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Prison Legal News: November, 1991

Issue PDF
Volume 2, Number 11

In this issue:

  1. Washington Supreme Court Rules on Lifers (p 1)
  2. Caging America: The U.S. Imprisonment Binge (p 2)
  3. Prison System Increases Cell Integration to Avoid Fines (p 3)
  4. Abuses Continue at Ansar 3 (p 3)
  5. Pig Park Update (p 3)
  6. Unlawful Orders Cannot Be Enforced With Violence (p 4)
  7. Privacy Right Not To Be Viewed Naked by Opposite Sex Prison Guards (p 4)
  8. Right to Practice Religious Beliefs (p 4)
  9. Due Process Distinguished (p 5)
  10. Attention Former PAP Members (p 5)
  11. Reviews (p 5)
  12. Prison Guards: Victims or Villains? (p 5)
  13. Universal Suffrage: Give Us A Voice! (p 6)
  14. Sheriff Can't Release AIDS Test Results (p 6)
  15. Violent Crime Rate Up, Again (p 7)
  16. Editorial (p 7)
  17. Can't Search Visitor Leaving Prison (p 7)
  18. No Minimum Wages for Convicts (p 8)
  19. Search of Legal Files Violates Consent Decree (p 8)
  20. Mandatory Sentencing Flops in Florida (p 8)
  21. Passin' Gas (p 9)
  22. Letter from Germany (p 9)
  23. Pelican Bay News (p 9)
  24. Info on Free (p 10)

Washington Supreme Court Rules on Lifers

Washington Supreme Court Rules On Lifers

John Midgley, Attorney At Law

As most prisoners in the system now know, the Washington Supreme Court in August handed down its decision in the " lifer" case, In re Powell, et al., 117 Wn.2d 175 (1991). In Powell, four persons convicted of first ...

Caging America: The U.S. Imprisonment Binge

By Patricia Horn

[The following is an edited version of an article reprinted from the September, 1991, issue of Dollars & Sense magazine. It was edited by Ed Mead.]

"The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons," Fyodor Dostoevsky once wrote. Look into California's ...

Prison System Increases Cell Integration to Avoid Fines

Faced with the threat of millions of dollars in fines, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice began increasing the number of racially integrated, two-person cells July 1.

Before July only about 2 percent of the system's 11,000 double cells were integrated; assignments were made on the basis of inmate preference. ...

Abuses Continue at Ansar 3

Abuses Continue At Ansar 3

Ansar 3 is a detention camp built by the Israeli government 70 kilometers south of Beersheba to hold the prisoners of the Palestinian Intifada. It is in the middle of the Negev desert and holds 6,000 prisoners at any one time. The following information is ...

Pig Park Update

Readers of PLN will recall that we have previously reported the fact that the Washington State Penitentiary (WSP) in Walla Walla has bought 40 plus acres from the department of Wildlife for $80,000 which will be used as an "employee park"

According to an August 22, 1991, story in the ...

Unlawful Orders Cannot Be Enforced With Violence

A female California state prisoner was ordered to submit to a strip search by male prison guards. She refused to be strip searched and was Tasered. She filed suit under the Fourth, Eighth and Fourteenth amendments.

The District Court applied an Eighth Amendment analysis and concluded the Fourth Amendment was ...

Privacy Right Not To Be Viewed Naked by Opposite Sex Prison Guards

Privacy Right Not To Be Viewed Naked By Opposite Sex Prison Guards

A Colorado state prisoner filed suit under § 1983 claiming violation of his rights to due process and equal protection when he was placed in isolation at a medium security prison and then transferred to another prison. The ...

Right to Practice Religious Beliefs

Right To Practice Religious Beliefs

C.D. Mosier, an Oklahoma state prisoner, is a practitioner of Native American religious beliefs which prohibit him from cutting his hair. The Oklahoma DOC has a grooming code which requires that it's prisoners have short hair, however, exemptions can be granted for prisoners who document ...

Due Process Distinguished

A mobile home park owner sued the city of Rocklin, California, over a rent control ordinance claiming it was taking his property without just compensation or due process. The District Court dismissed the complaint. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed and remanded the case back to the lower court. ...

Attention Former PAP Members

If you are a former member of the PAP or know the whereabouts of any past members, we'd appreciate hearing from you. Send any correspondence to: Jane Kuja, P.O. Box 507, Auburn, WA 98071.


AUTONOMI is an English language magazine published in Denmark with an autonomous and anti-imperialist outlook. The latest issue, number 6, has articles on political prisoners in the U.S., an update on the trial of members of the Communist Workers Group in Denmark who were convicted of committing various robberies to ...

Prison Guards: Victims or Villains?

Prison Guards: Victims Or Villains?

Review By Paul Wright

This is the title of one of two articles in the latest issue [o]f "Blueprint for Social Justice." Both articles are written by female former prison guards who describe their experiences working as guards in women's prisons. One of the authors ...

Universal Suffrage: Give Us A Voice!

Universal Suffrage was originally created to provide assistance to those convicted in the American justice system in the defense of those constitutional rights that are supposed to exist, and in regaining those rights that have been unjustly lost. Our intention is not to offer "class action" suits to the courts ...

Sheriff Can't Release AIDS Test Results

Sheriff Can't Release Aids Test Results

While awaiting transfer from a county jail to an Alabama prison, a convicted prisoner was given the opportunity to voluntarily submit to an AIDS test. he did so, but only after being assured by the county health officials that the results of such test ...

Violent Crime Rate Up, Again

There was a sharp increase in violent crimes according to the final statistics for 1990 gathered by the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) program. The FBI reported murder and rape rates increased 9 percent last year, and robbery and aggravated assault rose 11 percent. The murder count reached an all-time ...


Editorial Comments

By Ed Mead

Welcome to another issue of our little newsletter. The first thing I want to do this month is extend a hearty expression of good wishes to one of our favorite outside readers, Jonathan Nelson, who is today serving 30 days in the Island County Jail ...

Can't Search Visitor Leaving Prison

Prison officials suspected that an inmate's minor sister had been smuggling marijuana in to him during her regular visits. An officer was posted to watch the inmate and his sister during the next visit. He did not see them pass anything. At the close of the visiting period, a female ...

No Minimum Wages for Convicts

No Minimum Wages For Convicts

Prisoners are not entitled to minimum wages or overtime pay, according to a federal appeals court.

Prisoners who worked in the plasma program operated by a private company (Cutter Biological) on prison grounds sued, asserting that they were covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act ...

Search of Legal Files Violates Consent Decree

Search Of Legal Files Violates Consent Decree

A prisoner at the Iowa State Penitentiary filed a federal civil rights complaint in which he contended that the search of his legal papers by guards, outside his presence, violated a consent decree entered into between prisoners and their captors. The district court ...

Mandatory Sentencing Flops in Florida

Mandatory Sentencing Flops In Florida

Florida offers a classic example of how mandatory sentencing laws and large-scale incarceration of drug offenders can produce an unbalanced correctional system and possibly reduce public safety, according a new study by the National Council on Crime and Delinquency (NCCD), the San Francisco-based criminal justice ...

Passin' Gas

Here at the Washington State Penitentiary's Intensive Management Unit (IMU) there is no end to the mental and physical torture being inflicted upon the inmates. The latest of which are the new use of force tactics being used by IMU staff since the placing of mentally ill inmates in IMU. ...

Letter from Germany

Letter From Germany

I can't understand why these pigs have no courage to oblige their own masters to share the lot with them, instead harassing prisoners. I've read also the story about the T-shirt that the pigs didn't want to give to Paul. Pigs are like little children who fear ...

Pelican Bay News

Hello from Pelican Bay State Prison - SHU. I have some legal news. The following prisoners, Bwana Millon, James X. Williamson, Thomas Fetters, and Nicholas X. Delamat have joined in a writ of mandamus petition in state superior court, county of Del Norte (case no. 91-141-X). The prisoners are African ...

Info on Free

Info on FREE

Salutation and congratulations.... Yesterday I received my first copy of the Prisoners' Legal News, a victory all the same. I was impressed. [PLN only recently overturned a statewide ban on the newsletter in Texas.]

I have been active in several ongoing litigations here [a women's prison in ...