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Prisoner Education Guide

Prison Legal News: February, 2014

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Volume 25, Number 2

In this issue:

  1. Violence, Security Lapses and Media Attention Lead to Reforms at Georgia Prison (p 1)
  2. From the Editor (p 8)
  3. Prison Phone Justice Campaign: Recent Developments (p 10)
  4. Bankruptcy Injunction Covers Pre-petition Incarceration Costs, but Not Those that Accrue Afterwards (p 11)
  5. What Are the Odds of Complete Reversal After Conviction in the Second Circuit? (p 12)
  6. The Effects of Private Prison Confinement in Minnesota on Offender Recidivism (p 14)
  7. Confronting Prison Slave Labor Camps and Other Myths (p 16)
  8. Ninth Circuit: 9-Year Detention Pending Civil Commitment Proceeding Warrants Habeas Relief (p 19)
  9. Possession of Rape Video Warrants Restitution; Victim Awarded Over $1 Million Thus Far; Supreme Court Grants Cert. (p 20)
  10. California: Felons with Prior Juvenile Strikes Excluded from County Jail Placement Under Realignment Act (p 21)
  11. PA Prison Lieutenant Fired After Assisting in Criminal Investigation (p 22)
  12. PLN Settles Censorship Suit Against Texas County Jail for $175,000 (p 22)
  13. New Trial Granted in Jail Strip Search Case Following Jury Verdict; $385,000 Settlement (p 24)
  14. California: State Prisoner Cannot Serve Concurrent Sentence in County Jail (p 25)
  15. Iowa: Bad Faith or Misconduct can Overcome Mental-Process Privilege in Disciplinary Case (p 26)
  16. Prisoner Assaulted in Tennessee Jail Settles Suit for $530,000 (p 27)
  17. Arrested: What to do When Your Loved One’s in Jail, by Wes Denham (p 28)
  18. California: Sexually Violent Predator Entitled to Jury Trial on Petition Seeking Conditional Release (p 28)
  19. Qualified Immunity Denied to Prison Psychiatrist who Prescribed Lethal Drug Combination; $450,000 Settlement (p 30)
  20. Medical Parole for Texas Prisoners on the Decline (p 30)
  21. Court Employee Fired for Helping Wrongfully Convicted Prisoner Prove His Innocence (p 32)
  22. NY Prisoner’s Youthful Age Considered in Modifying Prison Disciplinary Sanction (p 32)
  23. Islamic Organization Petitions to Let Muslim Women Prisoners Wear Hijabs (p 34)
  24. Eighth Circuit: No Qualified Immunity for Excessive Use of Force, Retaliation (p 34)
  25. Ninth Circuit Reverses Dismissal of Wiccan Prisoners’ Establishment Clause Claim (p 36)
  26. West Virginia Sex Offender Does Not Have Right to Attend Specified Church (p 36)
  27. Rules Governing Lethal Injections Not Required under Georgia Law (p 37)
  28. Deliberate Indifference Medical Claim Accrues Upon Discovery of Injury and its Cause (p 38)
  29. Private Corrections Institute Issues First Annual Awards for Activism, Advocacy and Reporting on Private Prisons (p 38)
  30. Criminal Background Checks Criticized for Incorrect Data, Racial Discrimination (p 40)
  31. Former Kansas Prisoner’s Sexual Misconduct Suit Overcomes Qualified Immunity (p 42)
  32. Ninth Circuit Upholds Six-Day Contraband Watch Conditions (p 43)
  33. Reflections on the No More Jails Campaign in Champaign County, Illinois (p 44)
  34. Ninth Circuit Questions Constitutionality of Requiring Jail Prisoners to Wear Pink Underwear (p 46)
  35. Pennsylvania Jail Official Indicted for Groping Co-workers (p 47)
  36. Solitary Confinement’s Invisible Scars (p 48)
  37. Lawsuit, Whistleblower Allege Rape by Guards at New Mexico Prison (p 49)
  38. Ninth Circuit: Immigration Detainees Must be Afforded Opportunity to Challenge Continued Detention after Six Months (p 50)
  39. Restitution Not Owed for Arrest Costs, West Virginia Court Holds (p 50)
  40. Discretionary Immunity Dismissal of Ohio Prisoner’s Negligence Claims Reversed (p 50)
  41. Washington: No Public Funds for Deferred Prosecution Treatment Programs (p 52)
  42. Short-term Deprivation of Toilet Paper Does Not Violate Detainee’s Rights (p 52)
  43. Justice Department Reports: Correctional Populations Declining at Slower Pace (p 54)
  44. Jails Market Electronic Cigarettes to Prisoners (p 54)
  45. Crime Declines while Anti-crime Funding Increases (p 55)
  46. News in Brief (p 56)

Violence, Security Lapses and Media Attention Lead to Reforms at Georgia Prison

A series of investigative news reports by Chattanooga Times Free Press reporter Joy Lukachick, published from February to December 2013, revealed numerous problems in Georgia’s prison system – particularly at Hays State Prison (HSP), located around 40 miles south of Chattanooga, Tennessee – and resulted in lawsuits, security improvements and the replacement of HSP’s warden.

While violence has increased in Georgia prisons over the last several years, it was not until four HSP prisoners were murdered within a two-month period that the media began to take notice. Prison officials blamed gangs and contraband cell phones for the spike in violence, but guards faulted their bosses, saying they were more focused on their careers than security.

Since 2010, at least 26 Georgia state prisoners have been slain by other prisoners; four HSP prisoners were killed from December 19, 2012 to February 5, 2013 alone.

Non-fatal assaults on staff and prisoners have been increasing, too. The Georgia State Prison has the highest number of incidents, with 251 prisoner-on-staff assaults in 2012 – an average of 21 per month. Guards have reciprocated the violence, reporting 265 uses of force on prisoners over the same time period. The Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison (GDCP) – the ...

From the Editor

In 2011, the Human Rights Defense Center – the parent organization of Prison Legal News – co-founded the national Campaign for Prison Phone Justice to eliminate the high costs of prison phone calls. We had success before the Federal Communications Commission, which voted in August 2013 to cap the cost of interstate (long distance) prison and jail phone calls. We are now asking the FCC to regulate and cap the cost of intrastate (in-state) calls as well, which constitute around 85% of phone calls made by prisoners.

In January 2014, HRDC launched the Washington Prison Phone Justice Campaign (WA PPJ) to end the excessive costs of prison and jail phone calls for Washington prisoners. This is a statewide campaign aimed specifically at Washington state prisons, county jails and the immigration detention center in Tacoma, which seeks to eliminate “commission” kickbacks paid to those facilities to secure monopoly contracts for phone services. We have reopened our Seattle, Washington office for this purpose and the WA PPJ campaign will be led by Carrie Wilkinson. Before joining HRDC, Carrie was a senior litigation paralegal at the Seattle law firm of McDonald, Hogue and Bayless, which represented HRDC and PLN in numerous censorship suits in the ...

Prison Phone Justice Campaign: Recent Developments

PLN’s December 2013 cover story provided an updated look at the prison phone industry and examined a recent order by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that imposed rate caps on interstate (long distance) prison and jail phone calls. There have since been several new developments on the prison phone front.

As previously reported, the nation’s two largest Inmate Calling Service (ICS) providers, Global Tel*Link and Securus Technologies, filed legal challenges to the FCC’s order in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

On January 13, 2014, the appellate court ruled on Securus’ motion for a stay of the FCC’s order, granting the motion in part and denying it in part. As a result, several key provisions of the order were placed on hold pending the outcome of Securus’ lawsuit.

The interim rate caps imposed by the FCC – $.25 per minute for collect interstate ICS calls and $.21 per minute for debit and prepaid interstate ICS calls – were not stayed and went into effect on February 11, 2014. As of that date, all correctional facilities nationwide were required to comply with the rate caps.

In addition to the rate caps for interstate prison phone calls, the ...

Bankruptcy Injunction Covers Pre-petition Incarceration Costs, but Not Those that Accrue Afterwards

The Bankruptcy Appellate Panel for the Eighth Circuit held on February 5, 2013 that a Missouri bankruptcy court was correct in concluding prison officials did not violate a discharge injunction by collecting money from a prisoner’s account for incarceration costs that accrued after the injunction was filed.

Missouri prisoner Zachary A. Smith became subject to an $87,830.13 judgment under the Missouri Incarceration Reimbursement Act (MIRA) on January 20, 2009, for the costs of his incarceration through March 26, 2007. The state of Missouri was also granted a judgment for reimbursement costs accruing after March 26, 2007 through Smith’s release from prison – which is unlikely since he is serving life without the possibility of parole. The judgment further allowed the state to collect 90% of all deposits to Smith’s prison account, excluding wages and bonuses earned while incarcerated.

Smith filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition on September 14, 2010 and received his discharge on March 11, 2011. In September 2012, the state seized a $45.00 deposit to Smith’s prison account pursuant to the MIRA judgment. He then filed a motion for contempt with the bankruptcy court, claiming the state had violated the discharge injunction ...

What Are the Odds of Complete Reversal After Conviction in the Second Circuit?

by Richard Levitt and Peter Schmidt

A potential client asks an attorney the odds of completely overturning his federal trial conviction on appeal. If the attorney is experienced in the ways of appellate advocacy and his predilection for candor trumps his predilection for solvency, he might tell his potential client, “Statistically, not great. Beyond that, it depends on how serious the case is, the issues we raise and the judges assigned to hear your appeal.”

But, you wonder, what really are the odds of winning an appeal after trial in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit? We wondered that too, so we decided to find out. First we looked at published statistics to see if we could avoid doing the heavy lifting ourselves. The closest we came to an answer was on the website, which includes Table B-5, titled “U.S. Courts of Appeals – Appeals – Terminated on the Merits, by Circuit, During the 12-Month Period Ending September 30, 2012.”1

This table reflects an overall nationwide reversal rate in criminal appeals of 7 percent, and a reversal rate in the Second Circuit of 9.2 percent, but does not distinguish between appeals following trial ...

The Effects of Private Prison Confinement in Minnesota on Offender Recidivism

The Minnesota Department of Corrections (DOC) recently completed an evaluation of the effects of private prison confinement on offender recidivism. The evaluation assessed the impact of confinement at the Prairie Correctional Facility (PCF) in Appleton, Minnesota on recidivism among 3,532 offenders released between 2007 and 2009. The average follow-up period for the offenders in this study was 2.5 years.

Key Findings

• Private prison confinement was associated with a greater risk of recidivism in all 20 Cox regression models that were estimated. This association was statistically significant in 8 of the 20 models.

• All five private prison measures examined in this study significantly increased the risk of reconviction.

• Three private prison measures significantly increased the risk of rearrest.

• None of the private prison variables had an impact on either reincarceration measure (new offense and technical violation revocation).

• The findings suggest that the PCF produced slightly worse recidivism outcomes among the healthiest and best-behaved prisoners for the same amount of money. The recidivism results may be due to fewer visitation and rehabilitative programming opportunities for offenders confined at PCF.

Prior to 2010, when prison population growth created shortages in prison beds at state facilities, the DOC frequently housed some of ...

Confronting Prison Slave Labor Camps and Other Myths

There are moments when our longings for social justice cloud our vision, times when the way we want the world to be blocks our understanding of the way things really are. A good example of this is the notion of the United States’ prison system as totally driven by profit-hungry corporations that ruthlessly advance their bottom lines on the backs of the exploited.

This myth contains a modicum of truth: of course, the 1 percent and beyond do make money off of locking people up. Corporations like Kitchell Construction have done very well building more than 110,000 prison “beds.” At roughly $100,000 each, that comes to about $11 billion, which is pretty serious money. Despite the fields of money that have been reaped from the prison and jail boom, this economic aspect of prisons has spawned some myths that often get in the way of effectively opposing mass incarceration.

The first of these is the idea that private prison corporations are the main culprits. A wide spectrum of campaigns has focused on these corporate targets. Activists have opposed private prisons’ attempts to colonize new territory, blocking immigration detention center proposals in Illinois, halting a bill to privatize the ...

Ninth Circuit: 9-Year Detention Pending Civil Commitment Proceeding Warrants Habeas Relief

In March 2013, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a district court’s dismissal of a pro se habeas petitioner’s claim that his 9-year detention while waiting for the State of California to initiate civil commitment proceedings was unconstitutional.

Just before convicted rapist Bobby Joe Knight’s scheduled release from prison in 2004 after serving a 20-year sentence, the state filed a civil petition against him under California’s Sexually Violent Predator Act (SVPA), Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code §§ 6600, et seq. The Los Angeles County Superior Court ordered that Knight be held in a secure facility pending trial.

Knight remained in custody, as no effort was made to bring the state’s petition against him to trial. Incredibly, between 2004 and 2009, Knight’s counsel requested (or stipulated to) continuances of the case. Not content with the quality of his representation – being deprived of one’s liberty indefinitely, without due process of law, can be frustrating – Knight repeatedly requested that he be appointed new counsel.

Exasperated, he filed a habeas corpus petition in state court in April 2009, claiming that his lengthy detention was unconstitutional. The petition was denied, and Knight’s counsel and the government agreed to ...

Possession of Rape Video Warrants Restitution; Victim Awarded Over $1 Million Thus Far; Supreme Court Grants Cert.

When she was a little girl, Amy’s uncle videotaped himself raping her, then shared the video with other pedophiles. Now in her 20s, Amy (a pseudonym) is seeking restitution from everyone who has ever possessed and viewed the pornographic images of her. The extent to which she is entitled to restitution is now before the Supreme Court.

Years ago, when Amy was 8 years old, a pedophile asked her uncle to rape her and videotape the assault, according to government documents. Her uncle sexually abused her, was convicted and sentenced to prison. Amy collected a few thousand dollars in restitution from her uncle.

She initially healed from the abuse, but “drastically deteriorated” when she learned, years later, that images of her rape were being widely collected and traded by other pedophiles online.

Amy suffers ongoing trauma because she is constantly revictimized but is powerless to stop it, her lawyer stated. She developed emotional and psychological problems; for example, she bit her nails until they bled, abused alcohol and could not finish college.

On average, every day Amy’s attorney is notified of at least one new case involving images of her rape. So far he has been notified of ...

California: Felons with Prior Juvenile Strikes Excluded from County Jail Placement Under Realignment Act

The California Court of Appeal held on March 20, 2013 that a prisoner whose prior record includes a juvenile adjudication for a serious or violent felony may not receive a county jail commitment, even if that was the intent when the legislature, in response to a federal court order mandating that the state prison system reduce its population, passed the Realignment Act (Act). [See, e.g.: PLN, Aug. 2013, p.20].

Under the Act, most prisoners with felony convictions are now committed to county jails instead of state prisons. Consistent with the Three Strikes Law, the Act excludes from its provisions prisoners with prior serious or violent felony convictions. Although the Act is silent about prior juvenile adjudications, its legislative history suggests that lawmakers had intended to exclude from prison felons whose prior “strikes” were the result of juvenile adjudications.

Such an interpretation of the Act, however, would conflict with the Three Strikes Law, which requires a commitment to state prison for any felon with a serious or violent strike – regardless of whether or not the strike was a juvenile adjudication.

The Court of Appeal held that this conflict must be resolved in favor of the voter-approved Three Strikes Law ...

PA Prison Lieutenant Fired After Assisting in Criminal Investigation

A former Pennsylvania prison lieutenant might now have a better understanding as to why many prisoners refuse to assist in criminal investigations.

In January 2011, Lt. Vincent Schaffer, 45, then a unit manager in F Block at SCI-Pittsburgh, was approached by an internal affairs officer to gather dirt on a fellow guard who was later charged with 89 criminal counts, including sexual assault.

“I was uncomfortable with my involvement in assisting in a criminal investigation because that is not what I do,” Schaffer said in a 2012 interview.

However, he claimed his initial refusal would have been a violation of the code of ethics and that he risked disciplinary action if he failed to cooperate. Thus he ultimately complied, gathering information from a prison informant, and was subsequently terminated after 18 years with the Department of Corrections.

“I had a lot of pride in my job, and l gave the department 100% every day,” Schaffer said. “To believe that I was put in this position, and to even try to comprehend that the department and the commonwealth have flat-out turned their backs – I don’t even know the words.”

As a result of the investigation, former SCI-Pittsburgh guard Harry F ...

PLN Settles Censorship Suit Against Texas County Jail for $175,000

In December 2013, Prison Legal News settled a federal lawsuit against Upshur County, Texas that alleged unconstitutional censorship when PLN’s publications were rejected by jail officials. The suit, filed in October 2012, named the county, Sheriff Anthony Betterton and Sheriff’s Lt. Jill McCauley as defendants.

According to the complaint, the Upshur County jail’s inmate handbook contained “no written criteria explaining when a publication will be rejected,” and the jail’s mail policy did “not provide a sender any notice or explanation when a book is censored.”

PLN mailed copies of its monthly publication to prisoners at the jail, as well as letters, renewal notices, brochures and copies of a book titled Protecting Your Health and Safety. The jail rejected approximately 90 of PLN’s publications over a one-year period, stamping them “No Newspaper,” “Unauthorized Mail,” “Not Approved” or “Refused.” The jail also rejected legal mail sent to prisoners by PLN’s attorneys. No notice was provided regarding this censorship, and PLN was not afforded an opportunity to appeal the rejection of its publications.

“The purpose of jail is to hold the criminally accused for trial, not to punish them,” said Lance Weber, general counsel for the Human ...

New Trial Granted in Jail Strip Search Case Following Jury Verdict; $385,000 Settlement

On March 7, 2011, an Iowa federal district court granted a motion for a new trial after a jury awarded $259,155 to a woman who was improperly strip searched when she was arrested and booked into jail. Before another trial was held, a 2012 U.S. Supreme Court ruling changed the law regarding strip searches of jail detainees, and the case settled in February 2013 for more than the jury award.

Maureen Rattray was arrested in Sioux City, Iowa for operating a vehicle while intoxicated – her first offense – which was a serious misdemeanor in violation of Iowa Criminal Code § 321J.2. She was taken to the Woodbury County Jail. During booking, two female jailers strip searched her twice and conducted body cavity searches.

The first strip search took place in a room with an open door so men standing outside were able to look in. Rattray began to cry, and one of the jailers mocked her and then ripped off her halter top. Because she was confused about whether or not she was wearing a tampon, one of the jailers allegedly shoved her against a wall and performed a cavity search of her vagina. Rattray was ...

California: State Prisoner Cannot Serve Concurrent Sentence in County Jail

On February 15, 2013, the California Court of Appeal held that when a sentence that otherwise would have been served in a county jail is ordered to run concurrent to a sentence already being served in state prison, the entire sentence must be served in prison.

In May 2011, Olivia S. Torres was sentenced to two years in state prison following burglary and forgery convictions in Tulare County.

On October 20, 2011, she pleaded guilty to receiving a stolen motor vehicle in Fresno County and stipulated to a two-year term to run concurrently with the sentence she was already serving. The trial court sentenced Torres to prison despite the fact that, under California’s realignment statute, felons sentenced on or after October 1, 2011 now serve their sentences in county jail instead of prison. That statutory provision applies so long as a defendant is not disqualified by virtue of a current or prior “serious” or “violent” felony conviction, and is not required to register as a sex offender – factors that did not apply to Torres.

The Court of Appeal held that sentencing a felon to state prison for one part of a sentence and to county jail for another part ...

Iowa: Bad Faith or Misconduct can Overcome Mental-Process Privilege in Disciplinary Case

The Iowa Supreme Court has held that administrative law judges (ALJs) in the Department of Corrections (DOC) are entitled to assert the mental-process privilege in an Office of Ombudsman investigation, but that privilege may be overcome upon a strong showing of bad faith or misconduct. In the case before the Court, the Ombudsman – a state watchdog agency – made the requisite showing to overcome the privilege.

Fort Dodge Correctional Facility prisoner Randy Linderman was charged with several disciplinary offenses on April 2, 2008, including Class B assault. He was “verbally disruptive and physically inappropriate with [a guard] to the point that the offender assaulted the officer with his body several times.” Specifically, Linderman chest bumped the guard two or three times and disobeyed commands until other guards arrived to take control.

At his disciplinary hearing, Linderman pleaded guilty and admitted he was angry at the time of the violation. ALJ Deb Edwards found him guilty of Class B assault and imposed a sanction of 180 days in disciplinary detention and 180 days loss of earned time. Linderman appealed to the warden, who affirmed Edwards’ decision. Rather than seek post-conviction judicial review, Linderman complained to the Office of Ombudsman.

During its investigation ...

Prisoner Assaulted in Tennessee Jail Settles Suit for $530,000

Curtis Dressman, a former pre-trial detainee, has settled his § 1983 lawsuit against jail officials in Nashville, Tennessee after a judge denied the jail’s motions for summary judgment. The district court found that Dressman had “a clearly established constitutional right to be [free] from deliberate indifference of inmate-on-inmate violence.”

The court’s November 27, 2012 order cited a culture of “deliberate indifference” by various jail officials with respect to prisoner safety at the Davidson County Criminal Justice Center. This, the court said, fostered a “fight club” atmosphere in the facility’s booking and intake areas when non-violent pre-trial detainees were placed in the same cell as violent prisoners despite the availability of other, vacant holding cells.

The district court brushed aside assertions by jail officials that the April 2010 assault on Dressman by another intoxicated prisoner was an isolated incident, noting Dressman’s assertion in his complaint that “offender/offender assaults” occurred “almost one per day.” Dressman claimed that he suffered a “traumatic brain injury, dental and facial fractures, cuts, and permanent physical injuries and disfigurement, as a result of the attack.”

The court found that the jail was “on notice at the time of the assault that [it] had ...

Arrested: What to do When Your Loved One’s in Jail, by Wes Denham

(Chicago Review Press, 2010). 263 pages (paperback), $16.95.

Book review by John E. Dannenberg

Arrested: What to do When Your Loved One’s in Jail is a detailed “how-to” manual for educating the uninformed about the harsh realities of what jail entails, with the ultimate goal being to guide family members as to 1) whether they should bother to try to help their loved one who’s in the pokey, and 2) if so, how to best accomplish such assistance.

Author Wes Denham speaks from years of experience; he is a private investigator, often hired by families who want to aid an incarcerated loved one. Denham is cynical of both the system as well as the motives of prisoners who mainly want to get out of jail. Arrested is an incredibly insightful and pragmatic treatise for the outsider tying to cope with the ugly realities of jails, guards and prisoners. The book’s 27 chapters are written in a blatantly sincere style that minces no words, often spiked with humorous cynicism. It could be described as a fun read were its subject matter not so serious and visceral.

Arrested steels the reader who is faced with the difficult decision ...

California: Sexually Violent Predator Entitled to Jury Trial on Petition Seeking Conditional Release

The California Court of Appeal has reversed the denial of a petition for conditional release filed by a sexually violent predator (SVP) who had received a psychological evaluation indicating that conditional release would be in his best interest and consistent with public safety.

As an SVP committed for indeterminate treatment, Michael James Smith was examined annually pursuant to section 6605 of the Sexually Violent Predator Act (SVPA), Welf. & Inst. Code § 6600 et seq., to determine whether he should remain classified as an SVP. In July 2009, Smith received an evaluation recommending his conditional release. The following year he received an evaluation opining that he was “no longer an SVP and was entitled to unconditional release.”

After receiving the initial favorable evaluation in 2009, Smith filed a petition for conditional release which he later supplemented with a copy of his even more favorable 2010 evaluation. The trial court denied the petition, finding that Smith failed to carry his burden of proof.

On appeal, Smith argued that the trial court had erroneously placed the burden of proof on him. The Court of Appeal agreed, holding that under the SVPA, as amended by Proposition 83 in 2006, if the mental condition of a ...

Qualified Immunity Denied to Prison Psychiatrist who Prescribed Lethal Drug Combination; $450,000 Settlement

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed the denial of qualified immunity to a psychiatrist in a lawsuit brought by a prisoner’s estate. The appellate court found the evidence could establish that the psychiatrist had “consciously exposed” the prisoner “to a substantial risk of death through his medical treatment without so much as a warning.” The case settled for $450,000 following remand.

When Scott Quigley, Jr., 23, was transferred from a Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) facility to the Charles Egeler Reception and Guidance Center in February 2008, he came under the medical supervision and care of Correctional Medical Services, the MDOC’s private contractor.

The day after Quigley arrived at the guidance center, physician’s assistant Steven Garver conducted a physical exam and prescribed 50mg of Amitriptyline (brand name Elavil) once a day, which was double Quigley’s previous prescription. A few weeks later, on March 7, 2008, Dr. Tuong V. Thai, a psychiatrist, completed a comprehensive psychiatric assessment; Quigley’s current prescription was discussed, as was adding the medication Trazodone (brand name Desyrel).

Dr. Thai prescribed 100mg of Trazodone once a day for four weeks. Three days later, Quigley was found dead in his cell ...

Medical Parole for Texas Prisoners on the Decline

by Matt Clarke

The number of prisoners granted medical parole in Texas decreased in fiscal year 2012 compared with those paroled due to medical reasons in the previous two years. The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles approved just 72 prisoners for medical parole in FY 2012, down from 100 in FY 2011 and 102 in FY 2010.

Although medical parole – officially called Medically Recommended Intensive Supervision – may be insignificant in terms of reducing Texas’ prison population, it can have a much greater effect on the amount of money spent on prisoners’ health care. Medical parole can also relieve the strain on the limited number of prison hospital beds available – about 300 statewide for a prison population of 150,000 that is growing older each year, and thus in need of more medical treatment.

“It’s becoming an issue for the state and the [criminal justice] department,” said Dr. Owen Murray, vice president for prisoner health care at the University of Texas Medical Branch, which provides medical services for over two-thirds of Texas prisoners. “We have been very vigilant about doing everything we can to look after these patients. The parole board is in a difficult spot. [Besides costs] they ...

Court Employee Fired for Helping Wrongfully Convicted Prisoner Prove His Innocence

In 1984, Robert E. Nelson was convicted and sentenced by Jackson County, Missouri Circuit Court Judge David M. Byrn to 50 years in prison for forcible rape, 5 years for forcible sodomy and 15 years for first-degree robbery, plus two unrelated robbery convictions. Nelson’s sentence for the latter two convictions ended in 2006, leaving him serving time for the remaining robbery and sexual offenses.

In August 2009, Nelson petitioned Judge Byrn for post-conviction DNA testing which was not available at his trial 25 years earlier. That request, and a second request in October 2011, were both denied because Nelson had cited a state statute that was not expansive enough to allow for his DNA to be tested. Following the second denial, Judge Byrn’s administrative assistant, 70-year-old great-grandmother Sharon Snyder, took pity on Nelson. Snyder located a DNA testing motion that had been granted in another case – a public document freely available to those who knew where to look – and provided it to Nelson’s sister to pass along.

Nelson used the successful motion as a guide and petitioned the court for DNA testing a third time on February 22, 2012. His motion was granted, he was found to ...

NY Prisoner’s Youthful Age Considered in Modifying Prison Disciplinary Sanction

The Appellate Division of New York’s Supreme Court, Fourth Judicial Division, after taking into account a prisoner’s youthfulness, modified the penalty imposed in a prison disciplinary hearing.

Prisoner Paul Cookhorne was charged with violating various prison rules that included assaulting and injuring a guard. Cookhorne, who was 17 years old at the time of the violations, was found guilty at a tier III disciplinary hearing and ordered to serve four years in the Special Housing Unit (SHU) and lose four years of good time, among various other sanctions.

Cookhorne filed a “hybrid CPLR article 78 proceeding and declaratory judgment action” challenging the guilt determination and punishment imposed. He also sought a declaration that prison officials consider the age of 16- and 17-year-olds as a mitigating factor in all disciplinary proceedings. By order of the Erie County Supreme Court, the case was transferred to the Appellate Division.

The appellate court severed the causes of action and transferred the part seeking declaratory judgment back to the Supreme Court for further proceedings. The Appellate Division then ruled on Cookhorne’s claims seeking relief under CPLR article 78. Initially, the court found that the disciplinary report, testimony of the guard and photographic ...

Islamic Organization Petitions to Let Muslim Women Prisoners Wear Hijabs

In May 2013, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) petitioned the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to establish a uniform policy for all local, state and federal correctional facilities to allow Muslim women to wear hijab head coverings while incarcerated and when photos are taken, such as during the booking process.

According to an interview with Al Arabiya, a Saudi-owned news outlet, Nadhira Al-Khalili, CAIR’s legal counsel, said, “I’m working on several pending cases in different states and I’m in touch with an attorney for the [DOJ’s] Office of Civil Rights.”

The executive director of CAIR’s Michigan chapter, Dawud Walid, said the city of Novi, Michigan had adopted a policy to allow Muslim women to keep their hijab while in jail. “If hijab is allowed in the military, and U.S. driving licenses permit women IDs with hijab, then the same logic can be applied,” he noted. “Hijab doesn’t impede the identity of women.”

The federal Bureau of Prisons allows Muslim women prisoners to retain and wear hijab headscarves pursuant to BOP Program Statement 5360.09. While some federal facilities require prisoners to remove their hijab for inspection upon arrival at the prison ...

Eighth Circuit: No Qualified Immunity for Excessive Use of Force, Retaliation

The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed a district court’s denial of qualified immunity on a prisoner’s retaliation and excessive force claims.

On July 26, 2008, Missouri prisoner Victor Santiago faced administrative segregation for failing to report to his work assignment at the Potosi Correctional Center. When he allegedly became combative, several guards pepper sprayed and handcuffed him, then slammed him into a wall and the floor. A guard “tightened the handcuffs to the ‘crushing point.’” When Santiago claimed his wrist was broken, a nurse allegedly said “it don’t look broke to me,” and walked away. He was not allowed to wash off the pepper spray for about 35 minutes.

After Santiago filed an excessive force grievance, guard Shannon Clubbs and Lieutenant Daniel Blair allegedly retaliated against him and attempted to chill his use of the grievance process by making death threats and moving him to a cell with worse living conditions, including no personal property, bedding or running water, and a non-working toilet.

Santiago filed suit in federal court in 2009, alleging excessive force, deliberate indifference and retaliation. The district court granted summary judgment to the defendants on Santiago’s official capacity claims but not ...

Ninth Circuit Reverses Dismissal of Wiccan Prisoners’ Establishment Clause Claim

On February 19, 2013, the Ninth Circuit reversed a district court’s dismissal of a lawsuit brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 by two California prisoners who alleged that prison officials had violated their constitutional rights by failing to apply neutral criteria in determining whether paid chaplaincy positions were necessary to meet the religious needs of prisoners adhering to religions outside the five major mainstream faiths – Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim and Native American.

State prisoners Caren Hill and Shawna Hartmann, practicing Wiccans at the Central California Women’s Facility (CCWF) in Chowchilla, filed suit claiming that California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) officials had violated their religious rights.

They raised claims under the First Amendment’s Free Exercise and Establishment Clauses, the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause and the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), as well as the California Constitution, related to the CDCR’s refusal to hire a paid full-time Wiccan chaplain and failure to apply neutral criteria in evaluating whether a growing membership in minority religions warranted a reallocation of the resources used to accommodate prisoners’ religious exercise needs.

The district court dismissed the plaintiffs’ third amended complaint on the ground that ...

West Virginia Sex Offender Does Not Have Right to Attend Specified Church

The West Virginia Supreme Court held on February 22, 2013 that a convicted sex offender does not have an automatic right to attend religious services of his choice. The Court’s ruling was not based on the right to exercise religious freedoms under the state or federal constitutions, however; it was instead based, as the petitioner urged, upon a provision of the Home Incarceration Act.

Before the state Supreme Court was a habeas petition filed by Charles R. Elder, who entered guilty pleas to charges of sexual abuse by a person in a position of trust and third-degree sexual assault. In its brief, the state alleged Elder had “perpetrated hundreds, if not thousands, of sexual assaults against his stepdaughters while they were minors and that after one of the stepdaughters was impregnated by the petitioner, the petitioner himself performed a crude abortion on the victim.”

Due to Elder’s diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease, post-traumatic stress disorder and depression, he was allowed to serve his concurrent sentences of ten-to-twenty years and one-to-five years on home confinement. The Supreme Court noted this was the first time it had “squarely addressed the issue of whether home incarceration constitutes the qualifying level of ...

Rules Governing Lethal Injections Not Required under Georgia Law

The Georgia Supreme Court has held that the state’s Board of Corrections (BOC) is not statutorily required to promulgate rules governing lethal injections. The Court further held that neither the Georgia Department of Corrections (DOC) nor the Commissioner of Corrections has statutory authority to promulgate any legally binding rules.

This case involved the appeal of a superior court’s dismissal of a mandamus petition filed by Warren Lee Hill, who is on death row for beating a fellow prisoner to death with a board studded with nails. The petition accused the BOC, DOC and Commissioner of failing to comply with the state’s Administrative Procedure Act (APA) when adopting Georgia’s new execution procedure. The new procedure, announced in July 2012, changed the three-drug lethal injection protocol to a one-drug protocol.

Initially, the Supreme Court noted that the APA specifically states the BOC and its penal institutions are not “agencies” under the Act. Therefore, unless provided for elsewhere in state law, the APA’s requirements do not apply to the BOC and DOC.

Hill argued that OCGA Title 42 states the BOC shall adopt rules governing, among other things, the “treatment” of prisoners. The Court rejected Hill’s argument ...

Deliberate Indifference Medical Claim Accrues Upon Discovery of Injury and its Cause

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has articulated a rule for determining when a prisoner’s claim of deliberate indifference to a serious medical need accrues. In so doing, the Court reversed an Indiana federal district court’s dismissal of a prisoner’s lawsuit predicated upon expiration of the statute of limitations.

When Eugene Devbrow entered the Indiana Department of Correction (DOC) in 2000, he informed medical staff that a 1998 prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test revealed elevated levels, but a biopsy had come back benign. He further advised that his doctor said another test should be conducted in two to four years.

A PSA test conducted at Pendleton Correctional Facility on February 3, 2004 indicated that Devbrow had levels significantly elevated above normal. Nurse Practitioner Kelley Carroll requested a urology consultation, but Dr. Eke Kalu, the regional medical director for Prison Health Services, the DOC’s private medical contractor, would not authorize it. Another test was conducted a week later, showing an even higher level. Dr. Malak Hermina examined Devbrow, found his prostate enlarged, and requested a urology consult. Again, Kalu denied the request.

Another PSA test was not conducted until February 10, 2005; it showed even higher elevation levels ...

Private Corrections Institute Issues First Annual Awards for Activism, Advocacy and Reporting on Private Prisons

On January 7, 2014, the Private Corrections Institute (PCI), a Florida-based non-profit citizen watchdog organization, issued its first annual awards for individual activism, organizational advocacy and excellence in news reporting related to the private prison industry. PCI opposes the privatization of correctional services, including the operation of prisons and jails by for-profit companies.

PCI’s first annual award for excellence in reporting on the private prison industry was awarded to journalist Beau Hodai, who publishes DBA Press (, for his investigative articles on issues related to Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and the GEO Group – the nation’s two largest private prison firms.

Beau broke the news story about CCA’s involvement in highly controversial anti-immigrant legislation in Arizona known as SB 1070 – a story that was subsequently picked up by other media, including National Public Radio. He also reported on political connections between GEO Group and Florida lawmakers in connection with an FBI probe involving the GEO-operated Blackwater River Correctional Facility in Florida. Several of his articles have been reprinted in Prison Legal News.

“The individuals who comprise the Private Corrections Institute are amazingly knowledgeable, dedicated, skilled and resourceful. To know that this group has found my ...

Criminal Background Checks Criticized for Incorrect Data, Racial Discrimination

A July 2013 study by the National Employment Law Project (NELP) found that widespread errors in FBI arrest data – which is increasingly relied upon by employers conducting criminal background checks – has reached alarming proportions. According to NELP staff attorney Madeline Neighly, the FBI records used for background checks “might be considered the gold standard, but these records are a mess.”

Part of the problem stems from the fact that the FBI is processing almost 17 million criminal background checks annually, or six times more than a decade ago. NELP reported that as many as 50% of the records compiled by the FBI, which constitute the largest database of criminal records in the nation, may be inaccurate or incomplete – resulting in serious economic hardships, especially for minority job applicants.

One reason for the inaccuracies is that background checks are quick to include arrests and criminal charges but much slower to show dismissals, not-guilty findings, expungements, felonies reduced to misdemeanors and other dispositions of criminal proceedings. The FBI acts as a clearinghouse for state agencies that supply arrest and criminal record data, which is collected and incorporated into background checks disseminated to authorized third parties.

Unfortunately, the FBI apparently lacks the resources ...

Former Kansas Prisoner’s Sexual Misconduct Suit Overcomes Qualified Immunity

The Tenth Circuit has affirmed the denial of qualified immunity to a warden in a civil rights action that alleged he created and allowed a policy or culture of sexual misconduct and failed to take reasonable measures to abate that culture of sexual misconduct at a Kansas women’s prison.

The lawsuit was brought by former Topeka Correctional Facility (TCF) prisoner Tracy Keith. Her suit, filed in federal district court, alleged that while she participated in a vocational training program at TCF her instructor, Ananstacio Gallardo, engaged in sexual misconduct with her in October 2007. Keith became pregnant as a result, and her pregnancy was terminated. [See: PLN, May 2010, p.18]. Gallardo pleaded guilty in June 2008 to a charge of unlawful sexual relations and two charges of trafficking contraband. He was placed on two years’ probation and required to register as a sex offender.

Keith filed her civil rights suit in May 2011; she attached to the complaint a 2010 Kansas Legislative Post Audit Report that contained multiple findings regarding sexual misconduct at TCF. The district court granted qualified immunity to all the defendants except Gallardo and former TCF Warden Richard D. Koerner. Koerner appealed.

The Tenth Circuit ...

Ninth Circuit Upholds Six-Day Contraband Watch Conditions

A divided panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has held that California prison officials are entitled to qualified immunity on a prisoner’s claim that the conditions of a six-day contraband watch – which included 24-hour lighting, the absence of a mattress and extensive bodily restraints – violated the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

On April 30, 2002, shortly after Philissa Richard, the fiancée of CSP-Sacramento prisoner Rex Chappell, admitted she was the owner of a discarded hairpiece – which had tested positive for cocaine residue – found during a search of the area around the prison visiting room, guards searched Chappell’s cell and discovered methamphetamine. He was then put on contraband watch to determine whether he had ingested or secreted any other drugs.

Chappell was placed in two pairs of underwear, one worn normally and the other backwards, with the underwear taped at the waist and thighs. He was also dressed in two jumpsuits, one worn normally and the other backwards, with the suits taped at the thighs, ankles, waist and upper arms to close off any openings. He was then put in ankle shackles and a waist chain. Finally, he was placed in a surveillance ...

Reflections on the No More Jails Campaign in Champaign County, Illinois

When we began our campaign to stop jail construction in Champaign County, Illinois in early 2012, I thought we were doomed. The grand plan to spend $20 million on this project seemed like a done deal. The Sheriff was driving the initiative; the leading lights in the County Board seemed to think jail construction was the only prudent course. Yet, nearly two years later, we have a very different scenario. The 2014 budget for Champaign County doesn’t include a single cent for jail construction. In fact, the county has allocated more than $200,000 in new money for social programs aimed at keeping people out of jail. In a county of slightly more than 200,000 residents, this is an important start.

How did this happen? The answer is simple – a campaign of ordinary people, led by a core group from Champaign-Urbana Citizens for Peace and Justice (CUCPJ), turned the situation around. This campaign is proof that action by people at the grassroots level can make a difference.

Here I want to briefly reflect on the key measures we took to make our campaign a success. But I also want to issue a word of warning: The campaign is ...

Ninth Circuit Questions Constitutionality of Requiring Jail Prisoners to Wear Pink Underwear

by Matt Clarke

On March 7, 2012, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision in which it questioned the constitutionality of a Maricopa County, Arizona jail policy that requires male pretrial detainees who have not been convicted of a crime to wear pink underwear. The appellate court did not specifically rule on the issue, as it had not been presented to the court due to erroneous limitations on the evidence introduced at trial.

Eric Vogel, 36, suffered from mental illness that caused him to be delusional. He lived with his mother and, other than attending schools in his youth, had left home only two or three times as an adult to attend funerals. The windows of his house were covered with blankets and tape to prevent anyone from looking in.

On November 12, 2001, Vogel wandered away from his home. A police officer, responding to a report of a suspected burglar in the area, stopped him. He struggled with the officer, shouting “Kill me.” A second officer arrived and Vogel told him that he needed to see the president. The officers said they would take him to the president, but instead delivered him to the Maricopa County Jail ...

Pennsylvania Jail Official Indicted for Groping Co-workers

Ronald Edward Lensbouer, 44, the Chief Corrections Officer at a jail in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, faces charges of indecently assaulting two female guards at the facility.

According to court records, Lensbouer was charged on June 5, 2013 in two separate cases with four misdemeanor counts each of indecent assault and harassment, and two summary charges of harassment – all misdemeanors.

An affidavit of probable cause filed in both cases stated the guards had to fight and struggle to free themselves from being groped by Lensbouer, their supervisor. Lensbouer had made lewd comments to both women from late 2010 through 2012. In separate incidents in December 2012, he allegedly placed his hands down each woman’s pants while they worked in control rooms at the jail.

The same affidavit indicated that Lensbouer had confessed to the offenses during a May 7, 2013 interview with police. Borough Police Chief Randy Cox stated they were unable to take action on three other reports of similar misconduct by Lensbouer because the statute of limitations had expired.

County Commissioner Joe Betta said Lensbouer was suspended without pay. Betta expressed frustration that he had to push for months for an investigation, and that he didn’t hear ...

Solitary Confinement’s Invisible Scars

I spent more than five years of my sentence in “the box,” for trivial violations. It’s time we saw this casual abuse for what it is: torture.

by Five Oman Mualimm-ak

As kids, many of us imagine having superpowers. An avid comic book reader, I often imagined being invisible. I never thought I would actually experience it, but I did.

It wasn’t in a parallel universe – although it often felt that way – but right here in the Empire State, my home. While serving time in New York’s prisons, I spent 2,054 days in solitary and other forms of isolated confinement, out of sight and invisible to other human beings – and eventually, even to myself.

After only a short time in solitary, I felt all of my senses begin to diminish. There was nothing to see but gray walls. In New York’s so-called special housing units, or SHUs, most cells have solid steel doors, and many do not have windows. You cannot even tape up pictures or photographs; they must be kept in an envelope. To fight the blankness, I counted bricks and measured the walls. I stared obsessively at the bolts on the door to ...

Lawsuit, Whistleblower Allege Rape by Guards at New Mexico Prison

A lawsuit filed in May 2012, alleging sexual abuse at the Central New Mexico Correctional Facility (CNMCF) in Los Lunas, compelled a retired prison guard to come forward and blow the whistle on several other officers, including one already accused of raping a prisoner.

The retired guard, whose identity was withheld by New Mexico TV station KOB Channel 4, called CNMCF captain Kenneth Carrejo a “pervert” who “liked to get the inmates one-on-one back in the infirmary.”

“That’s all he’s ever been,” the whistleblower said. “I would tell that to his face.”

A lawsuit against Carrejo alleged that he handcuffed a male prisoner to furniture in an office and raped him. Carrejo also allegedly threatened to kill the prisoner if he reported the abuse. According to the suit, CNMCF warden Anthony Romero called in the state police to investigate and interview the victim; at least one of the state police officers who responded was Carrejo’s brother.

“Obviously had we known that he was this guy’s brother, we wouldn’t have sent him because of the big conflict of interest there,” said State Police Lt. Robert McDonald.

According to the whistleblower interviewed by KOB, several guards at ...

Ninth Circuit: Immigration Detainees Must be Afforded Opportunity to Challenge Continued Detention after Six Months

On April 16, 2013, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a district court’s grant of preliminary injunctive relief to immigration detainees in Southern California, affording them an opportunity to challenge their continued detention before an Immigration Judge after six months.

On any given day, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detains over 33,000 immigrants while they await the conclusion of administrative and judicial proceedings that will determine whether or not they may lawfully remain in the United States. ICE’s Los Angeles Field Office alone oversees the detention of more than 2,000 immigration detainees.

Alejandro Rodriguez and five other Southern California detainees filed suit challenging their prolonged detention, arguing that if they were not given an opportunity to seek review, in a neutral forum, of the government’s justification for their continued imprisonment, “grave constitutional concerns” would result.

The district court certified the case as a class-action consisting of non-citizens within the Central District of California detained for longer than six months pursuant to one of two general immigration detention statutes. The court then entered a preliminary injunction requiring the government to provide each member of the class with a bond hearing before an Immigration Judge with ...

Restitution Not Owed for Arrest Costs, West Virginia Court Holds

Petitioner Michael John McGill appealed his December 2010 state conviction for escape from home confinement while on bail and the sentencing judge’s order that he pay $8,261.56 in “restitution to the State for costs associated with apprehending him following his unauthorized departure from home confinement.”

According to a decision by the Supreme Court of Appeals, “A group of thirty-seven law enforcement officers identified in the record as members of the West Virginia and Federal Fugitive Task Force undertook the recapture of Petitioner when it was discovered that he had fled West Virginia.... It took nine days for the task force to recapture Petitioner.”

The Court disagreed with McGill’s argument that he was on pretrial bail and not in formal custody of the county sheriff as part of the bail arrangement, noting that his crime of escape was statutory under West Virginia Code §§ 61-5-10 and 61-3-13. The Court did, however, concur that “the statute authorizing restitution does not contemplate the inclusion of the State as a victim of crime. The State agrees and confesses error.”

West Virginia’s Victim Protection Act of 1984, §§ 61-11A-1 to 8 provides for restitution to victims of crime, but the trial court ...

Discretionary Immunity Dismissal of Ohio Prisoner’s Negligence Claims Reversed

On March 12, 2013, the Ohio Court of Appeals overturned an earlier discretionary immunity decision and reversed a lower court’s dismissal of a prisoner’s negligence claims on the basis of discretionary immunity.

Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (ODRC) prisoner Ron Foster suffers from various health problems, including a heart condition, a back injury and balance issues.

Dr. Asche, an ODRC employee at the Hocking Correctional Facility, issued a lower-bunk restriction for Foster from August 17, 2009 to September 2, 2009. When he re-evaluated Foster on September 3, however, Dr. Asche did not renew the lower-bunk restriction.

Foster was moved to a top bunk on September 3, 2009 and fell from it later the same day. He claimed he suffered serious injuries as a result of the fall – including the “total loss of use of his right arm.”

Foster filed a state court negligence action against the ODRC in September 2011, seeking damages of $25,000. The trial court granted the ODRC’s motion for summary judgment, finding that Foster’s claims failed as a matter of law because prison officials were entitled to discretionary immunity under Brown v. Dept. of Rehab. & Corr., 2011 Ohio 3652 (Ohio Ct ...

Washington: No Public Funds for Deferred Prosecution Treatment Programs

The en banc Washington state Supreme Court has held that the legislature did not intend to commit public funds to cover the full cost of treatment for indigent defendants participating in deferred prosecutions.

A Washington defendant charged with a misdemeanor offense may petition for deferred prosecution if the crime was a result of substance abuse or mental illness; successful completion of a treatment program allows for dismissal of the charges.

RCW 10.05.130 requires appropriation of public funds “to provide investigation, examination, report and treatment plan for any indigent person who is unable to pay the cost of any program of treatment.”

In separate cases, two defendants charged with driving while intoxicated petitioned Washington district courts for deferred prosecution. Both petitions were granted and, since the defendants were indigent, the courts approved the use of public funds to pay for their treatment programs.

A superior court vacated the funding orders, concluding that the plain language of RCW 10.05.130 authorizes public funds for “investigation, examination, report and treatment plan,” but not the cost of the treatment program.

The state Supreme Court granted review to determine whether the statute’s use of the phrase “treatment plan” encompasses the full ...

Short-term Deprivation of Toilet Paper Does Not Violate Detainee’s Rights

The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals has held that denial of toilet paper to a pretrial detainee for a short period of time does not violate the Fourteenth Amendment. The ruling reversed a district court’s order which had concluded the defendants were not entitled to qualified immunity.

James M. Stickley brought an action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claiming his constitutional rights were violated when he was incarcerated at Arkansas’ Faulkner County Detention Center (FCDC). The district court granted the defendants qualified immunity on several claims, but not as to Stickley’s claim that they had refused to give him adequate toilet paper in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment (as Stickley was a pretrial detainee, his claims were brought under the Fourteenth rather than the Eighth Amendment).

From January to June 2010, Stickley was held at the FCDC awaiting trial. Pursuant to FCDC policy, he was issued only one roll of toilet paper per week; however, each week he exhausted his allotment before the week’s end. His requests for additional toilet paper were denied as were his grievances. After his weekly roll of toilet paper was depleted, Stickley had to shower each time following a bowel movement ...

Justice Department Reports: Correctional Populations Declining at Slower Pace

The Bureau of Justice Statistics has published two new reports, “Correctional Populations in the United States, 2012” and “Probation and Parole in the United States, 2012.” Both indicate that although correctional populations continue to drop, the rate of decrease has slowed.

Approximately 6.9 million people were under correctional supervision in the U.S. in 2012, including prison, jail, probation and parole – a decrease of 51,000 from the previous year. This means that about 1 in 35 adults were under some form of correctional supervision, or 2.9% of the adult U.S. population.

A modest decline in the number of people held in state prisons marked the fourth year in a row that the prisoner population had dropped, with the largest single decrease occurring due to a reduction in California’s prison system pursuant to court-ordered reforms. As a result of the California Public Safety Realignment Act of 2011, that state had 28,700 fewer prisoners in 2012 than it did the year before – which accounted for more than half the drop in the national correctional population.

Regardless, the two Bureau of Justice Statistics reports, released in December 2013, highlighted America’s continued emphasis on mass incarceration – finding ...

Jails Market Electronic Cigarettes to Prisoners

Jail administrators have found a new revenue stream: exploiting prisoners’ addiction to nicotine by selling them electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, for a substantial profit.

Even as municipalities like Chicago, New York and Los Angeles enact restrictions on the sale of e-cigarettes, county jails across the country are peddling the nicotine vapor devices to prisoners. The profit margins on such sales can be as high as 400 percent.

At the Macon County Jail in Tennessee, Sheriff Mark Gammons buys Marlboro or menthol flavored e-cigarettes at $2.75 each, then resells them for $10. He said he had “taken pains” to not encourage smoking among prisoners, but budget problems led him to market e-cigarettes. He hopes to make $20,000 to $50,000 the first year, which will be used to increase the wages of jail staff; his guards earn a top salary of $10.58 an hour. “I just want my boys to make as much as they can,” Gammons said.

E-cigarettes use a small battery to heat a solution which produces a water vapor that is inhaled. Nicotine is the most popular additive. Manufacturers have noticed the trend of selling e-cigarettes to prisoners and now produce plastic, non-reusable versions that ...

Crime Declines while Anti-crime Funding Increases

Crime is down in the United States, but spending measures included in the $1.1 trillion federal budget passed by Congress in January 2014 will ensure that many law enforcement agencies receive more funding.

Insiders give much of the credit for the fiscal year (FY) 2014 funding increases to Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski, who is known as a strong proponent of crime-fighting expenditures. Senator Mikulski said the expanded funding represents a “truly bipartisan agreement that a significant number of members [of Congress] worked night and day [on] over the holidays.”

The big winners in federal law enforcement spending include the FBI, which received $8.3 billion, an increase of $248.7 million over FY 2013, and the federal Bureau of Prisons, which received $6.77 billion – an increase of $90.2 million.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is also getting a boost in funding with a budget of $1.18 billion – more than $49 million over last year.

Little was said about how these funding increases square with the most recent federal statistics on crime, which reflect a decade-long downward trend. Indeed, even as legalization of medical marijuana becomes more commonplace across the nation (as ...

News in Brief

Alaska: Prisoners in the segregation unit at Spring Creek Correctional Center were not happy with an inspection order that required them to make their beds and clean their cells. On August 5, 2013, around 14 prisoners showed their displeasure by yelling, breaking porcelain sinks and toilets, and flooding cells. Only one guard was on duty in the 32man unit at the time. The Alaska Correctional Officers Association blamed the disturbance on chronic understaffing at the facility.

Arkansas: Glenda Estell, the mother of a prisoner who escaped from the Garland County Detention Center, was accused of assisting in the jailbreak and arrested on August 2, 2013. Police listened to 40 recorded phone calls to connect Estell to her son’s July 28 escape. She was one of a network of several friends and family members who orchestrated the escape of jail prisoner Derrick Estell; a girlfriend, Tamara Upshaw, and her stepfather, William Harding, helped with a getaway car and a diversion to distract deputies. Derrick Estell and Upshaw were captured in Florida on August 23, 2013.

Australia: A guard who worked at the Dame Phyllis Frost Center, a maximumsecurity women’s prison in Melborne, told a prisoner’s husband that he would “stash” something ...


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