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Prisoner Education Guide

Prison Legal News: October, 2011

Issue PDF
Volume 22, Number 10

In this issue:

  1. The Failed Promise of Prison Privatization (p 1)
  2. From the Editor (p 10)
  3. FDOC Pen Pal Advertising Ban Passes Constitutional Scrutiny (p 11)
  4. Human Rights Defense Center Litigation Update (p 12)
  5. Economy Forces States to Rethink Juvenile Justice Policies, Priorities (p 14)
  6. California’s Behavior Modification Programs – Abuse of Prisoners, Racism and Cover-Ups (p 16)
  7. D.C. District Court Partially Dismisses Lawsuit by BOP CMU Prisoners (p 20)
  8. Ninth Circuit: California Prisoner Need Not Appeal from Satisfactory Grievance Response in Order to Exhaust Administrative Remedies (p 21)
  9. Massachusetts Prisoners Receive Expired Food Rejected by Schools (p 22)
  10. Tennessee Jail Detainee Shackled During Childbirth Awarded $200,000 (p 22)
  11. California District Court Rips Feds for “False and Misleading Information” in FOIA Case, Then Does Nothing (p 24)
  12. California Inspector General Expresses Concerns About Out-of-State Private Prisons (p 24)
  13. Oregon Aggravated Murder Statute Creates Liberty Interest (p 26)
  14. FBI Claims 2,500 Percent Increase in Child Porn Arrests (p 26)
  15. Montana Jail Agrees to Provide Addiction Treatment for Pregnant Prisoners (p 28)
  16. Pennsylvania Councilman Takes Private Prison Company’s Donation, then Opposes Detention Center (p 28)
  17. $10,000 Settlement in North Carolina Prisoner’s Pepper Spraying (p 30)
  18. Department of Justice Report on Sexual Victimization in Prisons and Jails (p 30)
  19. Los Angeles County Pays $400,000 to Settle Juvenile Jail Prisoner Wrongful Death Suit (p 31)
  20. 90% Remittitur of $750,000 Strip Search Verdict Vacated; Plaintiffs Accept $440,385.08 on Remand (p 32)
  21. Postcard-Only Mail Policy Enjoined at Colorado Jail (p 33)
  22. Prisons Are Breeding Ground for Terrorists? (p 34)
  23. Former Florida Prison Guard Sues for Reinstatement Under Whistleblower Act (p 34)
  24. Prison Legal News Sues Arizona Jail Over Restrictive Mail Policy (p 36)
  25. Budget Cuts Threaten Oregon Juvenile Offenders (p 36)
  26. Congressional Budget Resolution Cuts Some DOJ Programs (p 37)
  27. Fugitive Oregon DOC Food Manager Getting Homesick in Iran (p 38)
  28. Oregon Juvenile Who Attempted Suicide Settles Negligence Suit for $192,500 (p 38)
  29. Sexual Misconduct Topples Two Oregon Prosecutors (p 39)
  30. Taser International Settles Product Liability Lawsuit for $2.85 Million (p 40)
  31. U.S. Supreme Court: State P&A Can Sue Another State Agency for Records (p 40)
  32. PLN Sues Kansas Jail Over No-Publication Policy (p 41)
  33. Jail Guitar Doors, USA Offers Free Musical Instruments to Prisons (p 42)
  34. Florida’s Prison Industry Criticized for Failing in Mission (p 42)
  35. Oregon Prison Guard Guilty of Contraband Smuggling (p 43)
  36. Report Finds Federal Prisoners Exposed to Toxic Metals in Recycling Jobs (p 44)
  37. ICE, CCA Settle ACLU Lawsuit Regarding Health Care for Immigration Detainees (p 44)
  38. Sixth Circuit: Prisoner Must be Allowed Direct Appeal When Prison Delayed Appeal Mailings (p 46)
  39. CCA Psychiatrist’s License Restricted for Sexual Misconduct with Florida Female Prisoners (p 46)
  40. Louisiana Sex Offender Agrees to Surgical Castration (p 48)
  41. CORRECTIONS To Danny Trejo Interview in August 2011 PLN (p 48)
  42. News In Brief: (p 50)

The Failed Promise of Prison Privatization

We have been experimenting with prison privatization in the U.S. now for over twenty-five years. The privatization idea originated out of a notion that the private sector, with its competition-driven efficiency and innovation, could operate prisons of higher quality and lower cost than the public sector. Create a market ...

From the Editor

Tropical storm Irene caused serious damage in Vermont on August 27 and 28, including in Brattleboro where our offices are located. We received a lot of phone calls, e-mails and inquiries asking if we were okay, and the good news is that our office is safe and sound and none ...

FDOC Pen Pal Advertising Ban Passes Constitutional Scrutiny

by David M. Reutter

In January 2011, a federal district court granted summary judgment to the Florida Department of Corrections (FDOC) in a lawsuit challenging FDOC rule 33-210.101(9), Florida Administrative Code, which prohibits prisoners from advertising for pen pals or receiving correspondence from organizations that provide such services ...

Human Rights Defense Center Litigation Update

This month marks the beginning of my second year practicing law with the Litigation Project of the Human Rights Defense Center. The Litigation Project was envisioned by PLN founder Paul Wright as a complement to HRDC’s principal project, Prison Legal News, for the purpose of engaging in litigation that ...

Economy Forces States to Rethink Juvenile Justice Policies, Priorities

The “tough on crime” movement of the 1990s ushered in a wave of harsh juvenile justice practices across the U.S., and the philosophy for dealing with juvenile offenders shifted from rehabilitative to punitive.

Children were tagged with dehumanizing labels like “super predator” and “incorrigible,” and lawmakers quickly responded to ...

California’s Behavior Modification Programs – Abuse of Prisoners, Racism and Cover-Ups

Ill-conceived experiments in behavior modification by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) have led to allegations of racism, abuse of prisoners, retaliation and cover-ups, plus a state Senate inquiry.

In 2005 and 2006, the CDCR initiated pilot programs in behavior modification at six facilities, including the High Desert ...

D.C. District Court Partially Dismisses Lawsuit by BOP CMU Prisoners

A lawsuit filed on behalf of prisoners held in Communication Management Units (CMUs) at federal prisons in Terre Haute, Indiana and Marion, Illinois, which alleged violations of their Constitutional rights due to placement in the CMUs, as well as violations of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), 5 U.S.C ...

Ninth Circuit: California Prisoner Need Not Appeal from Satisfactory Grievance Response in Order to Exhaust Administrative Remedies

Clarifying “the boundaries of proper exhaustion” within the context of California’s prison system, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that a prisoner “has no obligation to appeal from a grant of relief, or a partial grant that satisfies him, in order to exhaust administrative remedies.”

In July 2004 ...

Massachusetts Prisoners Receive Expired Food Rejected by Schools

According to an April 2011 news report, the Massachusetts Department of Education set aside 11,000 cases of expired cheese, blueberries, frozen chicken and other food items for use in prison kitchens after an investigation discovered the out-of-date food was being served to Boston school children.

The action comes as ...

Tennessee Jail Detainee Shackled During Childbirth Awarded $200,000

Juana Villegas won a $200,000 jury award in a § 1983 action against the Metro-Davidson County Sheriff’s Office in Nashville, Tennessee for being shackling while she was in the final stages of labor during her pregnancy and past-partum recovery. Villegas had asserted that the shackling was in disregard of ...

California District Court Rips Feds for “False and Misleading Information” in FOIA Case, Then Does Nothing

In a lawsuit filed by six Islamic organizations and five individuals, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, Southern Division, found that the FBI and the U.S. government had “provided false and misleading information to the court” when they represented that their responses to the ...

California Inspector General Expresses Concerns About Out-of-State Private Prisons

In December 2010, California Inspector General David Shaw sent a letter to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), informing CDCR officials about concerns related to housing California prisoners in out-of-state privately-operated facilities.

The concerns arose when the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) visited five out-of-state facilities that ...

Oregon Aggravated Murder Statute Creates Liberty Interest

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has held that Oregon’s aggravated murder statute creates a protected liberty interest in parole eligibility.

In 1982, Oregon state prisoner Douglas Miller was convicted of aggravated murder and sentenced to life imprisonment with a 30-year minimum under ORS 163.105(1).

Prisoners convicted ...

FBI Claims 2,500 Percent Increase in Child Porn Arrests

Although the number of prosecutions for child pornography is small in comparison with drug and immigration offenses, child porn cases have skyrocketed according to FBI statistics.

Arrests for such crimes are up 2,500 percent since 1996, largely due to technology that allows federal investigators to download images from home ...

Montana Jail Agrees to Provide Addiction Treatment for Pregnant Prisoners

The American Civil Liberties Union of Montana (ACLU) has reached a settlement with the Lake County Detention Center (LCDC) which requires LCDC to ensure that pregnant prisoners at risk of opiate withdrawal receive proper medical treatment.

The ACLU filed a federal civil rights lawsuit in November 2009 on behalf of ...

Pennsylvania Councilman Takes Private Prison Company’s Donation, then Opposes Detention Center

A $3,000 campaign contribution from private prison firm GEO Group has put a spotlight on a county councilman in Pennsylvania. The contribution was made only days after Ron Angle, president of the Northampton County Council, urged his colleagues to explore a proposal from GEO in October 2010.

GEO Group ...

$10,000 Settlement in North Carolina Prisoner’s Pepper Spraying

The North Carolina Department of Corrections (NCDOC) paid a prisoner $10,000 to settle a lawsuit claiming guards used excessive force by pepper spraying him.

Lanesboro Correctional Institution prisoner Bill Rayburn had been asking guards to move him away from another prisoner who had been taunting and threatening him. On ...

Department of Justice Report on Sexual Victimization in Prisons and Jails

In January 2011, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) released a report titled “Sexual Victimization Reported by Adult Correctional Authorities, 2007-2008.” The report is based on the annual Survey of Sexual Violence mandated by the Prison Rape Elimination Act, 42 U.S.C. § 15601 ...

Los Angeles County Pays $400,000 to Settle Juvenile Jail Prisoner Wrongful Death Suit

The Los Angeles County Board of Commissioners has approved a $400,000 settlement to resolve negligence, civil rights and other claims related to the wrongful death of a juvenile offender held at the Los Padrinos Juvenile Hall. Tremayne Cole, 14, passed away less than a month after being arrested for ...

90% Remittitur of $750,000 Strip Search Verdict Vacated; Plaintiffs Accept $440,385.08 on Remand

On June 30, 2010, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals held that a district court had abused its discretion in reducing a $750,000 jury award to $75,000 in a case raising illegal strip search claims involving two retired school teachers who were arrested while protesting President George W ...

Postcard-Only Mail Policy Enjoined at Colorado Jail

On December 20, 2010, Chief U.S. District Court Judge Wiley Y. Daniel issued a preliminary injunction against a postcard-only mail policy instituted at the El Paso County Jail in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

The injunction resulted from a class-action lawsuit filed by a group of El Paso County prisoners who ...

Prisons Are Breeding Ground for Terrorists?

“Prisons are often described as ‘hotbeds’ of terrorism,” but they can also become important “net contributors in the struggle against terrorism” according to a July 2010 joint study by the London-based International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence (ICSR) and the National Consortium for the Study of ...

Former Florida Prison Guard Sues for Reinstatement Under Whistleblower Act

The Florida Department of Corrections (FDOC) has been sued for retaliation under the state’s whistleblower act by a former guard. The suit, filed by lawyers for John Pisciotta, seeks back pay, reinstatement of his job, damages and attorney fees.

Pisciotta’s employment problems began on May 21, 2008. He ...

Prison Legal News Sues Arizona Jail Over Restrictive Mail Policy

On September 7, 2011, Prison Legal News, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona (ACLU) and the law firm of Rosen, Bien & Galvan, LLP, filed a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a Pinal County, Arizona jail policy that prohibits prisoners from receiving any magazines, hardcover books or ...

Budget Cuts Threaten Oregon Juvenile Offenders

Even in the face of a $3.5 billion shortfall in the 2011-2013 biennial budget cycle which began on July 1, 2011, Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber refused to touch the $1.5 billion budget of the Oregon Department of Corrections (ODOC). Instead he turned his budget knife on every other ...

Congressional Budget Resolution Cuts Some DOJ Programs

The April 2011 vote in Congress that passed a resolution for continued federal funding until the end of the current fiscal year on June 30 included 17 percent cuts for various Department of Justice (DOJ) programs, including the Second Chance Act.

The Second Chance Act, Mentally Ill Offender Treatment Program ...

Fugitive Oregon DOC Food Manager Getting Homesick in Iran

“I would love to come back to my country ... but unfortunately they want to fry me for my mistake,” wrote international fugitive and former Oregon Department of Corrections (ODOC) Food Service Administrator Farhad (“Fred”) Monem, in emails sent to The Oregonian newspaper in March 2011. “I know it wasn’t ...

Oregon Juvenile Who Attempted Suicide Settles Negligence Suit for $192,500

An Oregon juvenile offender has settled a negligence suit against county officials for $192,500. In June 2010, Michael J. Stephens, 16, was detained at Lane County’s John Serbu Youth Campus in Eugene, Oregon. He was on suicide watch due to “extreme emotional disturbance and temporary mental illness,” according ...

Sexual Misconduct Topples Two Oregon Prosecutors

The elected District Attorney of a small Oregon county lost his job after being accused of using his office for sexual misconduct and then trying to cover it up.

In August 2010, a female employee of the Umatilla County District Attorney’s office, Dawn Wilson, accused DA Dean Gushwa of ...

Taser International Settles Product Liability Lawsuit for $2.85 Million

by Mike Brodheim

Using tactics reminiscent of those once employed by tobacco companies, Taser International has for years engaged in a high-stakes campaign designed to deceive the public into believing that the stun guns it manufactures, known formally as Electronic Control Devices, are non-lethal and safe.

At least that’s ...

U.S. Supreme Court: State P&A Can Sue Another State Agency for Records

U.S. Supreme Court: State P&A Can Sue Another State Agency for Records

by David Reutter

The U.S. Supreme Court held on April 19, 2011 that sovereign immunity does not apply when one agency of a state sues another for violation of federal law. The ruling applies only to obtaining injunctive relief; it does not apply to payment of funds from the state treasury.

The case began when the Virginia Office for Protection and Advocacy (VOPA) filed suit in federal district court seeking an injunction against James Stewart, Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health ...

PLN Sues Kansas Jail Over No-Publication Policy

On August 31, 2011, Prison Legal News filed a federal lawsuit against the Board of Commissioners for Shawnee County, Kansas and Richard Kline, Director of the Shawnee County Department of Corrections.

PLN’s suit alleges First Amendment violations due to a policy at the Shawnee County Jail that prohibits prisoners ...

Jail Guitar Doors, USA Offers Free Musical Instruments to Prisons

Long before words there was the drum, the beat, the foundation of all communication.
Some drummers and musicians communicate through the most finely crafted instruments of their day. For the prisoner it is typically the sound of a metal desk or bunk diversified by the slap, the fist, the click-clack ...

Florida’s Prison Industry Criticized for Failing in Mission

Florida’s prison industry program is “making a few people very wealthy while operating ... in a manner entirely inconsistent with its mission,” according to advisors to Governor Rick Scott, in a transition report released in December 2010.

The mission of Prison Rehabilitative Industries and Diversified Enterprises (PRIDE) is to operate ...

Oregon Prison Guard Guilty of Contraband Smuggling

On March 21, 2011, former Oregon prison guard Tara Martinmaas, 34, pleaded guilty to a felony charge of supplying contraband. She was sentenced to a two-year term of probation and ordered to pay over $1,500 in fees and have no contact with Oregon Department of Corrections (ODOC) facilities or ...

Report Finds Federal Prisoners Exposed to Toxic Metals in Recycling Jobs

A four-year study by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG), released in October 2010, found that prisoners and employees at ten federal prisons were exposed to hazardous metals and materials while handling electronic waste in recycling programs.

The study was initiated following complaints ...

ICE, CCA Settle ACLU Lawsuit Regarding Health Care for Immigration Detainees

A lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union that alleged deficiencies in health care at the San Diego Correctional Facility (SDCF) in Otay Mesa, California has been settled, according to a December 16, 2010 press release issued by the ACLU.

The suit named as defendants the Immigration and Customs ...

Sixth Circuit: Prisoner Must be Allowed Direct Appeal When Prison Delayed Appeal Mailings

by Matt Clarke

The Sixth Circuit held that Michigan had to allow the appeal of a prisoner’s criminal conviction when prison officials had delayed the mailing of his appeal documents until after the filing deadline had expired.

Following his criminal conviction in state court, John Andrew Dorn, a Michigan ...

CCA Psychiatrist’s License Restricted for Sexual Misconduct with Florida Female Prisoners

Florida’s Department of Health (FDH) issued an emergency order in March 2011 that placed restrictions on a psychiatrist accused of sexual misconduct while treating female prisoners at the Hernando County Jail (HCJ). At the time of the alleged misconduct the jail was managed by Corrections Corporation of America (CCA ...

Louisiana Sex Offender Agrees to Surgical Castration

What should be done with sex offenders who are not prison guards, cops or priests is an emotionally-charged issue. Most states have adopted some form of civil commitment, but others have adopted the more drastic option of chemical and surgical castration. An incarcerated Louisiana child molester recently volunteered for an ...

CORRECTIONS To Danny Trejo Interview in August 2011 PLN

Prison Legal News always strives to get things right. Last August, our cover story was an interview with former prisoner and famous actor Danny Trejo. The interview was conducted live, in person, and transcribed to print. Unfortunately, due to difficulties with the audio transcription process, some mistakes were made. We ...

News In Brief:

Alaska: On June 29, 2011, a federal pretrial detainee, Sabil Mujahid, 54, was convicted of a dozen charges related to raping and threatening three other prisoners at the Anchorage Correctional Center. Mujahid was accused of preying on smaller, younger prisoners who had cognitive disabilities. He was being held at the ...

 

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