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Prisoner Education Guide

Prison Legal News: July, 2017

Issue PDF
Volume 28, Number 7

In this issue:

  1. Hep C: The Deadliest Killer in Colorado’s Prisons is a Curable Virus (p 1)
  2. Eighth Circuit: No Speedy Trial Rights for Prisoner Placed in Administrative Segregation (p 9)
  3. From the Editor (p 10)
  4. Report Finds Substandard Medical Care in ICE Facilities (p 10)
  5. New York DOCCS Has Paid $10 Million to Prisoners Beaten by Guards Over Five-year Period (p 12)
  6. “Deal with the Devil” Turning on Mississippi Counties (p 14)
  7. Illinois Supreme Court: No Appointed State Expert in SDPA Recovery Proceeding (p 15)
  8. Continued Failure in Privatized Medical Care at Kentucky Jails (p 16)
  9. Texas Fraud Prosecutions Privately Funded by Insurance Company (p 18)
  10. Washington State Leads the Nation in Jailing Juvenile Status Offenders (p 20)
  11. Is Risk Prediction Real Criminal Justice Reform or Junk Science? (p 22)
  12. Seventh Circuit Affirms Summary Judgment to Defendants in Prisoner’s Wrongful Death Case (p 25)
  13. Landmark Settlement in Lawsuit Challenging Solitary Confinement in Delaware (p 26)
  14. San Diego County Settles Prisoner Overdose Death for $2.3 Million (p 26)
  15. Michigan Jail Sanctioned for Denying Access to Paralegals (p 28)
  16. Seventh Circuit Reverses Dismissal of Suit Over Denial of Ramadan Meals; $3,600 Settlement (p 28)
  17. GEO Group Acquires CEC in $360 Million Deal (p 29)
  18. Seventh Circuit: Prison Doctor Not Entitled to Summary Judgment on Deliberate Indifference Claim (p 30)
  19. New York State Attorney General Settles Suit Against Jail’s Medical Provider (p 30)
  20. George Soros’ Quiet Overhaul of the U.S. Justice System (p 32)
  21. Eighth Circuit Declines to Block Subpoena Requiring Missouri to Disclose Identities of Execution Drug Suppliers (p 34)
  22. Iowa: Lawsuit Against Halfway House Over Attack by Resident Dismissed (p 35)
  23. Texas Forensic Science Commission Addresses Problem with DNA Testing Protocols (p 36)
  24. Illinois High Court Upholds Sex Offender Requirements Struck Down in Other States (p 38)
  25. Dismissal of Mississippi Prisoner’s Suit Over Grievance Retaliation Upheld (p 38)
  26. Pennsylvania: Philadelphia Ethics Board Fines Former Prisons Commissioner (p 39)
  27. Summary Judgment in Favor of Alabama Prison Officials Reversed; Writ of Mandamus Denied (p 40)
  28. New York: Disciplinary Segregation Settlement Finalized; $1.6 Million in Attorney Fees Awarded (p 40)
  29. Local Sex Offender Residency Restrictions Challenged in Texas (p 42)
  30. Former Michigan Prisoner Claims Sewage Spill Linked to Hepatitis C (p 42)
  31. Texas Judges Jail Defendants too Poor to Pay Fines, Debts (p 44)
  32. Seventh Circuit Reverses Dismissal of Civil Rights Suit against Cook County Jail (p 45)
  33. Third Circuit Finds that Prisoners’ Verbal Grievances are Constitutionally Protected (p 46)
  34. Seventh Circuit Reinstates Illinois Prisoner’s Religious Rights Suit (p 46)
  35. Louisiana Fires Eight Prison Guards; Federal Investigation is Pending (p 47)
  36. Two Non-profit Foundations Provide Funding, Leadership for Criminal Justice Reform (p 48)
  37. Illinois Pays $450,000 to Prisoner Who was Raped, Punished for Reporting It (p 49)
  38. Report Finds Federal Informants at Risk of Retaliation; Court Penalizes Informant for Trial Outcome (p 50)
  39. Illinois Prisoner Wins Federal Civil Rights Suit over Mail Censorship (p 51)
  40. Prison Phone Update: Appellate Court Deals Major Blow to Prisoners and Their Families (p 52)
  41. Supreme Court Voids North Carolina Law Barring Sex Offenders from Facebook (p 52)
  42. New York Prison Cannot Hold Sex Offender Beyond Expiration of Sentence (p 54)
  43. BOP Education Program Revamp in Doubt as Chief is Sacked (p 54)
  44. Third Circuit Reverses Denial of Class Certification (p 55)
  45. Epidemic of Suicides in California Women’s Prison (p 56)
  46. Washington: Sentence for Escape Conviction Can Only be Enhanced by Other Escapes (p 57)
  47. Wrongfully Arrested for Murder, Prisoner Dies in California Jail; Corizon Loses Contract (p 58)
  48. California: Sex Offender’s Civil Commitment Overturned for Lack of Evidence (p 58)
  49. Lawsuit against Oklahoma Jail for Providing False Information Partially Reinstated on Appeal (p 60)
  50. Eleventh Circuit Rejects Condemned Prisoner’s Challenge to Lethal Injection Drug (p 60)
  51. Embattled Private Probation Company Ceases Operations (p 61)
  52. “Beat Up Squad” at New York Prison Accused of Killing Mentally Ill Prisoner (p 62)
  53. News in Brief (p 63)

Hep C: The Deadliest Killer in Colorado’s Prisons is a Curable Virus

by Alan Prendergast, Westword

When Joseph Deaguero went to prison almost three years ago, he had a pretty good idea of what to expect. He had been behind bars before, for a series of assaults and domestic-violence arrests. But this time around, Deaguero, who’s currently 52 years old and serving a ...

Eighth Circuit: No Speedy Trial Rights for Prisoner Placed in Administrative Segregation

by Christopher Zoukis

The Eighth Circuit ruled on September 15, 2016, in a per curiam opinion, that the Sixth Amendment’s right to a speedy trial is essentially not applicable to prisoners held in administrative segregation pending criminal charges.

Rashad A. Wearing was incarcerated at the Federal Correctional Institution in Forrest ...

From the Editor

by Paul Wright

For the past 30 years, as mass incarceration rates have skyrocketed, so has the number of prisoners infected with hepatitis C (HCV). This is in part because so many prisoners are current or former intravenous drug users, and so much time and energy is spent arresting and ...

Report Finds Substandard Medical Care in ICE Facilities

by Derek Gilna

In a July 2016 report, Human Rights Watch (HRW) found that 16 of the 18 immigrant detainees who died in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody from 2012 to 2015 received substandard medical care, and that in 7 of those cases, inadequate care likely contributed to their ...

New York DOCCS Has Paid $10 Million to Prisoners Beaten by Guards Over Five-year Period

by Joe Watson

Widespread abuse by prison guards across New York State has led to at least 175 monetary awards to prisoners from 2010 to 2015 totaling around $10 million, a newspaper investigation found. Those numbers only include cases involving guard brutality; other payouts, such as for inadequate medical care ...

“Deal with the Devil” Turning on Mississippi Counties

by David Reutter

As mass incarceration in the United States grew between 1990 and 2005, many lawmakers decided to ride the wave of “tough on crime” rhetoric by building new correctional facilities to house the increasing number of people being arrested, convicted and incarcerated. During that period, 544 detention centers ...

Illinois Supreme Court: No Appointed State Expert in SDPA Recovery Proceeding

On May 19, 2016, the Supreme Court of Illinois held the state could not use a handpicked expert witness to give testimony in a recovery proceeding under the Sexually Dangerous Persons Act (SDPA).

James E. Grant was convicted of attempting to sexually assault a neighbor and related charges, and the ...

Continued Failure in Privatized Medical Care at Kentucky Jails

by David Reutter

Private medical contractors have become popular among corrections officials eager to reduce the cost of providing health care to prisoners. As PLN continues to chronicle this phenomenon, we continue to find substantial evidence that for-profit companies fail to provide adequate medical care – including in county jails ...

Texas Fraud Prosecutions Privately Funded by Insurance Company

by Matt Clarke

Texas lawmakers recently took action to address the relationship between the Texas Mutual Insurance Company (TMIC) and the Travis County District Attorney’s Office, after finding the connection between the pair was too close for comfort.

Since 2001, TMIC had paid the DA’s office around $4.7 million ...

Washington State Leads the Nation in Jailing Juvenile Status Offenders

More than two decades have passed since the murder of 13-year-old runaway Rebecca Hedman spurred Washington State lawmakers to pass a bill allowing judges to send at-risk children to juvenile detention centers. But implementation of the “Becca Bill” has become controversial because Washington now uses the law to incarcerate children ...

Is Risk Prediction Real Criminal Justice Reform or Junk Science?

by Joe Watson

With its criminal justice system bursting at the seams, one state has decided to take a controversial step to alleviate the pressure.

In 2015, Pennsylvania officials indicated the state would become the first in the nation to mandate the widespread use of risk predictors (also referred to ...

Seventh Circuit Affirms Summary Judgment to Defendants in Prisoner’s Wrongful Death Case

by Lonnie Burton

On October 17, 2016, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a district court’s order granting summary judgment in favor of the warden and a private health care provider in a case where a prisoner suffered an asthma attack and later died. The prisoner’s estate alleged that ...

Landmark Settlement in Lawsuit Challenging Solitary Confinement in Delaware

by Christopher Zoukis

A game-changing settlement has been reached in a federal lawsuit over the treatment of prisoners held in solitary confinement in Delaware state prisons.

The suit, filed on August 6, 2015 by the Community Legal Aid Society, Inc. (CLASI), with representation by the ACLU of Delaware and the ...

San Diego County Settles Prisoner Overdose Death for $2.3 Million

by Derek Gilna

On August 2, 2016, officials in San Diego County, California agreed to settle a federal civil rights suit stemming from a prisoner’s death caused by a drug overdose at the county’s central jail.

According to the complaint, Bernard Victorianne, 28, was arrested for driving under the influence ...

Michigan Jail Sanctioned for Denying Access to Paralegals

by Derek Gilna

On June 23, 2016, jail officials in Genesee County, Michigan entered into a federal consent decree that required them to provide detainees with bottled water to replace water at the jail that was contaminated by lead. [See: PLN, March 2016, p.22]. As part of the consent ...

Seventh Circuit Reverses Dismissal of Suit Over Denial of Ramadan Meals; $3,600 Settlement

by Matt Clarke

On January 4, 2016, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the dismissal of a lawsuit brought by a Muslim prisoner who was denied several sack meals during Ramadan.

Michael L. Thompson, incarcerated at the Waupun Correctional Institution in Wisconsin, filed a federal civil rights action alleging ...

GEO Group Acquires CEC in $360 Million Deal

In an all-cash transaction that closed on April 6, 2017, private prison firm the GEO Group, Inc. acquired New Jersey-based Community Education Centers (CEC), a for-profit reentry and treatment provider. GEO plans to integrate CEC into its existing business operations.

The $360 million deal expands GEO’s annual revenue by approximately ...

Seventh Circuit: Prison Doctor Not Entitled to Summary Judgment on Deliberate Indifference Claim

by Lonnie Burton

On September 8, 2016, the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit reversed a district court’s order granting summary judgment to a federal prison doctor who refused to adequately treat a prisoner with severe burns on his legs. However, summary judgment in favor of a health services ...

New York State Attorney General Settles Suit Against Jail’s Medical Provider

by Derek Gilna

In July 2016, New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman filed a lawsuit against Armor Correctional Health Services, the medical provider for the jail in Nassau County. The suit alleged a dozen prisoners had died at the facility, in large part due to substandard medical care ...

George Soros’ Quiet Overhaul of the U.S. Justice System

Progressives have zeroed in on electing prosecutors as an avenue for criminal justice reform, and the billionaire financier is providing the cash to make it happen.

by Scott Bland, Politico

While America's political kingmakers inject their millions into high-profile presidential and congressional contests, Democratic mega-donor George Soros has directed ...

Eighth Circuit Declines to Block Subpoena Requiring Missouri to Disclose Identities of Execution Drug Suppliers

by Lonnie Burton

Richard Jordan and Ricky Chase, on death row in Missouri, challenged lethal injection as an execution method by contending it was cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment. After the federal district court denied a motion to dismiss filed by Missouri prison officials, Chase ...

Iowa: Lawsuit Against Halfway House Over Attack by Resident Dismissed

by Christopher Zoukis

The Eighth Circuit of Appeals has upheld the dismissal of a lawsuit filed against an Iowa halfway house and several state officials over injuries caused by a halfway house resident.

Tamela Montgomery alleged that Angenaldo Bailey, who was staying at the Curt Forbes Residential Center in Ames ...

Texas Forensic Science Commission Addresses Problem with DNA Testing Protocols

by Matt Clarke

The mission of the Texas Forensic Science Commission (TFSC) is to set standards for the use of scientific evidence in the state’s criminal justice system. In investigating the proper standards for DNA testing during the summer of 2015, the Commission came to the unsettling conclusion that the ...

Illinois High Court Upholds Sex Offender Requirements Struck Down in Other States

by Lonnie Burton

On October 20, 2016, the Illinios Supreme Court declared constitutional a law that requires convicted sex offenders to report their email addresses, Internet identities and related online data to law enforcement officials. The unanimous decision found a provision of the Sex Offender Registration Act, 730 ILCS 152 ...

Dismissal of Mississippi Prisoner’s Suit Over Grievance Retaliation Upheld

The dismissal of a lawsuit filed by Mississippi state prisoner Bobby Wilson, Jr., alleging violation of his free speech rights and retaliation by prison officials, was upheld by the Mississippi Court of Appeals on August 30, 2016.

Wilson claimed that prison guard Tameka Edwards refused to open his cell door ...

Pennsylvania: Philadelphia Ethics Board Fines Former Prisons Commissioner

On May 31, 2017, the Philadelphia Ethics Board levied a $2,000 fine against former Prisons Commissioner Louis Giorla for violating conflict of interest rules that prohibit city employees from benefitting from any of their official actions for two years after leaving city employment. According to a settlement agreement between ...

Summary Judgment in Favor of Alabama Prison Officials Reversed; Writ of Mandamus Denied

by Christopher Zoukis

On September 16, 2016, the Court of Civil Appeals of Alabama reversed an order by the Montgomery Circuit Court granting summary judgment in favor of state prison officials in a lawsuit filed by a state prisoner alleging constitutional violations.

Ronald D. Veteto claimed that he was forced ...

New York: Disciplinary Segregation Settlement Finalized; $1.6 Million in Attorney Fees Awarded

by Matt Clarke

On March 31, 2016, U.S. District Court Judge Shira A. Scheindlin granted final approval to a historic settlement between the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) and New York State that will usher in comprehensive reform of disciplinary solitary confinement in the state’s prison system. The ...

Local Sex Offender Residency Restrictions Challenged in Texas

by Matt Clarke

In many U.S. cities, local ordinances prohibit registered sex offenders from living in certain areas – generally within 1,000 feet or more of schools, playgrounds and daycare centers. But when a city is just a few dozen blocks in size, such ordinances can effectively force ...

Former Michigan Prisoner Claims Sewage Spill Linked to Hepatitis C

by Panagioti Tsolkas

"That was just like opening a fire hydrant" is how former Michigan state prisoner Glen Lilly described the thousands of pounds of raw sewage that flooded the basement at the Parnall Correctional Facility as a result of a plumbing disaster that spanned several months.

“It shot onto ...

Texas Judges Jail Defendants too Poor to Pay Fines, Debts

by Matt Clarke

The original 1836 Constitution of the Republic of Texas included a prohibition against imprisoning people who were unable to pay their debts. In the modern Texas Constitution, that concept is enshrined in the state’s Bill of Rights: “No person shall ever be imprisoned for debt.” Yet ...

Seventh Circuit Reverses Dismissal of Civil Rights Suit against Cook County Jail

by Derek Gilna

Kevin Dixon was a pretrial detainee at the Cook County Jail in Chicago, Illinois when he was diagnosed with a paratracheal mass. Unfortunately, according to the Seventh Circuit, medical personnel at the facility “were aware of the problem, but they accused [him] of malingering, gave him over-the-counter ...

Third Circuit Finds that Prisoners’ Verbal Grievances are Constitutionally Protected

by Christopher Zoukis

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals has held that a prisoner’s verbal grievance made to prison staff was protected speech under the First Amendment, and gave rise to a civil action when the prisoner faced retaliation for making a verbal complaint.

Charles Mack, incarcerated at the Federal ...

Seventh Circuit Reinstates Illinois Prisoner’s Religious Rights Suit

by Lonnie Burton

On October 17, 2016, the Seventh Circuit granted the appeal of an Illinois state prisoner who had sued for violations of his religious rights. The appellate court held that a previous claim he had filed in state court based on the same set of facts did not ...

Louisiana Fires Eight Prison Guards; Federal Investigation is Pending

On March 30, 2017, the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections fired eight guards amid a federal investigation into the January 9, 2017 beating of 34-year-old prisoner John Harold at the Elayn Hunt Correctional Center.

An internal investigation conducted by prison officials determined that Lt. Andre Riley, Master Sgt ...

Two Non-profit Foundations Provide Funding, Leadership for Criminal Justice Reform

by Matt Clarke

On April 12, 2016, the MacArthur Foundation announced grants totaling nearly $25 million to support 20 jurisdictions working to create fairer and more effective systems of local law enforcement. The grants are part of the $100 million Safety and Justice Challenge Initiative, a five-year funding push to ...

Illinois Pays $450,000 to Prisoner Who was Raped, Punished for Reporting It

by Lonnie Burton

An Illinois State prisoner who was raped agreed to settle his lawsuit against Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) officials who punished him for reporting the sexual assault. The $450,000 payout was one of the largest in state history for a prison retaliation case.

In August 2011 ...

Report Finds Federal Informants at Risk of Retaliation; Court Penalizes Informant for Trial Outcome

by Derek Gilna

Last year the Federal Judicial Center (FJC), part of the Court Administration and Case Management Committee of the Judicial Conference of the United States, published a study that found criminal defendants who cooperated with the government were often harmed or threatened with harm. However, a recent federal ...

Illinois Prisoner Wins Federal Civil Rights Suit over Mail Censorship

by Derek Gilna

Kevin A. Williams, a state prisoner at the Pontiac Correctional Center in Illinois, was serving a 65-year sentence for murder. While at Pontiac he ordered a copy of his victim’s death certificate, but prison staff blocked his receipt of that document and an accompanying unsigned note from ...

Prison Phone Update: Appellate Court Deals Major Blow to Prisoners and Their Families

by Carrie Wilkinson

In a September 2016 article on the fight for comprehensive prison and jail phone reform, PLN reported that while limits on ancillary fees had been implemented by the FCC, intrastate (in-state) rate caps were stayed by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals after the FCC’s order ...

Supreme Court Voids North Carolina Law Barring Sex Offenders from Facebook

by Derek Gilna

In a unanimous decision, on June 19, 2017 the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a North Carolina statute that prohibits convicted sex offenders from accessing “a commercial social networking Web site where the sex offender knows that the site permits minor children to become members or ...

New York Prison Cannot Hold Sex Offender Beyond Expiration of Sentence

The Supreme Court's Appellate Division, Third Department, held that the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) may not hold a prisoner beyond his maximum sentence expiration date even if suitable post-release housing has not been found. It also held that DOCCS is statutorily obligated to ...

BOP Education Program Revamp in Doubt as Chief is Sacked

by Christopher Zoukis

In its waning days, Obama administration officials announced plans to expand education efforts in federal prisons and to provide more direction and oversight to the programs previously run separately at each facility.

Former Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced in late November 2016 that for the first time ...

Third Circuit Reverses Denial of Class Certification

by Christopher Zoukis

The Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has resurrected a challenge to the constitutionality of 8 U.S.C. § 1226(c), the section of the Immigration and Nationality Act that requires mandatory detention of undocumented immigrants who have committed certain crimes.

The challenge was brought ...

Epidemic of Suicides in California Women’s Prison

by Christopher Zoukis

Suicides at the California Institution for Women (CIW) in Chino have surged to alarming levels. Six prisoners have killed themselves within the past three years, according to Krissi Khokhobashvili, spokesperson for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR). In the same period, she added, there were ...

Washington: Sentence for Escape Conviction Can Only be Enhanced by Other Escapes

Division III of the Washington State Court of Appeals held on June 21, 2016 that a sentence for a conviction of “escape from community custody” may only be enhanced or increased by other escape convictions.

Washington state prisoner Terry Baker pleaded guilty in February 2015 to a charge of escape ...

Wrongfully Arrested for Murder, Prisoner Dies in California Jail; Corizon Loses Contract

by Matt Clarke

When police were notified about the death of Terry Cameron, 58, in March 2016, they quickly arrested her husband, Melvin Stubbs, 65. Stubbs was a diabetic amputee who used a wheelchair. Nonetheless, police said there were signs of a struggle, Stubbs and Cameron both had defensive wounds ...

California: Sex Offender’s Civil Commitment Overturned for Lack of Evidence

On October 24, 2016, a division of the California Court of Appeal reversed a ruling by a Los Angeles County judge that found a thrice-convicted sex offender was a “Sexually Violent Predator” who should be indefinitely committed to a state hospital. The appellate court held there was a lack of ...

Lawsuit against Oklahoma Jail for Providing False Information Partially Reinstated on Appeal

On July 19, 2016 the Court of Civil Appeals of Oklahoma reversed, in part, a lower court order dismissing a suit against jail officials accused of providing false and misleading information about a former defendant to a website that published the information online.

Aaron Lee Benshoof was arrested in Garfield ...

Eleventh Circuit Rejects Condemned Prisoner’s Challenge to Lethal Injection Drug

by Christopher Zoukis

On November 2, 2016, the Eleventh Circuit upheld a district court’s denial of death row prisoner Thomas D. Arthur’s challenge to the use of the drug midazolam in the lethal injection protocol used by the State of Alabama.

Arthur challenged midazolam as the first in a series ...

Embattled Private Probation Company Ceases Operations

by Derek Gilna

In July 2016, Pathways community Corrections, a private probation company, announced that it had voluntarily ceased operations in Tennessee following a series of complaints, a federal lawsuit and an investigation by state officials that uncovered evidence the company had unfairly extracted money from poor probationers. According to ...

“Beat Up Squad” at New York Prison Accused of Killing Mentally Ill Prisoner

by Joe Watson

A number of prisoners at the medium-security Fishkill Correctional Facility in upstate New York swore under oath that fellow prisoner Samuel D. Harrell III was kicked and beaten to death by as many as twenty guards in April 2015.

According to at least 19 signed affidavits, the ...

News in Brief

California: Ignacio Adrian Sobers Jr., 31, entered into a plea agreement in federal district court on February 9, 2017. He agreed to plead guilty to one count of acceptance of a bribe by a public official. The former guard at the U.S. Penitentiary in Victorville was accused of providing ...


 

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