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Prison Legal News: March, 2018

Issue PDF
Volume 29, Number 3

In this issue:

  1. From Cages to the Community: Prison Profiteers and the Treatment Industrial Complex (p 1)
  2. PCI Announces Awards for Private Prison Activism, Advocacy, News Reporting (p 12)
  3. Fifth Circuit Okays Mississippi County’s Strip Search of 12-Year-Old Girl (p 13)
  4. From the Editor (p 14)
  5. Ohio Experiences Continued Problems with Aramark (p 14)
  6. Deaths Soar 600 Percent at Nevada Jail Under New Sheriff (p 16)
  7. Fourth Circuit Vacates Sua Sponte Dismissal Due to Non-exhaustion (p 18)
  8. Settlements in Arizona DOC, BOP Lawsuits Over Release Debit Card Fees (p 18)
  9. Two Cellmates Die at Private Louisiana Jail (p 20)
  10. $50,000 Damage Award Garnished for Restitution Payment (p 20)
  11. Four Guilty in Federal Student Loan Scam Using Prisoners’ Identities (p 21)
  12. Alaska DOC’s 1990 Prison Conditions Settlement Still Enforceable (p 22)
  13. Declaratory Judgment in Mississippi Case Challenging Indefinite Jail Detention (p 22)
  14. Overworked South Koreans Relax at Prison-themed Retreat (p 23)
  15. Oregon Parole Board Cannot Postpone Elapsed Release Date (p 24)
  16. Ineffective Treatment of Ohio Prisoner’s Psoriasis Defeats Summary Judgment (p 24)
  17. San Quentin’s “Ear Hustle” Podcast Makes History, Receives Praise (p 25)
  18. Tenth Circuit: Lengthy Denials of Outdoor Exercise Protected by Qualified Immunity (p 26)
  19. Hopes of Prosperity from Jail Boom has Kentucky County in Financial Trouble (p 26)
  20. Tennessee Drug Court Judge Imprisons Participants for Smoking Cigarettes (p 27)
  21. $111,000 Settlement for Wrongfully Incarcerated Ohio Prisoner (p 28)
  22. Despite AG’s Policy Change, OIG Reviews “Smart on Crime” Initiative (p 28)
  23. $242,500 Settles Jail Rape Suit in Okla. (p 29)
  24. Illinois Taxpayers Still Paying for a Paid-off Jail (p 29)
  25. Will “Dunkirk’s” Use of Prison Labor in Set Construction Disqualify it from the Oscars? (p 30)
  26. $5 Million Settles Jail Detainee’s Death (p 30)
  27. $35,000 Settlement in Kentucky Excessive Force Suit (p 31)
  28. Virginia Prisoner’s Name Change Request for Religious Purpose Requires Hearing (p 32)
  29. PLRA Strikes Accruing After Notice of Appeal Do Not Count to Determine IFP Eligibility (p 32)
  30. Contempt Motion Filed after Pennsylvania Officials Refuse to Release Detainee (p 33)
  31. California: State Immune from Bane Act Claim for Valley Fever Exposure (p 34)
  32. Pervasive Masturbation in Cook County Jail Spurs Class-action Suits, Injunction (p 34)
  33. Mississippi Attorney General Settles with Third Company in Epps Bribery Scandal (p 35)
  34. Pregnant Prisoners Offered Adoption Choice: An Act of Love or Exploitation? (p 36)
  35. $25,000 Settlement to Colorado Jail Prisoner Denied a Quran (p 36)
  36. Oregon Court: Dismissals Are “Strikes” While Pending on Appeal (p 38)
  37. Illinois Prisoner’s Petition Challenging Disciplinary Report States Cause of Action (p 38)
  38. $125,000 Settlement After Failure to Protect Verdict in Virginia (p 39)
  39. Idaho DOC Uses Prisoner Volunteers for Suicide Watches (p 40)
  40. Report Finds Texas Death Row Conditions Violate Basic Human Rights (p 40)
  41. First-time Burglary Offender Eligible for Pennsylvania DOC’s Recidivism Program (p 42)
  42. Summary Judgment Reversed for Delay in Treating Prisoner in Extreme Pain (p 42)
  43. Illinois Sheriff Settles Federal Class-action Suit Over Strip Searches (p 43)
  44. Alaska: Jurors’ Explanation of Negligence Verdict Doesn’t Warrant New Trial (p 44)
  45. Florida Prisoners with Disabilities to Receive Accommodations Under Settlement (p 44)
  46. Georgia Toddler Initially Denied Kidney Due to Father’s Parole Violation (p 45)
  47. Despite Suicides, Jails Replace In-person Visitation with Video Screens (p 46)
  48. Alabama Sheriff Fights to Keep Extra Funds Meant to Feed Prisoners (p 48)
  49. Two Georgia Prison Transport Guards Slain (p 50)
  50. Statute of Limitations for Oregon Child Sex Abuse Claims Expires at Age 40, Not 24 (p 51)
  51. Oregon Jail 'Tortures' Mentally Ill Prisoners (p 52)
  52. Indictment Alleges Prison Healthcare Company Bribed Texas State Senator (p 53)
  53. Kansas DOC Raids Inmate Benefit Fund for $6.7 Million (p 54)
  54. DHS Report Shows “Significant Prison Population of Incarcerated Aliens” (p 54)
  55. $27,000 Settles California Prisoner Pro Se Civil Rights Suit (p 55)
  56. Texas State Prisoners Fight for Access to Kosher Meals (p 56)
  57. Kansas DOC Underestimates Cost of New Prison by $51 Million (p 56)
  58. Prison Doctor Dies of Legionnaires’ Disease (p 57)
  59. Major Scabies Outbreak at CoreCivic Facility in Tennessee (p 58)
  60. Federal Lawsuit Filed in Dehydration Death at Wisconsin Jail; Three Jailers Charged (p 59)
  61. $5 Million Settlement After Mentally Ill Prisoner Dies in Restraint (p 60)
  62. Federal Judge Grants Compassionate Release but Questions BOP’s Motivation (p 61)
  63. News in Brief (p 63)

From Cages to the Community: Prison Profiteers and the Treatment Industrial Complex

by Christopher Zoukis

Criminal justice reform is slowly taking hold in the U.S. Since 2014, at least 30 states have passed legislation aimed at reducing their prison populations. And following the election of “law and order” President Donald J. Trump, states have continued to take reform efforts into their ...

PCI Announces Awards for Private Prison Activism, Advocacy, News Reporting

On February 6, 2018, the Private Corrections Institute (PCI), a non-profit citizen watchdog organization, announced its 2017 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, jails and other detention ...

Fifth Circuit Okays Mississippi County’s Strip Search of 12-Year-Old Girl

On February 21, 2017, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a district court’s grant of summary judgment to Lee County, Mississippi in a lawsuit over a pre-teen girl who was strip searched after being brought to a county detention facility.

Twelve-year-old T.M. was in a physical altercation with ...

From the Editor

by Paul Wright

For the past 27 years we have reported on the private prison industry and its expansion. Despite a lot of rhetoric and dire or optimistic predictions (depending on who was making them at the time and their financial relationship with for-profit prison companies), the private prison industry ...

Ohio Experiences Continued Problems with Aramark

by Christopher Zoukis

The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (ODRC) overpaid food service giant Aramark $57,193 for food provided to nonexistent prisoners, investigators found.

The overpayment was uncovered by the state Office of the Inspector General (OIG). According to a June 15, 2017 report, the OIG began investigating ...

Deaths Soar 600 Percent at Nevada Jail Under New Sheriff

by David M. Reutter

An investigative report by the Reno Gazette-Journal found that 13 detainees died at WCJ in the two years since Allen took office. Just two were ruled deaths by natural causes; the others resulted from two accidents, six suicides and three deaths by restraint. Only 10 prisoners ...

Fourth Circuit Vacates Sua Sponte Dismissal Due to Non-exhaustion

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has vacated a district court’s sua sponte dismissal of a prisoner’s lawsuit for failure to exhaust available administrative remedies.

The Virginia Department of Corrections’ (VDOC) grievance procedure requires prisoners to first submit an informal complaint. Staff must respond within 15 days. If the informal ...

Settlements in Arizona DOC, BOP Lawsuits Over Release Debit Card Fees

by Derek Gilna

The parties in a class-action suit filed in federal district court, which alleged Bank of America (BOA) charged excessive fees for debit cards given to Arizona state prisoners upon their release, reached a preliminary settlement in April 2017. Prisoner advocacy groups had argued that BOA deducted fees ...

Two Cellmates Die at Private Louisiana Jail

by David M. Reutter

A bizarre incident that resulted in the deaths of two pretrial detainees at the Richwood Correctional Center (RCC) in Louisiana reflects how understaffing and inadequate training at privately-operated jails can have life-changing consequences.

Following a traffic stop, Vernon Ramone White, Sr., 28, was arrested on charges ...

$50,000 Damage Award Garnished for Restitution Payment

The Oregon Court of Appeals, on June 28, 2017, upheld the garnishment of a prisoner’s $50,000 federal damage award as partial payment of her restitution judgment.

In 2009, Sandra Quesnoy was convicted of theft charges in Oregon and sentenced to 18 months in prison. The trial court imposed nearly ...

Four Guilty in Federal Student Loan Scam Using Prisoners’ Identities

by Monte McCoin

On January 12, 2018, Mercedes Diaz, 28, was sentenced to two years in prison for her role in an identity theft scheme that preyed upon 181 prisoners in Colorado, Arizona, Ohio, Florida and Illinois between August 2010 and October 2012. Diaz, along with co-conspirators Heather Carr, Marcelle ...

Alaska DOC’s 1990 Prison Conditions Settlement Still Enforceable

In March 2017, the Alaska Supreme Court held that a 1990 settlement agreement in a class-action prison conditions suit had not been terminated and remained enforceable.

Alaska Department of Corrections (ADOC) prisoners brought a class-action suit challenging prison conditions in 1981. The parties finally resolved the litigation, Cleary v. Smith ...

Declaratory Judgment in Mississippi Case Challenging Indefinite Jail Detention

by Matt Clarke

A Mississippi federal district court has issued an agreed declaratory judgment in a case brought by two defendants who were held for long periods of time in the Scott County Detention Center without an individualized hearing on bail or appointment of counsel. The court declared that, under ...

Overworked South Koreans Relax at Prison-themed Retreat

by Monte McCoin

Two hours west of Pyeongchang in South Korea, home of the 2018 Winter Olympic Games, guests pay 500,000 Korean won (about $470 U.S.) to stay for a week at Prison Inside Me, a jail-themed meditation center in the snowy mountain village of Hongcheon. Hundreds of ...

Oregon Parole Board Cannot Postpone Elapsed Release Date

The Oregon Court of Appeals held on February 15, 2017 that the Oregon Parole Board lacked authority to postpone a prisoner’s release date after that date has passed.

John Jones murdered a woman on May 30, 1988, when he was 17 years old. He was convicted of murder and sentenced ...

Ineffective Treatment of Ohio Prisoner’s Psoriasis Defeats Summary Judgment

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals held on July 16, 2017 that an Ohio prisoner presented sufficient evidence to survive summary judgment in a claim that prison medical officials chose a less efficacious treatment method.

Ohio prisoner Kevin Darrah was diagnosed prior to his 2006 imprisonment with Palmo-Plantar-Hyper-Keratoderma (HPK), “a ...

San Quentin’s “Ear Hustle” Podcast Makes History, Receives Praise

by Monte McCoin

Earlonne Woods and Antwan Williams, both incarcerated at California’s San Quentin State Prison, made broadcasting history by creating “Ear Hustle” – the first podcast from behind prison walls.

The nine-episode first season of “Ear Hustle” has made quite a mark with the media. According to an October ...

Tenth Circuit: Lengthy Denials of Outdoor Exercise Protected by Qualified Immunity

The Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit issued two decisions in July 2017 which held prison officials were entitled to qualified immunity for denying outdoor exercise to prisoners for 11 and 25 months.

Colorado state prisoners Jonathan Apodaca and Joshua Vigil were denied outdoor recreation during the eleven months ...

Hopes of Prosperity from Jail Boom has Kentucky County in Financial Trouble

A rural Kentucky county that planned to cash in on the prison and jail building boom in the 1990s is now in dire financial straits. Grant County, which is about 80 miles north of Louisville, is burning through cash to pay off debt on a jail that remains about a ...

Tennessee Drug Court Judge Imprisons Participants for Smoking Cigarettes

by Monte McCoin

In November 2017, Hamilton County, Tennessee Judge Tom Greenholtz sent several drug court participants to jail for a night after their drug tests came back positive – for nicotine.

“We routinely test for nicotine as we do for other controlled substances,” Greenholtz told Chattanooga TV station ...

$111,000 Settlement for Wrongfully Incarcerated Ohio Prisoner

On June 12, 2017, the Ohio Controlling Board voted to settle a wrongful incarceration suit brought by a man whom prosecutors had called a “major supplier” of cocaine, after a judge ignored the reversal of his conviction by an appellate court and kept him in prison.

Frank C. Davis was ...

Despite AG’s Policy Change, OIG Reviews “Smart on Crime” Initiative

by Derek Gilna

In June 2017, the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) issued a report on the U.S. Department of Justice’s “Smart on Crime” initiative. Smart on Crime, instituted in 2013 under Obama-era Attorney General Eric Holder, “encouraged federal prosecutors to focus on the most serious cases that ...

$242,500 Settles Jail Rape Suit in Okla.

On May 24, 2017, Tulsa County officials paid $242,500 to resolve a federal complaint filed by a woman who was reportedly raped by a male prisoner while she was held at the David L. Moss Criminal Justice Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Aleshia Cyrese Henderson, 20, was suffering from mental ...

Illinois Taxpayers Still Paying for a Paid-off Jail

by Monte McCoin

Residents in Tazewell County, Illinois pay a half-cent public safety sales tax on most purchases inside county lines. The tax was approved by voters in 2000 to pay for the construction of a new $17 million jail. Although the Tazewell County Justice Center building was paid off ...

Will “Dunkirk’s” Use of Prison Labor in Set Construction Disqualify it from the Oscars?

by Mike Elk, Payday Report

The Christopher Nolan-directed epic movie “Dunkirk” has been nominated for 8 Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Production Design.

However, prisoners’ rights advocates say that “Dunkirk” should be disqualified from receiving any Oscars due to its use of prison labor in constructing sets in France ...

$5 Million Settles Jail Detainee’s Death

Oregon officials have paid $5 mil­­lion to settle claims related to a jail prisoner who died hours after being attacked and denied emergency medical treatment.

Jed Hawk Myers, 34, was being held at the Yamhill County jail in McMinnville, Oregon on a probation violation. On May 27, 2015, guards found ...

$35,000 Settlement in Kentucky Excessive Force Suit

Kentucky’s Louisville-Jefferson County Metro Government agreed to pay $35,000 to settle a lawsuit filed in state court that alleged a guard used excessive force against a prisoner at the Louisville Metro Department of Corrections.

The settlement came in a suit brought by former prisoner Pamela Wiley-Stiger, who claimed jailers ...

Virginia Prisoner’s Name Change Request for Religious Purpose Requires Hearing

On August 17, 2017, the Virginia Supreme Court ruled a circuit court had abused its discretion in dismissing a prisoner’s application for a name change based upon religious reasons. The Supreme Court held that a religious reason for a name change presented good cause that requires lower courts to consider ...

PLRA Strikes Accruing After Notice of Appeal Do Not Count to Determine IFP Eligibility

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals held on August 4, 2017 that in determining a prisoner’s in forma pauperis (IFP) motion, a court must look to the date a pleading is filed – and not the date the prisoner’s IFP motion is granted – when assessing whether a particular dismissal ...

Contempt Motion Filed after Pennsylvania Officials Refuse to Release Detainee

Officials at Pennsylvania’s York County Prison face a contempt motion filed by an attorney on behalf of a terminally ill pre-trial detainee. The motion claims the officials refused to comply with a court order for the prisoner’s release.

Thomas Nathan Redding, 33, traveled from California to Pennsylvania to visit his ...

California: State Immune from Bane Act Claim for Valley Fever Exposure

The California Court of Appeal held on August 10, 2017 that the state is immune from liability on a Bane Act claim brought by a prisoner exposed to valley fever.

Valley fever (officially known as Coccidioidomycosis or “cocci”) is an incurable and sometimes fatal fungal infection. The disease can cause ...

Pervasive Masturbation in Cook County Jail Spurs Class-action Suits, Injunction

by Monte McCoin

Two class-action lawsuits claim hundreds of women who work at the jail and courtroom lockups in Cook County, Illinois have been subjected to a hostile work environment as a result of policies maintained by Sheriff Tom Dart and Public Defender Amy Campanelli that allegedly tolerate prisoners who ...

Mississippi Attorney General Settles with Third Company in Epps Bribery Scandal

by Monte McCoin

PLN has previously covered the continuing fallout from a massive bribery scandal involving former Mississippi DOC Commissioner Christopher B. Epps, including RICO lawsuits filed by Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood against several companies involved in the scandal.

In May 2017, Alere, Inc., which had purchased Branan Medical ...

Pregnant Prisoners Offered Adoption Choice: An Act of Love or Exploitation?

An estimated 3-4% of women who enter the prison system each year are pregnant. The American Journal of Public Health has reported that such prisoners face tough choices and, with the help of pro-life organizations and adoption attorneys, some choose adoption to provide a better chance for their babies.

From ...

$25,000 Settlement to Colorado Jail Prisoner Denied a Quran

In May 2017, the Sheriff’s Department in Adams County, Colorado paid $25,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by a jail prisoner who was denied access to a Quran during Ramadan in 2015. It also agreed to make changes to jail policies regarding Muslim prisoners.

Marquise Demont Harris, “an American-born ...

Oregon Court: Dismissals Are “Strikes” While Pending on Appeal

On July 6, 2017, the Oregon Court of Appeals upheld a lower court’s revocation of its filing fee waiver even though prior dismissals it had counted as strikes were still on appeal.

Oregon courts may waive or defer a prisoner’s filing fees and court costs in an action against a ...

Illinois Prisoner’s Petition Challenging Disciplinary Report States Cause of Action

The Illinois Fourth District Court of Appeals held in July 2017 that a prisoner had stated a cause of action on several claims in his petitions for writ of mandamus, declaratory relief and common law writ of certiorari.

Prisoner Aaron Fillmore received a disciplinary report on December 16, 2014 that ...

$125,000 Settlement After Failure to Protect Verdict in Virginia

Following a July 2017 federal jury verdict that found guards had failed to protect a prisoner from an attack by another detainee at the West Virginia Regional Jail (WVRJ), the parties agreed to settle the case for $125,000.

The suit was filed by prisoner Dewayne Jackson Cox, 52, who ...

Idaho DOC Uses Prisoner Volunteers for Suicide Watches

by Matt Clarke

Some prisoners in the Idaho Department of Correction (DOC) who exhibit suicidal tendencies end up with other prisoners as companions, charged with engaging with them and helping to prevent self-harm.

The DOC has a population of 8,000 prisoners and reported 13 suicides between 2011 and 2016 ...

Report Finds Texas Death Row Conditions Violate Basic Human Rights

by Matt Clarke

In April 2017, the University of Texas School of Law’s Human Rights Clinic published a report that found living conditions on death row in Texas violate “basic human rights as well as a number of international treaties that were voluntarily ratified by the U.S. and which ...

First-time Burglary Offender Eligible for Pennsylvania DOC’s Recidivism Program

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has held that a first-time offender convicted of burglary was entitled to participate in the Recidivism Risk Reduction Incentive (RRRI) Act.

The decision came in an appeal filed by Sean Cullen-Doyle, who pleaded guilty to several counts of criminal conspiracy to commit first-degree felony burglary and ...

Summary Judgment Reversed for Delay in Treating Prisoner in Extreme Pain

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals reversed summary judgment in favor of a guard and a nurse in a civil rights action alleging they were deliberately indifferent to a prisoner’s serious medical needs and unnecessarily prolonged his suffering.

James A. Lewis, housed at the Wisconsin Secure Program Facility, awoke at ...

Illinois Sheriff Settles Federal Class-action Suit Over Strip Searches

by Derek Gilna

A federal civil rights lawsuit filed in 2012, later certified as a class-action, alleged abuses in the strip-search policy at a jail in Kankakee County, Illinois. The case settled on July 19, 2017; under the terms of the settlement, the county will pay up to $1,472 ...

Alaska: Jurors’ Explanation of Negligence Verdict Doesn’t Warrant New Trial

In May 2017, the Alaska Supreme Court upheld a lower court’s denial of a prisoner’s motion for a new trial based on juror comments about the rationale for their verdict.

Alaska prisoner Richard A. Mattox was watching television with several other prisoners at the Spring Creek Correctional Center in 2008 ...

Florida Prisoners with Disabilities to Receive Accommodations Under Settlement

by David M. Reutter

In July 2017, Disability Rights Florida, the state’s federally-funded Protection and Advocacy organization that advocates for disabled individuals, settled a historic lawsuit against the Florida Department of Corrections over the FDOC’s systematic failure to comply with federal measures intended to protect prisoners with physical disabilities.

The ...

Georgia Toddler Initially Denied Kidney Due to Father’s Parole Violation

by Monte McCoin

Officials at Emory Healthcare canceled a planned October 2017 surgery to harvest a kidney from an Atlanta toddler’s father, who had volunteered to be a living donor. According to news reports, the hospital postponed the donor arrangement after the father, Anthony Dickerson, was arrested on a parole ...

Despite Suicides, Jails Replace In-person Visitation with Video Screens

by Mike LudwigTruthout 

The Jefferson Parish Correctional Center in Gretna, Louisiana replaced in-person visitation through a glass partition with video calls in October 2017. Three suicides had occurred at the jail since August, raising concerns about the mental health of its prisoners.

Adorned with barbed wire, the ...

Alabama Sheriff Fights to Keep Extra Funds Meant to Feed Prisoners

After being held in contempt, the sheriff in Morgan County, Alabama has obtained approval from a federal judge to let her keep any proceeds left over in her jail’s food fund. While a controversial 1939 state law has allowed Alabama sheriffs to retain such funds – which are distributed by ...

Two Georgia Prison Transport Guards Slain

by David M. Reutter

On June 13, 2017, a pair of Georgia prisoners being transported from the Baldwin State Prison near Milledgeville to the state’s Diagnostic and Classification Prison in Jackson breached a partition on the prison bus. Within seconds they overpowered and disarmed two transport guards before killing them ...

Statute of Limitations for Oregon Child Sex Abuse Claims Expires at Age 40, Not 24

The Oregon Court of Appeals held in August 2017 that a lower court had improperly determined that civil claims filed by a child sexual abuse victim were time-barred. While the statute of limitations in effect at the time of the abuse required the victim to bring suit by his 24th ...

Oregon Jail 'Tortures' Mentally Ill Prisoners

The people who work there are for the most part good people trying to do the best they can,” said Dr. Wil Berry, a psychiatrist who completed a six-month rotation at the Multnomah County Detention Center (MCDC). “However, the product of the system as a whole is that we’re ...

Indictment Alleges Prison Healthcare Company Bribed Texas State Senator

by Matt Clarke

In May 2017, federal prosecutors unsealed an indictment accusing Texas state Senator Carlos Uresti of accepting substantial bribes from a company that provides healthcare to prisoners at the Reeves County Detention Center (RCDC) in West Texas.

Uresti allegedly received payments of $10,000 per month from the ...

Kansas DOC Raids Inmate Benefit Fund for $6.7 Million

by Matt Clarke

Since 2004, the Kansas Department of Corrections (DOC) has drained over $6.7 million from the prison system’s Inmate Benefit Fund (IBF), and spent it on goods and services prohibited by state law.

The IBF is funded by prisoners and their families through commissary sales, vending machines ...

DHS Report Shows “Significant Prison Population of Incarcerated Aliens”

by Christopher Zoukis

The proportion of federal prisoners likely born outside the United States is nearly twice as large as among the general population. That was a key finding of a report published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Released on December 21, 2017, the report was ...

$27,000 Settles California Prisoner Pro Se Civil Rights Suit

by Derek Gilna

California state prisoner Ronald Martinez filed suit in 2011, asserting that his Eighth Amendment rights had been violated by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR). He eventually obtained a $27,000 settlement from the state, which was finalized in January 2017.

The settlement was remarkable ...

Texas State Prisoners Fight for Access to Kosher Meals

by Matt Clarke

After leading a 12-year legal battle that secured an agreement from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) to recognize the right of Orthodox Jewish prisoners to receive kosher meals, Max Moussazadeh was released from prison in 2017. That same year, prisoner Aharon L. Atomanczyk filed a ...

Kansas DOC Underestimates Cost of New Prison by $51 Million

by Christopher Zoukis

The Lansing Correctional Facility, located in the Kansas City area, is crying out for a wrecking ball and a bulldozer. Parts of the facility were built in the 1860s, and the Kansas DOC has determined that even its newer buildings are not as safe or efficient as ...

Prison Doctor Dies of Legionnaires’ Disease

A lawsuit filed on May 4, 2017 by the family of a doctor at SCI-Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania claims he died of Legionnaires’ disease contracted through the facility’s water system.

Dr. Joseph Mollura, 60, decided he liked his part-time job at SCI-Pittsburgh so much that he would make it his full-time ...

Major Scabies Outbreak at CoreCivic Facility in Tennessee

by David M. Reutter

Three lawsuits, filed in June and July 2017, allege corrections officials ignored an outbreak of scabies at the Metro-Davidson County Detention Facility (MDCDF) in Nashville, Tennessee. Affecting 89 prisoners, the outbreak also spread to at least 17 members of the jail staff and 16 courthouse workers ...

Federal Lawsuit Filed in Dehydration Death at Wisconsin Jail; Three Jailers Charged

by Derek Gilna

A federal civil rights suit was filed in federal court in Wisconsin on August 14, 2017, after a prisoner died at the Milwaukee County Jail (MCJ) – reportedly after being deprived of water for a week. The family of Terrill J. Thomas instituted the action approximately four ...

$5 Million Settlement After Mentally Ill Prisoner Dies in Restraint

by Christopher Zoukis

A 36-year-old California prisoner with a documented history of schizophrenia died in a jail cell on January 22, 2017, less than an hour after his release from a restraint chair where he had been held for almost two days.

Andrew Chaylon Holland was the eighth person to ...

Federal Judge Grants Compassionate Release but Questions BOP’s Motivation

by Christopher Zoukis

U.S. District Court Judge Mark L. Wolf, who has written judicial opinions in cases involving former mobster and FBI informant James “Whitey” Bulger, knows a rat when he sees one. And when he was presented with a motion from the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) seeking compassionate ...

News in Brief

Alabama: Five state prison guards were arrested in May 2017, accused of using their positions for personal gain. The arrests followed a three-month investigation at the Staton Correctional Facility, and resulted in Ronald Dickerson, 23, Jarod McDowell, 29, Joshua Alexander, 26, Leonard Scott, 31, and Patrick Jones, 42, being charged ...