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Prisoner Education Guide

Prison Legal News: September, 2006

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Volume 17, Number 9

In this issue:

  1. For-Profit Transportation Companies: Taking Prisoners, and the Public, for a Ride (p 1)
  2. PLN Wins FOIA Suit to Gain Copies of BOP Verdicts and Settlements without Charge (p 15)
  3. Florida Guards a Day Late and a Dollar Short with Failure to Exhaust Defense; $180,000 Verdict Upheld (p 16)
  4. From the Editor (p 16)
  5. $500,000 CCA Escape/Hostage Damage Award Upheld (p 16)
  6. Brownsville Texas Border Corruption Continues (p 17)
  7. A Captive Audience For Salvation (p 18)
  8. Pro Se Tips and Tactics: Fourteenth Amendment - Due Process: U. S. Supreme Court Clarifies Some Rights (p 20)
  9. Supreme Court: Banning Publications to Punish Recalcitrant Prisoners Trumps Their First Amendment Rights (p 25)
  10. CSC Alien Abuse Class Action Settled for $2.5 Million (p 26)
  11. Supreme Court Says No to Trial by Military Commission for Gitmo Prisoners (p 27)
  12. No Room in Prison? Ship Em Off Prisoners have become unwitting pawns in a lowest-bidder- gets-the-convict shuffle game (p 28)
  13. U.S. Government Settles 9-11 Detainee Abuse Suit for $300,000 (p 30)
  14. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ordered to Pay Prisoner $500 For Misconduct (p 31)
  15. Nevada Summary Judgment for Non-Exhaustion Reversed (p 32)
  16. Widespread Prisoner Labor Abuse Requires Reform (p 32)
  17. New York Strip-Search Suit Settled for $1.7 Million (p 33)
  18. Kentucky County Jail Settles Lawsuit Alleging Overcrowded Conditions (p 34)
  19. CCA Fineable in New Contracts With Colorado and Hawaii (p 34)
  20. Virginia Sheriffs Pay for Christian Ministries (p 35)
  21. $75,000 Settlement for Untreated Wisconsin Methadone Patient (p 36)
  22. Washington DOC Settles Mail Censorship Suit with PLN for $442,500 in Fees and Damages (p 36)
  23. Virginia Prisoners Challenge Grooming Policy Under RLUIPA (p 37)
  24. Sexually Abused Texas Prisoner Loses Federal Lawsuit, Returns To Prison (p 38)
  25. Florida County Bucks Paying $300,000 in Prisoner Medical Bills (p 38)
  26. Asthmatic South Carolina Prisoner Awarded $3,200 on ETS Claim (p 39)
  27. FL Work Releasees Reporting to Work Late Doesnt Amount to Escape (p 39)
  28. Delaware Legislature Rejects Bill Upgrading Prison Health Care (p 40)
  29. Supreme Court Holds Administrative Remedies Must Be Properly Exhausted Under the PLRA (p 40)
  30. Oklahoma Requires Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies For Ex-Prisoner Suits (p 41)
  31. Dismissal of Failure to Protect Claim Reversed; No Showing Necessary to Survive Rule 12(b)(6) Dismissal (p 41)
  32. News in Brief: (p 42)
  33. $470,000 Paid in Pennsylvania Jail Prisoners Seizure Related Death (p 44)

For-Profit Transportation Companies: Taking Prisoners, and the Public, for a Ride

According to the latest report from the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, as of June 2005 approximately 2.2 million people were incarcerated in prisons and jails nationwide not including immigration detention centers and juvenile facilities. This enormous imprisoned population is not static; prisoners are moved both intrastate and interstate on a regular basis for a variety of reasons, including court appearances, medical visits, detainer extraditions, Interstate Compact transfers and bail bond remands. A mobile, constantly-shifting prison on wheels is an apt analogy.

While there are no firm statistics for the total number of prisoners transferred and extradited annually, the U.S. Marshals Service, which is responsible for the transportation of prisoners and immigration detainees in federal custody, receives around 1,000 transport requests per day and moves nearly 300,000 prisoners each year through its Justice Prisoner and Alien Transportation System (JPATS).

On the state and local level, individual jurisdictions are responsible for their own prisoner transportation needs. Although almost all sheriff's offices and state Departments of Correction maintain their own prisoner transport services, they also rely heavily on privately-operated
companies, especially for interstate trips. The reasons for using such for-profit transport services boil ...

PLN Wins FOIA Suit to Gain Copies of BOP Verdicts and Settlements without Charge

by John E. Dannenberg

The United States District Court (D.D.C.) granted PLNs motion for summary judgment and ordered the U.S. Bureau of Prisons (BOP) to provide investigative material requested by PLN under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) without payment of search or duplication fees. PLN, exercising its statutory right as a legitimate news media representative to seek BOP internal data that would be of public interest, was rebuffed by the BOP when it refused to comply with PLN's request for data concerning all litigation related payments against the BOP without PLN first ponying up $6,944 in search costs, plus copying fees. The BOP refused to waive the fees, claiming there was no interest in this information by the public at large.

Amazingly, the BOP claimed it did not have this information, the money and details on all money it has paid out in litigation over a multi year period, available in any one location and that finding the information would require a hand search of records at all 114 BOP prisons and jails. If true, this shows a shocking lack of risk management. If not, it indicates a cavalier disregard for truthfully responding to ...

Florida Guards a Day Late and a Dollar Short with Failure to Exhaust Defense; $180,000 Verdict Upheld

Florida Guards a Day Late and a Dollar Short with Failure to Exhaust Defense; $180,000 Verdict
Upheld

Carlos Green, a Florida state prisoner, sued five guards and former Florida DOC director James
Crosby on a number of legal theories in federal district court, including excessive use of force,
deliberate ...

From the Editor

This issue reports positive developments we have acheived in two lawsuits, one against the
Washington Department of Corrections and the other against the federal Bureau of Prisons. Both
cases have taken a lot of time and energy on the part of both PLN staff and our attorneys to win.

Unfortunately, we wind up spending an inordinate amount of time on censorship litigation just to
ensure our readers can receive PLN and the books we distribute. When prisoners have issues or
books from PLN censored please let us know as soon as possible as all too often prison and jail
officials do not notify us of the censorship. We ask that prisoners use their grievance system and
send PLN a copy of the documentation. Two things that greatly contribute to PLNs success in
court: a well developed factual record and skilled attorneys who can use it.

This September marks the 35th anniversary of the rebellion at Attica in September, 1971 and
subsequent massacre of 41 prisoners and prison employees by the New York state police and
Department of Corrections. The Attica rebellion marks the beginning of the modern era of prison
reform in the United States. One of the slogans of ...

$500,000 CCA Escape/Hostage Damage Award Upheld

The Tennessee State Court of Appeals upheld a $500,000 compensatory damage award against Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), to a woman who was taken hostage by an escaped CCA prisoner.

Mike Settle was a prisoner at Hardeman County Correctional Facility (HCCF), a CCA prison in Whiteville, Tennessee. On August ...

Brownsville Texas Border Corruption Continues

Coronado Cantu took over the Cameron County Sheriffs office in January 2001. He took up
residence inside the Texas jail in June 2005. Cantu was charged with heading a crime ring that
included drug trafficking, extortion and prostitution of female prisoners.

Animo was Cantus watchword. Defined as spirit or enthusiasm, his mantra graced his speeches
and embossed his business cards. The naive crowds loved him. In November 2000 they elected
him sheriff over the incumbent Omar Lucio.

There were a lot of people mesmerized by this guy, said county commissioner and Cantu critic
David Garza. Hes a very charismatic individual.

He portrayed himself as a nice guy, said county Judge Gilberto Hinojosa who originally
supported Cantu. No one expected him to get into bed with drug dealers.

But its not as though there werent early warning signs that Cantu was headed for trouble. Soon
after being elected he asked for a consultant to help him manage his new office. County officials
scoffed at the request.

I guess he wants a cookbook -- How to Run a Sheriffs Office, chided County Auditor Mark
Yates.

It appears now that Yates and other officials who denied Cantus request should have looked
deeper at the ...

A Captive Audience For Salvation

A for-profit prison company stirs hope - and church-state issues - pursuing partnerships with
Evangelical Christian ministries.

NASHVILLE, TENN. - America has the highest incarceration level in the world, and its prisons
serve too consistently as revolving doors. Are faith-based programs in prisons the answer to
these disturbing trends?

The largest private company running prisons and jails in the United States, Corrections
Corporation of America, thinks so. CCA has embarked on a major initiative to expand such
programs in all 63 facilities it operates under contract with local, state, and federal governments.
These programs give inmates hope and prepare them to be different people, says John Lanz,
CCA's director of industry and special programs.

While the ambitious approach wins kudos from some prisoners, other people question its
constitutionality.

Though not directly supported by President Bush's faith-based initiative, CCA's program poses
the same questions about how to encourage positive change in people's lives without privileging
one form of religion with taxpayer dollars. Some also see potential political ramifications.

CCA provides for a variety of religious services in each facility, as required by law. But in
addition, it has formed partnerships with eight national Evangelical Christian ministries under
which CCA provides ...

Pro Se Tips and Tactics: Fourteenth Amendment - Due Process: U. S. Supreme Court Clarifies Some Rights

Pro Se Tips and Tactics: Fourteenth Amendment - Due Process: U. S. Supreme Court Clarifies
Some Rights

by Daniel Manville

Introduction1

For a number of years it seemed that rights of prisoners were being slowly narrowed, if not
eliminated by not only the lower federal courts but also the United States Supreme Court. This
eroding away of rights of prisoners was slowed significantly during the 2004-2005 Supreme
Court term. In that term, the Court made clear the standard for finding the existence of a liberty
interest. Contrary to most lower federal courts, the Court found the existence of a liberty interest
when confined in supermax prisons. The Court also clarified when a prisoner needs to file a writ
of habeas corpus instead of a civil action when the state has changed its parole release
requirements after a prisoner was sentenced.

Muhammad v. Close

Since the late 1990s, confusion existed as to when a prisoner had to obtain a reversal of a guilty
prison misconduct finding prior to bringing a section 1983 action for violation of due process.2
Most lower courts would not authorize a lawsuit concerning facts related to a guilty misconduct
finding until that finding was set aside.3 ...

Supreme Court: Banning Publications to Punish Recalcitrant Prisoners Trumps Their First Amendment Rights

Supreme Court: Banning Publications to Punish Recalcitrant Prisoners Trumps Their First
Amendment Rights

by John E. Dannenberg

The U.S. Supreme Court held that the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (PDOC) policy of
banning its most disruptive prisoners receipt of all non-legal and non religious magazines,
newspapers and photographs as a behavior modification tool met the legitimate penological
interest test of Turner v. Safley, 482 U.S. 78 (1987). In so holding, the Court ruled that the
prisoners First Amendment rights were trumped by PDOCs claimed need to impose this
acknowledged punishment.

Ronald Banks was a PDOC prisoner housed in the Long Term Segregation Unit (LTSU) for his
disruptive behavior. He was initially housed in LTSU-2, the harshest section, for 90 days or
unless and until he improved his behavior. One of the LTSU-2 restrictions was to bar prisoners
from receiving non-legal newspapers, publications or photographs. Represented by counsel,
Banks sued under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for violation of his First Amendment rights. PDOC Secretary
Beard filed a motion for summary judgment, which Banks did not oppose. Rather, Banks only
filed a cross-motion for summary judgment on the theory that his First Amendment rights
should carry the day. This procedural ...

CSC Alien Abuse Class Action Settled for $2.5 Million

On August 10, 2005, a federal court in New Jersey approved a settlement in Brown v. Esmor
Correctional Services Inc., USDC No. 98-1282 (DNJ). Esmor Correctional Services Inc. (Esmor) later known as Correctional Services Corporation (CSC), agreed to pay the plaintiff-alien class $2.5 million for abuses suffered while detained ...

Supreme Court Says No to Trial by Military Commission for Gitmo Prisoners

On June 29, 2006, the Supreme Court held that prisoners being held in the military concentration
camp prisons at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (Gitmo), could not be tried by the special military
tribunals set up by President Bush in a comprehensive military order dated November 13, 2001
(the Order). See 66 Fed.Reg. 57833. The Supreme Court held that prisoners taken in the War on
Terror were entitled to some of the protections of the Geneva Conventions.

The Order was intended to govern the Detention, Treatment, and trial of Certain Non-Citizens in
the War Against Terrorism. It allowed the detention and trial of and noncitizens the President
determined there is reason to believe is or was a member of al Qaeda or has engaged or
participated in terrorism against the U.S. It provided for trial by appointed military commissions.
One of the salient features of the military commission was that the defendant had no right to
review the governments evidence.

In November 2001, Yemeni national Salim Hamdan was turned over to U.S. forces by Afghan
militia who captured him during military operations against the Taliban. In June 2002, he was
imprisoned at Gitmo. Over a year later, President Bush ...

No Room in Prison? Ship Em Off Prisoners have become unwitting pawns in a lowest-bidder- gets-the-convict shuffle game

No Room in Prison? Ship Em Off Prisoners have become unwitting pawns in a lowest-bidder-
gets-the-convict shuffle game

by Silja J.A. Talvi

It has been an arduous, surreal journey for eight Hawaiian female prisoners sent to do their time
on the mainland.

The plight of this group of women housed, most recently, in a prison in the small eastern
Kentucky town of Wheelwright, would have escaped unnoticed, had it not been for the death of
43-year-old Sarah Ah Mau, on New Years Eve 2005. Mau, serving a life sentence for second-
degree murder, had been incarcerated since 1993 and had a shot at parole eligibility in August
2008.

She never got that chance. Instead she died of as-yet-unexplained natural causes after two
days in critical conditionand a month after first complaining of severe gastrointestinal distress.
Family members and fellow prisoners say that Ah Maus pleas for medical care were ridiculed,
downplayed or ignored by prison employees. As her stomach distendedand other body parts
began to swell visiblyprisoners say that Ah Mau was fed castor oil and told to stop complaining
unless she wanted to face disciplinary action.

What was Hawaiian resident Ah Mau doing in Kentucky in the first ...

U.S. Government Settles 9-11 Detainee Abuse Suit for $300,000

In a document filed February 27, 2006, the U.S. government agreed to pay an Egyptian who was
caught up in the post-9-11 sweep and detained for a year at the Brooklyn Metropolitan
Detention Center (MDC) $300,000 to settle his claims of having been abused by MDC guards.

Ehab ...

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ordered to Pay Prisoner $500 For Misconduct

On April 6, 2005, a judge in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas levied a $500
sanction award against two Assistant U.S. Attorneys for their unethical, unprofessional, and
dishonest conduct in a prisoner lawsuit.

Plaintiff Brandon Sample filed a pro se federal lawsuit on ...

Nevada Summary Judgment for Non-Exhaustion Reversed

The Nevada Supreme Court reversed a lower courts grant of summary judgment on a former
prisoners suit for failing to exhaust administrative remedies.

Nevada Department of Corrections (NDOC) prisoner George Simmons was brutally beaten by
another prisoner on April 14, 1997. He sustained a broken jaw, fractured vertebrae ... [and]
clavicle, and soft tissue swelling around the brain. He was comatose for six weeks. Upon
regaining consciousness, Simmons was returned to prison.

On April 6, 1998, Simmons was paroled and admitted to Nevada Community Enrichment
Program (NCEP) -- a rehabilitation center that specializes in treating patients who have suffered
neurological trauma -- where he relearned how to speak, ... walk, and ... redevelop his motor
skills.

On May 13, 1999 Simmons brought suit against prison officials in state court, alleging
negligence related to the assault. He later added another tort claim and a federal civil rights
claim.

The trial court granted the Defendants motion for summary judgment because Simmons failed
to exhaust administrative remedies as required by Nevada law and the Prison Litigation Reform
Act (PLRA) before filing suit.

The Supreme Court noted that Nevada Revised Statute (NRS) 41.0322(1) requires current and
former prisoners to exhaust administrative remedies before filing suit against NDOC ...

Widespread Prisoner Labor Abuse Requires Reform

Lonoke Mayor Thomas Privett and police Chief Jay Campbell were caught abusing the states
prisoner work program. Arkansas Department of Corrections requested, in early August 2005,
that the program be suspended after learning that state prisoners had been used to repair the
police chiefs boat and make improvements to his home.

In a statement issued on August 8, 2005 prison spokesperson Dina Tyler clarified that Act 309 of
1983, which covers DOC policy including the prisoner labor program, prohibits the use of
prisoners for private benefit. That Campbell paid the workers to build a walkway from his
swimming pool to his house as well as fix his boat did not negate the infraction. Prisoner labor is
to only consist of work that benefits the community.

Matters were made worse by the fact that Mayor Privett loaned a vacant building he owned to the
sheriff for the boat repairs.

Lonoke was receiving $15 per day per prisoner on loan from the DOC. The five male prisoners
would perform duties around the jail like cooking and emptying garbage as well as community
service. All five were returned to the prison and Lonoke was suspended from the program
pending a decision from the ...

New York Strip-Search Suit Settled for $1.7 Million

A federal class action suit, challenging a New York jails blanket misdemeanor strip-search policy
has been settled for $1,783,670.20.

Timothy Maneely brought suit in federal court, challenging the City of Newburgh, New York
policy of strip searching all arrestees without reasonable suspicion.

The case was certified as ...

Kentucky County Jail Settles Lawsuit Alleging Overcrowded Conditions

On November 30, 2005, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky tentatively
approved the settlement of a class action lawsuit alleging unconstitutionally overcrowded
conditions at the Campbell County Jail in Newport, Kentucky.

Built in 1991, the Campbell County Detention Center was designed to hold 135 prisoners. It
quickly became overcrowded. In the weeks before the lawsuit was filed on April 29, 2005, the
jails population reached a high of 276 prisoners, many of whom were forced to sleep on the
floor. On April 18, 2005, the jail held 238 prisoners. During that week at least 20% of the jail
population were awaiting transfer to the Kentucky Department of Corrections (KDOC), which was
also named as a defendant in the lawsuit. For its part, the KDOC addressed overcrowding at the
jail by simply reducing the required floor space for each prisoner from 50 to 40 square feet.

The lawsuit, filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 by attorney Robert B. Newman of the Cincinnati,
Ohio, law firm Newman & Meeks, alleged the overcrowding violated the prisoners Eighth and
Fourteenth Amendment rights. The plaintiffs sought injunctive relief and nominal damages. To
settle the suit, County officials and the KDOC agreed to a number of measures aimed at reducing
overcrowding. These included the building of a new $ 1 million Restricted Custody Center to
house felons headed for the KDOC, expansion and remodeling efforts, and the implementation
of new policies to prevent overcrowding.

At the detention center, County officials are planning to add 256 beds, and a new $860,000
kitchen and laundry facility was set to open in December 2005. Once it opens the old kitchen and
laundry space will be remodeled to house an upgraded infirmary. A full time nurse position was
also created and filled. Further improvements at the jail include the installation of more bunk
beds, added table space, and renovated showers in the dormitories; the replacement of a boiler
and all air conditioning units; and a $160,000 upgrade to the security system. Another $200,000
was spent to replace a ...

CCA Fineable in New Contracts With Colorado and Hawaii

Corrections Corporation of America has signed new contracts with Colorado and Hawaii which,
for the first time, include the possibility of the states imposing liquidated damages if CCA fails
to provide the contracted services. The provisions resulted from a lengthy interruption of
services to female prisoners at a private womens prison in Brush, Colorado. The prison, which
was not run by CCA, held Hawaiian and Colorado prisoners. The interruption followed allegations
of sexual misconduct by staff with prisoners. As reported in the Oct. 2005 PLN, the ensuing
scandal resulted in guards resigning or being fired and a Colorado Department of Corrections
investigation.

Conditions of confinement of prisoners in private prisons is of special interest to Hawaiian
officials. Half of Hawaiis state prisoners--a total of about 1,850--are incarcerated in private
prisons in Arizona, Kentucky, Mississippi and Oklahoma. The new CCA contract with Hawaii,
which was signed in October, 2005, has CCA keeping 120 Hawaiian women prisoners at the
Otter Creek Correctional Facility in Wheelwright, Kentucky. According to Frank Lopez, acting
assistant Director of the Hawaiian Department of Public Safety, the Otter Creek contract is to
serve as a model for all future Hawaiian contracts with private prisons. It calls for ...

Virginia Sheriffs Pay for Christian Ministries

Several Virginia sheriffs have used public money to pay for services from Christian groups that
minister to prisoners, the Virginia-Pilot reported on March 2, 2006. The payments have drawn
criticism from some watchdog groups that advocate for a strong separation of church and state.
Portsmouth Sheriff Gary Waters has paid the most. Over a 2-year period Waters paid $45,650 to
the nonprofit Southeastern Correctional Ministry, Inc. (SCM). But Waters isnt the only sheriff
doling out public money to Christian groups. During the same 2-year period the Hampton
Sheriffs Office contributed $21,180 to SCM. Another Christian group, the Good News Jail &
Prison Ministry, received a $15,000 donation from the Virginia Beach Sheriffs Office, said Sheriff
Paul Lanteigne.

All the payments were made with money from jail canteens--prison stores that sell snacks and
other items to prisoners. Under state law, however, canteen funds are designated as public
money. Moreover, according to a manual for jail bookkeepers, donations to charities are
inappropriate.

We dont think that the city of Portsmouth jail can provide funds for a sectarian religious
organization to bring its message into the prison system, said Kent Williams, who works with
the Virginia American Civil Liberties Union. Jail ...

$75,000 Settlement for Untreated Wisconsin Methadone Patient

Outagamie County, Wisconsin, has agreed to pay $75,000 to a man whose withdrawal from
methadone went untreated at the county jail.

Richard Foelker was participating in a methadone treatment program for heroin addiction when
he checked himself into the Outagamie County Jail on April 27, 2000, to serve a ...

Washington DOC Settles Mail Censorship Suit with PLN for $442,500 in Fees and Damages

by John E. Dannenberg

As previously reported in PLN, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed the U.S. District
Court ruling (Prison Legal News v. Lehman, 272 F.Supp.2d 1151 (W.D. Wash. 2003); see PLN, Sep.
2003, p.18) enjoining the Washington Department of Corrections ...

Virginia Prisoners Challenge Grooming Policy Under RLUIPA

Get in a fight behind bars and in most states, youll serve somewhere between a few days or
months in segregation. Refusal to cut your hair in Virginia and youll be segregated until you
comply.

In 1999 the Virginia Department of Corrections (VDOC) adopted a prisoner grooming policy
prohibiting beards and requiring male prisoners to keep their hair trimmed neatly above the
collar.

Numerous VDOC prisoners have been segregated since 1999 for refusing to comply with the
grooming policy, on religious grounds. Im a Rastafarian, said prisoner Elton Williams. My
dreadlocks and beard are fundamental tenets of my religion. VDOC simply doesnt care, and has
locked up Williams and anyone else who refuses to comply with the policy.

Six years [in segregation] & strikes me as an extraordinarily long time for refusing to cut your
hair, said David Fathi, staff attorney with the ACLUs National Prison Project. Jenni Gainsborough
of Penal Reform International agrees, stating I cant believe this is happening, particularly in
Virginia, which makes such a big deal about religion and how important it is that people be able
to express religious beliefs.

VDOC officials defend the policy, claiming it was designed to prevent prisoners from hiding
contraband or ...

Sexually Abused Texas Prisoner Loses Federal Lawsuit, Returns To Prison

Roderick Keith Johnson, a prisoner who garnered national attention with allegations that Texas
prison officials allowed him to be bought and sold as a sex slave, has lost his federal lawsuit
against the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ). Following the October 2005 verdict,
Johnson was returned to prison for an alleged parole violation.

Johnson, 37, claimed he was passed around like chattel among members of the Bloods, Crips,
and Mexican Mafia while imprisoned at the Allred Unit for a 2000 burglary conviction. Johnson, a
gay black man described as effeminate and of slight build, says he was forced to endure sexual
abuse almost daily because officials at the prison refused to place him in protective custody.
Instead, Johnson claimed, they mocked him because he is gay.

A jury in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas rejected Johnsons claims
contending his testimony was inconsistent. Johnsons attorneys with the American Civil Liberties
Union (ACLU) said the case was especially challenging because the jurors had a natural bias
toward prison officials. Keep in mind were in Wichita Falls, Texas, said Kara Gotsch, Public
Policy Coordinator for the ACLUs National Prison Project. Everyone knows someone that works
in ...

Florida County Bucks Paying $300,000 in Prisoner Medical Bills

Floridas Brevard County has been sued by three local hospitals seeking payment for medical
care rendered to prisoners who incurred injuries during their arrests. The County refused to pay,
arguing the detainees technically were not in custody at the time of treatment.

The hospitals - Parrish Medical Center in Titusville, Cape Canaveral Hospital and Holmes
Regional Medical Center in Melbourne - filed suit in 2001. The hospitals contend that Florida
law requires the county to pay the bills for care given to arrestees. Under Florida law the County
must pay, regardless of which agency makes the arrest, anytime someone is injured during an
arrest and taken to a hospital for treatment if they have no means to pay.

At issue in the lawsuits is payment for care rendered to 11 Brevard County prisoners. Most were
treated for injuries incurred during their arrest. Two of them died.

During his arrest for shoplifting, William Washington was shot by an officer from the Melbourne
Police Department (MPD). The attempt to save his life, which failed, resulted in a bill for Brevard
County of $45,554. The County was also billed for $5,829 in costs to treat Percival Wilson, who
was shot by MPD while ...

Asthmatic South Carolina Prisoner Awarded $3,200 on ETS Claim

A federal court in South Carolina found that prison officials were deliberately indifferent to an
asthmatic prisoners medical condition by exposing him to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS),
from February 1999 to November, 2001. The court awarded $3,200, or $100 a month, finding
that while plaintiffs injuries were not de ...

FL Work Releasees Reporting to Work Late Doesnt Amount to Escape

FL Work Releasees Reporting to Work Late Doesnt Amount to Escape

Leon Williams, a prisoner in a state work release center, left the center to walk to work but was 90
minutes late getting there. When he arrived he was arrested and charged with escape under Fla.
Stat. sec. 944.40. That section proscribes a prisoners escape from confinement from a wide
variety of penal facilities. But Fla. Stat. sec 951.24(2)(a) says that work release prisoners continue
as ... inmate[s] ... except during the period of ... authorized release, such as when the prisoner is at
work. Based on sec. 951.24(2)(a), the trial court dismissed the charge because Williams was not
confined when he showed up late for work.

On appeal, the Court of Appeal of Florida, 2nd District, categorically agreed with the trial court and
affirmed its dismissal of the escape charge. See: State of Florida v. Williams, 923 So.2d 506
(Fla.App. 2 Dist. 2006) (table - unpublished).

Delaware Legislature Rejects Bill Upgrading Prison Health Care

by David M. Reutter

After a public outcry condemned the health care services provided to prisoners held by the
Delaware Department of Corrections, (DDOC) the Delaware Legislature has passed a bill that
provides an inflation adjustment for services and created three oversight positions. PLN
reported upon the lack of health care provided DDOC prisoners. See: PLN, December 2005,
cover.

The legislature rejected a larger bill that would have required all prisoners entering DDOC to be
tested for HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, and tuberculosis. Guards would be trained as medical caregivers
and the medical vendor, Correctional Medical Services, (CMS) would be required to send prisoner
grievances to DDOC for resolution and provide records of prisoner deaths for review within three
days.

The bill would have required special care provisions for pregnant prisoners, which seems to be a
particularly lacking area. In March 2005, a female prisoner gave birth to premature twins in a
bathroom stall at the Baylor Womens Correctional Institution. She complained afterwards that a
CMS nurse ignored her complaints that she was experiencing labor contractions, which started
24 hours prior to the births.

The legislative bill would have required guards to be advised when a prisoner is pregnant and all ...

Supreme Court Holds Administrative Remedies Must Be Properly Exhausted Under the PLRA

by John E. Dannenberg

The U.S. Supreme Court held that before filing a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 complaint, a prisoner must
first fully, properly and timely exhaust his administrative remedies. Specifically, as here, failure to
properly exhaust remedies below may not later be cured by claiming that no other remedies
remain available.

Viet Mike Ngo, serving a life sentence in California for murder, grieved his restriction from
participating in various institutional programs, including religious activities, at San Quentin State
Prison. The restrictions had been placed on him because he allegedly had engaged in sexual
relationships with volunteer Catholic priests, which he denied. After two months in
administrative segregation, Ngo was returned to the mainline population, albeit with restrictions
against going to the chapel area. Six months later, Ngo filed a form 602 administrative appeal
protesting this restriction, which was denied as untimely because California prison regulations
require a 602 to be filed within 15 days of the action being challenged.

Ngo administratively appealed his rejection unsuccessfully and finally sued prison officials under
42 U.S.C. § 1983 in federal district court. The district court dismissed because of failure to
exhaust available administrative remedies. Upon appeal, the Ninth Circuit ...

Oklahoma Requires Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies For Ex-Prisoner Suits

The Oklahoma Legislature has enacted a law that prohibits former prisoners from bringing a civil
action unless the prisoner has exhausted all administrative remedies. To PLNs knowledge, this is
the first law of its kind.

The legislation, which was signed by the Governor on April 11, 2006, becomes effective
November 1, 2006. It applies to all persons presently or formerly in the custody or supervision
of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections (ODOC), the Federal Bureau of Prisons, or a county
jail.

The law requires a person bringing a suit against any government entity, the ODOC, or a private
company providing services to the ODOC to exhaust all administrative remedies as a
prerequisite to filing the action.

Members of The Citizens for Fair and Clean Government protested the measure in Oklahoma City
after it was signed into law. Were going to let them know this is not right, said David
OConner, founder of the non-profit group. There are innocent prisoners that are in there.

Many prisoners fail to file lawsuits or complaints while in prison because they fear retaliation
from guards or administrators. If they say anything inside, they get treated worse and when they
get outside they have no way ...

Dismissal of Failure to Protect Claim Reversed; No Showing Necessary to Survive Rule 12(b)(6) Dismissal

Dismissal of Failure to Protect Claim Reversed; No Showing Necessary to Survive Rule 12(b)(6)
Dismissal

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a district courts dismissal of a civil committees
failure to protect and equal protection claims, for failure to state a claim under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)
(6).

David Brown was a prisoner of the Illinois Sexually Violent Persons and Detention Facility
(Facility), awaiting a civil commitment trial under the Illinois Sexually Violent Persons
Commitment Act.

On May 4, 2001, Brown, a Caucasian, was playing cards in an unsupervised day room when G.B.,
an African American prisoner who had attacked other Caucasian facility prisoners at other
locations ... attacked and severely beat Brown several times in succession, causing Brown to
suffer physical injuries.

Prior to the assault, Facility staff personally knew of G.B.s propensity for violence and history of
attacking Caucasian residents ... and were aware of a pattern of attacks by African-American
residents in general against Caucasian residents at the Facility. Yet, they failed to take adequate
measures to prevent such attacks from taking place.

Brown brought suit in federal court, alleging that Facility employees failed to protect him in
violation of his ...

News in Brief:

California: On July 20, 2006, about 100 prisoners at the California Institution for Men in Chino
rioted in Borrego Hall in the Reception Center West. The fight was between white and Hispanic
prisoners. No guards were injured and order was quickly restored using pepper spray.

Canada: On July 20, 2006, Toronto police arrested Matthew Sanderson, 37, on charges that he e
mailed threats to the office of Maricopa county (Phoenix, Arizona) Joe Arpaio threatening to kill
him by either shooting him, poisoning him, blowing him up or burning him alive. Maricopa
county officials said that to date 11 people have been convicted of threatening to kill Arpaio who
is renowned for his brutal and sadistic jails. Sanderson accused Arpaio of being a disgusting
person who violates, tortures and hurts too many Americans. Sanderson had previously been
imprisoned in New York State on various charges before being deported to his native Canada
upon completion of the sentence. He may be extradited to Arizona to face trial on these charges.

Colorado: On February 4, 2006, Jarrets Clowers, 25, was arrested on criminal trespass charges
for apparently trying to break into the Territorial Prison in Canon City. Clowers had been served
three years ...

$470,000 Paid in Pennsylvania Jail Prisoners Seizure Related Death

$470,000 Paid in Pennsylvania Jail Prisoners Seizure Related Death

The Estate of a Pennsylvania prisoner has settled its civil rights action alleging Eighth and
Fourteenth Amendment violations for the wrongful death of Virginia Brejcak, 42, at the Bucks
County Correctional Facility (BCCF) for $470,000. The federal lawsuit was ...

 

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