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Prisoner Education Guide

Prison Legal News: May, 2012

Issue PDF
Volume 23, Number 5

In this issue:

  1. Prison Slave Labor Replaces Freeworld Workers in Down Economy (p 1)
  2. Report Deconstructs Urban Legend of 100,000 Missing Sex Offenders (p 8)
  3. Work Crews Salvage Georgia Prison Contract (p 8)
  4. From the Editor (p 10)
  5. Eighth Circuit Affirms No First Amendment Right to Lower Prison Phone Rates (p 10)
  6. PLN Public Records Suit Reveals Litigation Payouts for District of Columbia DOC (p 12)
  7. Prisons: An Unsustainable Jobs Program (p 16)
  8. Ninth Circuit Holds Phoenix New Times Executives May Sue Special Prosecutor over Improper Arrests; Prosecutor Disbarred (p 18)
  9. Research Finds Capital Punishment System in California is Costly, Ineffectual (p 18)
  10. New York Not Liable for DOCS’ Unauthorized Addition of Post-Release Supervision (p 20)
  11. California Pilot Program Reduces Recidivism (p 20)
  12. Georgia Court Rules Prisoners Held in County Facilities Barred from Suing State for Negligence (p 21)
  13. Private Prison Health-care Industry Grows as States Cut Costs, Bringing in Millions of Dollars (p 22)
  14. Ninth Circuit Holds Hawaii Prison Officials Entitled to Qualified Immunity when Calculating Release Dates in Accordance with State Law (p 24)
  15. Seventh Circuit Upholds Indiana DOC’s Ban on Pen-Pal Ads (p 24)
  16. Dramatic Increase in Number of Hispanics Sentenced to Federal Prison (p 26)
  17. $3,750 Posthumous Settlement in California Prisoner’s Medical Suit (p 26)
  18. Louisiana Sheriff Pleads Guilty to Corruption Charges (p 27)
  19. Pennsylvania Businessman Sentenced to 18 Months in “Kids for Cash” Kickback Scandal (p 28)
  20. Ninth Circuit Holds New Claims Need Only be Exhausted Prior to Filing Amended Complaint (p 28)
  21. Florida Lawmakers Disband Correctional Medical Authority (p 30)
  22. Pennsylvania Prisoner’s $185,000 Jury Award Reduced to $75,005 (p 30)
  23. New Director of Tennessee Corrections Institute Faces Conflict of Interest (p 31)
  24. Florida Citizen Fights CCA over Public Records Request (p 32)
  25. California: Federal Court Grants Increased Attorney Fee Rates in Armstrong Disability Case (p 32)
  26. Ohio Prison Industry Cuts Over 35% of Workforce (p 33)
  27. Washington State Corrections Secretary Resigns Due to Affair with Subordinate (p 34)
  28. Ninth Circuit Rules Sheriff May be Held Liable for Violence in Los Angeles County Jails (p 34)
  29. Tennessee Discontinues Polygraph Tests as Sex Offender Supervision Tool (p 35)
  30. Juvenile Facility Guard’s Bigamous Marriage Complicates Death Benefits (p 36)
  31. Arizona Privatizes Health Care in State Prison System (p 36)
  32. California Appeals Court Holds Release from Prison Moots Challenge to Parole Denial (p 37)
  33. New York Prison System Allows Same-Sex Partners to Participate in Family Reunion Program (p 37)
  34. Seattle Federal Halfway House Case Manager’s Reentry Plan for Prisoner Allegedly Included Sex, Heroin (p 38)
  35. Arizona DOC Makes Visitors Pay for Prison Maintenance, Repairs (p 38)
  36. Federal Bureau of Prisons Says DNA Backlog No Longer Exists (p 40)
  37. UNICOR Fraudsters Plead Guilty, Sentenced (p 40)
  38. New Washington State Law Eliminates Tolling of Community Custody upon Violation (p 41)
  39. Reports on Privatizing Ohio Prisons Indicate Savings are Illusory (p 42)
  40. Failure to Refute Expert Testimony Warrants Summary Judgment Against California Prisoner Suing for Medical Malpractice (p 43)
  41. The Criminalization of Mental Illness in Missouri (p 44)
  42. Alabama Uses Federal Stimulus Money to Prop up Prison System (p 45)
  43. Class Certified in Lawsuit Challenging Conditions at CCA-operated Indiana Jail, but Case Dismissed on Summary Judgment (p 46)
  44. Civil Commitment Must be Challenged through Commitment Proceedings Instead of Habeas Corpus (p 47)
  45. New Mexico Judge Arrested for Raping Prostitute (p 48)
  46. Third Circuit: § 2241 is Proper Vehicle for BOP IFRP Challenges (p 48)
  47. Seven Argentine Military Officials Sentenced for Crimes against Prisoners (p 49)
  48. News in Brief (p 50)

Prison Slave Labor Replaces Freeworld Workers in Down Economy

The fact that prison slave labor can cut costs and generate revenue has never been a secret. Private businesses nationwide are vying to exploit prisoner workers to reduce operating expenses and gain a competitive advantage, while government agencies are increasingly using prisoners for jobs that otherwise would go to public ...

Report Deconstructs Urban Legend of 100,000 Missing Sex Offenders

by David M. Reutter

“Like dormitory gossip or the childhood game Whisper-Down-the-Lane,” the assertion that “over 100,000 sex offenders [are] ‘missing’ from registries across the country has galvanized the urban legend that over years of telling, took on a life of its own,” states a July 14, 2011 report ...

Work Crews Salvage Georgia Prison Contract

by David M. Reutter

The Augusta City Commission voted in July 2011 to extend a contract with the Georgia Department of Corrections to house state prisoners at the city-owned Richmond County Correctional Institution (RCCI), despite the city facing a $9 million budget deficit and the contract costing local taxpayers almost ...

From the Editor

This month celebrates PLN’s 22nd year of publication. One constant in our news coverage for the duration of our existence has been the exploitation of prison slave labor. Some things change, others do not. Until fairly recently most farm work in the U.S. was done by ruthlessly exploited ...

Eighth Circuit Affirms No First Amendment Right to Lower Prison Phone Rates

by Matt Clarke

On January 21, 2011, a U.S. District Court held that state prisoners in Arkansas have no First Amendment right to less expensive phone rates, a decision that was subsequently affirmed by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Arkansas state prisoners Winston Holloway and Joseph Breault filed ...

PLN Public Records Suit Reveals Litigation Payouts for District of Columbia DOC

As the result of a Freedom of Information Act request and subsequent lawsuit filed by Prison Legal News, litigation payouts in cases involving the District of Columbia’s prison system have been publicly disclosed.

In January 2008, PLN filed a request with the District of Columbia’s Department of Corrections ...

Prisons: An Unsustainable Jobs Program

by Alexandra Cox

Employment has been at the center of national debates about the economy, as evidenced by the bickering in Congress and the protests on Wall Street. A number of jobs have been lost through the deinstitutionalization of prison systems in recent months, with layoffs of a number of ...

Ninth Circuit Holds Phoenix New Times Executives May Sue Special Prosecutor over Improper Arrests; Prosecutor Disbarred

by Matt Clarke

On June 9, 2011, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that executives with the Phoenix New Times, an alternative weekly publication, could sue a special prosecutor who arranged for their late-night arrests after the New Times criticized Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, County Attorney Andrew P ...

Research Finds Capital Punishment System in California is Costly, Ineffectual

A June 2011 law review article by Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Senior Judge Arthur L. Alarcón and Loyola Law School Professor Paula M. Mitchell, Alarcón’s longtime law clerk, analyzes the costs to taxpayers of administering California’s capital punishment system, the misrepresentations repeatedly made to voters regarding those ...

New York Not Liable for DOCS’ Unauthorized Addition of Post-Release Supervision

The New York Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, has held that the state cannot be held liable for the Department of Correctional Services (DOCS) adding post-release supervision to prisoners’ sentences when such supervision had not been ordered by the sentencing court.

Farrah Donald, Shakira Eanes, Jonathan Orellanes ...

California Pilot Program Reduces Recidivism

A pilot program enacted by the California legislature in 2009 appears to be achieving its intended goal of reducing recidivism, according to a June 2011 report prepared by Dorothy Korber with the California Senate Office of Oversight and Outcomes.

With three-year recidivism rates hovering around 65 percent on average, California ...

Georgia Court Rules Prisoners Held in County Facilities Barred from Suing State for Negligence

The Court of Appeals of Georgia held on October 21, 2011 that a county housing state prisoners under a contract with the Georgia Department of Corrections (GDOC) is an independent contractor; therefore, the state is entitled to sovereign immunity against negligence claims brought by prisoners housed at county facilities.

That ...

Private Prison Health-care Industry Grows as States Cut Costs, Bringing in Millions of Dollars

Aleshia Napier was 18 years old in 2006 when she hung herself with a bed sheet at the Broward Correctional Institution in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, after being placed in solitary confinement despite her diagnosis of clinical depression and bipolar disorder.

The attorney hired by the young woman’s devastated family ...

Ninth Circuit Holds Hawaii Prison Officials Entitled to Qualified Immunity when Calculating Release Dates in Accordance with State Law

In an interlocutory appeal, the Ninth Circuit reversed a Hawaii district court’s denial of qualified immunity to prison officials who, in apparent conformity with Hawaii state law, treated a prisoner’s sentences issued at different times for different crimes as being presumptively consecutive rather than concurrent. This was despite ...

Seventh Circuit Upholds Indiana DOC’s Ban on Pen-Pal Ads

by David M. Reutter

On September 16, 2010, an Indiana U.S. District Court held that a prison regulation prohibiting prisoners from advertising for pen-pals and receiving materials from services that advertise for or provide pen-pals did not violate the First Amendment. The district court’s order was affirmed by ...

Dramatic Increase in Number of Hispanics Sentenced to Federal Prison

by Matt Clarke

Tougher immigration enforcement efforts coupled with fast-track procedures in immigration cases have combined to dramatically increase the number of Hispanics entering the federal prison system. Statistics released in June 2011 indicate that Hispanics, who make up only 16% of the U.S. population, accounted for almost half ...

$3,750 Posthumous Settlement in California Prisoner’s Medical Suit

State officials have settled a federal lawsuit against California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation medical staff that alleged lengthy delays in the diagnosis and treatment of a prisoner’s stomach cancer.

Gerardo Richardo Gallegos was a California state prisoner who did not speak or read English. Beginning in 1996, he ...

Louisiana Sheriff Pleads Guilty to Corruption Charges

An October 5, 2011 federal Bill of Information charged Louisiana’s Plaquemines Parish Sheriff Irvin F. “Jiff” Hingle, Jr., 59, with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and bribery concerning a program involving federal funds.

Hingle, the sheriff of Plaquemines Parish since 1992, entered into a contract with Benetech, LLC in ...

Pennsylvania Businessman Sentenced to 18 Months in “Kids for Cash” Kickback Scandal

In November 2011, a Pennsylvania U.S. District Court sentenced the former owner of two for-profit juvenile detention centers to 18 months in prison for his role in a kickback scheme that included two judges. The scandal, involving the juvenile justice system in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, came to be known ...

Ninth Circuit Holds New Claims Need Only be Exhausted Prior to Filing Amended Complaint

The Ninth Circuit has held that a § 1983 prisoner litigant who wants to raise new claims based on conduct that occurred after an initial complaint was filed may do so by exhausting available administrative remedies (relative to the new claims) prior to filing an amended complaint. In so doing, the ...

Florida Lawmakers Disband Correctional Medical Authority

The Florida legislature did an end-run around a veto by the Governor by eliminating funding for the state’s prison medical oversight agency, thereby causing it to disband.
With Florida turning to private companies to provide prisoner healthcare services, there is concern that medical care will decline and potentially subject ...

Pennsylvania Prisoner’s $185,000 Jury Award Reduced to $75,005

by Matt Clarke

On June 7, 2011, a Pennsylvania federal judge issued an order reducing a prisoner’s jury award for destruction of legal materials to $75,005. The award had previously been reduced from $185,000 to $115,000.

Andre Jacobs, a Pennsylvania state prisoner, filed a pro se ...

New Director of Tennessee Corrections Institute Faces Conflict of Interest

The new executive director of the Tennessee Corrections Institute (TCI), an agency that oversees standards, inspections and certification of the state’s jails, faces an inherent conflict of interest in certifying the Wilson County Jail, as that county’s sheriff is her husband.

Despite being made aware of the conflict ...

Florida Citizen Fights CCA over Public Records Request

Prison officials tend to frown on public records requests. In fact, employees at a Florida facility operated by Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) were so ruffled by a citizen’s request for records that they called the cops.

Joel Chandler, 47, has made himself the self-appointed leading advocate for Florida ...

California: Federal Court Grants Increased Attorney Fee Rates in Armstrong Disability Case

On August 8, 2011, a California federal district court approved an increase in the hourly rates for the plaintiffs’ attorneys due to additional experience the attorneys had accrued since the beginning of the litigation.

The court had entered an order on September 20, 1996, granting an injunction that required California ...

Ohio Prison Industry Cuts Over 35% of Workforce

The workforce for Ohio Penal Industries (OPI) has been reduced by more than 35% since 2007. With budget cuts due to the economic downturn forcing state agencies – OPI’s largest customers – to reduce spending, revenue at OPI has spiraled downward.

Net sales at OPI were $36.4 million in FY ...

Washington State Corrections Secretary Resigns Due to Affair with Subordinate

by Matt Clarke

Eldon Vail, the Secretary for the Washington Department of Corrections, submitted a letter of resignation on July 1, 2011 when it was publicly revealed that he had been having an affair with a subordinate.

Shortly before Vail resigned, several Seattle-area television stations received copies of a video ...

Ninth Circuit Rules Sheriff May be Held Liable for Violence in Los Angeles County Jails

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held in a revised ruling that Los Angeles County Sheriff Leroy Baca could be held liable for his subordinates causing dangerous conditions in the Los Angeles County Jail system (LACJ). The appellate court also found that Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937 (2009 ...

Tennessee Discontinues Polygraph Tests as Sex Offender Supervision Tool

Legal concerns have led the Tennessee Board of Probation and Parole (BOPP) to order probation officers to discontinue the use of polygraphs, better known as lie detector tests, in their supervision of sex offenders.

Polygraphs are to be used for treatment purposes only, said Gary Tullock, director of field services ...

Juvenile Facility Guard’s Bigamous Marriage Complicates Death Benefits

Following the death of a guard at a Cleveland, Ohio juvenile detention center, the Public Safety Officers’ Benefits program (PSOB), which provides payments to the families of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty, made an award of $157,873 to the guard’s widow. However, that award ...

Arizona Privatizes Health Care in State Prison System

On April 27, 2011, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed into law House Bill 2154, which resulted in the privatization of medical care for prisoners in the Arizona Department of Corrections (ADC). The move comes three years after ADC’s food services were privatized. The Republican-dominated state government favors privatization as ...

California Appeals Court Holds Release from Prison Moots Challenge to Parole Denial

The California Court of Appeal, Third District, has held that release from prison moots a prisoner’s habeas corpus petition challenging an adverse decision by the Board of Parole Hearings (“Board”).

Convicted of second-degree murder in 1984, Damian Miranda was sentenced to an indeterminate term of 19 years to life ...

New York Prison System Allows Same-Sex Partners to Participate in Family Reunion Program

In late April 2011, the New York Department of Correctional Services (DOCS) formally adopted a regulation permitting same-sex married partners and those in civil unions to participate in the prison system’s family reunion program, also referred to as conjugal visiting. The regulation, Directive No. 4500, formalizes a policy change ...

Seattle Federal Halfway House Case Manager’s Reentry Plan for Prisoner Allegedly Included Sex, Heroin

A former case manager at Pioneer Fellowship House, a halfway house in Seattle, Washington, has been accused of having a sexual relationship with one of the released prisoners she supervised and providing him with money to buy heroin.

According to records filed in federal court by Special Agent Wayne Hawney ...

Arizona DOC Makes Visitors Pay for Prison Maintenance, Repairs

Two lawsuits have challenged the Arizona Department of Corrections’ newly-adopted policies of imposing a background check fee on prison visitors and deducting a fee from deposits made into prisoners’ accounts.

On July 20, 2011, Arizona began charging visitors what prison officials termed a “background check fee” of $25, requiring the ...

Federal Bureau of Prisons Says DNA Backlog No Longer Exists

In July 2011, the federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) announced that it had eliminated a backlog of over 90,000 DNA samples from federal prisoners. This milestone occurred more than a decade after Congress passed the DNA Analysis Backlog Elimination Act in 2000.

Florida Congressman Vern Buchanan, who had drawn ...

UNICOR Fraudsters Plead Guilty, Sentenced

A former federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) employee and a former contractor were indicted and have pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud UNICOR, the prison industries arm of the BOP.

The indictment, handed down by a grand jury in the Northern District of Florida, alleged that James Bailey, formerly employed ...

New Washington State Law Eliminates Tolling of Community Custody upon Violation

The Washington State Court of Appeals, Division Three, has ruled that a 2011 state law “eliminates tolling of the term of community custody while the offender is serving a sanction for violation of the conditions of that community custody.” The appellate court also held the law applies retroactively.

Christopher Brady ...

Reports on Privatizing Ohio Prisons Indicate Savings are Illusory

by David M. Reutter

Was Ohio’s attempt to sell off and privatize five of its state prisons in 2011 a race to the bottom? That’s the question raised and analyzed in a report titled Cells for Sale: Understanding Prison Costs & Savings, released by Policy Matters Ohio in April 2011.

Ohio is ten years into its prison privatization experiment, which state officials laud as having saved taxpayers more than $45 million over that time period. However, an in-depth examination of the calculations used for those seemingly robust savings found them “not only riddled with errors, oversights and omissions of significant data, but also potentially tainted by controversial accounting assumptions that many experts consider deeply flawed,” according to Policy Matters Ohio.

The calculations used to determine savings from prison privatization came under scrutiny after Governor John Kasich proposed in March 2011 to sell five of the state’s prisons to private companies for $200 million. The idea gained momentum with the need to close the state’s $8 billion budget gap.

At the time Ohio already had two privately-operated state prisons, the Lake Erie Correctional Institution (LECI) and the North Coast Correctional Treatment Facility, both run by Management and Training Corporation (MTC). State officials have admitted that previous efforts to calculate savings were inconsistent and imprecise, and said they were creating a new model for such calculations. Under state law, private prisons must achieve a minimum five percent cost savings.

The debate over prison privatization is heated and decisive, and opinions on the issue tend to be more emotional than analytical. “A lot of the arguments are very hypothetical and more based on theory than on fact, more on ideology than anything,” said Dr. Gerry Gaes, a former director of research for the Bureau of Prisons and a visiting scientist with the National Institute of Justice from 2002-2007. “Direct comparisons of cost and quality neither favor the public nor the private sector.”

To determine cost savings, Ohio used a hypothetical prison identical to the privately-operated facility, then determined what it would cost the state to operate that imaginary prison. “You fabricate a cost savings that way,” noted Dr. Travis Pratt, an Arizona State University criminologist who studies privatization issues.

Spreadsheets obtained by Policy Matters Ohio through a public records request revealed that the purported cost savings were largely illusory and also created potential security issues. The model for the calculations required an imaginary prison identical to LECI, and estimated what it would cost to staff the prison with state employees; to stock, supply and equip the facility ...

Failure to Refute Expert Testimony Warrants Summary Judgment Against California Prisoner Suing for Medical Malpractice

In an unpublished opinion, the California Court of Appeal affirmed a trial court’s grant of summary judgment against a prisoner who sued a surgeon for medical malpractice, but then failed (due to limited resources) to refute the expert testimony submitted on behalf of the surgeon, which established that the ...

The Criminalization of Mental Illness in Missouri

In response to the 1999 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that prohibits states from forcing people with mental health disabilities to live in state mental institutions when they are capable of living in community settings, state governments turned to using jails and prisons instead. Although this trend continues today, there ...

Alabama Uses Federal Stimulus Money to Prop up Prison System

Alabama allocated 11% of its federal education stimulus funds to its prison system. Of the $1.1 billion the state received from the U.S. Department of Education from 2009 to 2010, the state gave more than $118 million to the Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC).

Not a penny of ...

Class Certified in Lawsuit Challenging Conditions at CCA-operated Indiana Jail, but Case Dismissed on Summary Judgment

by David M. Reutter

An Indiana federal district court certified a class and allowed claims to proceed that challenged unsafe conditions, lack of medical privacy and an alleged incentive scheme that rewarded staff for providing less medical care to prisoners at the Marion County Jail #2 (MCJ) in Indianapolis. Four ...

Civil Commitment Must be Challenged through Commitment Proceedings Instead of Habeas Corpus

A federal prisoner challenging his or her civil commitment detention under the Adam Walsh Act (Act) as a “sexually dangerous person” may not resort to habeas corpus for such challenges, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit held on December 6, 2010. Following remand and another appeal ...

New Mexico Judge Arrested for Raping Prostitute

New Mexico State District Judge Albert S. “Pat” Murdoch – the chief criminal court judge in Albuquerque – was arrested on July 19, 2011 and charged with criminal sexual penetration and intimidation of a witness. According to the criminal complaint, a detective was told by an informant that Murdoch had raped a ...

Third Circuit: § 2241 is Proper Vehicle for BOP IFRP Challenges

Third Circuit: § 2241 is Proper Vehicle for BOP IFRP Challenges

by Mark Wilson

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals held on December 2, 2010 that a federal habeas corpus petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 is the proper vehicle to challenge the Bureau of Prison’s (BOP) Inmate Financial ...

Seven Argentine Military Officials Sentenced for Crimes against Prisoners

During the time of Argentina’s American-backed dirty war against political dissidents, from 1976 to 1983, the military junta that was running the country ran a network of prisons and concentration camps, including a prison in a working class suburb of Buenos Aires. About 2,500 prisoners passed through the ...

News in Brief

Arizona: Former state prison guard Anthony Rinaldi, 26, allegedly shot and killed his wife on December 13, 2011, telling a 911 operator, “She is definitely dead – I put two to the chest and one to the head.” He then left his house, drove up behind a police officer and turned ...

 

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