of habeas relief (Espitia v. Ortiz, 113 Fed. Appx. 802 (2004)) to a California prisoner who, after ...

Massachusetts Prisoner Awarded $250,000 for Assault During Strip Search

On March 25, 2005, a federal jury awarded a Massachusetts prisoner $250,000 in damages for injuries sustained when he was assaulted by a guard during a strip search.

Guards William Shugrue and a Jeffrey Padula were members all the Inner Perimeter Security Unit (IPS) at the Massachusetts Correctional InstitutionCedar ...

Shackling of Women Prisoners During Labor and Delivery Ended In California

by John E. Dannenberg

California's Governor Schwarzenegger improved health care for women prisoners by signing AB 478 into law, which makes it illegal to deny prenatal and postpartum care (to include basic dental cleaning) and bans shackling during labor and delivery in a locked hospital ward. Assembly Member Sally ...

Poor Substance Abusers Imprisoned En Masse Without Treatment

More than two-thirds of U.S. jail, prisoners in 2002 were found to be dependent on drugs or alcohol or to abuse them. But many never get the help they need, a study by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) reveals.
According to the July 2005 report, Substance Dependence, Abuse ...

Prisoners Labor at Wisconsin Wal-Mart Site

by Michael Rigby

Wal-Mart is using prison labor to build a new distribution center in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin. Local residents have expressed safety concerns and also worry that lower paid prisoners are siphoning jobs away from the community.
Prisoners working at the Wal-Mart site come from the Fox Lake Correctional ...

Georgia DOC Settles Failure-To-Protect Suit for $15,000

In September 2004, the Georgia Department of Corrections (CDOC) settled for $15,000 a prisoner lawsuit alleging that understaffing at the maximum-security Georgia State Prison (GSP) compromised prisoner safety. The GDOC also agreed to increase staffing levels in prisoner housing areas at the prison.

GSP prisoner Gregory M. Lamb claimed ...

Utah DOC Settles Wrongful-Death Suit Involving Exonerated Suspect For $150,000

by Michael Rigby

On September 29, 2004, the widow of a one-time suspect in the Elizabeth Smart kidnapping settled her wrongful-death lawsuit against the Utah Department of Corrections (DOC) for $150,000.

When 14-year-old Elizabeth Smart was kidnapped from her Salt Lake City home on June 5, 2002, police were ...

Company Uses Prison Slave Labor for $100 Million Military Contract

The prison and military industrial complexes have collided, with a private military contractor poised to make millions off the sweaty backs of prisoners.

Pennsylvania-based Woolrich Inc. plans to use the labor of federal prisoners to fulfill two multi-million-dollar contracts with the Defense Department, according to an October 2, 2005, article ...

Registered Sex Offenders Murdered By Vigilante in Washington

by Matthew T. Clarke

On August 27, 2005, two registered sex offenders were murdered in Bellingham, Washington, by a vigilante posing as an FBI agent. The killer got the victims' names, address and photographs from the Whatcom County Sheriff's Sex Offender Notification Web Site.

In letters to Seattle Times ...

NY State Prisoner Receives $400,000 Liver Transplant

by John E. Dannenberg

An NBC News I-Team 10 investigation caused considerable media controversy when it reported that a New York state prisoner with end-stage liver disease had received a $400,000 liver transplant in November, 2005, at state expense. This is significant because most states will not approve transplants ...

New York Prisoner Awarded $2,500 for Delayed Eyeglasses

On February 9, 2005, a New York court of claims awarded $2,500 to a state prisoner whose replacement eyeglasses were delayed for 10 months.

Marc Herouard, a prisoner at the Fishkill Correctional Center, discovered on February 7, 2001, that his eyeglasses had been broken in storage while he was ...

News in Brief

News in Brief:

Arizona: On July 10, 2005, Jerry Booker, 57, a guard at the Arizona State Prison Complex-Eyman in Florence was pistol whipping and threatening to shoot Nyeema Irby, 23, to collect a $50 drug debt Irby owed him when Irby pulled his own pistol and shot and killed ...

Low Pay Drives Tennessee Guards to Smuggle Drugs, Contraband into Prisons

Tennessee lawmakers are complaining that their prison guards are helping to drugs and other contraband into the state's prisons. They specifically are bemoaning that those guards are being allowed to quit or resign without facing criminal prosecution when caught.
Tennessee employs more than 2,400 employees in its 15 ...