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Prison Legal News: May, 1992

Issue PDF
Volume 3, Number 5

In this issue:

  1. The Parole Board, a Step Nearer to Gone? (p 1)
  2. Prison Conditions in the United States (p 1)
  3. ABA Committee - Shift in Drug Strategy Needed (p 2)
  4. NJ Ad Seg Rules Create Liberty Interest (p 2)
  5. Prison Officials Cannot Delay Access to Case Law (p 3)
  6. Florida Visiting Rules Create Liberty Interest (p 3)
  7. Jailhouse Lawyers Win One (p 3)
  8. Minor Injury in Prison Abuse Actionable (p 3)
  9. Reviews (p 4)
  10. U.S. Made Prison Products in China's News (p 4)
  11. Court Upholds Pulling of Bear Teeth (p 4)
  12. Convict Heritage Comes Through in Australia (p 4)
  13. Race Discrimination in Prison Job Assignments Condemned (p 5)
  14. Deportation Delays Criticized (p 5)
  15. Editorial (p 5)
  16. Community Help Foundation Unlimited (p 6)
  17. U.S. Still Leads World's Incarceration Rate (p 6)
  18. Guards Can't Be Prevented From Making Positive Recommendations To Parole Board (p 7)
  19. Can't Stop Con's Legal Help Due to Transfer (p 7)
  20. Prison Overcrowding Crisis Continues, Says New Report (p 7)
  21. Retiring Judge Calls Sentencing Guidelines "Travesty of Justice" (p 8)
  22. Burmese Prisoners Used as Cannon Fodder (p 8)
  23. Iowa Visiting Rules Create Liberty Interest (p 8)
  24. Delay of Legal Files States Claim (p 8)
  25. Pregnant Con Miscarries After Taser Attack (p 8)
  26. Not All Are Frivolous (p 9)
  27. Dismissal of Religious Freedom Suit Reversed (p 9)
  28. Court Must Rule on Discovery Before Dismissal (p 9)
  29. PLN Benefit Tape (p 10)

The Parole Board, a Step Nearer to Gone?

The Parole Board, A Step Nearer To Gone?

In 1981 Washington State legislature passed the Sentencing Reform Act. The SRA implemented determinate sentencing for all, and fixed a date for abolishing the parole board. The original principles of the SRA were fairly good, and may have worked well enough if ...

Prison Conditions in the United States

Prison Conditions In The United States

Human Rights Watch, an international human and civil rights group, has issued the results of its investigation into prison conditions in the United States. Their investigation consisted of visits to more than 20 state and federal prisons and detention centers, prison litigation cases since ...

ABA Committee - Shift in Drug Strategy Needed

A national drug strategy that relies on the criminal justice system to solve the drug crisis won't work and diverts attention and resources from other needed approaches such as prevention, education and treatment, according to a report released by the American Bar Association Criminal Justice Section's Ad Hoc ...

NJ Ad Seg Rules Create Liberty Interest

Salvatore Gerardi is a New Jersey State prisoner who was suspected by prison officials of being part of a drug trafficking ring. Gerardi claimed his right to due process was violated when prison officials placed him in the Maximum Control Unit (MCU) and failed to provide him a hearing within ...

Prison Officials Cannot Delay Access to Case Law

Prison Officials Cannot Delay Access To Case Law

Washington state prisoner Mark Larue was transferred out of state to the Illinois DOC while pursuing a collateral attack on his conviction. The lawyer representing Larue withdrew from the case and the state court of appeals set a deadline for Larue to ...

Florida Visiting Rules Create Liberty Interest

William Van Poyck is a Florida death row prisoner convicted of killing a prison guard while helping another prisoner escape. While Van Poyck was awaiting trial in the Palm Beach County jail he met Deborah Chisholm, a nurse at the jail. After he was convicted and sent to Florida State ...

Jailhouse Lawyers Win One

On January 14th the U.S. Supreme Court issued a modest victory for jailhouse lawyers and other poor litigants, ruling that a technical problem with filing a legal appeal does not necessarily void a court from considering the case.

The court, in a unanimous ruling, said a lawsuit brought by ...

Minor Injury in Prison Abuse Actionable

Minor Injury In Prison Abuse Actionable

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that use of excessive force against a prison inmate may constitute unconstitutionally cruel and unusual punishment, even if the prisoner does not suffer a serious injury. To rule otherwise, the court said, "would permit any physical punishment ...

Reviews

Bulldozer is a bi-monthly tabloid that has excellent coverage of the US and Canadian prison systems. It also covers native and anti-imperialist struggles from an antiauthoritarian point of view. The latest issue (#34) is the special supplement on women and prison with many good articles by women prisoners concerning the ...

U.S. Made Prison Products in China's News

U.S. Made Prison Products In China's News

China, taking the offensive in its spat with Washington over prisoner-made products, recently saturated its national media with an American magazine's account of U.S. industry's profitable exploitation of American prisoners.

China's national television news and most major ...

Court Upholds Pulling of Bear Teeth

A native American inmate does not have a right to wear a sharp bear tooth necklace, even if it is religiously motivated, according to a federal appeals court.

Kenneth Hall sued Oklahoma prison officials after they confiscated his necklace, arguing this violated his constitutional right to free exercise of his ...

Convict Heritage Comes Through in Australia

Convict Heritage Comes Through In Australia

In an article on the abrasive, hard-edged world of Australian journalism, a Christian Science Monitor writer notes that the continent's "convict heritage...also acts to restrict the press. Once a convict was given `ticket of leave,' allowing a new life, the press could ...

Race Discrimination in Prison Job Assignments Condemned

Race Discrimination In Prison Job Assignments Condemned

A black prisoner's allegation that white prisoners were given work assignments without completing any training while he was required to take 90-days of training for an electrician assignment, despite the fact that he was an electrician by trade, stated a claim for ...

Deportation Delays Criticized

Editorial Comments

By Ed Mead

Paul and I are now in our third year of publishing the Prisoners Legal News. It has been a good experience for both of us, and hopefully for you, too. I know that we have learned a lot in the process of putting the paper ...

Editorial

Editorial Comments

By Ed Mead

Paul and I are now in our third year of publishing the Prisoners Legal News . It has been a good experience for both of us, and hopefully for you, too. I know that we have learned a lot in the process of putting the paper ...

Community Help Foundation Unlimited

Community Help foundation Unlimited

By Beryl P. Sanders Director

This article is in response to the March 1992 Prisoners' Legal News article, "The continuing Racism Against Black Pre-SRA Offenders," By Leland Jordan. As prisoners advocates and leaders of the African-American community, we have well distributed Mr. Jordan's article and ...

U.S. Still Leads World's Incarceration Rate

The U.S, has widened its lead as the nation with the highest incarceration rate, according to figures complied by the Sentencing Project, a Washington, D.C. based organization that conducts research on criminal justice issues.

A year ago, the Sentencing Project reported that only South Africa came close to ...

Guards Can't Be Prevented From Making Positive Recommendations To Parole Board

A policy prohibiting correctional employees from making recommendations directly to the parole board could be challenged by inmate asserting correctional employee's first amendment rights; such communications were not "purely personal," the court held, but rather involved matters of "public concern."

The case started when an inmate in a Georgia ...

Can't Stop Con's Legal Help Due to Transfer

Can't Stop Con's Legal Help Due To Transfer

A New York prisoner incarcerated at Attica was granted authorization to provide legal assistance to two other inmates after completing a law clerk training program sponsored by the Department of Correctional Services. When he was transferred to another prison, he ...

Prison Overcrowding Crisis Continues, Says New Report

Forty states, plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, are under court order to reduce prison overcrowding and/or to remedy unconstitutional conditions, according to a new Status Report released Feb. 27 by the National Prison Project of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). In each ...

Retiring Judge Calls Sentencing Guidelines "Travesty of Justice"

Retiring Judge Calls Sentencing Guidelines "Travesty of Justice"

In retiring from the U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals January 1, Chief Justice Donald P. Lay said that "the greater disappointment" of his experience was the law's failure to deal with fair sentencing of those convicted of crimes and ...

Burmese Prisoners Used as Cannon Fodder

Burmese Prisoners Used As Cannon Fodder

Phobahta, Burma. The Burmese army has been emptying out its prisons to use social prisoners to clear landmines and act as porters in its current military offensive. Burma has been ruled by military governments since 1960. After the civilian National League for Democracy won ...

Iowa Visiting Rules Create Liberty Interest

Iowa prison officials doubled the population in a minimum-security facility from 65 to 120 prisoners. To house the additional prisoners the visiting room was converted into a dormitory and visiting was cut in half, from every weekend to every other weekend.

William Patachette filed suit on the diminished visiting claiming ...

Delay of Legal Files States Claim

Delay Of Legal Files States Claim

A Washington D.C. prisoner was transferred to various state and federal prisons. In the course of the transfers Lorton prison officials delayed and refused to send the plaintiff, Crawford El, his property containing his legal materials. Crawford El filed suit under §1983 claiming ...

Pregnant Con Miscarries After Taser Attack

Afemale parole violator was told to submit to a strip search, but refused, noting five male officers were present right outside the cell. She stated that she would allow the strip search if she were taken to another cell, outside the view of the male officers. A guard then shot ...

Not All Are Frivolous

I wanted to write about something in the March issue of the PLN. On page 6, an article addressing an absurdly frivolous lawsuit filed by a couple of idiots here about lottery tickets, says: "Wisconsin prisoners answered the question by filing suit alleging that they were constitutionally entitled to purchase ...

Dismissal of Religious Freedom Suit Reversed

Dismissal Of Religious Freedom Suit Reversed

Robert McKinney is an Oklahoma state prisoner who was infracted for refusing to cut his hair and who was not allowed to practice his Native American religion. His religious beliefs forbid him from cutting his hair. McKinney then filed suit under §1983 claiming that ...

Court Must Rule on Discovery Before Dismissal

Court Must Rule On Discovery Before Dismissal

John Dean was awaiting trial in an Alabama jail when he got into a dispute with a former death row inmate awaiting a retrial. Dean was stabbed and slashed several times and had his head pounded into the concrete repeatedly. He filed suit ...

PLN Benefit Tape

The long awaited "PLN Benefit Tape" is now available! It features the avant garde industrial and rock music of the bands Insomnia, Serena Slab, La Runcion de Repulsa, Chemical Plant, Nux Vomica, Operation Mind Control, Gustavo Pastre, Symboliks, Thru Black Holes Band, Factor X, and Cervis. Each tape comes with ...