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Prison Legal News: August, 1992

Issue PDF
Volume 3, Number 8

In this issue:

  1. Ohio Criminal Sentencing Commission Update (p 1)
  2. Washington Lifers Litigation Update (p 1)
  3. 1991 Prison Population Up 6.2% (p 2)
  4. Blacks Likely to Spend More Time In Jail (p 2)
  5. Interstate Compact Does Not Create Liberty Interest (p 2)
  6. High AIDS Rate Behind Bars (p 2)
  7. Study Finds Sentencing Bias in Washington State (p 3)
  8. Prison Chief Gains Right to Counter-Sue Cons for Riot Damage (p 3)
  9. Guards Need Not Disclose Identity Of HIV-Positive Cons (p 3)
  10. Supreme Court Defines "Frivolous" Lawsuits (p 3)
  11. Three Strikes, You're Out (p 4)
  12. ABA Says Use of Prisons Not Effective Way to Fight Crime (p 4)
  13. NCCHC Asks Congress to Improve Prison Health Care (p 5)
  14. Infracting Cop Cannot Hear Own Infraction (p 5)
  15. High Court to Decide if Convict Group is "Person" for IFP Status (p 5)
  16. Supreme Court To Define "Prevailing Party" for Purposes of Attorney Fees (p 5)
  17. Criticism of Peru Articles (p 6)
  18. Federal Prisoner Must Exhaust BOP Remedies Before Seeking Habeas Corpus Relief (p 7)
  19. Prison Costs More than Harvard (p 7)
  20. Adverse Change in Board Rules is Ex Post Facto (p 7)
  21. Detroit's Former Chief Guilty of Embezzling (p 8)
  22. Washington's DOC Boss Talks That Talk. Can He Walk That Walk? (p 8)
  23. Virginia Sets Guidelines for Terminally-Ill Prisoners (p 8)
  24. Lompoc Prison Strike (p 9)
  25. From The Editor (p 9)
  26. Court Bans Double Celling (p 10)
  27. Censoring Mail From Courts Violates Due Process (p 10)
  28. DOC Must Provide Involuntarily Committed With Treatment (p 10)
  29. Rectal Search Upheld (p 10)
  30. Wisconsin Lockdown (p 11)
  31. Indiana Control Unit Prisoners File Suit and Strike (p 12)
  32. Transfer Violates Access Rights (p 13)
  33. Prisoner Entitled to Protection and Toilet Access (p 13)
  34. Court Rules on Service and Venue (p 13)

Ohio Criminal Sentencing Commission Update

By John Perotti

There have been a lot of rumors of abolishing the parole board in Ohio. Here are the facts in relation to this rumor. In 1990 former Governor D. Celeste created the Ohio Criminal Sentencing Commission to study Ohio's sentencing scheme and to issue recommendations for changes ...

Washington Lifers Litigation Update

By John Midgley

This is a further update on the "lifers" litigation. The current status of the Powell case is as follows: US District Court Judge Thomas Zilly has held that SHB 1457 is ex post facto as applied to Mr. Powell. The state has appealed to the US Court ...

1991 Prison Population Up 6.2%

The population of state and federal prisons (not counting jails) rose 6.2 percent last year, reaching a new record high of more than 823,000, according to a study by the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS). The increase amounted to a need for 900 prison beds each week ...

Blacks Likely to Spend More Time In Jail

Blacks Likely To Spend More Time In Jail

Without sentencing guidelines, employed blacks are almost six times as likely as their white counterparts to face jail for drug crimes, a new Florida State University (FSU) study says. The study by FSU criminology Professor Theodore Chiricos also found that young unemployed ...

Interstate Compact Does Not Create Liberty Interest

Fred Pletka was an Iowa prisoner in disciplinary confinement at the Iowa State Penitentiary when he was transferred to Texas under the interstate corrections compact. Shortly after arriving in Texas Pletka was released into the general prison population. Later, when he was returned to Iowa, he was placed back into ...

High AIDS Rate Behind Bars

People entering U.S. prisons have high HIV infection rates and transmission of the virus that causes AIDS continues among prisoners because of intravenous drug use and homosexual activity, Federal health officials said June 4 in Atlanta.

As of November 1990, there were 4,519 cases of AIDS reported among ...

Study Finds Sentencing Bias in Washington State

Anew study has found that Hispanics in Yakima County are more likely to receive long prison sentences than whites. The study was performed by political scientist David Hood and sociologist Ruey-Lin Lin, both of Eastern Montana College in Billings. It was based on data from the Washington state Sentencing Guidelines ...

Prison Chief Gains Right to Counter-Sue Cons for Riot Damage

Prison Chief Gains Right to Counter-sue Cons for Riot Damage

Pennsylvania Corrections Commissioner Joseph D. Lehman has been granted standing by a federal district court to litigate against inmates for extensive property damages caused by rioting at the Camp Hill prison in October of 1989.

A magistrate judge in the ...

Guards Need Not Disclose Identity Of HIV-Positive Cons

A prisoner in the medium security unit of a Nebraska state prison brought a federal civil rights lawsuit against the warden and other prison personnel, claiming that they subjected him to cruel and unusual punishment by: (1) conspiring to conceal the identity of prisoners testing positive for HIV, the virus ...

Supreme Court Defines "Frivolous" Lawsuits

The U.S. Supreme Court further defined when federal judges can dismiss as "frivolous" certain lawsuits brought by convicts and others who cannot afford to pay normal court costs. The court, in a 7-2 ruling, said it is largely up to a federal judge to determine when an lawsuit is ...

Three Strikes, You're Out

By Ed Mead

Those short sighted anti-crime proponents in Washington state are at it again. This time the conservatives are circulating a citizen's initiative, The Persistent Offender Accountability Act (Initiative 590) that would provide two major changes to punishment: mandatory life in prison without the possibility of parole for ...

ABA Says Use of Prisons Not Effective Way to Fight Crime

ABA Says Use Of Prisons Not Effective Way To Fight Crime

The increasing reliance in the U.S. on the use of incarceration as a criminal sanction is a costly and ineffective way to combat crime, according to a new report by the American Bar Association's (ABA) Criminal Justice ...

NCCHC Asks Congress to Improve Prison Health Care

NCCHC Asks Congress To Improve Prison Health Care

Carl C. Bell, M.D., chairman of the National Commission on Correctional Health Care's (NCCHC) Board of Directors, in testifying to a congressional subcommittee, stated that "...the Federal Government must act to improve health care provided to the incarcerated in order ...

Infracting Cop Cannot Hear Own Infraction

John Diercks is a prison informant in protective custody (PC) in Jefferson City, MO. While in PC Diercks approached a prison official and asked him to make the urine samples of two prisoners "disappear" in exchange for which Diercks would supply the names of several other prisoners whose urine samples ...

High Court to Decide if Convict Group is "Person" for IFP Status

High Court To Decide If Convict Group Is "Person" For IFP Status

A prisoners' association, elected by the general prison population, filed a federal civil rights suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against prison authorities, alleging violations of the eighth and fourteenth amendment rights of prisoners based on a ...

Supreme Court To Define "Prevailing Party" for Purposes of Attorney Fees

Supreme Court To Define "Prevailing Party" For Purposes Of Attorney Fees

Under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a "prevailing party" in a federal civil rights suit may be awarded attorneys' fees. In civil rights cases such attorneys' fees may, in some instances, be much higher than the dollar value of ...

Criticism of Peru Articles

Iam a Native American transsexual incarcerated in Pelican Bay SMU. I am a jailhouse lawyer and paralegal student, and learned of PLN through fellow jailhouse lawyers here. Thank you for your free subscription as a control unit prisoner. I myself pass the newsletter around to those who are interested. I ...

Federal Prisoner Must Exhaust BOP Remedies Before Seeking Habeas Corpus Relief

Federal prisoner Ivan Gonzalez was convicted of possession with intent to distribute three kilograms of cocaine. He was sentenced to five years of imprisonment. The U.S. Parole Commission calculated a presumptive parole date of May 30, 1990. When that date came and went the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) did ...

Prison Costs More than Harvard

Prison Costs More Than Harvard

By Ralph 'Hakim' Walker

An April 4, 1992 William Raspberry article on alternatives to imprisonment pointed out the folly of continuing to waste tax dollars on a system (imprisonment) that is ineffective, does not deter crime, and could inadvertently provide impetus to a problem that ...

Adverse Change in Board Rules is Ex Post Facto

Adverse Change In Board Rules Is Ex Post Facto

The Oregon Court of Appeals has reaffirmed its holding that application of parole board rules not in effect when a prison committed his crime, and which had the effect of potentially extending his or her prison term, violated the ex post ...

Detroit's Former Chief Guilty of Embezzling

Detroit's Former Chief Guilty Of Embezzling

Former Detroit Police Chief William Hart has been found guilty of stealing nearly $2.6 million from a special "Secret Service Fund" that was meant to fund undercover operations. A federal jury convicted the former chief of two counts of embezzlement and two ...

Washington's DOC Boss Talks That Talk. Can He Walk That Walk?

Amonth or so ago Chase Riveland, the Washington state's chief corrections officer, went to Washington, D.C. for what he thought would be a dialogue, an exchange of ideas about crime and punishment. Instead he got a U.S. Justice Department monologue, a sermon on how to lock up ...

Virginia Sets Guidelines for Terminally-Ill Prisoners

Virginia Sets Guidelines For Terminally-Ill Prisoners

The state of Virginia has released a policy to handle requests by terminally-ill prisoners for early release. The policy was developed in response to a request by Alex Velazquez, a prisoner at Powhatan Correctional Center, to be allowed to go home to Brooklyn, N ...

Lompoc Prison Strike

Immediately following the Los Angeles uprising, prisoners at FCI (Federal Correctional Institution) Lompoc, North of LA, joined in a prison wide general strike for 3 days. Prison officials were greatly threatened by the unity of the prisoners: hundreds of men were put in the hole and teargassed, five hundred men ...

From The Editor

Welcome to another issue of PLN. Please check your mailing label. If it says "Aug. 92" this means this is your next to last issue and unless we receive a donation you will be dropped from the mailing list. When your label says "final issue" that is the last issue ...

Court Bans Double Celling

Since 1986 Utah state prison officials have planned to double cell the Wasatch unit of the Utah State Prison in Draper, Utah. In the 1970's Utah prison officials entered into a consent decree with prisoners obligating them to avoid double celling. The prisoners had sought, and received, injunctions forbidding ...

Censoring Mail From Courts Violates Due Process

John Stone-El is an Illinois state prisoner whose mail to and from the courts and government officials was opened and read outside his presence. Stone-El filed suit seeking money damages and injunctive relief for the violation of his constitutional rights. He then moved for summary judgement which the court denied ...

DOC Must Provide Involuntarily Committed With Treatment

Robert Cameron was convicted of rape in Massachusetts and because of prior sex offenses was found to be a "sexually dangerous" person and involuntarily committed to a treatment center operated by the Massachusetts DOC and Dept. of Mental Health. Cameron filed suit seeking equitable relief claiming that by denying him ...

Rectal Search Upheld

James Terrovona is a Washington state prisoner who was transferred from IMU (Intensive Management Unit) in Walla Walla to IMU in Shelton. Upon arrival at Shelton and before being put in the IMU there Terrovona was subjected to a digital rectal search by DOC officials. He then filed suit under ...

Wisconsin Lockdown

In the middle of May, 1992, the Wisconsin DOC distributed a new set of property rules to all prisoners. It contained a lot of new restrictions but the most significant is that the total amount of property a prisoner may possess must fit into a footlocker measuring 32" x 16 ...

Indiana Control Unit Prisoners File Suit and Strike

On May 4, 1992, the Indiana Civil Liberties Union filed a class action suit in the Marion County, Indiana, Superior Court. The action is Taifa Vs. Bayh, and challenges numerous conditions of confinement at the Westville, IN, Maximum Control Center. It is interesting to note the action is being filed ...

Transfer Violates Access Rights

Stanton Story is a Pennsylvania state prisoner who was transferred to the federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) to serve his sentence. Story filed suit under § 1983 claiming Pennsylvania DOC officials had violated his right of access to the courts because the BOP prison in Terre Haute, IN. did not have ...

Prisoner Entitled to Protection and Toilet Access

Kenneth Young is an HIV positive federal prisoner who was transferred to the US Penitentiary at Lewisburg, PA. While in the transfer segregation unit at Lewisburg Young was sexually assaulted by his cellmates several times. He repeatedly requested protective custody from a number of prison officials who repeatedly ignored his ...

Court Rules on Service and Venue

Arnold Huskey is a BOP (Bureau of Prisons) prisoner confined at the US Penitentiary in Marion, Illinois. He filed suit in the District of Columbia claiming BOP officials had violated his constitutional rights by misclassifying him under 28 C.F.R. § 524.72 (h) resulting in his indefinite segregation and ...