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Prisoner Education Guide

Prison Legal News: March, 2019

Issue PDF
Volume 30, Number 3

In this issue:

  1. The Kill Line (p 1)
  2. Seventh Circuit Reverses Dismissal of Juvenile Prisoners’ Civil Rights Case (p 7)
  3. From the Editor (p 8)
  4. Texas Accounts for Over Ten Percent of Nation’s Jail Deaths (p 10)
  5. U.S. Marshals Report: Ohio County Jail “One of the Worst in the Country” (p 12)
  6. Without Interpreters, California’s Deaf Prisoners are Getting Stuck Behind Bars (p 14)
  7. Since 1996, U.S. Agriculture Department Gave Over $277 Million to Fund Local Jail Construction (p 16)
  8. Sixth Circuit Reverses Injunction Against Delousing and Group Strip Searches at Ohio Jail (p 19)
  9. Missouri Prisoner Awarded $111,000 in Second-Hand Smoke Case, DOC Bans Smoking (p 20)
  10. New Sheriff Ends Juvenile Solitary Confinement at North Carolina Jail (p 20)
  11. Eighth Circuit Finds Verified Complaint Defeats Summary Judgment Motion in Failure-to-Protect Case (p 22)
  12. Philadelphia Robbing the Poor Through Civil Forfeiture (p 22)
  13. County Detainees Protest Food Served at New Hampshire Jail (p 23)
  14. Fifth Circuit Holds Magistrate Judge Has No Authority to Deem Motion for Reconsideration Withdrawn (p 25)
  15. Washington County, School District Pay $265,000 for Holding Juveniles in Solitary (p 26)
  16. Report Shows 50 New York Prisoners Died from Inadequate Medical Care in Last Five Years (p 26)
  17. $100,000 Settlement for Preventable Suicide in Virginia Department of Corrections (p 28)
  18. In Memoriam: Jane Kahn (1954-2018) (p 28)
  19. Alabama Prison Warden Lacks Authority to Make End-of-Life Decisions for Prisoners (p 29)
  20. Eighteen Years After its Passage, Prisons and Jails Continue to Violate RLUIPA (p 30)
  21. Israeli Supreme Court Orders Increased Personal Space for Prisoners (p 31)
  22. JP Morgan Chase Bank Used Secretive Bonds to Finance Kansas Prison Construction (p 32)
  23. Idaho Supreme Court Vacates Conviction After D.A. Seizes Jailed Defendant’s Legal Notes (p 33)
  24. Illinois DOC Permanently Enjoined From Neglecting Prisoners’ Mental Health (p 34)
  25. Santa Clara County Settles Lawsuit, Makes Jails Handicapped Accessible (p 34)
  26. Connecticut Prisoner Survives DOC’s Summary Judgment Motion in Mental Health Suit (p 36)
  27. Seventh Circuit Excuses Exhaustion Requirement for Spanish-Speaking Prisoner (p 36)
  28. Free Phone Calls for Juvenile Offenders Jailed in Memphis, Tennessee (p 38)
  29. Indiana Prisoners Win Partial Summary Judgment in Jail Conditions Case (p 38)
  30. Report Released on Deaths in Utah Prisons and Jails (p 40)
  31. HRDC Settles Lawsuit Against Mississippi Jail that Only Allowed Religious Reading Materials (p 40)
  32. Ohio Governor Commutes Death Sentences, Grants Reprieves for Another (p 42)
  33. Two Transgender Prisoners Transferred to Women’s Prison (p 42)
  34. Counties Modify, Cancel Contracts for Privately Operated Immigration Detention Centers (p 44)
  35. Female Prisoner Wore Wire to Take Down Rikers Island Guards, Wins $425,000 Settlement (p 44)
  36. No Summary Judgment for Jail’s Denial of Mental Health Treatment; $150,000 Settlement (p 46)
  37. Closed Since 2013, Tamms Prison Now “Rampant” with Mold (p 46)
  38. Alaska Disciplinary Order Vacated for Violating Wolff’s Statement of Reasons Requirement (p 48)
  39. Tenth Circuit: Qualified Immunity Defeats 22-Year Solitary Confinement Claims (p 48)
  40. Federal Court Certifies Class in Ohio County Jail Debit Card Case (p 49)
  41. Seventh Circuit Vacates, Remands Punitive Damages Award Against Wexford (p 49)
  42. $150,000 Settlement after Michigan DOC Discriminates Against HIV Positive Prisoner (p 50)
  43. Wisconsin Federal Court Denies New Trial, Grants Attorney Fees in Sexual Abuse Case (p 51)
  44. Arkansas DOC Director’s Sole Discretion to Determine Competency for Execution Violates Due Process (p 51)
  45. LA County Jail Guards’ Conviction for Assaulting Visitor Upheld (p 52)
  46. Grandmother Arrested and Mocked by Federal Agents Awarded $55,000 Settlement (p 53)
  47. California Prison Psychologist Blows Whistle on LGBTQ Harassment, Settles Lawsuit for Retaliation (p 54)
  48. Voters Consider Criminal Justice-Related Issues in Midterm Elections (p 54)
  49. North Carolina Prison Guard Sues Over Religious Discrimination (p 55)
  50. Long-Term Illinois Prisoners Rarely Released by State Parole Board (p 56)
  51. Reports Cite Poor Leadership in U.S. Marshals Service (p 56)
  52. Prisoner Who Inspired First Step Act Is First Released (p 57)
  53. New York Criminal Defense Attorney Charged with Federal Crimes (p 58)
  54. Settlement in Lawsuit Against Missouri DOC’s Selection of Execution Witnesses (p 58)
  55. Colorado Voters Approve Constitutional Amendment Abolishing Prison Slavery (p 59)
  56. Maine Prisoner’s Challenge to Confiscation of Funds States Declaratory Judgment Claim (p 59)
  57. Kentucky Jailer Gets New Trial in Beating of Pretrial Detainee (p 60)
  58. CoreCivic Bilked Rural Oklahoma Town, Forced to Pay Back Money in Lawsuit (p 60)
  59. “Prisoner of Weed” Released, Sets Sights on Criminal Justice Reform (p 61)
  60. Hedge Fund Pumps More Money into Corizon Health (p 61)
  61. Fourth Circuit: BOP Must Consider State Court’s Designation to Serve Concurrent Federal Sentence (p 62)
  62. Executive Order Prompts BOP to Expand Prison Apprenticeship Programs (p 62)
  63. News in Brief (p 63)

The Kill Line

Should Prisons be in Business with One of the Most Dangerous Industries in America?

by Will Tucker, Southern Poverty Law Center

Frank Dwayne Ellington set out toward Ashland, Alabama on October 29, 2017, headed to the only place he could go: to work. He rode through a region ...

Seventh Circuit Reverses Dismissal of Juvenile Prisoners’ Civil Rights Case

by Derek Gilna

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed the dismissal of a federal civil rights lawsuit filed by two Iowa girls who alleged they were mistreated at the Wisconsin Girls State Training School at Copper Lake. After their placement in that out-of-state facility in 2015, they said ...

From the Editor

by Paul Wright

This month’s cover story reports on the long-familiar use of prison slave labor to perform dangerous, dirty work that few others in the U.S. are willing to do – and for slave wages at that. Ironically, with the current political attacks on undocumented immigrants who normally ...

Texas Accounts for Over Ten Percent of Nation’s Jail Deaths

by Matt Clarke

There are over 1,000 prisoner deaths each year in U.S. jails, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, and one of every ten occurs in Texas. Over the nine-month period between October 1, 2017 and July 1, 2018, some 80 prisoners died in Texas ...

U.S. Marshals Report: Ohio County Jail “One of the Worst in the Country”

by Matt Clarke 

One week after the release of a report by the U.S. Marshals Service on November 21, 2018, which described Ohio’s Cuyahoga County jail system as “one of the worst in the country,” jail administrator Ken Mills resigned. Citing the report’s findings, seven prisoners at ...

Without Interpreters, California’s Deaf Prisoners are Getting Stuck Behind Bars

“It’s the utmost violation of due process I can think of.”

by Samantha Michaels, Mother Jones

In 2016, a prisoner in Corcoran, California faced a dilemma. The parole board wanted to know whether he’d completed any self-help programs during his incarceration, a sign that he’d been rehabilitated and ...

Since 1996, U.S. Agriculture Department Gave Over $277 Million to Fund Local Jail Construction

by Brian Sonenstein, Shadowproof

The United States Department of Agriculture provided over $277 million in funding for county jail construction since 1996, according to documents obtained by Shadowproof.

The funding came in the form of grants and long-term low-interest loans through the Community Facilities Direct Loan and Grant Program run ...

Sixth Circuit Reverses Injunction Against Delousing and Group Strip Searches at Ohio Jail

by Derek Gilna

On November 2, 2018, the Sixth Circuit reversed a permanent injunction and summary judgment order entered by a federal district court in a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action filed by former prisoner Tynisa Williams against the City of Cleveland, challenging group strip searches and mandatory ...

Missouri Prisoner Awarded $111,000 in Second-Hand Smoke Case, DOC Bans Smoking

by Derek Gilna

Ecclesiastical Denzel Washington, a former death row prisoner who is now serving a life sentence, won a jury verdict against the Missouri Department of Corrections (DOC) and various prison officials totaling $111,000. Following the April 2017 verdict, Washington negotiated a settlement banning the sale and ...

New Sheriff Ends Juvenile Solitary Confinement at North Carolina Jail

by Kevin W. Bliss

Elected in May 2018 and sworn in seven months later, Mecklenburg County, North Carolina Sheriff Garry McFadden has already made good on campaign promises to restore in-person visits at the local jail and to withdraw the county from the 287(g) program, which included running prisoners’ ...

Eighth Circuit Finds Verified Complaint Defeats Summary Judgment Motion in Failure-to-Protect Case

by Matt Clarke

On August 20, 2018, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected an appeal filed by officials at the Northeast Arkansas Community Corrections Center (NEACCC) in a lawsuit alleging they had failed to protect a prisoner from being physically and sexually harassed, threatened and assaulted, and instead punished ...

Philadelphia Robbing the Poor Through Civil Forfeiture

by Ed Lyon 

In just the four zip codes of Philadelphia’s Kensington neighborhood, whose mainly black and Hispanic residents suffer high rates of poverty, civil asset forfeiture (CAF) proceedings netted 1,682 properties that were seized and sold by the District Attorney’s office between 1993 and 2018 ...

County Detainees Protest Food Served at New Hampshire Jail

by Kevin W. Bliss

In mid-2018, prisoners at the Bristol County House of Correction (HOC) in Massachusetts participated in a hunger strike to protest inadequate food and medical care. Sheriff Thomas M. Hodgson said those were the same complaints prisoners have always made, which were without merit. He blamed outside ...

Fifth Circuit Holds Magistrate Judge Has No Authority to Deem Motion for Reconsideration Withdrawn

by Matt Clarke

On August 21, 2018, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals held that a federal magistrate judge had no authority to sua sponte deem a motion for reconsideration withdrawn in a pro se civil rights complaint. 

Former Texas state prisoner Eric Lawson filed suit pursuant to 42 ...

Washington County, School District Pay $265,000 for Holding Juveniles in Solitary

by Dale Chappell

In August 2018, King County, Washington agreed to pay $240,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by four juveniles who were placed in solitary confinement at the county’s Regional Justice Center (RJC) in Kent. The settlement includes policy changes to ensure juvenile offenders are not held in ...

Report Shows 50 New York Prisoners Died from Inadequate Medical Care in Last Five Years

by Dale Chappell

A 2018 report by a New York State medical review board charged with reviewing prisoner deaths determined that at least 50 state prisoners had died within the past five years due to insufficient medical care. The board concluded that the deaths could have been prevented with simple ...

$100,000 Settlement for Preventable Suicide in Virginia Department of Corrections

by Kevin W. Bliss

Dai’yaan Qamar Longmire, a 19-year-old from Virginia Beach, was serving a four-year sentence at the Indian Creek Correctional Center (ICCC) in 2014 when he committed suicide in his cell using a sheet tied to a ceiling vent.

Represented by Michael Hill, Longmire’s mother filed ...

In Memoriam: Jane Kahn (1954-2018)

by Paul Wright

For the past 15 years, the San Francisco law firm of Rosen Bien Galvan & Grunfeld LLP has represented Prison Legal News and its parent organization, the Human Rights Defense Center, in censorship and public records cases in California, Nevada and Arizona, and co-counseled other cases with ...

Alabama Prison Warden Lacks Authority to Make End-of-Life Decisions for Prisoners

The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals held on October 2, 2018 that an Alabama prison warden was not entitled to qualified immunity because his actions of requesting a do-not-resuscitate (DNR) order and decision to remove a prisoner from life support did not fall within the scope of his discretionary ...

Eighteen Years After its Passage, Prisons and Jails Continue to Violate RLUIPA

by Derek Gilna

After decades of complaints by prisoners that corrections officials frequently denied them the right to practice their religion, Congress took action and passed the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), codified at 42 U.S.C. § 2000cc.

According to the U.S. Department of ...

Israeli Supreme Court Orders Increased Personal Space for Prisoners

by Monte McCoin 

Researcher Lila Margalit, with the Israel Democracy Institute’s Amnon Lipkin-Shahak Center for Security and Democracy, published a blog entry on June 7, 2018 that detailed a landmark 2017 judgment entered by the Israeli Supreme Court. The decision established a minimum area of personal space for ...

JP Morgan Chase Bank Used Secretive Bonds to Finance Kansas Prison Construction

by Matt Clarke

Recently discovered evidence in a Thomson Reuters database revealed that, in June 2018, JP Morgan Chase Bank (JPMC) underwrote a $159.5 million bond to finance private prison operator CoreCivic’s construction of a 2,432-bed facility in Kansas. JPMC was already the largest debt holder for ...

Idaho Supreme Court Vacates Conviction After D.A. Seizes Jailed Defendant’s Legal Notes

by Matt Clarke 

On November 30, 2018, in a substitute opinion, the Supreme Court of Idaho held that a trial court erred when it required a defendant to show he was prejudiced when the prosecution introduced evidence obtained from the seizure of notes from the defendant’s jail cell that ...

Illinois DOC Permanently Enjoined From Neglecting Prisoners’ Mental Health

by Derek Gilna

On October 30, 2018, a federal judge entered a permanent injunction that enjoined the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) from violating the Eighth Amendment and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) with respect to mental health care.

In issuing the injunction, the district court found the IDOC had ...

Santa Clara County Settles Lawsuit, Makes Jails Handicapped Accessible

by Steve Horn

In November 2018, the parties in a class-action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California agreed to settle the case in the form of a consent decree. The suit centered around issues of accessibility for handicapped prisoners in Santa Clara County’s ...

Connecticut Prisoner Survives DOC’s Summary Judgment Motion in Mental Health Suit

by Ed Lyon 

Raudell Mercado initially entered the Connecticut Department of Correction (DOC) in 2013 as a youthful offender at the Manson Youth Institution. In March 2015, he was formally admitted to the DOC as a pre-trial detainee; soon afterward he was transferred to the Cheshire Correctional Institution ...

Seventh Circuit Excuses Exhaustion Requirement for Spanish-Speaking Prisoner

by Derek Gilna

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed the dismissal of an Illinois state prisoner’s 42 U.S.C. § 1983 suit for failure to exhaust administrative remedies as required by the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), based on the fact that as a Spanish-speaker he did ...

Free Phone Calls for Juvenile Offenders Jailed in Memphis, Tennessee

by Kevin Bliss

In November 2018, Shelby County, Tennessee – which includes the City of Memphis – renegotiated its contract with Global Tel*Link (GTL), the phone service provider for around 5,000 prisoners at the county’s four detention facilities. The new contract eliminates charges for all calls between juvenile ...

Indiana Prisoners Win Partial Summary Judgment in Jail Conditions Case

by Ed Lyon 

The Vigo County jail in Terre Haute, Indiana has a well-documented history of constitutional violations. In 2002, the county entered into a consent decree to cap the jail’s population at no more than 268 prisoners, among other relief resulting from a federal class-action lawsuit.  ...

Report Released on Deaths in Utah Prisons and Jails

by Ed Lyon 

A new law in Utah requires information about deaths in both the state’s prisons and local jails to be reported annually. The first death in custody report, released last November, revealed that around half of all prisoner deaths are suicides and that most jail deaths occur ...

HRDC Settles Lawsuit Against Mississippi Jail that Only Allowed Religious Reading Materials

On October 24, 2018, the Human Rights Defense Center – the parent organization of Prison Legal News – and the Mississippi Center for Justice filed suit on behalf of HRDC in federal court against Forrest County, Sheriff Billy McGee and employees at the Forrest County jail. The complaint noted that ...

Ohio Governor Commutes Death Sentences, Grants Reprieves for Another

by Ed Lyon

As a child, Raymond Tibbetts lived a life straight out of a movie – a horror movie. He and his brothers were bounced from one foster home to another. Along their journey to adulthood, they found themselves being tied to their beds, burned, beaten, thrown down flights ...

Two Transgender Prisoners Transferred to Women’s Prison

by Matt Clarke  

In a rare move, in December 2018 the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) transferred a pre-operative male-to-female transgender prisoner from a men’s prison to a women’s facility in order to conform with the prisoner’s gender identity. A similar, equally rare move was made by Massachusetts prison ...

Counties Modify, Cancel Contracts for Privately Operated Immigration Detention Centers

by Matt Clarke 

Using a type of contract known as an Intergovernmental Service Agreement (ISA), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has partnered with local governments to place immigrant detainees in unused jail beds or detention centers built specifically for that purpose, creating a network of facilities that are often ...

Female Prisoner Wore Wire to Take Down Rikers Island Guards, Wins $425,000 Settlement

by Rick Anderson

A female prisoner in New York who wore a wire to help bust three Rikers Island jailers who sexually abused her has received a $425,000 settlement from the city. 

The trio of guards – David Johnson, Steven Santiago and Nana Osei – reportedly abused prisoner ...

No Summary Judgment for Jail’s Denial of Mental Health Treatment; $150,000 Settlement

by Mark Wilson

On June 8, 2018, an Oregon fed-eral district court denied a summary judgment motion filed by jail officials, concluding that a reasonable jury could find a psychotic detainee’s 16-day confinement without treatment constituted deliberate indifference to his serious medical condition. 

The Lane County Sheriff’s ...

Closed Since 2013, Tamms Prison Now “Rampant” with Mold

by Matt Clarke

As previously reported in PLN, the Illinois Department of Corrections (DOC) closed the Tamms Correctional Center as part of a cost-cutting consolidation of state prisons pushed by then-Governor Pat Quinn in 2013. [See: PLN, June 2013, p.1].

Since then the supermax facility has remained vacant, unventilated ...

Alaska Disciplinary Order Vacated for Violating Wolff’s Statement of Reasons Requirement

by Mark Wilson

In an August 31, 2018 ruling, the Alaska Supreme Court held that a prison disciplinary order stating only that the prisoner was “guilty” violated his due process rights. 

In 1974, the U.S. Supreme Court held that due process requires prison disciplinary factfinders to produce “a ...

Tenth Circuit: Qualified Immunity Defeats 22-Year Solitary Confinement Claims

by Mark Wilson

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit held on August 29, 2018 that prison officials were entitled to qualified immunity in a lawsuit challenging a prisoner’s 22 years in solitary confinement. 

Kansas prisoner Richard Grissom was placed in solitary on August 4, 1996 ...

Federal Court Certifies Class in Ohio County Jail Debit Card Case

by Chad Marks

On November 16, 2018, a federal judge in the Northern District of Ohio granted a motion for class certification in a case where jail staff were accused of issuing unsolicited fee-laden debit cards to prisoners upon their release.

Amber Humphrey was arrested in September 2017. At the ...

Seventh Circuit Vacates, Remands Punitive Damages Award Against Wexford

by Derek Gilna

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has remanded a prisoner’s lawsuit against Wexford Health Sources, Inc., the healthcare provider for Illinois’ Department of Corrections, for either a reduced punitive damages award or a new trial on the issue of damages. 

After experiencing ankle pain in 2010 ...

$150,000 Settlement after Michigan DOC Discriminates Against HIV Positive Prisoner

by Kevin Bliss

John Dorn sued the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) for subjecting him to harsher disciplinary penalties than other prisoners simply because he was HIV positive. 

Represented by attorneys Chris E. Davis and Mark A. Cody from Michigan Protection and Advocacy Service, Inc. and Kyle A. Palazzolo ...

Wisconsin Federal Court Denies New Trial, Grants Attorney Fees in Sexual Abuse Case

In addition to ruling on a motion for judgment as a matter of law filed by the defendants, a Wisconsin federal district court granted attorney fees and costs totaling $539,822.62. The ruling followed a jury verdict against jailer Darryl L. Christensen and Polk County that involved two prisoners ...

Arkansas DOC Director’s Sole Discretion to Determine Competency for Execution Violates Due Process

by Mark Wilson

The Arkansas Supreme Court held that a state law granting the corrections director sole discretion to determine if a prisoner is competent to be executed violates state and federal due process protections.

Only the governor, the Department of Correction’s director and the clerk of the state Supreme ...

LA County Jail Guards’ Conviction for Assaulting Visitor Upheld

by David Reutter

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed the convictions of three guards who assaulted a handcuffed visitor at the Los Angeles County Men’s Central Jail in February 2011.

Gabriel Moses Carrillo and his girlfriend, Griselda Torres, were visiting Carrillo’s brother at the facility. Deputy Pantamir ...

Grandmother Arrested and Mocked by Federal Agents Awarded $55,000 Settlement

by Chad Marks

Guadalupe Robles Plascencia became a naturalized U.S. citizen in May 1998, and San Bernardino, California has been her home for nearly 40 years. It’s where she raised her five children. It also is the place where she and one of her daughters opened their own business ...

California Prison Psychologist Blows Whistle on LGBTQ Harassment, Settles Lawsuit for Retaliation

by Dale Chappell

A prison psychologist who filed a complaint under the California Whistleblower Protection Act alleging blatant abuse by state prison guards against LGBTQ prisoners has agreed to settle her lawsuit and resign.

Dr. Lori Jespersen, who had worked for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) since ...

Voters Consider Criminal Justice-Related Issues in Midterm Elections

by Steve Horn

The November 6, 2018 midterm elections saw a slew of criminal justice-related issues on the ballot in jurisdictions across the country. 

In states ranging from Florida, Ohio and Colorado to Louisiana and Michigan, various criminal justice-oriented measures went up for a vote. The most prominent ...

North Carolina Prison Guard Sues Over Religious Discrimination

by Monte McCoin

As PLN has reported numerous times, before the Supreme Court’s ruling in Holt v. Hobbs, 135 S.Ct. 853 (2015) [PLN, Aug. 2015, p.50], Muslim prisoners were routinely denied their right to grow a beard as required by the tenets of their faith. [See, e.g ...

Long-Term Illinois Prisoners Rarely Released by State Parole Board

by Rick Anderson

The more a certain group of Illinois prisoners age behind bars, the less likely they are to be released, according to a study released last year by the non-partisan, not-for-profit group Injustice Watch.

The study, using Prisoner Review Board records and other documents, revealed that several board ...

Reports Cite Poor Leadership in U.S. Marshals Service

by Ed Lyon

For aficionados of “U.S. Marshals” and “The Fugitive,” movies staring Tommy Lee Jones, it may come as a shock that art comes nowhere near to a true imitation of life. That was painfully evident in a 20-page memorandum released by the U.S. Senate Judiciary ...

Prisoner Who Inspired First Step Act Is First Released

by Kevin W. Bliss

Federal prisoner Matthew Charles, 52, was released in January 2019 after serving over 21 years of his 35-year sentence for selling crack cocaine in 1996. He was one of the catalysts for, and the first beneficiary of, the First Step Act which was recently signed into ...

New York Criminal Defense Attorney Charged with Federal Crimes

by Chad Marks

Scott Brettschneider, 61, a criminal defense attorney from Queens, New York known by many as “Mighty Whitey,” was arrested on March 26, 2018 in connection with accusations that he falsified documents to get one of his clients an early release from prison. He and ...

Settlement in Lawsuit Against Missouri DOC’s Selection of Execution Witnesses

by Kevin Bliss

Christopher McDaniel, an investigative journalist for BuzzFeed News, sued the director of the Missouri Department of Corrections (DOC) for maintaining a policy of selecting witnesses for executions that constructively denied applicants based on their viewpoints. 

Represented by ACLU of Missouri legal director Anthony Rothert ...

Colorado Voters Approve Constitutional Amendment Abolishing Prison Slavery

by Matt Clarke 

The second time was the charm. On November 6, 2018, Colorado voters overwhelmingly approved an amendment to the state’s constitution that abolished all forms of slavery and involuntary servitude, after rejecting a similar ballot measure in 2016. [See: PLN, Dec. 2018, p.48; Nov. 2017 ...

Maine Prisoner’s Challenge to Confiscation of Funds States Declaratory Judgment Claim

by David Reutter

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court held on October 16, 2018 that a trial court erred by dismissing a petition challenging a prison rule that requires any prisoner who earns money for work to have 10 percent of his wages, up to $1,000, deposited into a “personal ...

Kentucky Jailer Gets New Trial in Beating of Pretrial Detainee

In a December 12, 2018 ruling, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ordered a new trial for a former guard at the Kentucky River Regional Jail. The appellate court found the admission into evidence of the guard’s prior beating of a prisoner was unfairly prejudicial.

Kevin Eugene Asher was charged ...

CoreCivic Bilked Rural Oklahoma Town, Forced to Pay Back Money in Lawsuit

by Steve Horn

Located in heartland America in an area historically dominated by the oil and gas industry, the small town of Sayre, Oklahoma recently found itself in the middle of a lawsuit against private prison operator CoreCivic, formerly known as Corrections Corporation of America. And the township prevailed, obtaining ...

“Prisoner of Weed” Released, Sets Sights on Criminal Justice Reform

by Dale Chappell

The man dubbed a POW (“prisoner of weed”) by his supporters was finally released from a Louisiana prison in February 2018 following public outcry over his harsh 13-year sentence for possession of about two joint’s worth of marijuana. He served around eight years and now wants to ...

Hedge Fund Pumps More Money into Corizon Health

Private prison medical care provider Corizon Health has received an injection of capital from shareholder BlueMountain Capital Management, a global hedge fund.

The infusion of cash allowed Corizon to pay down its debt and “accelerate business development and investment opportunities.” In other words, the company plans to obtain more ...

Fourth Circuit: BOP Must Consider State Court’s Designation to Serve Concurrent Federal Sentence

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals held on December 12, 2018 that the federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) had violated the Court’s earlier mandate when considering a prisoner’s request for nunc pro tunc designation of an Oklahoma state prison as the place to serve his federal sentence.

Anthony W. Mangum ...

Executive Order Prompts BOP to Expand Prison Apprenticeship Programs

by Dale Chappell

An executive order issued by President Donald Trump has prompted the federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) and U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to develop “National Standards of Apprenticeship” to expand apprenticeship programs for federal prisoners, according to an April 10, 2018 post on the BOP’s website ...

News in Brief

Alabama: Anthony Cortez Oliver, 22, was sentenced to 15 years with three to serve, followed by five years of probation, after pleading guilty on April 24, 2018 to two counts of robbery for trying to take food from another Dallas County Jail prisoner in December 2016. At the time he ...


 

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