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Prisoner Education Guide

Prison Legal News: April, 2013

Issue PDF
Volume 24, Number 4

In this issue:

  1. U.S. Immigration Policy: Dysfunctional, Profitable and Resistant to Reform (p 1)
  2. Anti-Immigrant Arizona Sheriff Outed by His Mexican Ex-Boyfriend (p 11)
  3. From the Editor (p 12)
  4. Report: Total State Prison Costs at Least $5.4 Billion Over Budget Nationwide (p 12)
  5. From the Editor (p 14)
  6. Los Angeles Jail Undersheriff Steps Down (p 15)
  7. A ‘Nobody’s’ Legacy: How a Semi-literate Ex-con Changed the Legal System (p 16)
  8. California: Thousands of Sex Offenders Remove GPS Monitors (p 18)
  9. Iowa Pays Almost $500,000 to Fired Parole, Prison Supervisors (p 18)
  10. Fortresses of Solitude (p 20)
  11. New York: Provision Requiring Independent Jail Oversight Board Ignored for 23 Years (p 22)
  12. CDCR Tried to Conceal Report on Prisoner Suicides (p 22)
  13. Calls for Better Pregnancy Care in Georgia Jails after Death of Prisoner’s Baby (p 24)
  14. Life on the Inside and Death on the Outside: Complexities in Health Disparities Inside and Outside U.S. Prisons (p 24)
  15. Seventh Circuit Reverses Dismissal of Case Challenging Conditions in Illinois Jail where Mentally Ill Prisoner Died (p 26)
  16. Colorado Pays for Unneeded Private Prison Beds to Subsidize Local Jobs (p 26)
  17. Illinois: Scathing Study on Solitary Buried by Politics (p 28)
  18. Louisiana Public Service Commission Postpones Prison Phone Reforms (p 29)
  19. No Free Speech Protection for Prisoners Who Copy Excerpts from Books (p 30)
  20. ADX Prisoner Not Allowed to Communicate with Family Members or Receive Publications under SAMs (p 32)
  21. Lawsuit Filed Against Solitary Confinement of 800 “Seriously Mentally Ill” Prisoners in Pennsylvania (p 34)
  22. Oregon: Grand Jury Cites Problems at Multnomah County Jails (p 34)
  23. Former Pennsylvania DOC Director Hired to Run CDCR (p 36)
  24. CA Prison Guards’ Union Loses Appeal, Must Pay $4.96 Million Judgment (p 36)
  25. Federal Court Enters Interim Fee Award Against BOP in FOIA Suit (p 38)
  26. Second Circuit: Continuing Violations Exhausted with Single Grievance (p 38)
  27. Law Man: My Story of Robbing Banks, Winning Supreme Court Cases, and Finding Redemption, by Shon Hopwood and Dennis Burke (Crown, August 2012). 320 pages, $25.00 hardcover (p 40)
  28. Ninth Circuit Vacates Federal Prison Sentence Imposed by Non-trial Judge (p 42)
  29. FBI’s National Crime Data Found to be Flawed, Manipulated (p 42)
  30. Colorado Seeks New Use for Empty Prison (p 43)
  31. Forcible Cutting of Illinois Prisoner’s Dreadlocks Found Unconstitutional (p 44)
  32. Pennsylvania Officials Link Halfway House Payments to Recidivism Rates (p 44)
  33. Defendants Must Challenge Joint and Several Liability for Attorney Fees on Initial Appeal or Issue is Waived (p 46)
  34. Delaware Court Decides Financial Dispute Involving Prison Healthcare Company (p 46)
  35. Court Upholds California Prison Guard’s Termination for Telling Prisoner to Hang Herself (p 47)
  36. South Carolina Sheriff Indicted; Fourth Sheriff to Face Criminal Charges in Three Years (p 48)
  37. Utah: Prisoners’ Education Should be Cheaper, More Efficient, Report Says (p 49)
  38. Florida Innocence Commission Makes Recommendations to Prevent Wrongful Convictions (p 50)
  39. California: Condition of Parole Restricting Parolee from Residing Near Victim’s Next of Kin Held Invalid (p 51)
  40. Native Americans Overrepresented in Prison; Problems with Tribal Police Cited (p 52)
  41. Utah Potentially Liable for Juvenile’s Death; Incarceration Exception to State’s Immunity Inapplicable (p 53)
  42. Time for Sentencing Reform (p 54)
  43. Seventh Circuit: Cost Bond Improper Tool to Address Prisoner’s Frivolous Filings (p 54)
  44. More Oregon Prison Employees Accused of Sexual Abuse (p 56)
  45. California Prison Industry Authority Loses $24 Million in Last Two Years but Reduces Recidivism (p 56)
  46. News in Brief (p 58)

U.S. Immigration Policy: Dysfunctional, Profitable and Resistant to Reform

The nation's economy remains fragile, U.S. troops continue to fight a losing war in Afghanistan, North Korea has recently threatened a nuclear attack, and in March 2013 Congress and President Obama failed to reach a compromise to prevent the “sequester,” which mandates deep spending cuts on the federal ...

Anti-Immigrant Arizona Sheriff Outed by His Mexican Ex-Boyfriend

Paul Bebeu, Sheriff of Pinal County, Arizona and a former police officer, was a rising Republican star within the state in 2012 – crusading in support of the anti-immigrant legislation SB1070, co-chairing Arizona’s campaign for Mitt Romney’s presidential bid and espousing the so-called family values that appealed to his ...

From the Editor

Welcome to PLN's anniversary issue. This issue marks 23 years and 277 issues since Prison Legal News first began publishing in May 1990. When PLN started, I didn’t think we would last this long or grow as much as we have; I also didn’t think the prison ...

Report: Total State Prison Costs at Least $5.4 Billion Over Budget Nationwide

For decades, tough-on-crime rhetoric has convinced taxpayers to finance ballooning prison budgets with no questions asked. But the price tag of mass incarceration has so grossly surpassed state corrections budgets that legislators across the country have become adept at paying prison-related costs from other sources, thereby making their prison budgets ...

From the Editor

As we publish our second issue with PLN’s new design, the feedback we have received so far has been overwhelmingly positive, including with respect to our expanded size.
The additional pages are important as they allow us to include even more news and legal content.

I would like to ...

Los Angeles Jail Undersheriff Steps Down

PLN's March 2013 cover story detailed a long-standing pattern of abuse and corruption in the nation’s largest jail system, operated by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD). Some of that misconduct was attributed to LASD Undersheriff Paul K. Tanaka, the right-hand man of Sheriff Leroy “Lee ...

A ‘Nobody’s’ Legacy: How a Semi-literate Ex-con Changed the Legal System

by M. Alex Johnson and Vidya Rao, NBC News

If you've heard of Clarence Earl Gideon at all, it’s probably because of a movie you had to watch in school. He deserves better, though, because 50 years ago he fundamentally changed the American legal system and your rights ...

California: Thousands of Sex Offenders Remove GPS Monitors

Taking advantage of the lack of available bed space to house parole violators in California jails following the state’s “realignment” initiative, thousands of paroled sex offenders fitted with GPS ankle bracelets have disabled or removed them – with few consequences.

Under Jessica’s Law, sex offenders in California are subject ...

Iowa Pays Almost $500,000 to Fired Parole, Prison Supervisors

Non-union membership in the Hawkeye State apparently has its privileges, at least for parole and prison officials in management positions.

Between August 2011 and early 2012, when Iowa’s Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) ruled in their favor, 18 former prison and parole supervisors who claimed they were improperly laid ...

Fortresses of Solitude

Supermax prisons and solitary confinement units are our domestic black sites – hidden places where human beings endure unspeakable punishments, without benefit of due process in any court of law. On the say-so of corrections officials, American prisoners can be placed in conditions of extreme isolation and sensory deprivation for months ...

New York: Provision Requiring Independent Jail Oversight Board Ignored for 23 Years

For more than two decades, the Nassau County Jail in East Meadow, New York has lacked accountability in the form of an oversight board. But that lapse may be coming to an end after prisoner advocates filed a lawsuit seeking court intervention.

Since 1990, the Nassau County Jail has failed ...

CDCR Tried to Conceal Report on Prisoner Suicides

A report that linked oppressive conditions in California prisons to preventable prisoner suicides was suppressed by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), while the state tried to convince a federal judge that court oversight was no longer needed in an ongoing class-action lawsuit over deficiencies in mental health ...

Calls for Better Pregnancy Care in Georgia Jails after Death of Prisoner’s Baby

A lawsuit filed against Clayton County, Georgia and the county’s sheriff, Kem Kimbrough, has prompted human rights organizations and Georgia lawmakers to examine guidelines for the treatment of pregnant women held in jails across the state.

Georgia’s Department of Corrections (GDOC) incarcerates all pregnant state prisoners at the ...

Life on the Inside and Death on the Outside: Complexities in Health Disparities Inside and Outside U.S. Prisons

by Evelyn J. Patterson, Ph.D.

As a scholar of criminology and demography (the study of how and why populations change), I seek to contribute to the discourse on inequality through researching different issues in the demography of incarceration. One astonishing thing that I discovered some time ago was the ...

Seventh Circuit Reverses Dismissal of Case Challenging Conditions in Illinois Jail where Mentally Ill Prisoner Died

Seventh Circuit Reverses Dismissal of Case Challenging Conditions in Illinois Jail
where Mentally Ill Prisoner Died

On March 20, 2012, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a district court’s grant of summary judgment to the defendants in a case claiming inhumane conditions of confinement at a county jail ...

Colorado Pays for Unneeded Private Prison Beds to Subsidize Local Jobs

by John E. Dannenberg

Even amid a declining prison population, Colorado is paying million of dollars to private prison contractors for unneeded cells in order to protect the economic base of small, rural communities that have become dependent on the jobs that for-profit prisons provide.

With Colorado’s prison population ...

Illinois: Scathing Study on Solitary Buried by Politics

by Adam Klasfeld, Courthouse News

Reeling from the criticism of its last effort at prison reform, Illinois buried its study of the ineffectiveness of long-term solitary confinement.

As Gov. Pat Quinn struggled to hold onto the seat he acquired from the ousted Rod Blagojevich, his office drew fire for measures ...

Louisiana Public Service Commission Postpones Prison Phone Reforms

After heated hearings and postponement, on December 12, 2012, the Louisiana Public Service Commission (LPSC) voted to lower the cost of phone calls made from Louisiana prisons and jails by cutting the rates of most calls by 25% and prohibiting costly surcharges. [See: PLN, Jan. 2013, p.14; Feb. 2012 ...

No Free Speech Protection for Prisoners Who Copy Excerpts from Books

Prisoners who copy "arguably inflammatory” or “incendiary” passages from the books they check out from a prison library or are allowed to purchase are not entitled to rely on the First Amendment to protect them from disciplinary punishment, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit held on ...

ADX Prisoner Not Allowed to Communicate with Family Members or Receive Publications under SAMs

In another series of court rulings upholding the use of Special Administrative Measures (SAMs), a prisoner at the federal ADX supermax facility in Florence, Colorado was prohibited from receiving certain publications and communicating with his nieces and nephews.

The federal Bureau of Prisons’ use of SAMs originated in a regulation ...

Lawsuit Filed Against Solitary Confinement of 800 “Seriously Mentally Ill” Prisoners in Pennsylvania

On March 11, 2013, the Disability Rights Network of Pennsylvania (DRNP) filed a lawsuit against John E. Wetzel, Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, charging that the confinement of prisoners in Restricted Housing Units (RHUs) amounts to “cruel and unusual punishment” of those diagnosed as “seriously mentally ill.” The ...

Oregon: Grand Jury Cites Problems at Multnomah County Jails

A Corrections Grand Jury report released on December 18, 2012 made recommendations to remedy problems in Multnomah County’s jail system, adding to suggestions the Grand Jury had previously made in 2011.

In its most recent report, the Grand Jury noted there was a 121% increase in the number of ...

Former Pennsylvania DOC Director Hired to Run CDCR

Jeffrey A. Beard, an almost 40-year old veteran of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, and most recently that state’s Corrections Secretary, was hired by California Governor Jerry Brown in December 2012 to become the new head of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR). Beard, 65, replaces Matthew ...

CA Prison Guards’ Union Loses Appeal, Must Pay $4.96 Million Judgment

A federal lawsuit filed against the California Correctional Peace Officers Association (CCPOA), the union that represents state prison guards, resulted in a $12.5 million damages award in October 2010. The award was reduced by the district court to $4.96 million and the CCPOA appealed, placing $3 million in ...

Federal Court Enters Interim Fee Award Against BOP in FOIA Suit

The Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) began 2013 with an adverse ruling from the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon, after the BOP had spent several years refusing to disclose allegedly confidential information that was, in fact, already public.

In May 2009, Stephen Raher, then a law ...

Second Circuit: Continuing Violations Exhausted with Single Grievance

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals held on May 16, 2012 that a New York district court had incorrectly concluded that a prisoner failed to exhaust his administrative remedies before bringing a religious freedom suit.

Muslim prisoner Neil Johnson was confined at the Federal Correctional Institution in Otisville, New York ...

Law Man: My Story of Robbing Banks, Winning Supreme Court Cases, and Finding Redemption, by Shon Hopwood and Dennis Burke (Crown, August 2012). 320 pages, $25.00 hardcover

Book review by Lisa McElroy

In the Spring of 2003, the phone on Seth Waxman’s desk rang. “Will you accept a call from federal prison?” the caller asked. Waxman sighed. It might have been his fifth prisoner call that day. As the former Solicitor General of the United States ...

Ninth Circuit Vacates Federal Prison Sentence Imposed by Non-trial Judge

by Derek Gilna

Federal prisoner William Harris’ 188-month sentence for assaulting a prison guard was reversed by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on May 25, 2012, based on a violation of Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 25(b) “with prejudice.”

Harris, 35, a member of the Salt River-Maricopa Indian ...

FBI’s National Crime Data Found to be Flawed, Manipulated

As it turns out, the FBI's annual reports on crime in the United States are only slightly more credible than campaign promises and Big Foot sightings.

An August 2012 investigative analysis by the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel found that the overwhelming majority of data published in the FBI’s “Crime in ...

Colorado Seeks New Use for Empty Prison

When Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper announced the closure of the Fort Lyon Correctional Facility in Las Animas, Brent County officials became despondent. The prison was an economic mainstay of the tiny county.

“There’s no question the jobs leaving the community are some of the highest-paying jobs we have,” said ...

Forcible Cutting of Illinois Prisoner’s Dreadlocks Found Unconstitutional

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has held that an Illinois prison guard violated the First Amendment rights of a prisoner by ordering his dreadlocks to be forcibly shorn. The appellate court further held the guard was not entitled to qualified immunity.

Illinois prison policy allows prisoners “to have any ...

Pennsylvania Officials Link Halfway House Payments to Recidivism Rates

Community corrections centers, also known as halfway houses, receive a great deal of money to help prepare prisoners to reenter society. Unfortunately, according to a recent study in Pennsylvania, the state’s 38 halfway houses with 4,313 beds have not been particularly successful in that mission, as prisoners assigned ...

Defendants Must Challenge Joint and Several Liability for Attorney Fees on Initial Appeal or Issue is Waived

On May 22, 2012, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that defendants found liable for civil rights violations had failed to challenge in their initial appeal an order that they were jointly and severally liable for attorney’s fees, and thus had “waived their ability to challenge that order ...

Delaware Court Decides Financial Dispute Involving Prison Healthcare Company

A complaint brought in the Court of Chancery of Delaware to appraise the value of a prison healthcare company inadvertently shed light on the big business of providing contracted correctional services.

Certain shareholders of Just Care, Inc., a privately-held Delaware corporation, filed the complaint to determine the fair value of ...

Court Upholds California Prison Guard’s Termination for Telling Prisoner to Hang Herself

In March 2012, the California Court of Appeal, 4th District, affirmed a lower court’s judgment that reinstated the termination of a former state prison guard, Thomas Norton, who had told a mentally ill female prisoner to hang herself and then pressured another guard to keep him from reporting what ...

South Carolina Sheriff Indicted; Fourth Sheriff to Face Criminal Charges in Three Years

A South Carolina Sheriff has been removed from office following his indictment on criminal charges of misconduct and furnishing contraband to prisoners.

Chesterfield County Sheriff Sanford (“Sam”) Marion Parker, Jr. was suspended by Governor Nikki Haley on March 20, 2013 after the charges were announced by the Attorney General’s ...

Utah: Prisoners’ Education Should be Cheaper, More Efficient, Report Says

Secondary education for Utah prisoners are wasting tax dollars and, more importantly, wasting educational resources, according to an August 2012 report by the state’s Legislative Auditor General.

Utah lawmakers wanted to know how efficient and effective are high school education programs offered in the state’s prisons and jails ...

Florida Innocence Commission Makes Recommendations to Prevent Wrongful Convictions

The Florida Innocence Commission's final report, presented to the Florida Supreme Court on June 25, 2012, included a number of recommendations to address issues related to wrongful convictions in the Sunshine State.

Due to having one of the highest rates of wrongful convictions in the nation, the Florida Supreme ...

California: Condition of Parole Restricting Parolee from Residing Near Victim’s Next of Kin Held Invalid

The California Court of Appeals has held that Penal Code section 3003(f), which limits a parolee convicted of certain offenses from living within 35 miles of the victim or witness to the crime – if, among other conditions, the victim or witness has requested the physical separation – may not be ...

Native Americans Overrepresented in Prison; Problems with Tribal Police Cited

The Trail of Tears lives on. It still winds its way through dilapidated Native American villages on reservations across the United States that are impoverished, starved of resources and pockmarked by dysfunction and discrimination.

Almost two centuries after indigenous Americans were uprooted from their tribal lands and driven west, the ...

Utah Potentially Liable for Juvenile’s Death; Incarceration Exception to State’s Immunity Inapplicable

The Utah Supreme Court has that the “incarceration exception” to the state’s waiver of sovereign immunity does not apply to a juvenile offender’s placement in an unsecured community-based proctor home.

Sixteen-year-old Dillon Whitney was charged with several crimes and adjudicated a juvenile delinquent. The trial court ordered the ...

Time for Sentencing Reform

From the Capitol to the courtrooms, prosecutors can chart a new path on public safety by championing at both local and state levels one of the biggest ways we can transform our justice system in this generation – sentencing reform.

Right now, the U.S. puts more people in prison and ...

Seventh Circuit: Cost Bond Improper Tool to Address Prisoner’s Frivolous Filings

On May 30, 2012, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals reversed an Illinois federal district court’s order that imposed a cost bond on an indigent prisoner which the court knew he could not afford, holding that such an order is not one of the tools available for dismissing or ...

More Oregon Prison Employees Accused of Sexual Abuse

As previously reported in PLN, between 2006 and 2009, employees at Oregon’s only women’s prison were charged with sexually abusing more than a dozen female prisoners. [See: PLN, Nov. 2010, p.18; July 2009, p.47]. The abuse continues unabated, with at least five prison staff members accused ...

California Prison Industry Authority Loses $24 Million in Last Two Years but Reduces Recidivism

In January 20013, California's Prison Industry Board (PIB) submitted its annual report to the state legislature regarding the activities and financial status of the California Prison Industry Authority (CALPIA), the agency it is charged with overseeing. CALPIA operates industry programs that employ approximately 7,000 prisoners annually in “manufacturing ...

News in Brief

Maryland: Jerod Pridget, 29, incarcerated at the Western Correctional Institution, died on November 28, 2012 after being severely beaten by another prisoner and transferred to an outside medical facility. Pridget was serving an 18-month sentence; his family said he was “unrecognizable” due to the injuries to his head and face ...

 

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