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Prison Legal News: November, 2010

Issue PDF
Volume 21, Number 11

In this issue:

  1. Private Prison Companies Behind the Scenes of Arizona’s Immigration Law (p 1)
  2. Controversial Report Criticizes Director of Idaho Parole Commission (p 1)
  3. From the Editor (p 10)
  4. Suit Filed Against Use of Rapiscan on Detention Facility Visitor (p 10)
  5. Oregon: Prosecutors, Victims Kill Money-Saving Increased Sentence Reduction Law (p 12)
  6. Child Porn Investigations May Snare the Innocent (p 14)
  7. $2 Million Award in Maryland Prisoner’s Work Crew Death (p 17)
  8. Sex Scandal Rocks Oregon’s “Camp Cupcake” Women’s Prison – Again (p 18)
  9. Investigation Reveals Montana Prisoner Had Relationships with Five Female Staff (p 21)
  10. Wish You Were Here! Jails Adopt Postcard-Only Mail Policies (p 22)
  11. Reach Out and Defraud Someone: Oregon Jail Prisoners Commit Phone Scams (p 24)
  12. New York Prison Official Nets $500,000 in Fraudulent Scheme; Audit Finds 17 Years of Unchecked Corruption (p 25)
  13. “Grill” Removal Results in $95,000 Settlement by Tennessee Jail (p 28)
  14. Feds Decline to Pursue Charges in Florida Boot Camp Death (p 28)
  15. Privacy Concerns Raised Over New Law Enforcement Data Mining Technology (p 30)
  16. Former Florida Judge Profiting from Probation Classes that State Offers for Free (p 30)
  17. Did Haitian Police Murder Over a Dozen Unarmed Prisoners? (p 32)
  18. That’s a Lot of Honeybuns: Texas Prison Commissaries a $95 Million-a-Year Business (p 34)
  19. Washington State Prisoner Who Requested Public Records Entitled to Joinder in Non-Disclosure Injunctive Action (p 36)
  20. Washington State Pays $6.4 Million for Failure to Supervise Parolee (p 37)
  21. PLN Sues South Carolina Jail that Bans All Reading Material Except Bibles (p 38)
  22. Native American Firms Reap Large Profits from Immigrant Detention Contracts (p 38)
  23. California Supreme Court Restricts Remedies in Remands for New Parole Board Hearings (p 40)
  24. Fifth Circuit Delineates Process Due Before Imposition of Sex Offender Parole Conditions (p 42)
  25. Texas Democrat Politicians Keep Private Prison Consulting in the Family (p 42)
  26. Post-Katrina Circumstances Excuse Holding Prisoner Beyond Indictment Deadline (p 44)
  27. Washington State: Settlement Requires Pierce County to Provide Educational Opportunities to Jailed Youths (p 44)
  28. Audit Finds Oregon Victims Denied Restitution; Prosecutors Largely to Blame (p 45)
  29. Prisoner Deaths Continue at King County Jail Despite DOJ Intervention (p 45)
  30. PLN Settles Censorship Suit Against Virginia DOC for $125,250 (p 46)
  31. $2.16 Million Judgment for Prisoner Raped by BOP Guard (p 47)
  32. North Carolina Lacks Control and Overpays for Prisoner Health Care (p 48)
  33. Ninth Circuit Rebuffs California’s Attempt to Terminate CDCR Medical Receivership (p 48)
  34. News In Brief: (p 50)

Private Prison Companies Behind the Scenes of Arizona’s Immigration Law

“Beside my brothers and my sisters, I’ll proudly take a stand. When liberty’s in jeopardy, I’ll always do what’s right. I’m out here on the frontline, sleep in peace tonight. American soldier, I’m an American soldier...”


So goes the ringtone on Arizona State Senator ...

Controversial Report Criticizes Director of Idaho Parole Commission

by Matt Clarke

In February 2010, the Idaho legislature’s Office of Performance Evaluations (OPE) released an audit report titled “Increasing Efficiencies in Idaho’s Parole Process.” Among other things, the report critiqued Olivia Craven, Executive Director of the Idaho Commission of Pardons and Parole, for failing to have a ...

From the Editor

As we near the end of the year we are doing PLN’s annual fundraiser and this one is especially crucial because it is our 20th anniversary. Most publications never publish 10 issues, much less 240. Twenty years is a milestone for any organization and moreso for a publication like ...

Suit Filed Against Use of Rapiscan on Detention Facility Visitor

by David M. Reutter

In partially denying state officials’ motion for summary judgment, an Illinois federal district court discussed the constitutional parameters involved in the use of a Rapiscan Secure 1000 device, which uses “back-scatter” X-ray technology to perform body scans on visitors entering a detention facility.

Before the court ...

Oregon: Prosecutors, Victims Kill Money-Saving Increased Sentence Reduction Law

In a controversial move touted as saving Oregon an estimated $6 million, in June 2009 the state legislature passed a bill that increased earned time sentence reductions for non-violent offenders by an additional 10 percent. Just seven months later, however, prosecutors and crime victims successfully pressured lawmakers to suspend the ...

Child Porn Investigations May Snare the Innocent

by Mike Rigby

A new threat looms in the Internet age – the threat of improper prosecutions and wrongful convictions for the unwitting receipt, possession or attempted possession of child pornography. Everyone is at risk, as these offenses can be committed by hackers who gain remote control of your computer, by ...

$2 Million Award in Maryland Prisoner’s Work Crew Death

A jury in Prince George’s County, Maryland found that state prison and highway officials and the driver of a private dump truck were liable in an accident that killed a prisoner who was picking up trash on the side of the Capitol Beltway. The jury awarded $2.025 million ...

Sex Scandal Rocks Oregon’s “Camp Cupcake” Women’s Prison – Again

On March 25, 2008, an Oregon prisoner we’ll call “Jane” reported to work in the physical plant of the Coffee Creek Correctional Facility (CCCF). Her boss, Paul W. Golden, was a civilian ground crew supervisor employed at the prison.

During her first day on the job a fellow prisoner ...

Investigation Reveals Montana Prisoner Had Relationships with Five Female Staff

In both state and federal prisons it is illegal for staff members to have sex with prisoners. Five female employees of the Montana Department of Corrections, however, reportedly had personal relationships with prisoner Michael Murphy, 36.

Documents obtained by the Associated Press following a public records suit revealed that in ...

Wish You Were Here! Jails Adopt Postcard-Only Mail Policies

By January 2010, 13 of Oregon’s 36 counties had implemented policies that limit incoming and outgoing mail at county jails to postcards. Ten other counties plan to adopt similar rules in the future. The postcard-only policy is a national trend that began in 2002 in the Maricopa County, Arizona ...

Reach Out and Defraud Someone: Oregon Jail Prisoners Commit Phone Scams

A fifteen-minute collect call from the Multnomah County jail in Portland, Oregon costs $2.35, billed to the party who accepts the call. Between May 2006 and April 2009 those calls generated $3.5 million in revenue for the jail’s phone service provider, Texas-based Securus Technologies, Inc., while the ...

New York Prison Official Nets $500,000 in Fraudulent Scheme; Audit Finds 17 Years of Unchecked Corruption

A joint audit/investigation by the New York State Comptroller and Inspector General uncovered a 17-year fraudulent scheme by the former director of the New York Department of Correctional Services (NYDOCS) Food Production Center. Between 1992 and August 2008 the Center’s director bilked the state out of $497,452 ...

“Grill” Removal Results in $95,000 Settlement by Tennessee Jail

A Tennessee man whose “grill” was ripped off by a sheriff’s deputy has received a $95,000 pre-litigation settlement.

While Anthony McCoy was being processed into the Davidson County Jail for failing to pay child support, McCoy had his gold “grill” yanked out of his mouth by Lt. Tanya ...

Feds Decline to Pursue Charges in Florida Boot Camp Death

The U.S. Department of Justice announced on April 16, 2010 that it will not pursue civil rights violations or other charges against seven Florida boot camp guards and a nurse in connection with the death of 14-year-old Martin Lee Anderson.

The events leading to Martin’s January 6, 2006 ...

Privacy Concerns Raised Over New Law Enforcement Data Mining Technology

by David M. Reutter

New technology that helps law enforcement officials track sexual predators, terrorists and other criminals has been an effective tool that has led to thousands of arrests, but privacy experts are concerned about the convergence of information used to obtain those results.
At the center of the ...

Former Florida Judge Profiting from Probation Classes that State Offers for Free

Utilizing the connections he made as a judge in Florida’s Hillsborough County over a 19-year period, Robert Bonanno is building a business that offers classes to people on probation. What he provides for a fee is the same thing the state supplies at no charge, but with the added ...

Did Haitian Police Murder Over a Dozen Unarmed Prisoners?

by Matt Clarke

On January 12, 2010, Haiti suffered a major earthquake that killed more than 230,000 people and, as a side effect, allowed thousands of prisoners to escape from the country’s most secure lock-up, the national penitentiary in Port-au-Prince. Les Cayes, Haiti’s third largest city, took ...

That’s a Lot of Honeybuns: Texas Prison Commissaries a $95 Million-a-Year Business

by Matt Clarke

Recent reports in the Texas media have focused attention on the state’s prison commissaries. However, none have presented the point of view of prisoners or their families. Instead, such reports tend to interview members of victims rights groups and ask them what they think about prisoners ...

Washington State Prisoner Who Requested Public Records Entitled to Joinder in Non-Disclosure Injunctive Action

The Supreme Court for the State of Washington has held that a person who requests public records must be joined in an action that seeks to prevent the disclosure of those records.
The Court’s May 13, 2010 ruling came in an appeal filed by Washington State Penitentiary prisoner Allan ...

Washington State Pays $6.4 Million for Failure to Supervise Parolee

Washington State’s Department of Corrections (WDOC) has agreed to pay $6.4 million to settle claims involving the department’s failure to properly supervise a parolee, resulting in a string of violent crimes that included rape and murder.

The settlements, filed in Thurston County Superior Court, resolved claims filed ...

PLN Sues South Carolina Jail that Bans All Reading Material Except Bibles

On October 6, 2010, Prison Legal News, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Human Rights Defense Center staff attorney Lance Weber, filed suit in federal court challenging an unconstitutional policy at the Berkeley County Detention Center in Moncks Corner, South Carolina that bans all magazines, newspapers and ...

Native American Firms Reap Large Profits from Immigrant Detention Contracts

Native American companies, many of which have no experience in prison management, are earning large sums of money as conduits for Department of Homeland Security contracts which are then subcontracted out to other firms.

Although apparently legal under current laws and regulations, the practice raises issues of accountability due to ...

California Supreme Court Restricts Remedies in Remands for New Parole Board Hearings

by John E. Dannenberg

In a unanimous ruling on July 29, 2010, the California Supreme Court resolved a narrow question regarding lifer parole litigation; namely, what is the proper scope of the remedy ordered by a California court which concludes that a decision by the Board of Parole Hearings (BPH ...

Fifth Circuit Delineates Process Due Before Imposition of Sex Offender Parole Conditions

by Matt Clarke

On May 20, 2010, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals held that Texas parolees who had never been convicted of a sex offense, but were subject to onerous sex offender parole conditions (SOPCs), were entitled to specific and extensive due process before the imposition of such conditions ...

Texas Democrat Politicians Keep Private Prison Consulting in the Family

by Matt Clarke

In 2003 and 2004, Texas state Senator Eddie Lucio, Jr. (D) was a consultant for Management & Training Corporation, a private prison firm, and Corplan Corrections, a prison design and development company. Now his son, state Rep. Eddie Lucio III, (D) has signed on to be a Corplan consultant.

Corplan’s CEO, James Parkey, typically sells desperate towns on high-risk government-financed prisons, promising them jobs and economic growth. Corplan builds the prisons with local government financing, such as project revenue bonds, but leaves after the construction is complete. How to fill the prisons is up to local officials.

“James Parkey and Corplan are prison developers who get paid when a prison is built,” said Bob Libal, a Grassroots Leadership anti-private prison organizer in Texas. “It’s not necessarily in their interest to make sure the prison project is successful.”

Past Corplan projects include a scheme to build a prison in Hardin, Montana that cost $27 million to construct but has sat vacant for years because the city has been unable to find prisoners to fill it. [See: PLN, Dec. 2009, pp.1, 8].

Corplan, based in Argyle, Texas, was also part of a group of companies trying to build a 2,000-bed immigration detention facility in Willacy County, Texas in 2003 and 2004, with Senator Lucio representing the companies. Lucio suspended his consulting work in 2005 after two Willacy County commissioners and a commissioner from another county who represented Corplan were charged with bribery in connection with the prison project. Corplan was not charged in the bribery scandal. [See: PLN, Nov. 2005, p.20].

Parkey’s most recent grand scheme was to try to convince local governments in Benson, Arizona; Las Cruces, New Mexico; and Weslaco, Texas to build new detention facilities specifically designed to hold immigrant families. Las Cruces and Benson have already shot down the deal, but Parkey ...

Post-Katrina Circumstances Excuse Holding Prisoner Beyond Indictment Deadline

On June 21, 2010, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals held that emergency conditions at a Louisiana prison following Hurricane Katrina helped excuse the failure of a warden to release a prisoner for three months after the deadline for filing an indictment against him had passed.

About two weeks after ...

Washington State: Settlement Requires Pierce County to Provide Educational Opportunities to Jailed Youths

The parties in a class-action lawsuit regarding the lack of educational services for juvenile offenders at Washington state’s Pierce County Jail (PCJ) reached a settlement that requires the Tacoma School District (District) to provide incarcerated youths with the opportunity to earn high school credits.

Two classes were specified in ...

Audit Finds Oregon Victims Denied Restitution; Prosecutors Largely to Blame

An audit by the Oregon Secretary of State, released in early 2010, found that crime victims are not getting restitution and prosecutors are largely to blame.

The 2003 Oregon legislature required prosecutors to investigate and present evidence of economic losses suffered by victims, and required judges to order restitution when ...

Prisoner Deaths Continue at King County Jail Despite DOJ Intervention

A rash of detainee deaths at the King County Correctional Facility (KCCF) in Seattle, Washington prompted the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to open an investigation into conditions at the jail on October 30, 2006. As the investigation continued so did the deaths, but that did not stop the ...

PLN Settles Censorship Suit Against Virginia DOC for $125,250

Prison Legal News announced on September 23, 2010 that it had settled a censorship lawsuit against the Virginia Department of Corrections (VDOC) for $125,250 in damages, attorney fees and costs.

In October 2009, PLN filed suit against Gene M. Johnson, director of Virginia’s prison system, and other VDOC ...

$2.16 Million Judgment for Prisoner Raped by BOP Guard

On April 7, 2010, a federal jury awarded $2.16 million to a female prisoner who was raped by a guard at the Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) in Tallahassee, Florida.

Myra C. Solliday alleged that she was raped by Bureau of Prisons (BOP) guard E. Lavon Spence in 2003 while ...

North Carolina Lacks Control and Overpays for Prisoner Health Care

by David M. Reutter

North Carolina’s Department of Corrections (NDOC) has inadequate procedures to contain prisoner medical costs and it overpays for prisoner medical care, concludes a fiscal control audit issued by the state’s auditor.

NDOC spends over $100 million yearly in prisoner medical care, and the costs ...

Ninth Circuit Rebuffs California’s Attempt to Terminate CDCR Medical Receivership

In a strongly worded opinion, the Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court’s denial of a motion filed by California state officials to terminate the receivership established in 2006 to oversee and manage delivery of medical care to prisoners in the custody of the California Dept. of Corrections and Rehabilitation ...

News In Brief:

Arkansas: Sebastian County jail prisoner Gary Van Wolf, 64, awaiting trial on sex charges involving children, was strangled to death and left in his cell on September 16, 2010. According to a report by the Sheriff’s Office, jailers had left prisoners unsupervised for about an hour during the time ...