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Prison Legal News: August, 1991

Issue PDF
Volume 2, Number 8

In this issue:

  1. A Lesson From Japan (p 1)
  2. The United States Supreme Court: Petition for Writ of Certiori (p 2)
  3. Drug Profits Fund Prison (p 3)
  4. Walla Walla 'Lifers With Hope' (p 3)
  5. Mass. Corrections Policy "Disaster" Says Task Force (p 3)
  6. Texas Prison Officials Indicted (p 3)
  7. Mail Rejection Not Upheld (p 4)
  8. Informants Must Be Reliable (p 4)
  9. Prison Visitors May Not Be Searched Without Probable Cause (p 4)
  10. Prisoners Entitled to Exculpatory Evidence In Disciplinary Hearings (p 4)
  11. Legal Mail May Not be Read (p 4)
  12. Prisoners Must Be Fed (p 4)
  13. From The Editor (p 5)
  14. Magistrates May Hear Prison Cases (p 5)
  15. Grievance System Does Not Create Liberty Interest (p 5)
  16. Reviews (p 6)
  17. Justice for Jimmy Haynes? (p 6)
  18. PLN Banned in France (p 6)
  19. The Ex Post Facto Clause and Washington's Parole Board (p 7)
  20. California Prison Construction (p 8)
  21. Be a Rat or Else! (p 9)

A Lesson From Japan

The Japanese may arguably have the most effective justice system in the Western World. A glance at the accompanying graphs will readily verify this statement.

So what are the Japanese doing right? If one were to believe proponents of popular trends in the U.S., you'd think the Japanese must build ...

The United States Supreme Court: Petition for Writ of Certiori

The United States Supreme Court: Petition For Writ of Certioriari

by Wm. Daniel Ravenscroft, Atty. At Law


The United States Supreme Court is the highest court in this country. It is also the final forum for appeal in the American Judiciary.

Its jurisdiction is defined by Article III of ...

Drug Profits Fund Prison

The Justice Department Asset Forfeiture Fund has collected more than $1.5 billion in the last six years, including $460 million in cash and property in 1990, a 28 percent increase over 1989, according to U.S. Attorney General Thornburgh.

Since the forfeiture fund began in 1985, almost $500 million has gone ...

Walla Walla 'Lifers With Hope'

Here's one for you. How many remember Walla Walla's Lifers With Hope group? Well, there's a rumor floating around they might try to get back in business. I'm sure there are some of you that remember that this organization put 600 inmates, all lifers, outside the walls to work. They ...

Mass. Corrections Policy "Disaster" Says Task Force

Mass. Corrections Policy "disaster" Says Task Force

Emphasizing that state spending on prisons has skyrocketed while taxpayer confidence in the level of public safety has plummeted, a joint Task Force of the Boston Bar Association and the Crime and Justice Foundation has warned that without radical change a criminal justice ...

Texas Prison Officials Indicted

The manager and bookkeeper at a Texas prison textile mill were indicted April 25 in Huntsville on charges of theft, official misconduct and engaging in organized crime. Authorities said the indictments stemmed from a two-yearlong scheme involving bid rigging and kickbacks on installation and service of prison textile equipment and ...

Mail Rejection Not Upheld

A Michigan prisoner sent another Michigan prisoner an educational brochure on how to study to be a paralegal. Michigan DOC officials rejected the brochure claiming prison rules prohibited "contractual agreements."

The district court ruled the brochure was entitled to First Amendment protection and found no security reason to justify withholding ...

Informants Must Be Reliable

Albert Taylor is an Oklahoma state prisoner who filed a §1983 suit claiming his right to due process was violated when a prison disciplinary committee found him guilty of participating in a riot based on a statement from a confidential informant. The district court dismissed the complaint, later converted to ...

Prison Visitors May Not Be Searched Without Probable Cause

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that Tennessee prison regulations give Tennessee prisoners a due process liberty interest in prison visitation. The Court ruled that removing the visitation right in retaliation for the visitor refusing to submit to an illegal strip search, as a condition to visit the ...

Prisoners Entitled to Exculpatory Evidence In Disciplinary Hearings

Prisoners Entitled To Exculpatory Evidence In Disciplinary Hearings

Four prisoners at the U.S. Penitentiary at Marion, IL., were accused of murdering another prisoner. They were infracted and found "guilty" of the murder at a prison disciplinary hearing. Prior to the hearing they had requested the reports and interviews with staff ...

Legal Mail May Not be Read

Legal Mail May Not Be Read

A Florida prisoner filed suit under § 1983 after a letter from his attorney, addressed to him and marked "legal mail," was opened and read in his presence by a prison guard. The guard confiscated the letter and an attached newspaper clipping. The letter ...

Prisoners Must Be Fed

Alvin Cooper was a pre-trial detainee in Texas and filed a § 1983 suit claiming that jail guards were refusing to feed him. The officials did not deny the allegation but claimed Cooper wasn't fed because he refused to appear fully dressed at all meals. The district court dismissed the ...

From The Editor

By Paul Wright

Welcome to another issue of PLN . As I write this, I just saw on the news that Thurgood Marshall, the first and only black person to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court, is resigning due to age and health reasons. Mr. Marshall was always a friend ...

Magistrates May Hear Prison Cases

A unanimous Supreme Court ruled that 28 U.S.C. § 636 (b) (1) (B) authorizes the nonconsensual referral to Magistrates for hearing and recommended findings of all prisoner petitions challenging conditions of confinement This ruling allows federal judges to refer to magistrates all prisoners' petitions for habeas relief or relief for ...

Grievance System Does Not Create Liberty Interest

A federal prisoner brought a Bivens action against the prison warden and case manager for denying him access to the prison grievance system. The district court granted summary judgment to prison officials and the court of appeals affirmed.

The court of appeals for the 8th Circuit ruled that prison regulations ...


PWA-RAG is a quarterly newsletter edited and published by prisoner James Magner. The title is an abbreviation for "Prisoners With AIDS-Rights Advocacy Group." Its primary purpose is to advocate for the rights of prisoners with AIDS, AIDS related Complex (ARC) and that are HIV positive. They offer educational materials on ...

Justice for Jimmy Haynes?

Justice For Jimmy Haynes?? ?

By John Perotti

On February 9, 1984, Jimmy Haynes, a black prisoner, was beaten and then murdered by 12 white guards at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility (SOCF) al Lucasville, Ohio. The cause of death was a crushed windpipe after one guard held a PR-24 ...

PLN Banned in France

PLN Banned In France

By Paul Wright

PLN reader Jean Marc Rouillain, a political prisoner in France, has written and informed us that the April, 1991, issue of PLN (which just happened to have his article about the worsening prison conditions in France and the hungerstrike he and other prisoners ...

The Ex Post Facto Clause and Washington's Parole Board

By Ed Mead

Akins and another prisoner filed a civil rights complaint in federal court (pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983) alleging that the Georgia parole board's application of recently adopted rules to their cases violated their constitutional rights, specifically their substantive due process rights under the fourteenth amendment and ...

California Prison Construction

Ruth Cashmere

Recently studies have shown that the United States has the world's highest incarceration rate. The United States has 426 prisoners per 100,000 population.

Over the past 10 years, the state of California has experienced the greatest increase in state prison population surpassing others throughout the country. The California ...

Be a Rat or Else!

Be A Rat Or Else!

This all started back in November 1986, a couple of weeks after the decision in Toussaint v. McCarthy 801 F.2d 1080 (9 Cir. 1986) [prisoners can be placed on administrative segregation status for little or no reason]. Myself and a couple hundred other people were ...