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Prison Legal News: November, 2019

Issue PDF
Volume 30, Number 11

In this issue:

  1. Beyond Estelle: Medical Rights for Incarcerated Patients (p 1)
  2. From the Editor (p 12)
  3. Alabama Prisoners Bring Awareness of Abusive Conditions Through Hunger Strikes (p 13)
  4. Oregon Transgender Prisoner Must be Housed Alone or with Other Transgender or Non­Cisgender Prisoners (p 14)
  5. Behind Bars, Co-Pays Are a Barrier to Basic Health Care (p 16)
  6. U.S. Department of Justice Plans to Ramp up Federal Death Penalty (p 18)
  7. Virginia Death Row Conditions Subjected Prisoners to Risk of Harm (p 19)
  8. Louisiana Prison Industry Program Puts Profits Before Prisoners (p 20)
  9. Washington DOC Medical Director Fired for Negligence (p 20)
  10. Louisiana Enters into Subscription Model Contract for HCV Treatment (p 22)
  11. Victim Notification Law Plagues Alabama’s Parole System (p 22)
  12. HRDC Lawsuit Proceeds Over Care Provided to Florida Prisoner Who Starved to Death (p 24)
  13. How High-Priced Drugs Cripple Prison Health Care – and Reform (p 24)
  14. Appellate Court Holds Louisiana Prisoner’s Medical Malpractice Claim May Proceed (p 26)
  15. Eleventh Circuit: Tasing of Inert Detainee is Excessive Force (p 26)
  16. Judge Orders Federal Prisoner with Cancer Released Due to Poor Medical Care (p 27)
  17. Alaska Supreme Court Rules Against Muslim Prisoner on Correspondence Ban (p 28)
  18. Pennsylvania’s Buck County Liable for Illegally Disclosing Criminal Records (p 28)
  19. Sex Offenders Excluded from Florida Shelters During Hurricane (p 29)
  20. Oregon Prisoner’s Use of Another Prisoner’s Phone PIN Constitutes Identity Theft (p 30)
  21. Fifth Circuit Terminates Consent Decree for Muslim Services in Texas Prisons (p 30)
  22. Conditions Lawsuit Against Indiana County Jail Certified as a Class Action (p 31)
  23. Prison’s Refusal to Allow Wiccan Services Must be Reviewed for Compelling Governmental Interest (p 32)
  24. Whistleblower Lawsuit Exposes Violence, Cover-ups at Rikers Island Jail (p 32)
  25. Muslim Civil Rights Group Files Discrimination Suit Over Virginia Jail’s “God Pod” (p 34)
  26. Missouri Jury Awards $113.7 Million to Prison Guards Required to Work Without Pay (p 34)
  27. New York: Prisoners Have No Expectation to Privacy During Jail Phone Calls (p 35)
  28. Court Declines to Seal Records in Michigan Prisoner’s Excessive Force Case (p 36)
  29. Ex-Offenders Work for Organization that Repairs and Sells Vehicles at Low Cost (p 36)
  30. Why Not Let Prisoners Vote While Incarcerated? (p 38)
  31. Nevada Supreme Court Reverses Dismissal of Prisoner’s Native American Religion Suit (p 39)
  32. New Jersey: Appellate Court Shoots Down $7.5 Million Verdict in Prison Whistleblower Case (p 40)
  33. Seventh Circuit: Non-Medical Prison Staff Entitled to Qualified Immunity (p 40)
  34. $3.1 Million Settlement for Washington Jail Detainee’s Death (p 41)
  35. Pattern of Abuse and Mismanagement at North Carolina Jail (p 42)
  36. No Fourth Amendment Violation for Abusive Group Strip Search of Female Prisoners (p 42)
  37. Missouri Sheriff Tells Judge that County Won’t Pay for Prisoners’ Food, Medical Care (p 44)
  38. Three Deaths in Three Days at Illinois Prison Spur Calls for Greater Transparency (p 44)
  39. Seventh Circuit: Failure to Provide Medical Accommodation is Deliberate Indifference (p 45)
  40. West Virginia Regional Jails Entitled to Sovereign Immunity (p 46)
  41. Allegheny County Settles Three Lawsuits Over Medical Care at County Jail (p 46)
  42. Man Mistakenly Released 13 Years Ago Won’t Have to Return to Prison (p 47)
  43. Maryland: Parole Changes Needed for Life-Sentenced Prisoners (p 48)
  44. Study Finds that War on Drugs Kept Black Men from Higher Education (p 48)
  45. Arizona Court Grants Partial Summary Judgment to PLN in Censorship Suit (p 50)
  46. Usual Cruelty: The Complicity of Lawyers in the Criminal Injustice System, by Alec Karakatsanis (p 50)
  47. South Carolina: Lawsuit Alleges Medical Staff, Guards Negligent in Baby’s Death (p 52)
  48. Washington State Settles Suit Over 15-Hour-a-Day Lockdown of Mentally Ill Prisoners (p 52)
  49. Florida Supreme Court Issues Death Penalty Rulings (p 53)
  50. Compassionate Releases Needed for an Aging Prisoner Population (p 54)
  51. Department of Justice Report Shows Small Decrease in U.S. Prison Population (p 56)
  52. Court Orders Changes to Alabama Prison System After 15 Suicides; Feds Threaten Suit (p 56)
  53. Federal Prisoner Challenges Constitutionality of Death Penalty; Gets Plea Deal for Life Without Parole (p 57)
  54. Organization Connected to Missouri Prison Director Gets No-Bid Contract (p 58)
  55. $860,000 Settlement in Suit Over Michigan Female Prisoner’s Suicide (p 58)
  56. $8,500 Settlement in Allegheny County Jail Sexual Harassment Suit (p 59)
  57. The Cost of Prison Censorship: Florida Taxpayers to Pay $1.2 Million in HRDC Case (p 60)
  58. NBC Sends Anchorman Lester Holt to Prison as Part of its “Justice for All” Series (p 60)
  59. News in Brief (p 63)

Beyond Estelle: Medical Rights for Incarcerated Patients

by Greg Dober

Like most other individuals, prisoners sometimes need medical attention for ailments, injuries and diseases. However, there appears to be a misconception about prisoners’ medical rights among physicians, medical administrators, prison and jail staff, and law enforcement officials. This article will review some of the medical rights and ...

From the Editor

by Paul Wright

I am excited to report that The Habeas Citebook: Prosecutorial Misconduct, by former HRDC staff attorney Alissa Hull, is now available for purchase and shipping. Building on the success and popularity of The Habeas Citebook: Ineffective Assistance of Counsel,this book provides clear, concise information needed to ...

Alabama Prisoners Bring Awareness of Abusive Conditions Through Hunger Strikes

by Kevin Bliss

In March 2019, nine Alabama prisoners went on a hunger strike after being placed in solitary confinement without being given any reason other than “preventative measures.”

The prisoners, members of Convicts Against Violence or the Free Alabama Movement, were housed at the St. Clair Correctional Facility ...

Oregon Transgender Prisoner Must be Housed Alone or with Other Transgender or Non­Cisgender Prisoners

by Mark Wilson

An Oregon state court held on May 28, 2019 that prison officials were deliberately indifferent to a transgender prisoner’s physical safety when they failed to house her in a single cell or with other transgender or non-cisgender (gender non-conforming) cellmates.

Brandy Hall, 34, formerly known as Brandon ...

Behind Bars, Co-Pays Are a Barrier to Basic Health Care

by Victoria Law, Truthout

When Taylor Lytle began fainting every morning when she stood up, she had to make a decision: Should she seek medical care or should she save her hard-earned wages to buy soap, shampoo, deodorant and feminine hygiene products?

People across the United States struggle with similar ...

U.S. Department of Justice Plans to Ramp up Federal Death Penalty

by Chad Marks

Attorney General William P. Barr has paved the way to restart the “machinery of death,” in the words of former Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun, in the form of capital punishment on the federal level. In July 2019, Barr directed the Bureau of Prisons (BOP ...

Virginia Death Row Conditions Subjected Prisoners to Risk of Harm

by David M. Reutter

On May 3, 2019, the Fourth Cir­cuit Court of Appeals affirmed a district court’s order that found the conditions of confinement on Virginia’s death row violated the Eighth Amendment. The appellate court held the conditions that existed when the suit was filed created a “substantial risk” ...

Louisiana Prison Industry Program Puts Profits Before Prisoners

by Kevin Bliss

The Louisiana Department of Corrections’ (LDOC) prison industry program, Prison Enterprises (PE), was audited in May 2019. The resulting report found that the program still had some of the same issues with sustainability and inadequate training opportunities for prisoners as it did 20 years ago in its ...

Washington DOC Medical Director Fired for Negligence

by Dale Chappell

Washington Department of Corrections (DOC) medical director, Dr. Julia Barnett, was terminated on April 18, 2019 because she “failed to exercise sound clinical judgment and failed to provide adequate medical care” to prisoners at the Monroe Correctional Complex (MCC), resulting in the deaths of several prisoners.

Barnett ...

Louisiana Enters into Subscription Model Contract for HCV Treatment

by David M. Reutter

n June 2019, Louisiana officials entered into a contract that will allow prisoners and Medicaid patients to receive advanced medications to treat hepatitis C (HCV). The five-year contract with Asegua Therapies, a subsidiary of Gilead Sciences, aims to treat at least 31,000 of the state’s ...

Victim Notification Law Plagues Alabama’s Parole System

by Kevin Bliss

Admitting it is an “uncalled-for-situation,” Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Paroles (BPP) Director Charles Graddick announced on September 9, 2019 that all future parole hearings were being postponed in order to comply with a new law that took effect the first of that month. The law ...

HRDC Lawsuit Proceeds Over Care Provided to Florida Prisoner Who Starved to Death

by David M. Reutter

Florida federal district court has denied a motion to dismiss a civil rights action claiming that Florida Department of Corrections (FDOC) officials and the FDOC’s former medical services contractor, Corizon Health, deprived a mentally ill prisoner of care he needed to prevent him from starving to ...

How High-Priced Drugs Cripple Prison Health Care – and Reform

by Priti Krishtel, The Crime Report

In a deeply divided political electorate, prison reform is one of the few issues that attracts bipartisan support. Yet there’s something missing from the current conversation about criminal justice reform: the high cost of prescription drugs.

In 1976, a landmark Supreme Court case, Estelle ...

Appellate Court Holds Louisiana Prisoner’s Medical Malpractice Claim May Proceed

by David M. Reutter

Louisiana’s First Circuit Court of Appeal held on May 23, 2019 that a prisoner who filed grievances and a lawsuit concerning his medical treatment “exercised reasonable diligence to the best of his ability to determine if something was wrong with him.” Under the circumstances of ...

Eleventh Circuit: Tasing of Inert Detainee is Excessive Force

by David M. Reutter

On May 9, 2019, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals answered in the affirmative whether it is “excessive force to tase for a second time a man who, as a result of an initial shock, is lying motionless on the floor and has wet himself, and ...

Judge Orders Federal Prisoner with Cancer Released Due to Poor Medical Care

by Matt Clarke

In June 2019, a U.S. District Court ordered that a prisoner held at the Federal Correctional Institution in Aliceville, Alabama be released due to the poor medical care she received from the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) for invasive breast cancer.

In 2013, Angela Michelle Beck, 47 ...

Alaska Supreme Court Rules Against Muslim Prisoner on Correspondence Ban

by Ed Lyon

Unlike most state prison systems, Alaska’s Department of Corrections (DOC) usually allows prisoners to correspond by mail with prisoners in other units. In February 2014, prison officials adopted a policy that prohibited prisoners assigned to three units from sending letters to each other. The reason for the ...

Pennsylvania’s Buck County Liable for Illegally Disclosing Criminal Records

by David M. Reutter

A federal jury awarded $1,000 to each person who was subjected to a privacy violation due to Buck County’s willful violation of Pennsylvania’s Criminal History Record Information Act (CHRIA). Up to 66,799 people whose arrest information was posted online are eligible for inclusion in ...

Sex Offenders Excluded from Florida Shelters During Hurricane

by David M. Reutter

As Florida was preparing for Hurricane Dorian in August 2019, government officials told registered sex offenders to seek shelter in county jails. “It was such a traumatic experience to be incarcerated. I’m not going to subject myself to that voluntarily,” said a representative with the ...

Oregon Prisoner’s Use of Another Prisoner’s Phone PIN Constitutes Identity Theft

by Mark Wilson

The Oregon Court of Appeals held on March 13, 2019 that a prisoner was guilty of the crime of identity theft because he used the personal identification numbers (PINs) of two other prisoners to access a jail telephone.

Michael Steven Connolly was confined at the Multnomah County ...

Fifth Circuit Terminates Consent Decree for Muslim Services in Texas Prisons

by Matt Clarke

On July 2, 2019, a strongly divided three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals issued an opinion terminating the consent decree in Brown v. Collier, which allowed Muslim prisoners in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) to hold religious services without direct supervision when ...

Conditions Lawsuit Against Indiana County Jail Certified as a Class Action

by Kevin Bliss

An Indiana federal district court held that a former jail detainee, Adam Bell, had presented sufficient evidence to allow certification of a class comprised of all persons currently confined, and who will be confined in the future, at the Henry County Jail. The ruling came in a ...

Prison’s Refusal to Allow Wiccan Services Must be Reviewed for Compelling Governmental Interest

by Kevin Bliss

Mario Sentelle Cavin, incarcerated at the Macomb Correctional Facility in Michigan, filed an appeal in the Sixth Circuit after a federal district court ruled that his religious freedoms had not been violated when the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) refused to allow him communal worship for Wiccan ...

Whistleblower Lawsuit Exposes Violence, Cover-ups at Rikers Island Jail

by Dale Chappell

A former guard at the Rikers Island jail complex in New York City has filed a lawsuit in state court exposing misconduct and cover-ups by staff. A subsequent report by the city’s Department of Investigation (DOI) confirmed evidence of cover-ups of over a thousand prisoner fights in ...

Muslim Civil Rights Group Files Discrimination Suit Over Virginia Jail’s “God Pod”

by Matt Clarke

In November 2018, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) filed a federal civil rights lawsuit on behalf of four Muslim prisoners at the Riverside Regional Jail in North Prince George, Virginia.

The complaint alleged that Riverside officials, including the jail’s superintendent, senior chaplain, food services supervisor, security ...

Missouri Jury Awards $113.7 Million to Prison Guards Required to Work Without Pay

by Matt Clarke

On September 14, 2018, a Missouri state court issued an amended final judgment in a class-action lawsuit brought by Missouri Department of Corrections (DOC) guards who alleged they were required to work without compensation before and after each shift. The judgment included a jury award of $113 ...

New York: Prisoners Have No Expectation to Privacy During Jail Phone Calls

by Chad Marks

In 2012, Emmanuel Diaz found himself in the custody of the New York City Department of Correction (DOC). While housed at the Rikers Island jail complex on multiple counts of burglary and robbery, he made nearly 1,100 phone calls. During some of the calls he made ...

Court Declines to Seal Records in Michigan Prisoner’s Excessive Force Case

by David M. Reutter

A Michigan federal district court initially held that a prisoner’s allegation that a guard’s use of a Taser constituted excessive force stated a viable claim. The court also denied the defendants’ motion to seal evidence in the case, though the suit was later dismissed.

Prisoner Gregory ...

Ex-Offenders Work for Organization that Repairs and Sells Vehicles at Low Cost

by Douglas Ankney

In 1999, Marty Schwartz started Vehicles for Change (VFC) – a nonprofit that repairs donated vehicles and sells them to low-income families for $700 to $850. The charity provides reliable vehicles to solve “the No. 1 barrier for employment for low-income residents – which is [lack of ...

Why Not Let Prisoners Vote While Incarcerated?

by Bill Barton

During an Iowa event in March 2019, U.S. Senator and presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren spoke about felon disenfranchisement, saying that while giving former felons the right to vote is the correct thing to do, extending that right to prisoners is “something that we could have more ...

Nevada Supreme Court Reverses Dismissal of Prisoner’s Native American Religion Suit

by Matt Clarke

On May 10, 2019, the Nevada Supreme Court reversed a summary judgment order dismissing a prisoner’s claim that requiring him to prove tribal affiliation or otherwise demonstrate Native American association or ethnicity before he could participate in Native American sweat lodge and sacred pipe ceremonies violated his ...

New Jersey: Appellate Court Shoots Down $7.5 Million Verdict in Prison Whistleblower Case

by Chad Marks

Lisa R. Easley was a longtime New Jersey prison employee. She began her career in February 1996 as a prison guard, and by 2009, after forking over some bribes, became an assistant superintendent.

The pay-for-play scheme within the New Jersey Department of Corrections began after Easley met ...

Seventh Circuit: Non-Medical Prison Staff Entitled to Qualified Immunity

by Douglas Ankney

On August 1, 2019, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals held that non-medical correctional staff were entitled to qualified immunity in a lawsuit alleging they had failed to provide a medical accommodation to a prisoner that had neither been ordered by the medical department nor was obvious ...

$3.1 Million Settlement for Washington Jail Detainee’s Death

“Will You Get Back Up?”

by Douglas Ankney

In November 2017, Piper Travis was arrested for failure to appear on two misdemeanor counts of stealing a TV and a $3.48 bag of Easter candy from a Walmart in Washington state. On November 20 the 34-year-old from Whidbey Island ...

Pattern of Abuse and Mismanagement at North Carolina Jail

by David M. Reutter

The sheriff’s office in Cherokee County, North Carolina lost five veteran deputies to abrupt firings and resignations in just two months following an October 2018 news report that described allegations of staged fights between prisoners in a crude form of “jailhouse justice.” In December, two ...

No Fourth Amendment Violation for Abusive Group Strip Search of Female Prisoners

by Ed Lyon

On July 16, 2019, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, in a two-to-one ruling, affirmed a district court’s dismissal of a Fourth Amendment claim prior to a jury trial, at which the jury found for the defendant prison officials on an Eighth Amendment claim.

The facts of ...

Missouri Sheriff Tells Judge that County Won’t Pay for Prisoners’ Food, Medical Care

by Bill Barton

In April 2019, Clay County Sheriff Paul Vescovo sued the Missouri county’s three-member commission, claiming that it slashed his operating budget by over 40 percent “in retaliation for a criminal referral made two years ago.”

That referral involved assistant county administrator Laurie Portwood, who was accused ...

Three Deaths in Three Days at Illinois Prison Spur Calls for Greater Transparency

by Chad Marks

In September 2018, three prisoners died on three consecutive days at the Menard Correctional Center in Illinois. Kevin Curtis, 31, who was on suicide watch, died on September 5. The next day, Edwin Freeman, 45, also on suicide watch, was found unresponsive in his cell and taken ...

Seventh Circuit: Failure to Provide Medical Accommodation is Deliberate Indifference

by Kevin Bliss

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals held in a June 26, 2019 ruling that sufficient evidence existed for a reasonable juror to conclude that prisoner LeRoy Palmer’s congenital deformity constituted a serious medical condition, and that a prison medical employee’s knowledge of the heightened risk of harm ...

West Virginia Regional Jails Entitled to Sovereign Immunity

by David M. Reutter

In May 2019, a circuit court held the West Virginia Regional Jail and Correctional Facility Authority was entitled to sovereign immunity in a lawsuit seeking payment for prisoner medical bills.

The suit was brought by Cabell Huntington Hospital to recover $168,985.65 for medical care ...

Allegheny County Settles Three Lawsuits Over Medical Care at County Jail

by Dale Chappell

Allegheny County, Pennsylvania has settled a lawsuit over lack of adequate care by Corizon Health, the medical contractor at the county’s jail, for failing to feed a prisoner, which led him to go into cardiac arrest, according to court records.

The prisoner, Christopher Wallace, was arrested on ...

Man Mistakenly Released 13 Years Ago Won’t Have to Return to Prison

by Douglas Ankney

Connecticut man arrested for his unintentional failure to serve a 13-year-old federal prison sentence was released from custody in March 2019.

Philadelphia native Demetrius Anderson had not only remained free for those 13 years after completing his sentence at a Connecticut state prison in 2006, he also ...

Maryland: Parole Changes Needed for Life-Sentenced Prisoners

by Chad Marks

In Maryland, prisoners sentenced to life with the possibility of parole must serve 15 years before they can be considered for release. After serving the minimum 15-year term, they have an initial hearing before two commissioners. Once passing that hurdle, they are scheduled for a risk assessment ...

Study Finds that War on Drugs Kept Black Men from Higher Education

by Scott Grammer

In April 2019 study by Universityof California, Berkeley professor Tolani Britton established a link between the so-called “War On Drugs,” embodied in the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986, and college enrollment by black men. Her research found that despite the fact that college enrollment for black ...

Arizona Court Grants Partial Summary Judgment to PLN in Censorship Suit

by Matt Clarke

On March 18, 2019, an Arizona federal district court granted in part a motion for summary judgment filed by Prison Legal News in a lawsuit over censorship by the Arizona Department of Corrections (ADC). The court ruled that the ADC had violated PLN’s due process rights ...

Usual Cruelty: The Complicity of Lawyers in the Criminal Injustice System, by Alec Karakatsanis

 

(The New Press, Oct. 2019). 208 pages. $24.99 hardcover

Book review by Sam Feldman

Over 2.2 million people in America are being held in cages by the government, and Alec Karakatsanis’ new book demands that we ask why. Karakatsanis, a civil rights attorney and executive director of ...

South Carolina: Lawsuit Alleges Medical Staff, Guards Negligent in Baby’s Death

by Bill Barton

Sinetra Geter Johnson discovered she was pregnant just two days before she was required to report to prison on a parole violation. In October 2012, she began serving a two-year sentence at the Camille Graham Correctional Institution in Columbia, South Carolina. Twenty-four years old at the time ...

Washington State Settles Suit Over 15-Hour-a-Day Lockdown of Mentally Ill Prisoners

by Matt Clarke

In June 2019, Washington State officials settled a lawsuit over conditions of confinement for mentally ill prisoners at the Washington State Penitentiary (WSP), by agreeing to improve their living conditions. The settlement will end mandatory 15-hour-per-day lockdowns of prisoners with mental health issues, regardless of their custody ...

Florida Supreme Court Issues Death Penalty Rulings

by Ed Lyon

The final two weeks of 2018 were extremely busy for Florida’s Supreme Court with respect to capital punishment jurisprudence.

Florida codefendants Gerald Murray and Steven Taylor were convicted in separate trials for capital murder and sentenced to die by nonunanimous jury verdicts in the 1990s. Taylor’s case ...

Compassionate Releases Needed for an Aging Prisoner Population

by Ed Lyon

From 2007 to 2016, New York’s prison population dropped by 17 percent, mainly due to efforts to divert low-level, first-time offenders into alternatives to incarceration. But during that same period the state’s number of elderly prisoners increased 46 percent. New York’s 10,337 elderly prisoners now represent ...

Department of Justice Report Shows Small Decrease in U.S. Prison Population

by Scott Grammer

A report by Jennifer Bronson, Ph.D. and E. Ann Carson, Ph.D., released by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) in April 2019, found that at the end of 2017, the state and federal prison population had decreased by 1.2 ...

Court Orders Changes to Alabama Prison System After 15 Suicides; Feds Threaten Suit

by Scott Grammer

A May 4, 2019 federal district court order in a five-year-old lawsuit over inadequate mental health care and a resultant high suicide rate in Alabama’s prison system was entered “in the wake of 15 inmate suicides in a 15-month period.”

The order stated that the Alabama ...

Federal Prisoner Challenges Constitutionality of Death Penalty; Gets Plea Deal for Life Without Parole

by Matt Clarke

On September 28, 2018, a Vermont federal judge approved a plea bargain to grant life without parole to a death-sentenced federal prisoner who had challenged the constitutionality of the death penalty in post-conviction proceedings.

Donald Fell was convicted of the interstate kidnapping and murder of Teresca King ...

Organization Connected to Missouri Prison Director Gets No-Bid Contract

by Scott Grammer

Staffing shortages in the Missouri Department of Corrections (MDOC) have been problematic for a number of years, due in part to a high turnover rate fueled by the fact that MDOC employees are among the lowest-paid in the nation, with salaries starting at $28,000 per year ...

$860,000 Settlement in Suit Over Michigan Female Prisoner’s Suicide

by David M. Reutter

The Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) agreed to pay $860,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by the estate of a female prisoner who hanged herself after a guard placed a bet on whether she would become suicidal.

Janika Edmond, 25, had a documented history of ...

$8,500 Settlement in Allegheny County Jail Sexual Harassment Suit

by David M. Reutter

Officials in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania paid $8,500 to settle a sexual harassment claim brought by a former female guard.

Tanisha Ramsey started working at the Allegheny County Jail on June 30, 2015. While being trained, she “began to be subjected to unwelcome sexual harassment from ...

The Cost of Prison Censorship: Florida Taxpayers to Pay $1.2 Million in HRDC Case

On October 22, 2019, a federal district court in Tallahassee awarded almost $1.2 million in attorneys’ fees and costs in a censorship lawsuit against the Florida Department of Corrections (FDOC).

The suit, filed in 2011 by Prison Legal News, a project of the non-profit Human Rights Defense Center (HRDC ...

NBC Sends Anchorman Lester Holt to Prison as Part of its “Justice for All” Series

by Chad Marks

NBC anchorman Lester Holt has been to many prisons as part of his news reporting. But he had never slept in a locked cell for a few nights – until he went to the infamous Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola in April 2019.

Holt said he and ...

News in Brief

Alabama: In September 2018, Grantt Culliver, then-Associate Commissioner for Operations for the Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC), was placed “on leave” after misconduct allegations surfaced. “Your absence from work is deemed to be in the best interest of the department due to the nature of the allegations against you,” ...