Skip navigation

Prison Legal News: July, 2019

Issue PDF
Volume 30, Number 7

In this issue:

  1. The Second Step: Invest in Prison Education Programs, Reinstate Pell Grants (p 1)
  2. Sixth Circuit Rules Suit May Proceed Where State Judge Offered Reduced Sentences for Sterilization (p 10)
  3. From the Editor (p 11)
  4. “I Had Nothing”: How Parole Perpetuates a Cycle of Incarceration and Instability (p 12)
  5. Settlement Reached in Suit Over Failure to Keep Released L.A. County Prisoners from Becoming Homeless (p 15)
  6. Federal Court Rules in Favor of HRDC in Virginia Jail Censorship Suit (p 16)
  7. Canada: Long-Term Segregation of Mentally Ill Prisoners Unconstitutional; $20 Million in Damages (p 17)
  8. Imagine Pleading Guilty Because You Can’t Afford to Call Your Lawyer (p 18)
  9. GEO Group Produces Litigation Documents After HRDC Files Public Records Suit (p 20)
  10. New Mexico Riot Raises Questions About Private Prison Company’s Competence (p 22)
  11. New Indianapolis Jail Will Not be Run by a Private Prison Company, but is Being Built on Contaminated Land (p 22)
  12. South Carolina: Two Women Drown in Sheriff’s Transport Van, Deputies Charged (p 23)
  13. South Carolina Fails to Evacuate Prisoners Threatened by Hurricane (p 24)
  14. New York Sheriff Loses Lawsuit, Must Report Serious Prisoner Incidents to State Agency (p 24)
  15. Some Prisons Are Using Virtual Reality for Reentry and Other Programs (p 26)
  16. New Study Finds Mass Incarceration Impacts Over Half of U.S. Families (p 26)
  17. Fourth Circuit Reverses Dismissal of South Carolina Prisoner’s Suit Over Safekeeper Status (p 28)
  18. D.C. Court Awards $501 Million in Suit Against North Korea for Torture-Death of Prisoner (p 28)
  19. 17 Indicted in SC Prison Smuggling Ring (p 29)
  20. “Game of Kings” Has Large Following, Long History Behind Bars (p 30)
  21. Native American Prisoners Win Lawsuit Over Right to Wear Long Hair (p 31)
  22. Tennessee: Federal Court Grants Class-Action Status in Shareholder Suit Against CoreCivic (p 32)
  23. Fifth Circuit Holds Transgender Prisoner Not Entitled to Sex Reassignment Surgery (p 32)
  24. $115,000 Settlement after Nebraska Prison Nurses Ignore Prisoner’s Heart Attack (p 33)
  25. Ninth Circuit Issues Ruling on Arizona DOC Stipulated Settlement (p 34)
  26. California: Denial of Bed During Jail Disturbances Not a Constitutional Violation (p 34)
  27. Nevada: Jail Death Due to Excessive Force Leads to $175,000 in Settlements (p 35)
  28. Mississippi Prison Industry Program Faltering, CEO Fired (p 36)
  29. Eighth Circuit Reinstates Iowa Prisoner’s Retaliation Claims (p 36)
  30. Federal Judge Holds Bivens Not Applicable to Prison Workplace Discrimination Claims (p 38)
  31. Michigan: $40,000 Settlement for Parole Violation Sanctions Absent Due Process (p 38)
  32. End of Gubernatorial Terms Bring Pardons, Commutations (p 40)
  33. Minnesota Sheriff Hit with Attorney Fees Award in Civil Rights Case (p 42)
  34. Former Louisiana Warden Nate Cain, Son of Infamous Burl Cain, Pleads Guilty (p 42)
  35. Monterey County, California Pays $365,000 for Jail Prisoner’s Death (p 43)
  36. Pennsylvania Prisoners’ Cigarette Stashes to Go Up in Smoke (p 44)
  37. Mentally Ill Texas Woman “Ignored to Death” After Five Months in Jail (p 44)
  38. More States on Track to Restore Voting Rights to Felons, but Not Without Hurdles (p 46)
  39. Interim Attorney Fees Awarded in Kentucky Good Time Lawsuit (p 47)
  40. New Bill Restricts Use of Solitary Confinement in New Mexico (p 48)
  41. Scammers Deprive Prisoners with Legitimate Substance Abuse Problems of BOP Drug Treatment (p 49)
  42. Arrestee Dies in a Jail with No Medical Staff; Eleventh Circuit Reverses Dismissal (p 50)
  43. Texas Bans All Clergy from Death Chamber after Supreme Court Stays Execution (p 50)
  44. Michigan Prisoner Dies from Cocaine Overdose, Sergeant and Paramedics Charged, $3.75 Million Settlement (p 51)
  45. Maine: Prosecutorial Misconduct in False Rape Case Results in $2.1 Million in Damages (p 52)
  46. Minnesota Prisoners Win Access to New Hepatitis C Medications (p 52)
  47. New Jersey Federal Court Approves $1.5 Million Jail Strip-Search Settlement (p 53)
  48. Study Finds More Private Prisons Result in Judges Imposing Slightly Longer Sentences (p 54)
  49. Florida Prisons and Jails Retaliate Against Prisoners Who File Lawsuits by Countersuing for Costs of Incarceration (p 54)
  50. Federal Government Pays Nation of Islam to Teach BOP Prisoners (p 55)
  51. Texas Prisoner’s Lawsuit Over Reaction to Prison Blankets Moves Forward (p 56)
  52. Florida: No Qualified Immunity for Jail Medical Staff in Prisoner’s Death (p 56)
  53. $3 Million Settlement Where Prison Doctor Failed to Treat Disabled Illinois Prisoner (p 57)
  54. Texas Prisoner Sues Former Guards for Planting Screwdrivers in His Cell (p 58)
  55. Sheriff, Undersheriff and Deputies Resign Over Safety Issues at Oklahoma Jail (p 58)
  56. Montana Parolee Sues CoreCivic Over Prison Assault, Brain Injury (p 59)
  57. Michigan: Settlement in Class-Action Suit by Prisoners with Hearing Disabilities (p 60)
  58. Fifth Circuit Reinstates Texas Prisoner’s Excessive Force Claims (p 60)
  59. Motions to Dismiss by Corizon and Wexford Denied in Lawsuit Over Florida Prisoner’s Double Leg Amputation (p 62)
  60. Former Prisoner Becomes California Coffee Entrepreneur (p 62)
  61. News in Brief (p 63)

The Second Step: Invest in Prison Education Programs, Reinstate Pell Grants

by Christopher Zoukis, MBA

Aaron Kinzel is a professor of criminal justice at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. Jose Bou is the manager of Equity, Family and Community Partnerships in Holyoke, Massachusetts. Sean Pica is the executive director of Hudson Link for Higher Education in Prison. Aminah Elster is a proud ...

Sixth Circuit Rules Suit May Proceed Where State Judge Offered Reduced Sentences for Sterilization

by Douglas Ankney

On April 4, 2019, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit reversed a district court’s order that dismissed a lawsuit filed by former jail prisoners in White County, Tennessee as moot.

The case, brought by plaintiffs Christopher Sullivan, Nathan Haskell and William Gentry, alleged ...

From the Editor

by Paul Wright

This month’s cover story about prison education seems like a well-worn but broken record. In 1994, President Clinton signed the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, which, as I noted at the time, was the biggest foray by the federal government into so-called anti-crime legislation ...

“I Had Nothing”: How Parole Perpetuates a Cycle of Incarceration and Instability

Richard Cannon was making gains after being released from prison. Then one arrest changed the course of his life.

by Raven Rakia, The Appeal

Richard Cannon was born into a large family in Harlem. He was the third-eldest of five children. When his stepfather was diagnosed with cancer, Cannon ...

Settlement Reached in Suit Over Failure to Keep Released L.A. County Prisoners from Becoming Homeless

by Scott Grammer

A settlement has been reached in a lawsuit filed by the federal government against Los Angeles County over how the county’s jail system cycles “people with mental illnesses and disabilities between its jails and streets.” According to a news release by the law firm of Munger ...

Federal Court Rules in Favor of HRDC in Virginia Jail Censorship Suit

In June 2019, in a 42-page order, U.S. District Court Judge James P. Jones held the Southwest Virginia Regional Jail Authority had violated the rights of the nonprofit Human Rights Defense Center by censoring books, magazines and correspondence mailed to prisoners. The court found that the publications provided “valuable ...

Canada: Long-Term Segregation of Mentally Ill Prisoners Unconstitutional; $20 Million in Damages

by Kevin W. Bliss

Recently, the Ontario Superior Court ruled that the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) violated the nation’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms by placing mentally ill prisoners in administrative segregation for extended periods of time, causing them to experience hallucinations, paranoia, self-inflicted abuse and suicidal tendencies.

Represented ...

Imagine Pleading Guilty Because You Can’t Afford to Call Your Lawyer

by Victoria Law, Truthout

Imagine paying $20.12 for a 15-minute phone call. That’s how much a call from the Jennings Adult Correctional Facility in Missouri costs.

In 2013, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) set rate caps on interstate calls from jails, prisons and detention facilities. Now, interstate debit or ...

GEO Group Produces Litigation Documents After HRDC Files Public Records Suit

by Christopher Zoukis, MBA

The Human Rights Defense Center (HRDC), the parent organization of Prison Legal News, prevailed in a lawsuit seeking to force private prison contractor GEO Group to comply with Vermont’s public records law. 

The complaint, filed in a Vermont Superior Court, sought to obtain records related ...

New Mexico Riot Raises Questions About Private Prison Company’s Competence

by Kevin W. Bliss

The police department in Clayton, New Mexico and the state police are investigating a September 23, 2017 incident at the Northeast New Mexico Correctional Facility (NENMCF), which grew into the state’s most dangerous prison uprising in the past 20 years.

“What happened that evening was unacceptable ...

New Indianapolis Jail Will Not be Run by a Private Prison Company, but is Being Built on Contaminated Land

by Kevin W. Bliss

The Indianapolis City-County Council has approved a proposal to enter into a 40-year lease to build a new 3,000-bed criminal justice center in the Twin Aire neighborhood of Indianapolis. The facility is expected to be completed by 2022 and will combine the Marion County courts ...

South Carolina: Two Women Drown in Sheriff’s Transport Van, Deputies Charged

by Scott Grammer

Nicolette Green, 43, and Wendy Newton, 45, were not criminals. On September 18, 2018, Newton was suffering symptoms from her schizophrenia while Green had sought help from a clinic. Because doctors had ordered emergency mental health care for both women, South Carolina law required that law enforcement ...

South Carolina Fails to Evacuate Prisoners Threatened by Hurricane

by Matt Clarke

In September 2018, when Hurricane Florence bore down on the U.S. coast as a dangerous Category 4 storm, over a million people in Virginia, South Carolina and North Carolina were told to flee inland. Many did – especially those whose homes were located in mandatory evacuation ...

New York Sheriff Loses Lawsuit, Must Report Serious Prisoner Incidents to State Agency

by Chad Marks

A sheriff in Western New York, on the losing end of a lawsuit filed by four citizens, must report serious prisoner incidents to the New York State Commission of Correction.

Sheriff Timothy B. Howard oversees the Erie County Holding Center, one of the five worst jails in ...

Some Prisons Are Using Virtual Reality for Reentry and Other Programs

by Matt Clarke 

Since 2016, Colorado has been using virtual reality (VR) reentry programs for some long-term prisoners. Other states, most notably Pennsylvania and Alaska, are also experimenting with VR for reentry training and other purposes.

In 2012, the Colorado Department of Corrections (DOC) was faced with a dilemma ...

New Study Finds Mass Incarceration Impacts Over Half of U.S. Families

by Steve Horn

new survey-based report published by a multi-university team of researchers, predominantly from Cornell University and FWD.us, a group of advocates for criminal justice and immigration reform, has revealed that over half of all families in the United States have been impacted by mass incarceration.

Titled ...

Fourth Circuit Reverses Dismissal of South Carolina Prisoner’s Suit Over Safekeeper Status

by David M. Reutter

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a grant of summary judgment to officials who allegedly denied a pretrial detainee substantive and procedural due process when placing him in safekeeper status.

Dustin Robert Williamson, who was 20 at the time, was being held at South ...

D.C. Court Awards $501 Million in Suit Against North Korea for Torture-Death of Prisoner

by Matt Clarke 

On December 24, 2018, a federal court awarded $501.1 million to the parents of Otto Warmbier after he was tried, convicted and imprisoned by North Korean officials in an attempt to extract concessions from the United States, and tortured to such an extent that he ...

17 Indicted in SC Prison Smuggling Ring

by Scott Grammer

South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson announced on November 23, 2018 that 17 indictments had been issued after an investigation into a prison contraband smuggling ring that authorities called “Operation Cash Cow.” The indictments against four prisoners, one guard and a dozen free-world persons claim that ...

“Game of Kings” Has Large Following, Long History Behind Bars

by Matt Clarke 

For centuries, chess has been known as the “Game of Kings” for its ability to teach participants focus, planning and tactics. But kings are not the only people who can benefit from the strategic instruction offered by the ancient game. Chess has long been enjoyed by ...

Native American Prisoners Win Lawsuit Over Right to Wear Long Hair

by Matt Clarke 

On January 24, 2019, a Texas federal district court held that three Native American prisoners had the right to wear long hair as required by their religious beliefs.

Teddy Norris Grey Hawk Davis, Robbie Dow Goodman, William Casey and Raymond Cobbs, who are adherents of a ...

Tennessee: Federal Court Grants Class-Action Status in Shareholder Suit Against CoreCivic

by Matt Clarke

On March 26, 2019, a federal district court in Tennessee granted class-action certification in a shareholder lawsuit brought against CoreCivic, formerly Corrections Corporation of America, that alleged the company made statements misrepresenting the quality and value of its services, resulting in losses to stockholders.

The suit was ...

Fifth Circuit Holds Transgender Prisoner Not Entitled to Sex Reassignment Surgery

by Matt Clarke 

In a 23-page opinion issued on March 29, 2019, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals held the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) did not violate the Eighth Amendment by refusing to provide an evaluation for sex reassignment surgery, or the surgery itself, to a prisoner ...

$115,000 Settlement after Nebraska Prison Nurses Ignore Prisoner’s Heart Attack

by Ed Lyon

In mid-August 2015, diabetic Nebraska prisoner Aron Lee Boyd­-Nicholson was washing clothes in his cell when he began experiencing classic heart attack symptoms – including chest pain, dizziness and weakness – before he collapsed. Nurse Carolyn Moore tested his blood-sugar levels, then instructed him to ...

Ninth Circuit Issues Ruling on Arizona DOC Stipulated Settlement

by David M. Reutter

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held on December 20, 2018 that a stipulated settlement in a conditions of confinement suit against the Arizona Department of Corrections (ADOC) allowed the district court to issue an order requiring the ADOC to develop and implement a plan to ...

California: Denial of Bed During Jail Disturbances Not a Constitutional Violation

by David M. Reutter

On January 11, 2019, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a grant of summary judgment to the defendants in a civil rights action alleging a pretrial detainee was denied a bed during his three-and-a-half-day stay at the Los Angeles County Inmate Reception Center (IRC).

Maurice ...

Nevada: Jail Death Due to Excessive Force Leads to $175,000 in Settlements

by Dale Chappell

An excessive force death at the hands of Washoe County, Nevada sheriff’s deputies ended in settlements totaling $175,000. It was the third excessive force death in a two-year period for the Sheriff’s Department.

When 38-year-old Thomas Purdy, Jr. began acting erratically at the Peppermill Casino in ...

Mississippi Prison Industry Program Faltering, CEO Fired

by David M. Reutter

The Mississippi Prison Industries Corporation (MPIC), a nonprofit “quasi-state agency,” is suffering financial losses and its future viability was questioned in a report by the state’s Joint Legislative Committee on Performance Evaluation Expenditure Review (PEER).

“The time has come for MPIC and the Legislature to ...

Eighth Circuit Reinstates Iowa Prisoner’s Retaliation Claims

by Matt Clarke 

On February 26, 2019, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated some of the retaliation claims in a prisoner’s civil rights action that had been dismissed by the district court.

Iowa state prisoner Mark Bitzan filed suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the ...

Federal Judge Holds Bivens Not Applicable to Prison Workplace Discrimination Claims

by Dale Chappell

Refusing to extend Bivens to cover a prison workplace discrimination claim, last year the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey held that a remedy for such a claim would have to come from Congress, not the judiciary. 

While the decision was ...

Michigan: $40,000 Settlement for Parole Violation Sanctions Absent Due Process

by David M. Reutter

A $40,000 settlement was reached in a lawsuit alleging the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) deprived a parolee of his liberty without due process or an opportunity to properly waive his rights.

In his pro se complaint, Scott Andrew Witzke alleged that MDOC officials arrested ...

End of Gubernatorial Terms Bring Pardons, Commutations

by David M. Reutter

Following the 2018 elections, outgoing governors in at least 10 states and others who remained in office resolved some outstanding clemency applications by issuing pardons and commutations.

In January 2019, then-Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner – who lost his 2018 re-election bid to J.B. Pritzker – ...

Minnesota Sheriff Hit with Attorney Fees Award in Civil Rights Case

by Derek Gilna

Martin County, Minnesota Sheriff Jeffrey Markquart has been ordered to pay $6,075 in attorney fees to former prisoner Erik Daniel Christianson in a federal civil rights action where the district court found Christianson was the “prevailing plaintiff.” 

As noted in the court’s ...

Former Louisiana Warden Nate Cain, Son of Infamous Burl Cain, Pleads Guilty

by David M. Reutter

“Yes, sir,” said Nathan Burl Cain II.

With that reply in March 2019, the former warden of Louisiana’s Avoyelles Correctional Center, now known as the Raymond Laborde Correctional Center, abruptly ended his federal trial on corruption charges. Facing 17 counts of wire fraud and one ...

Monterey County, California Pays $365,000 for Jail Prisoner’s Death

by Douglas Ankney

Officials in Monterey County, California agreed to pay the family of Jacob Parenti $365,000 to settle a lawsuit over his death while he was held at the Monterey County Jail (MCJ).

In 2013, Parenti was on his way home from work when, during a traffic stop ...

Pennsylvania Prisoners’ Cigarette Stashes to Go Up in Smoke

by Douglas Ankney

Effective July 1, 2019, the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (DOC) banned tobacco use by staff and prisoners at all state prisons. Announced by DOC Secretary John Wetzel in March, the new rule means that cigarettes, cigars, tobacco, tobacco substitutes, lighters, pipes, pipe cleaners, filters ...

Mentally Ill Texas Woman “Ignored to Death” After Five Months in Jail

by Matt Clarke

Janice Dotson-Stephens, 61, died of natural causes at the Bexar County jail in San Antonio, Texas on December 14, 2018. The circumstances of her death were anything but “natural,” though. She spent her last five months incarcerated on a misdemeanor charge of trespassing on private property ...

More States on Track to Restore Voting Rights to Felons, but Not Without Hurdles

by Dale Chappell

In late May 2019, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak signed into law a bill that granted automatic restoration of voting rights to former prisoners. State law had already allowed voting by those released from prison for first-time, non-violent felony convictions, including those still on community supervision, and the ...

Interim Attorney Fees Awarded in Kentucky Good Time Lawsuit

by David M. Reutter

In December 2018, a Kentucky federal district court awarded interim attorney fees and costs totaling $228,445.08 in a class-action lawsuit alleging state prisoners were denied Educational Good Time (EGT) credit earned since July 15, 2011.

The suit was originally filed in Franklin County ...

New Bill Restricts Use of Solitary Confinement in New Mexico

by Kevin W. Bliss

In April 2019, newly elected New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed House Bill 364, which limits the use of solitary confinement for certain prisoners housed in New Mexico Corrections Department (NMCD) facilities and requires more transparency when solitary is used. 

Former NMCD Secretary Gregg ...

Scammers Deprive Prisoners with Legitimate Substance Abuse Problems of BOP Drug Treatment

by Douglas Ankney

An industry composed of prison consultants charges thousands of dollars to help people prepare for life behind bars. One service they provide is information about the Residential Drug Abuse Program (RDAP) offered by the Bureau of Prisons (BOP). Federal prisoners with nonviolent convictions who complete the ...

Arrestee Dies in a Jail with No Medical Staff; Eleventh Circuit Reverses Dismissal

by Ed Lyon

On April 3, 2019, the Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit reversed a district court’s dismissal of a civil rights case concerning the death of a jail detainee.

Almus Taylor, 38, was arrested by Alabama State Troopers for drunk driving on November 16, 2013, after wrecking ...

Texas Bans All Clergy from Death Chamber after Supreme Court Stays Execution

by Matt Clarke

The U.S. Supreme Court issued a stay of execution for Texas prisoner Patrick H. Murphy on March 28, 2019, based upon his challenge to a prison policy that effectively allowed only Christian and Muslim clergy members to be present in the death chamber during executions. Within ...

Michigan Prisoner Dies from Cocaine Overdose, Sergeant and Paramedics Charged, $3.75 Million Settlement

by Scott Grammer

On December 10, 2017, 35-year-old William Marshall was arrested for possession of cocaine and marijuana in Westland, Michigan. At 7:51 a.m., only a bit more than an hour after being booked into jail, Marshall “had muscle spasms and was unable to walk,” according to ...

Maine: Prosecutorial Misconduct in False Rape Case Results in $2.1 Million in Damages

by Chad Marks

Vladek Filler found himself on the wrong side of former Hancock County District Attorney Mary Kellett. In 2007, Filler’s wife, Ligia Filler, made allegations that her husband sexually assaulted her. Kellett ignored exculpatory evidence in her overzealousness to prosecute Filler for rape and sexual assault. After ...

Minnesota Prisoners Win Access to New Hepatitis C Medications

Minnesota prisoners have prevailed in a class-action lawsuit requiring the Department of Corrections (DOC) to provide highly effective but costly direct-acting antiviral (DAA) drugs to treat hepatitis C infections.

Five state prisoners, represented by attorneys Andrew H. Mohring, Peter J. Nickitas and Carl Peter Erlinder, filed suit in 2015 ...

New Jersey Federal Court Approves $1.5 Million Jail Strip-Search Settlement

by Dale Chappell

On January 31, 2019, U.S. District Court Judge Noel L. Hillman approved a $1.5 million class-action settlement in a case against Burlington County, New Jersey, where hundreds of people were improperly strip-searched at the county jail.

The case dates back to 2006, when Tammy ...

Study Finds More Private Prisons Result in Judges Imposing Slightly Longer Sentences

by Matt Clarke 

In a report published on March 24, 2019, researchers from Columbia University and UCLA found that “the opening of a private prison increases the length of sentences relative to what the crime’s and defendant’s characteristics predict.” Private prisons did not increase the chances of defendants ...

Florida Prisons and Jails Retaliate Against Prisoners Who File Lawsuits by Countersuing for Costs of Incarceration

by Dale Chappell

When 48-year-old Michelle Tierney died of an infected wound on her leg while in the custody of the Florida Department of Corrections (FDOC) in October 2014, her family filed a wrongful death suit against the FDOC and its for-profit medical provider, Corizon Health, claiming that proper care ...

Federal Government Pays Nation of Islam to Teach BOP Prisoners

According to news reports, the Nation of Islam (NOI) and its leaders have been paid at least $364,500 by the federal government since 2008. The money was to fund NOI religious services, spiritual guidance services, study services and other programs, based on Bureau of Prisons records.

The Anti-Defamation League ...

Texas Prisoner’s Lawsuit Over Reaction to Prison Blankets Moves Forward

by Matt Clarke

A lawsuit filed by a Texas prisoner with a wool allergy, who has spent a decade trying to get a blanket that will not cause an adverse reaction, has survived the state’s attempt to have the case dismissed.

Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) prisoner Calvin E ...

Florida: No Qualified Immunity for Jail Medical Staff in Prisoner’s Death

by David M. Reutter

Florida federal district court has held that a doctor and nurse at the Orange County Jail (OCJ) were not entitled to qualified immunity in a lawsuit filed by the estate of a pretrial detainee who died at that facility.

Max Gracia, Jr., 22, was treated ...

$3 Million Settlement Where Prison Doctor Failed to Treat Disabled Illinois Prisoner

by Scott Grammer

Mario Ramirez is disabled, more so now than when he was incarcerated at the Graham Correctional Center in Illinois. The facility contracted with Wexford Health Sources, owned by The Bantry Group Corp., to provide medical care to prisoners, and Wexford employed Dr. Francis Kayira. 

A lawsuit ...

Texas Prisoner Sues Former Guards for Planting Screwdrivers in His Cell

by Matt Clarke

In February 2019, Texas state prisoner Neil Giese filed a lawsuit against four former Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) guards – including a major, a lieutenant and a sergeant – who allegedly planted screwdrivers in his cell at the Ramsey Unit, southwest of Houston ...

Sheriff, Undersheriff and Deputies Resign Over Safety Issues at Oklahoma Jail

by Matt Clarke 

On March 18, 2019, Terry Sue Barnett, the sheriff of Nowata County, Oklahoma, resigned. So did her undersheriff, all of her deputies and everyone else in the sheriff’s department except for two dispatchers and three jailers. The reasons given for the mass resignations were safety ...

Montana Parolee Sues CoreCivic Over Prison Assault, Brain Injury

by Matt Clarke

former prisoner at the Crossroads Correctional Center near Shelby, Montana is suing the facility’s private operator, CoreCivic (formerly Corrections Corporation of America) and its contract medical provider, alleging staff allowed another prisoner to assault him without intervening and then delayed medical care, resulting in a permanent ...

Michigan: Settlement in Class-Action Suit by Prisoners with Hearing Disabilities

by Douglas Ankney

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan has approved a final settlement in a class-action lawsuit brought by Michigan Protection & Advocacy Service (MPAAS) on behalf of about 200 deaf and hard of hearing prisoners held by the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC ...

Fifth Circuit Reinstates Texas Prisoner’s Excessive Force Claims

by Matt Clarke

On April 16, 2019, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated excessive force claims raised by a Texas prisoner in a federal civil rights suit. 

Michael Bourne was being held in a segregation cell when he asked to speak to a guard captain about some money ...

Motions to Dismiss by Corizon and Wexford Denied in Lawsuit Over Florida Prisoner’s Double Leg Amputation

by Matt Clarke 

On December 14, 2018, a federal district court in Florida denied motions to dismiss by Wexford Health Sources and Corizon Health in a medical deliberate indifference case where a state prisoner’s legs were amputated. 

Craig Salvani was 38 years old when he arrived at the ...

Former Prisoner Becomes California Coffee Entrepreneur

by Scott Grammer

John Krause, an ex-prisoner who served time at San Quentin, has remade himself into a coffee entrepreneur. In October 2014 he opened Big House Beans, a roastery that specializes in coffees made from beans from Ethiopia, El Salvador, Indonesia and Columbia. The beans are not roasted until ...

News in Brief

Alabama: Terrance Andrews, 24, was pronounced dead from multiple stab wounds at 4:20 p.m. on December 29, 2018 after a fight with a fellow prisoner at the St. Clair Correctional Facility. Cedric Leshawn Davis, 35 is suspected to be the killer. Andrews was serving 25 years for a ...