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Prisoner Education Guide

Prison Legal News: July, 2006

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Volume 17, Number 7

In this issue:

  1. CCA Florida Jail Operations: An Experiment in Mismanagement (p 1)
  2. From the Editor (p 8)
  3. Youth Dies in Florida Boot Camp; Cause of Death Questioned (p 9)
  4. BOP Transfers Unescorted Prisoners On Civilian Buses, Some Escape (p 11)
  5. Standing Up to Corruption (p 12)
  6. Legal Research Prohibition Upon Contract Attorney Denies Adequate Court Access (p 17)
  7. Federal Judge Strikes Down Iowa Prisons Faith-Based Rehabilitation Program (p 18)
  8. Crimes of the Heart: Incarceration Collusion (p 20)
  9. $9 Million Jury Award In Arizona County Jail Death (p 22)
  10. U.S. Corrections Corporation Suit Settled for $13.2 Million (p 22)
  11. Audit: California Private Prison Contracting Tainted by Conflicts of Interest (p 23)
  12. Hurricane Threat Forces Texas Prison Evacuations, Damage Worsens Overcrowding (p 24)
  13. Gun-smuggling Prisoners Convicted in Shooting Scam (p 25)
  14. Alleged Attacks Plotted By New Folsom Prisoners Uncovered (p 26)
  15. Non-Sex-Offender Parolee Entitled to Due Process Before Being Treated As Sex Offender (p 27)
  16. Ohio DOC Stipulates To Vastly Improved Medical Care (p 28)
  17. South Carolina Prisoner Awarded $825,000 for Untreated Infection (p 29)
  18. Missouri Seizes Prisoner Assets Worth $748,682 In 2005 (p 29)
  19. Fifth Circuit Joins Four Others in Denying Prospective BOP Good Time Credits (p 29)
  20. Unconstitutionality of Lockdown of California Hispanics Upheld On Appeal (p 30)
  21. Guard Out on Bond, Woman He Allegedly Raped Jailed Beyond Her Sentence (p 30)
  22. Washington Liable for Negligent Parolee Supervision; Bad Jury Instruction Vacates $33 Million Award (p 31)
  23. Washington Liable for Negligent Parolee Supervision; Bad Jury Instruction Vacates $33 Million Award (p 31)
  24. South Carolina Jury Awards $28.5 Million For Diabetic Jail Prisoners Death (p 32)
  25. Arizona Jail Prisoners Not Pretty in Pink (p 32)
  26. Seventh Circuit Reinstates $100,000 Award In Indiana Failure-To-Protect Suit (p 33)
  27. Political Patronage In Hiring Illinois Prison Wardens? (p 34)
  28. Texas Federal District Judge Throws Out VitaPro Convictions (p 34)
  29. Alabama Work-Release Prisoners Working But Not Getting Paid (p 35)
  30. Sweetheart Deal For Pharmacy Supplying Saratoga County Jail (p 35)
  31. Wrongfully Convicted Texas Prisoner Finally Receives $118,000 in Compensation (p 36)
  32. Louisiana Work-Release Prisoners Used by Sheriff in Chop Shop (p 36)
  33. Illinois Prison Official, Parole Board Member Indicted For Corruption (p 36)
  34. Los Angeles Jail Pays $375,000 To Assaulted Keep Away Prisoner (p 37)
  35. CONMED Not Using Licensed Nurses In Maryland Jail (p 37)
  36. $232,700 in Attorney Fees Awarded In Colorado Censorship Settlement (p 38)
  37. Washington Ex-Cons Cant Be Denied Voting Rights Because of Unpaid LFOs (p 38)
  38. New York Prisoner Awarded $25,000 For Assault (p 38)
  39. Settlement Permits Free and Gift Publications to Connecticut Prisoners (p 39)
  40. Second Circuit Holds PLRA Fee Cap Inapplicable To So-ordered Stipulated Dismissals (p 39)
  41. Texas Prison Slaves No Savings for Direct Marketing Firm; Data Mining Results in $ 15 Million Settle (p 40)
  42. New York Prisoner Awarded $4,000 For Assault (p 40)
  43. Forced Masturbation States Privacy Claim (p 40)
  44. Illinois Prisoner Raped By Guard Settles For $15,000 (p 41)
  45. News in Brief: (p 42)
  46. The Warehouse Prison, by Dr. John Irwin, 318 pp., softback, Roxbury Publishing Company, 2005 (p 44)

CCA Florida Jail Operations: An Experiment in Mismanagement

by David M. Reutter

After being in business for twenty-three years, one would think that Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) would have refined the art of running prisons and jails. Yet an examination of CCA's three jails in Florida reveals a pattern of gross mismanagement and substandard or indifferent care of prisoners on every level, which has resulted in injuries and deaths. Risks to the community abound in frequent escapes. Repeated suicides, beatings, rapes and misconduct by CCA employees have occurred.

CCA is the United States' largest operator or privatized prisons and jails. The Nashville-based company was founded in 1983 by Doctor Crants and Thomas Beasley, former chair of the Tennessee Republican party. CCA runs three state prisons and three county jails in Florida. The jails, which are the focus of this article, are located in Bay, Citrus and Hernando Counties. These counties sought privatization of their jails after buying into CCA's sales pitch that it could save taxpayers money.

Critics, however, claim that the savings come from hiring unqualified, untrained personnel at low wages, and by scrimping on services and security measures that the contracts require and prisoners have a constitutional right to receive. As the old ...

From the Editor

With this issue of PLN we are back on our regular publishing schedule of sending each issue to the printer around the end of the month. We got behind last summer due to switching over to a new layout program and a trial in Florida. Hopefully we now stay on schedule.

I would like to thank all the readers who took the time to respond to our reader survey. We got over 500 responses and we are still tabulating the results, which I hope to be able to report next month.

In last months editorial I misspoke when I said that PLNs website had over 100,000 subscribers in the year since we revamped it. Rather, we have received over 109,000 visitors since we revamped it last year. We are continuing to add new features to PLNs website, including prison and jail videos, new articles and cases and much more on a daily basis. We also have a list serv that sends out news and legal information every day, for free. Go to our website at www.prisonlegalnews.org and sign up. Prisoners can tell their friends and family members to sign up for them as well.

PLN was ...

Youth Dies in Florida Boot Camp; Cause of Death Questioned

by David M. Reutter

For the fifth time in five years a juvenile has died in a Florida boot camp. A videotape of 14-year-old Martin Lee Anderson being counseled at a Bay County boot camp facility in Panama City shows guards abusing and battering him while he lays limp on the ground. A medical examiners autopsy, however, initially concluded that Martin died of complications from sickle cell trait. A second autopsy revealed he was suffocated to death.

Martin entered the boot camp, which is operated by the Bay County Sheriffs Office under contract with Floridas Department of Juvenile Justice, on January 5, 2006. He was sentenced to the one-year camp for grand theft after taking his grandmothers Jeep Cherokee from a church parking lot while she was at Sunday services. Martin and some friends later crashed the Jeep into a ditch. Despite the grandmothers plea to not press charges, state prosecutors went forward with the prosecution anyway, a decision that would later prove to be fatal.

The videotape of Martins death begins with the induction of Martin and several other youths into the boot camp on January 5. The video shows the youths standing against a wooden fence while drill ...

BOP Transfers Unescorted Prisoners On Civilian Buses, Some Escape

by Matthew T. Clarke

In a little-known program, the federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) has been allowing unescorted prisoners to transfer between prisons using Greyhound and other civilian buses. Not surprisingly, some never show up at their destination.

The program is considered a form of furlough by the BOP, related to the Voluntary Surrenders program that allows a newly-convicted person to voluntarily show up at the prison of assignment if permitted or ordered by the sentencing judge.

The prisoner being transferred is required to sign a letter promising show up at the destination and being threatened with an additional five years of incarceration if they dont. The program was established in 1996 as a cost-cutting measure. Since then, tens of thousands of prisoners have been given bus rides under the program.

The BOP says it limits the participants to appropriate prisoners. This means non-violent, low-security prisoners being transferred from a federal correction facility (prison) to a federal prison camp or halfway house. The BOP web site says the prisoners must have less than two years remaining on their sentences, but a BOP assistant warden said that ten years was the actual limit.

The program was recently thrust into the limelight ...

Standing Up to Corruption

Prison Systems co-workers Joe Reynoso and Dave Lewis both were called heroes by their peers. One was an investigator digging into prison crime, and one was accused of a crime. Guess which one was supported by the guards union.

In her letter supporting the nomination of investigator Joe Reynoso for the Award of Ethical Courage, federal prosecutor Melinda Haag never used the word hero, but her implication was clear. Haag described the hardships and trauma that Reynoso, who worked for the California Department of Corrections (CDC), had to endure during the years he helped her build and prosecute the federal governments case against prison guards Jose Garcia and Michael Powers of the Pelican Bay State Prison in Del Norte County. It was one of the most publicized, high-profile trials of the prison-scandal-ridden 1990s, and the assistant U.S. attorney and state investigator worked side by side.

Before he agreed to help Haags team, Reynoso had worked for years at Pelican Bay as a guard, sergeant and lieutenant, and was liked and respected by his peers. But when he began assisting the federal government with its case, he was seen by some co-workers as a traitor for acknowledging the dirty laundry ...

Legal Research Prohibition Upon Contract Attorney Denies Adequate Court Access

by David M. Reutter

An Iowa federal district court has held that the legal assistance program at Iowas Anamosa State Penitentiary (ASP) was an unconstitutional impediment to a prisoners access to the court because it did not provide a reasonable adequate opportunity to present claimed violations of fundamental constitutional rights ...

Federal Judge Strikes Down Iowa Prisons Faith-Based Rehabilitation Program

Federal Judge Strikes Down Iowa Prisons Faith-Based Rehabilitation Program

by Michael Rigby

A federal judge in Iowa has ruled that the states partial funding of a Christian rehabilitation program is unconstitutional. In a 140-page opinion issued on June 2, 2006, U.S. District Judge Robert W. Pratt ordered the Iowa Department of Corrections (IDOC) to disband the program within 60 days and directed the InnerChange Freedom Initiative--a division of Prison Fellowship Ministries--to repay the $1.5 million it has received in state funding since 1999. Both orders were stayed, however, pending the outcome of an expected appeal to the 8th Circuit.

In his ruling Judge Pratt concluded that the InnerChange program at Iowas Newton Correctional Facility violated the First Amendments prohibition against government-established religion because it was state funded, overwhelmingly sectarian, and aimed at religious conversion. The overtly religious atmosphere of the InnerChange program is not simply an overlay or secondary effect of the program--it is the program, Pratt wrote. Pratt also concluded the program was inherently intolerant of other faiths, despite claims that all religions were welcome to participate. Though a prisoner could, theoretically, graduate from InnerChange without converting to Christianity, the coercive nature of the program demands obedience ...

Crimes of the Heart: Incarceration Collusion

by Bob Williams & G.A.Bowers

What would a woman do for her man? Run a frontend loader through a jail wall? Drive her lover out of prison in a food service truck? Murder witnesses? Smuggle in guns and drugs? Melt her lover out of prison using acid? Gun down a guard in a courthouse parking lot? Women nationwide have tried or committed these very acts of desperation.

One such violent act has led the news in a recent Tennessee case. Jennifer Forsyth Hyatte, 31, is accused of shooting and killing prison guard Wayne Cotton Morgan, 56, in the parking lot of the Roane County Courthouse in Kingston, Tennessee on August 9, 2005 while aiding her husband, George Hyatt, 34, in a brazen escape. Jennifer, a former contract nurse, met her future husband while working at the Northwest Correctional Complex in Tiptonville. Jennifer was fired in August 2004 for smuggling food to and having an illicit relationship with George Hyatte, who had escaped from authorities four times previously. The couple continued their relationship and were married in May 2005, with the wardens permission.

Thirtysix hours and 300 miles after the dramatic courthouse escape, the couple was arrested without a struggle in Columbus, Ohio. Completely divorced from the reality of the situation, Jennifer called out to her husband, Baby, baby, itll be OK! Itll be OK!

The Hyatte incident is by no means isolated. On October 2, 2004, Edward R. McDaniel, 37, escaped from the Lois M. DeBerry Special Needs Facility in Nashville with the help of DOC guard Vicki Sanford, 52, a mother of six and grandmother of seven, and Michael Moize, 30, Sanfords soninlaw, who worked in the prisons central control office. Moize provided a guards uniform to Sanford; she smuggled it into the facility and gave it to McDaniel, who wore it when he walked out of the prison during a shift change. Sanford and McDaniel were captured in Texas six days later; Sanford and Moize subsequently pled guilty and received probation. Even after her arrest, Sanford wrote McDaniel telling him she still loved him and wished theyd made it to Mexico.

A Tennessee DOC report released on June 1, 2005 found that between 2001 and 2004, 12 nurses, five counselors and 69 female guards were fired over inappropriate relationships with prisoners and thats just female employees. The numbers were a little more astounding than I thought they would be, said Warden Reuben Hodge, chairman of the committee that produced the report. As some recent examples demonstrate, these incidents occur in every state.

In Nevada, convicted robber Kenneth Jody Thompson, 24, escaped on August 25, 2005 from the Northern Nevada Correctional Center in a prison van. He was aided by Ana Christina Kastner, 40, a prison dental assistant, who had smuggled a cell phone to Thompson. Kastner received probation on felony charges in connection with the escape in March 2006, and Carolyn Thomas, another ...

$9 Million Jury Award In Arizona County Jail Death

by John E. Dannenberg

A federal jury awarded $9 million to the family of a Scottsdale, Arizona prisoner who suffocated in a restraint chair in the Maricopa County Jail (MCJ) in 2001. Found negligent and liable were Sheriff Joe Arpaio and nurses from contract healthcare provider Correctional Health Services (CHS ...

U.S. Corrections Corporation Suit Settled for $13.2 Million

The former owners of U.S. Correctional Corporation (USCC) have agreed to settle a lawsuit over misuse of the employee stock-ownership plan for $13.2 million.

Prior to 1998, when it was purchased by Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) for $225 million, USCC ran four private prisons in Kentucky: Marion ...

Audit: California Private Prison Contracting Tainted by Conflicts of Interest

The California State Auditor reported in September 2005 that the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), when contracting with private prison contractors for two minimum security Community Correctional Facilities (CCF), issued no-bid awards to companies who had hired recently retired senior CDCR and Finance employees with economic interests in the awards.

Specifically, the Auditor found that (1) actions taken by two of CDCRs former employees may have violated conflict-of-interest laws, (2) CDCR does not ensure that retired annuitants [former employees on retirement pay who are rehired on a second salary] file statements of economic interest, (3) state funds were committed and spent before approval was obtained for a no-bid contract and (4) justification for the no-bid contracts was based on a misleading claim of cost comparisons that did not include all comparable costs. The Auditor further criticized CDCRs future prison population projections [and hence the need for such private facilities] because no documentation of the projection process existed, denying the Auditor ability to establish the validity of the projections.

In addition to 34 state prisons, CDCR operates 12 minimum security CCFs, six of which are operated by private contractors and the other six by local governments. All CCF contracts ...

Hurricane Threat Forces Texas Prison Evacuations, Damage Worsens Overcrowding

As Rita churned westward through the Gulf of Mexico, at times a monstrous Category 5 hurricane with wind speeds of 175 mph, officials with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) ordered the evacuation of entire prisons in coastal and low-lying areas of Southeast Texas. More than 9,000 prisoners were ultimately evacuated, but thousands more were left in harms way. Damage from Rita also left two prisons closed indefinitely, exacerbating overcrowding in a system already bursting at the seams.

The massive relocation effort began in the pre-dawn hours of Wednesday, September 21, 2005, two days before the hurricanes expected landfall. Prison officials hoped the job could be completed in a single day, but TDCJs fleet of 85 buses became mired in traffic as 1.8 million Texas and Louisiana residents--fearing a repeat of the devastation caused in New Orleans by hurricane Katrina--flooded evacuation routes designed for far fewer people. Once the prisoners arrived at prisons further inland, they were housed in gymnasiums, chapels, dayrooms, and other makeshift dormitories.

On September 22, prison officials were still scrambling to complete the relocations. Mandatory evacuation orders had been issued for a number of Texas coastal counties, including Brazoria County, where at least ...

Gun-smuggling Prisoners Convicted in Shooting Scam

Fraud takes many forms but few as bizarre as the one allegedly concocted by D.C. prisoners Shawn Gray, Jamal Jefferson, Leonard Johnson and Fredrick Robinson.

On December 20, 2003 all four men were wounded by gunfire inside of the Southeast Washington prison. Originally, it was believed that the shootings resulted from a murder-for-hire contract placed on the men.
"There was a hit put out, and that was the reason for what went down in the jail," said defense attorney Gregory Lattimer.

Lattimer argued that the shooting was retaliation for a dispute resulting from drugs and cell phones being smuggled into the prison. The gun itself was smuggled in via a package tossed onto a ledge near the recreation yard.

By the time the trial began in September 2005, however, prosecutors were telling jurors a different story. According to Assistant U.S. Attorneys Emory V. Cole and Thomas A. Gillice, the four prisoners contrived a scheme to profit from the lax security and rampant violence of the prison.

Shawn Gray supposedly masterminded the scheme in which the four men would inflict each other with gunshot wounds and eventually sue the District for damages. According to the indictment, Gray purportedly postponed ...

Alleged Attacks Plotted By New Folsom Prisoners Uncovered

by Matthew T. Clarke

A federal grand jury has indicted four men--two of whom have been prisoners at the California State Prison-Sacramento (New Folsom Prison)--with conspiracy to levy war against the United States, to possess and use firearms in the furtherance of violence, and to kill U.S. and foreign officials. The six-count indictment stems from the alleged plot to attack around two dozen targets in southern California, including National Guard recruitment centers, Israels El Al airline facilities, the Israeli consulate in Los Angeles and. several area synagogues. The attacks were planned to begin on September 11, 2005, with an assault rifle attack on a recruitment center and were to peak during the Jewish High Holy Days in October.

The master planner behind the plot is allegedly New Folsom prisoner Kevin Lamar James, 29. James arrived at New Folsom in 1996. There he joined the largest Muslim group in American prisons, the Nation of Islam (NOI). NOI is currently led by Louis Farrakhan and is known for his anti-Semitic and inflammatory rhetoric and for the groups adherence to the teachings of black separatist Elijah Muhammad. Finding NOI, which opposes armed struggle, too mainstream, within a year of arriving at ...

Non-Sex-Offender Parolee Entitled to Due Process Before Being Treated As Sex Offender

by Matthew T. Clarke

The Fifth Circuit court of appeals held that a parolee who has never been convicted of a sex offense is entitled to a due process hearing prior to being required to register as a sex offender and attend sex offender treatment as a condition of parole.

Tony Ray Coleman, a Texas state prisoner, was on parole for burglary of a habitation when he was indicted for aggravated sexual assault of a child and indecency with a child by contact. He pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of misdemeanor assault and his parole was revoked. Later, he was released on mandatory supervision. However, without giving him advanced notice or a hearing to contest the conditions, the parole panel required him to register as a sex offender and attend sex offender therapy. Coleman registered, but failed to attend therapy and was revoked for that reason.

Coleman filed a pro se federal petition for a writ of habeas corpus alleging that his procedural and substantive due process rights were violated when the parole panel required him to register as a sex offender and participate in sex offender therapy even though he had no sex offense conviction. The district court ...

Ohio DOC Stipulates To Vastly Improved Medical Care

by John E. Dannenberg

The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (ODRC) settled a prisoner class action federal lawsuit on October 6, 2005 by stipulating to comprehensive improvements to its prisoner medical care, grounded in adding 321 medical personnel to the existing 540 and in overhauling its medical facilities. In ...

South Carolina Prisoner Awarded $825,000 for Untreated Infection

On January 10, 2006, a South Carolina jury awarded $825,000 to a state prisoner who received inadequate medical treatment for a life threatening infection.

State prisoner Jason Bynum was diagnosed with a serious mouth infection on January 9, 2002, while imprisoned at the Turbeville Correctional Facility. The untreated infection ...

Missouri Seizes Prisoner Assets Worth $748,682 In 2005

A more accurate motto for the show me state may be the show me the money state. In 2005 Attorney General Jay Nixon confiscated $748,682 from Missouris most oppressed residents--state prisoners.

The money was seized under the 1988 Missouri Incarceration Reimbursement Act, which allows the state to pirate up to 90% of a prisoners assets, exclusive of obligations to a spouse or children. Nixon has appropriated more than $4 million from prisoners for supposed imprisonment costs since he took office in 1993.

Thanks to the investigative legwork done by my staff, weve once again identified those inmates with the means to pay in 2005 and recovered assets due to the state, Nixon crowed.

He neglected to say how much that investigative legwork cost, but it was likely more than the amount collected. Cost of incarceration statutes, increasingly popular, are generally more about good politics than good fiscal stewardship.

Some notable seizures from Missouri prisoners included $34,036 from John Delmain and $10,768 from Warren Delmain, brothers who inherited money from their dead fathers estate; $30,335 confiscated from the bank account of John Cox, serving time for driving while intoxicated; and $20,684 left to Latrelle Campbell through ...

Fifth Circuit Joins Four Others in Denying Prospective BOP Good Time Credits

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed a federal prisoners habeas corpus petition seeking advance good time credits because the claim was not ripe. The appellate court further opined that even if it were ripe, a reasonable interpretation of the controlling statute, 18 U.S.C. § 3624(b), would permit only 47, not 54, days of credit per year.

Bureau of Prisons (BOP) prisoner Brandon Sample sued Warden Marvin Morrison for habeas relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2241. Sample, serving 168 months for money laundering and due to be released in 2012, sought good-time credits to be pre-awarded for his entire term. Morrison countered that Sample was statutorily permitted to accrue credits only annually, after he had served each year with good behavior. Simply stated, Sample could not expect to be rewarded for good behavior he had not yet delivered.

The Fifth Circuit dismissed the petition on the jurisdictional ground that it was not ripe. Given the temporally and speculative nature of Samples claim, his allegations do not establish that he will sustain immediate injury or that such injury would be redressed by the relief requested.

But even if Samples petition were ripe, the appellate court [agreeing with sister ...

Unconstitutionality of Lockdown of California Hispanics Upheld On Appeal

The California Court of Appeal upheld the Del Norte County Superior Courts 2003 ruling [case no. HCPB 00-5164] requiring supermax Pelican Bay State Prison (PBSP) officials to cease locking down Southern Hispanic prisoners endlessly solely based upon their ethnicity. In an unpublished ruling in 2004, the appellate court rejected PBSP officials arguments that the superior court had used the wrong constitutional analysis. The court independently reviewed the record using the reasonableness standard of Turner v. Safley, 482 U.S. 78, 89 (1987).

The superior court had found that PBSPs policy of automatically locking down all Southern Hispanics, whether they had participated in the major 2000 riot or not, or even if they were not at PBSP when it occurred, amounted to unconstitutional invidious discrimination. Indeed, the court found that by so isolating and discriminating against Southern Hispanics, PBSP was literally fomenting a culture of separation. Worse yet, the court found that while prisoners could get into the gang affiliation label, they could not get out of it. The court found PBSPs administrative review process offering deprogramming to be woefully slow, and ordered them to increase their resources to get the task done on a specified timetable. See: PLN, Mar. 2003 ...

Guard Out on Bond, Woman He Allegedly Raped Jailed Beyond Her Sentence

Platte County (Wyoming) Detention Center control clerk Jeremy King was charged with two counts of second-degree felony sexual assault for having sex with a female Jamaican prisoner convicted of federal drug offenses. The woman, who was not named, had served her entire sentence and probation period in jail but was still being held as a witness. King, who pleaded not guilty on September 19, 2005, was free on bond.

In a hearing held November 14, 2005 before 8th Judicial District Judge John C. Brooks, Kings attorney, William Disney, argued in favor of the womans continued incarceration in the Goshen County Detention Center while King awaited his February 28, 2006 trial date. Special Prosecutor Robert Reese asked the judge to let the woman videotape a deposition for use during trial and then release her to be deported to Jamaica. The woman has a 3-year-old child who is in her sisters care, but her sister is about to be deployed to Afghanistan. Thus, said Reese, it would be unfair to keep the woman imprisoned.

Brooks agreed that it would be unfair to continue to incarcerate the woman pending a trial in which she is the alleged victim. Therefore, Brooks told Disney to ...

Washington Liable for Negligent Parolee Supervision; Bad Jury Instruction Vacates $33 Million Award

In a 6-3 decision, the Washington Supreme Court reaffirmed its earlier holdings that the state may be held liable for negligent supervision of offenders. However, the court vacated a $22.4 million verdict resulting from a 2000 jury trial, which had ballooned with interest to $33 million, because the trial ...

Washington Liable for Negligent Parolee Supervision; Bad Jury Instruction Vacates $33 Million Award

In a 6-3 decision, the Washington Supreme Court reaffirmed its earlier holdings that the state may be held liable for negligent supervision of offenders. However, the court vacated a $22.4 million verdict resulting from a 2000 jury trial, which had ballooned with interest to $33 million, because the trial court gave a faulty jury instruction. On remand the state settled the case for $6.5 million.

Vernon Stewart was on community supervision for assault and car theft. The 1995 assault was his first adult felony but he had numerous juvenile offenses and a long history of mental illness.

Stewart was assigned Community Corrections Officer (CCO) Catherine Lo. From the beginning, Stewart was completely non-compliant with his supervision obligations. However, Lo wrote him up for only three of an estimated 100 supervision violations. She also failed to obtain, review or notify the courts of Stewarts mental health history.

On May 9, 1997, Stewarts supervision was transferred to a different CCO. Despite knowing Stewart was non-compliant, the new CCO never met with Stewart or obtained his medical records.

On August 8, 1997 Stewart stole a Suburban, drove 70 mph on city streets, ran red lights and ultimately rammed a vehicle driven ...

South Carolina Jury Awards $28.5 Million For Diabetic Jail Prisoners Death

South Carolina Jury Awards $28.5 Million For Diabetic Jail Prisoners Death

A South Carolina jury has awarded $28.5 million to the family of a mentally ill diabetic man who died from insulin deficiency while imprisoned at the Sumter County Detention Center. The verdict against Eastern Health Care Group ...

Arizona Jail Prisoners Not Pretty in Pink

Paraded in pink boxers, pink flip-flops and pink handcuffs more than 2,600 Arizona prisoners walked four blocks to new jail facilities in downtown Phoenix. Most moved from the Madison Street Jail, which closed for remodeling, to either the Towers Jail, the new Lower Buckeye Jail or the new Fourth Street Jail. It was Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's grand event.

The moves took place in increments on Friday, April 15, 2005. First, 70 prisoners under psychiatric care were moved followed by 190 juvenile prisoners. The third wave consisted of 220 closed custody prisoners including 28 alleged members of the Mexican Mafia. Members of this group were shackled, moved individually and escorted by U.S. Marshals, FBI agents and the Sheriffs Special Response Team.

The main event was Sheriff Arpaios self-proclaimed Walk-A-Con which marched 680 prisoners to the new Lower Buckeye Jail. Pink attired prisoners were flanked by canine guard units, Sheriff posse volunteers, SWAT team deputies and mounted deputies. Overhead, the pink contingent was watched by helicopter patrols. One privileged prisoner was allowed to cut the ribbons officially opening the jail.

Ceremonies culminated with the remaining 1,500 prisoners being transported by bus from the old Madison Street ...

Seventh Circuit Reinstates $100,000 Award In Indiana Failure-To-Protect Suit

The U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has reinstated a prisoners $100,000 award against two Indiana prison employees, overturning a district courts reversal of the jury verdict.

On September 9, 1998, Robert Pierson, 51, was attacked by fellow prisoner Jeremy Wilkinson while he slept. Wilkinson, 19, bludgeoned Pierson ...

Political Patronage In Hiring Illinois Prison Wardens?

Julie Wilkerson was a Rend Lake College associate music professor and band director making under $40,000 annually when she was hired as an assistant warden at Indianas Big Muddy River Correctional Center at a salary of $65,000 a year. Two other newly-minted Illinois assistant wardens were formerly an auto-parts store manager and a farmer who sold irrigation equipment on the side. None of the three had any detention training or experience. What did they have in common, other than being given high-paying, senior positions in the corrections department? They were all contributors to Democratic political campaigns. For instance, Wilkerson contributed $500 to Democratic Secretary of State Jesse White in 2002 and another $1,500 three months before being hired as an assistant warden.

Although Dede Short, spokesperson for the corrections department, claims that there is no quid pro quo in the hirings, federal officials have subpoenaed the hiring records of the state Departments of Corrections, Transportation and Child Welfare to investigate a possible pattern of patronage-based hiring. At least eight prison wardens are known to have made contributions. Of the eight, seven were made wardens after Governor Rod Blagojevich took office, two of whom had not previously worked ...

Texas Federal District Judge Throws Out VitaPro Convictions

by Matthew T. Clarke

In another bizarre twist to an already bewildering prosecution history, on September 9, 2005, Texas federal district judge Lynn Hughes, by judicial fiat, acquitted Andy Collins, the former executive director of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ), and Yank Barry, the Canadian ex-con owner of VitaPro, of the bribery-related charges a jury convicted them of four years ago. Collins and Barry were never sentenced. VitaPro manufactures a soy-based protein meat substitute that was purchased by TDCJ and fed to prisoners.

In 1995, George W. Bush was governor of Texas and TDCJ was in the middle of a multi-billion dollar rapid expansion phase that more than quadrupled its prisoner capacity to 150,000 in seven years. To facilitate the rapid expansion, special emergency purchasing contracts that sidestepped the state bidding requirements were authorized. Thus, under then-TDCJ executive director Collins, multi-imillion-dollar no-bid contracts were allowed. VitaPro received a $33.7 million no-bid contract to supply its inedible meat substitute to TDCJ kitchens.

Amidst the then-breaking prison procurement scandal, the freshly-retired Collins gave an interview published in the May 1996 issue of Texas Monthly magazine. In the interview, Collins stated that people well above him in the state ...

Alabama Work-Release Prisoners Working But Not Getting Paid

Prisoners in an Alabama work-release program have been working without getting paid. Problems have come mostly from prison employees who have hired prison workers then defaulted on their debt.

Prisons located in Decatur, Birmingham and Loxley posed the greatest problems. A 2004 audit noted several questionable practices. Based on an antiquated policy allowing prison employees and their relatives to use prison labor most work-release prisoners were being paid late or not being paid at all. Though the policy was discontinued in 2003, two employees still owed prisoners money at the time of the audit. One owed $1,500 and the other $700.

Another questionable practice included a $5.00 charge to transport prisoners to and from work. The state netted $2.6 million from the work-release ride service.

Work-release prisoners were often checked out of custody for days on end even though they werent being put to work. It wasnt mentioned exactly what they were doing.

The audit also addressed questionable implementation of medical fees. Work-release prisoners were charged $3 co-payments if they initiated a medical visit. If they failed a drug test they were fined $25.

Some prisoners in the Birmingham facility were required to pay for 100% of ...

Sweetheart Deal For Pharmacy Supplying Saratoga County Jail

OBriens Pharmacy in Ballston Springs has a pretty good deal in supplying the Saratoga County Jail in New York with prescription drugs for prisoners. The county, which paid OBriens $247,000 in FY 2004, has been paying the average wholesale price plus a $2.60-per-prescription filing fee in accordance with a 1992 policy. By contrast, the countys nursing home and nearby Warren County Jail put their prescription drug purchasing out on bids. Warren County pays 8% below average wholesale and has no filing fee.

How did OBriens get such a sweetheart deal? It could be because OBriens contributes to Saratoga County Sheriff James D. Bowens re-election campaign. In 2005, the amount contribute by OBriens was $1,100.

Jack Murray, Saratoga County auditor, said his staff checks the bills submitted by OBrien, stating that they rarely find an overcharge and sometimes find undercharges. However, they are checking against a policy that may allow overcharging in general.

Bowen said OBriens is used because it is close to the jail and able to make quick deliveries. However, he said he would look into the possibility of putting the prescription drug purchases out on bid.

If there is a way to save money, Ill ...

Wrongfully Convicted Texas Prisoner Finally Receives $118,000 in Compensation

In 1988, a 17-year-old Josiah Sutton was convicted in a Texas court of a rape he did not commit and sentenced to twenty-five years in prison. Sutton spent close to five years in prison before new DNA tests performed in 2003 proved the tests previously performed by the discredited Houston Police Department crime lab were false. Those false results had virtually assured his conviction.

The 25-year-old ex-high-school-football player was released from prison in March 2003. Initially, it took many months of negotiations with the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles before they recommended Sutton for a pardon based upon innocence instead of the lesser pardon they wanted him to receive. Texas Governor Rick Perry signed the pardon in May 2004.

The pardon based on innocence should have cleared the way for Sutton to receive compensation for the long years of wrongful imprisonment. However, in 2003, Texas amended the compensation laws to require that the district attorney of the district of conviction sign off any compensation, which is fixed by statute at $25,000 per year of wrongful imprisonment and capped at $500,000. [PLN, June 2005, p.23]. Chuck Rosenthal, Harris County District Attorney, refused to issue a letter approving ...

Louisiana Work-Release Prisoners Used by Sheriff in Chop Shop

Louisiana sheriff Ronald Gun Ficklin faces 22 counts on charges of conspiracy, trafficking in motor vehicles with removed or altered vehicle identification numbers (VINs), removing or altering VINs, aiding and abetting the possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, misprison of a felony for not reporting a felon with a firearm, and mail fraud.

The charges stem from a scheme that put state prisoners to work in a local car theft operation. Ficklins friend and convicted felon Barry Edward Dawsey ran the illegal business out of B & D Auto Sales in St. Helena Parish. When Dawsey was apprehended in a stolen pickup truck police discovered the gun and sheriff Ficklins badge inside.

Dawsey pleaded guilty in 2004 and is currently serving a 3-year sentence. James Jackson, Mitchell Tidwell and Kevin Simmons also admitted involvement in the scam and pleaded guilty in federal court.

Ficklin was originally arrested in February 2005 on a 10-count indictment issued by a federal grand jury. He was released after a detention hearing and posting a $25,000 bond. Twelve more counts were added as the investigation continued.

Ficklin is accused of fraud for billing the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections (DOC) $140 ...

Illinois Prison Official, Parole Board Member Indicted For Corruption

On December 9, 2005, a Lee County, Illinois, grand jury returned indictments against former Illinois Department of Corrections official Ron Matrisciano and former Illinois Parole Board member Victor Brooks. Matrisciano was indicted for five counts of official misconduct and two counts of wire fraud while Brooks faces one count each of official misconduct and wire fraud. The charges stem from Matriscianos testimony at the December 2002, parole hearing for and Brookss vote to release Harry Aleman, who had been convicted of the 1972 murder of Teamsters official Willie Logan and was, according to prosecutors, a mob hit man. Aleman was acquitted in his first trial, but retried and convicted after prosecutors proved that he had bribed the judge. The board voted 10-1 not to grant parole at the 2002 hearing.

According to the indictment, Matrisciano testified that Brooks was a model prisoner who would not be a threat if released. Soon after the 2002 hearing, Matrisciano was laid off for budgetary reasons and the DOCs second-highest official was fired for having given Matrisciano permission to testify at the hearing. Matrisciano has also been charged with perjury for falsely representing his support as the DOCs official position, then lying under oath ...

Los Angeles Jail Pays $375,000 To Assaulted Keep Away Prisoner

Los Angeles Jail Pays $375,000 To Assaulted Keep Away Prisoner

Los Angeles County, California, should pay $375,000 to a former prisoner who was severely beaten after being improperly celled with his assailant, the County Claims Board recommended on December 8, 2005.

On May 13, 2002, prisoner Martin Davis ...

CONMED Not Using Licensed Nurses In Maryland Jail

Attempts to get jail medical services on the cheap may have backfired for Marylands Queen Anne County. CONMED, a private jail medical services company, has a contract to provide medical services at the countys 80-bed jail and 11 other Maryland jails. CONMED does this by hiring off-duty Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs).

According to CONMED official Ron Grubman, Youre dealing primarily with 18- to 30-year olds, most of whom arent staying any longer than 30 days.

Apparently, they also arent receiving adequate medical services during their brief stays. According to state Board of Nursing Executive Director Donna Dorsey, there have been complaints about the quality of the jails medical services and the jail should have been using licensed nurses to provide the health care. Dorsey disagrees with Grubmans claim that EMTs can handle most of the medical treatment needed at jails.

Its nothing against them, said Dorsey. But an EMT is licensed to do ambulance care, pick people up and treat them before they get to a hospital. Theyre not licensed to work in an institution.

However, jail Warden LaMonte Cook counters that such a move would more than double the jails medical costs from $200,000 a year to an ...

$232,700 in Attorney Fees Awarded In Colorado Censorship Settlement

The United States District Court for the District of Colorado on April 26, 2005, awarded $232,700 in fees and costs after a Settlement Agreement was reached over the rejection of numerous magazines and books by the Colorado Department of Corrections (CDOC).

Several publishers and prisoners sued the CDOC when ...

Washington Ex-Cons Cant Be Denied Voting Rights Because of Unpaid LFOs

Washington Ex-Cons Cant Be Denied Voting Rights Because of Unpaid LFOs

On March 27, 2006, Judge Michael Spearman, of the Superior Court of King County, Washington held that withholding voting rights from released felons, solely because they owe legal financial obligations (LFOs) is unconstitutional.

Plaintiffs Daniel Madison, Beverly DuBois, and Dannielle Garner, have all been convicted of felonies in Washington State. They all have unpaid LFOs related to their convictions, for which they were denied the right to vote in state elections, pursuant to RCW 9.94A.637(1)(a). In 2004, they filed suit claiming that they were being unlawfully discriminated against because of their indigency.

Judge Spearman recognized that Art. IV Sec. 3 of the state constitution and RCW 29A.04.079 lawfully worked to deprive those convicted of felonies of their right to vote until that right was restored to them under RCW 9.96.010 and 9.94A.637(4). He also recognized that prerequisite to such restoration was the felons satisfaction of all LFOs pursuant to RCW 9.94A.637(1)(a).

Judge Spearman found that the right to vote is a fundamental right, the deprivation of which normally can occur only if that is ...

New York Prisoner Awarded $25,000 For Assault

On April 12, 2005, a Bronx, New York, jury awarded $25,000 to a man who was severely beaten by other prisoners in the mental health section of the Rikers Island jail complex.

The 18-year-old plaintiff was imprisoned at Rikers Island for a robbery that he was later acquitted of ...

Settlement Permits Free and Gift Publications to Connecticut Prisoners

Prisoners in the Connecticut Department of Corrections (CDOC) can now receive free and gift publications that were previously banned under Administrative Directive 10.7, according to the terms of a March 18, 2004, settlement agreement.

A.D. 10.7 prohibited prisoners from receiving publications paid for or donated by a third party--whether from a family member, friend, charitable organization, or government entity. The banned publications included books, magazines, newspapers, advertising brochures, flyers, and catalogues.

Todd Morrison, a prisoner at the MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution, had challenged the directive in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut on the grounds that it violated his constitutional rights under the First Amendment. The suit was dismissed without prejudice following the settlement agreement.

Under the settlement, prisoners may now receive free hardcover or paper bound publications and/or educational, legal, religious or other similar publications, provided the publications are in new condition, mailed directly from a publisher, book club or book store, and all other security and space limitation requirements are met. The CDOC also agreed to enforce the settlement agreement in all prisons under its control and to post notice of the new policy in all housing areas and libraries.

Morrison ...

Second Circuit Holds PLRA Fee Cap Inapplicable To So-ordered Stipulated Dismissals

Second Circuit Holds PLRA Fee Cap Inapplicable To So-ordered Stipulated Dismissals

by Bob Williams

In a case of first impression, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has held that the fee cap provision of the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), which limits attorney fees to 150 ...

Texas Prison Slaves No Savings for Direct Marketing Firm; Data Mining Results in $ 15 Million Settle

Texas Prison Slaves No Savings for Direct Marketing Firm; Data Mining Results in $ 15 Million Settlement Fund

by Michael Rigby

A class action lawsuit involving thousands of women who received threatening letters from prisoners employed to process data for a private company has settled for amounts ranging from $100 to ...

New York Prisoner Awarded $4,000 For Assault

On May 23, 2005, a New York court of claims awarded $4,000 to a state prisoner who suffered a head injury when another prisoner attacked him.

While imprisoned by the State Department of Correctional Services in Elmira, New York, William Crenshaw was attacked by another prisoner. During the June ...

Forced Masturbation States Privacy Claim

The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals has remanded for further proceedings a prisoners civil rights complaint that alleged he was forced to strip and masturbate by a female guard, and was then retaliated against for reporting her nefarious activities.

Boxer X, a prisoner at Georgias Smith State Prison, sought relief under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for acts committed by Sgt. Angela Harris between July and November 2003. Boxer complained that on July 5 his food was cold and his tray dirty. Harris said shed get him a new tray if he did her a favor, namely to show her his penis while she watched through the flap in the cell door. When Boxer refused, Harris promised retribution.

Incidents of this nature continued for several months. Sometimes Boxer refused, other times he complied. Boxer received two disciplinary reports on August 1, 2003 for failure to follow instructions and exposure/exhibition, following an instance of refusing to perform for Harris.

On August 28, Harris offered to not write Boxer disciplinary reports if he performed for her without question. Between September to November Harris approached Boxers cell six times, demanding that he strip naked and perform sexual acts of self-gratification. Boxer complied ...

Illinois Prisoner Raped By Guard Settles For $15,000

On July 2, 2005, a prisoner who was raped by a guard settled her lawsuit against the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) for $15,000.
While imprisoned at the Dixon Correctional Center on May 26, 2000, the plaintiff, Rose Marie Smith 51, was raped by an unknown male guard. According ...

News in Brief:

Afghanistan: On July 10, 2005, four captured Arab guerrillas escaped from the Bagram Air Base where they were being held and tortured by United States military forces. They were the first political prisoners to escape from the torture camp since it was opened in 2001 shortly after the US invasion of the country. The US did not identify who they were, how long they had been held captive, etc.

Colorado: On December 12, 2005, a federal jury convicted Colorado state prisoners Shawn Shields, Vernon Templeman, Carl Pursley and Wendell Wardell, of retaliating against a witness stemming from their beating of an unidentified Canon City prisoner who had testified against the men who were earlier convicted of obtaining thousands of dollars in fraudulent income tax returns from the Internal Revenue Service. The defendants represented themselves pro se in the case.

Ecuador: On March 21, 2006, prisoners at a prison in Quito burned down the prison which was designed to hold 350 but which held 900, to protest their living conditions. One prisoner died during the blaze, which destroyed 70 percent of the prison. Seven prisoners and two firemen were treated for smoke inhalation. The fire took three hours to extinguish, in ...

The Warehouse Prison, by Dr. John Irwin, 318 pp., softback, Roxbury Publishing Company, 2005

Reviewed by John E. Dannenberg

Taking Californias Solano State Prison as a model, author John Irwin exposes the warehouse concept of Californias prisons and its debilitating effect on prisoners and their struggle for reintegration. Dr. Irwin, conflating his unique perspectives as both a San Francisco State University Professor of Criminology and a former prisoner at Soledad State Prison, personally examines and analyzes the inner workings of prisons as well as the impact of the warehouse system on prisoners and society. As entertainingly written as it is poignant, this book offers incredibly realistic introspection into every aspect of the prison experience. It is recommended reading for prisoners, their families and the public, who all pay for yet jointly suffer from the hopelessness of the current retributive warehouse incarceration model.

Chapters 1 and 2 recount the swing to the imprisonment binge of the past few decades, seeking ever harsher punishment. Incisive histories of early English and American prisons, replete with the development of the convict code and social structure, chronicle the encroaching demise of the early rehabilitative model.

Focusing on (by working within) Solano State Prison, Professor Irwin examines in Chapters 3 and 4 the physical plant as well as the administrative ...

 

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