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Prison Legal News: June, 2020

Issue PDF
Volume 31, Number 6

In this issue:

  1. These Sheriffs Release Sick Inmates to Avoid Paying Their Hospital Bills (p 1)
  2. North Carolina Prisoner Escapes to Flee Coronavirus Death Sentence (p 9)
  3. From the Editor (p 10)
  4. Company Hawking Prison Phone Monitoring Technology as Way to Discover Coronavirus Infections (p 11)
  5. Thinking in a Pandemic: Let the People Go (p 12)
  6. BOP Loses Fight Against Orders to Release Ohio Prisoners Threatened By Coronavirus (p 15)
  7. Staying Alive: A Doctor’s Guide for Prisoners on Staying Safe During COVID-19 Pandemic (p 16)
  8. ‘Prisons Are No Place for a Pandemic:’ Advocates Fight to Free Their Loved Ones (p 18)
  9. Former Missouri Jail Prisoner Ordered to Repay $1.3 Million Settlement for Faking Injuries But Whereabouts Unknown (p 20)
  10. GEO Jail in New York City Sees Rapid Spread of Coronavirus (p 20)
  11. Coronavirus Kills Michigan Prisoner Days Before His Release After Serving 44 Years (p 21)
  12. Prison Postcards: Official Accounts Differ from Prisoner Accounts as the Pandemic Spreads (p 22)
  13. Interview: David Fathi of ACLU’s National Prison Project on Criminal Justice Reform in the Age of Coronavirus (p 26)
  14. Coronavirus Pandemic Could Vastly Reduce Prison Voting (p 28)
  15. Eleventh Circuit Says COVID-19-Wracked Miami Jail Can’t Be Forced to Give Prisoners Soap, Masks (p 28)
  16. Ohio Prisoner with Coronavirus Released Without Use of Preventative Measures; Cases Inside Soaring (p 29)
  17. Large Scale Releases and Public Safety (p 30)
  18. Alabama Reopens Ancient Prison to Quarantine COVID-19 Prisoners (p 31)
  19. CoreCivic Detention Center Demanded Detainees Sign Liability Release to Receive Masks (p 32)
  20. COVID-19 Cases Soar at Federal Prisons in California; Half at Lompoc Have the Coronavirus (p 32)
  21. Unsealed Documents Expose Treatment Failures at San Diego Jail (p 34)
  22. Federal Court Slams Michigan Jail for Bungling COVID-19 Pandemic, Demands Names of Vulnerable Prisoners for Release (p 34)
  23. Prison Officials Limit Prisoner Communications During COVID-19 Crisis (p 36)
  24. Rhode Island Corrections’ Union President Fined for Excessive Political Donations (p 36)
  25. Silence: The Bureau of Prisons’ Pathetic Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic (p 38)
  26. Hawaii Institutes Non-Contact Visits at Another Prison to Control Contraband (p 41)
  27. Number of California Prisoners Falling; Lifer Population Declines Slightly as Well (p 42)
  28. New York Judge Orders Release of 18 Rikers Island Detainees Due to COVID-19 Risk (p 42)
  29. Kansas County Jails People for Unpaid Medical Bills (p 43)
  30. $200,000 Awarded to Missouri Prison Guard Over Sexual Harassment, Retaliation (p 43)
  31. New ACLU Study Says COVID-19 Deaths in Prison Will Soar Without More Releases, Fewer Arrests (p 44)
  32. Deplorable Conditions at South Carolina Prisons Prompt Call for UN Intervention (p 44)
  33. Louisiana Governor’s Inaction Prevents Release of Grandmother Hospitalized with COVID-19 (p 45)
  34. Report: Oaks of Justice Pitch to Help Prisoners Return Home Appears Shady (p 46)
  35. First Prisoners and Staff, Including a Warden, Dead from COVID-19 in Louisiana; Hundreds Infected (p 46)
  36. Florida Continues to Use Slave Labor During Coronavirus Outbreak (p 47)
  37. Interview: Don Specter of the Prison Law Office on California Prisons, COVID-19 and Governor Newsom (p 48)
  38. Report: Tennessee Prison Population Climbs, Bucks Nationwide Trend (p 49)
  39. Mississippi Jail to Stay Open Despite Massive “Financial Trouble” (p 50)
  40. Audit: Massachusetts Department of Corrections Failed to Provide Timely Health Care or Reentry Services (p 50)
  41. Nebraska Prison Employee Labor Agreement Contains Unusual Provision (p 52)
  42. Sandoval County, New Mexico Settles Public Records Lawsuit with Human Rights Defense Center (p 52)
  43. Coronavirus Crisis: Wisconsin Releases Around 1,600 Prisoners, an ‘Inconsequential’ Number (p 53)
  44. New York Federal Guard Sentenced to 25 Years for Sexually Abusing Prisoners (p 53)
  45. California Prison Reform Results in Housing Challenges for Former Prisoners (p 54)
  46. Sign the Papers! Alabama Prisoners Get Masks for COVID-19 but With Strings Attached (p 54)
  47. HRDC Settles California Jail Censorship Suit for $143,500, Consent Decree (p 55)
  48. More Than 200 Convicted of Corruption at Baltimore Department of Corrections; More Charges Announced (p 56)
  49. Innocence Project Working to Prove Arkansas Executed Innocent Man (p 56)
  50. $500,000 Settlement for Colorado Prisoner Beaten During Seizure (p 57)
  51. Tenth Circuit Reinstates Colorado Prisoner’s Claim that Requires BOP to Release Him from Imprisonment for Marijuana Possession (p 58)
  52. $500,000 Settlement From Psychiatrist for Failing to Treat New Mexico Prisoner Who Committed Suicide (p 58)
  53. Florida Prison Officials Ordered to Not Retaliate Against Prisoner (p 59)
  54. Nevada Supreme Court Holds Firefighting Prisoner Cannot Challenge Worker’s Compensation Based on Prison Pay (p 60)
  55. $2,800 Verdict As Jury Finds Pennsylvania Jail Discriminated Against Women Prisoners in Reentry Center (p 60)
  56. Tornado Rips Through South Carolina, Displacing Federal Prisoners (p 61)
  57. Gallup Poll Shows Growing Opposition to Death Penalty (p 62)
  58. Federal Judge Keeps Heat on Florida to Implement Amendment 4 Voter Restoration for Ex-Felons (p 62)
  59. News in Brief (p 63)

These Sheriffs Release Sick Inmates to Avoid Paying Their Hospital Bills

This article was produced in partnership with AL.com, which is a member of the ProPublica Local Reporting Network. ProPublica is a nonprofit newsroom that investigates abuses of power. This article was originally published on September 30, 2019.

By Connor Sheets, ProPublica

Michael Tidwell’s blood sugar reading was at least 15 ...

North Carolina Prisoner Escapes to Flee Coronavirus Death Sentence

Fearing his existing medical condition could transform his sentence to death if he caught COVID-19, federal prisoner Richard Cephas elected to escape. After nearly a month on the run, Cephas turned himself in on April 20, 2020, resulting in a new charge for the escape.

Cephas ...

From the Editor

It seems like an eternity since the COVID-19 pandemic arrived in the U.S. in January of this year and the first deaths began occurring in March. Now, each day brings grim news for American prisoners. Everyone I know in the prisoner rights community is working long, hard hours ...

Company Hawking Prison Phone Monitoring Technology as Way to Discover Coronavirus Infections

A Los Angeles-based company has been selling to jails and prison systems phone-monitoring technology that searches for keywords, touting it as a way to discover COVID-19 infections early.

LEO Technologies developed the Verus system, which has already been deployed in at least 26 facilities in 11 states, ...

Thinking in a Pandemic: Let the People Go

States should release from prison far more than the very small percentage of low-level, nonviolent offenders they hold.

by Joseph Margulies, Boston Review, April 20, 2020

http://bostonreview.net/law-justice/joseph-margulies-prisons-and-pandemics

COVID-19 spreads where people congregate. With rare exception, it preys on the weakest among us—the elderly, the sick, the infirm—which is why it ...

BOP Loses Fight Against Orders to Release Ohio Prisoners Threatened By Coronavirus

Noting a “significant level of infection” of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 in the Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) at Elkton, Ohio, U.S. Attorney General William Barr directed federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) Director Michael Carvajal on April 3, 2020 to “move with dispatch” to save vulnerable prisoners at the low-security ...

Staying Alive: A Doctor’s Guide for Prisoners on Staying Safe During COVID-19 Pandemic

We are entering a new phase of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. Efforts to prevent infection by closing all but essential businesses, staying at home, physical distancing, wearing face masks, frequent hand washing, no face touching, and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces have begun ...

‘Prisons Are No Place for a Pandemic:’ Advocates Fight to Free Their Loved Ones

Women of color are fearful about the Covid-19 outbreak within the system

by Victoria Law, ZORA by Medium (zora.medium.com)

Theresa is currently isolating alone in her Harlem apartment. Because Theresa has asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), thus making her more vulnerable to Covid-19, her adult daughters ...

Former Missouri Jail Prisoner Ordered to Repay $1.3 Million Settlement for Faking Injuries But Whereabouts Unknown

On October 17, 2019 a former Missouri prisoner accused of faking injuries while in Boone County Jail was ordered to repay almost $1.3 million from a settlement in which he had accused deputies of using excessive force.

In October 2015, after an altercation in the dinner line at ...

GEO Jail in New York City Sees Rapid Spread of Coronavirus

A GEO Group-run jail in Queens, New York City, saw coronavirus cases surge in the facility in May 2020.

The 222-bed medium/minimum-security federal Queens Detention Facility, New York City’s only privately run jail, reported 25 prisoners and 10 staff members tested positive for the virus, according to the Queens Daily ...

Coronavirus Kills Michigan Prisoner Days Before His Release After Serving 44 Years

William Garrison was 16 years old when he was arrested and eventually convicted of first-degree murder. He would spend the next 44 years of his life behind bars.

On April 13, 2020, Garrison’s cellmate called for help after Garrison was gasping for air. Macomb Correctional Facility staff ...

Prison Postcards: Official Accounts Differ from Prisoner Accounts as the Pandemic Spreads

Ever since the coronavirus epidemic exploded in the United States earlier this year, government officials have reassured the public that they had things tightly under control. On February 26, before anyone in the country had died from COVID-19, President Donald Trump confidently stated that only 15 Americans ...

Interview: David Fathi of ACLU’s National Prison Project on Criminal Justice Reform in the Age of Coronavirus

David Fathi is Director of the American Civil Liberties Union National Prison Project, which brings challenges to conditions of confinement in prisons, jails, and other detention facilities, and works to end the policies that have given the United States the highest incarceration rate in the world. He ...

Coronavirus Pandemic Could Vastly Reduce Prison Voting

In the months prior to the COVID-19 pandemic being declared, voting rights activists were gaining momentum in helping those in jail register and arrange to cast ballots. In the aftermath of the pandemic’s outbreak, activists now worry that eligible voters in prisons and jails will be ...

Eleventh Circuit Says COVID-19-Wracked Miami Jail Can’t Be Forced to Give Prisoners Soap, Masks

On May 5, 2020, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals stayed a Florida district court’s preliminary injunction that required officials at Miami’s Metro West Detention Center (Metro West) to employ numerous safety measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and imposed extensive reporting requirements.

Metro West ...

Ohio Prisoner with Coronavirus Released Without Use of Preventative Measures; Cases Inside Soaring

The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (ODRC) is being criticized for its mishandling of circumstances surrounding a prisoner’s release during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kevin Cherry was released from Marion Correctional Institution (MCI) April 11, 2020. Three days later, he tested positive for COVID-19. Cherry said guards ...

Large Scale Releases and Public Safety

Can governments safely release hundreds or thousands of people from prison?

We offer 14 historical examples to show that, in fact, they already have.

To protect the American public from COVID-19, schools have closed, non-essential stores have been shuttered, people with desk jobs ...

Alabama Reopens Ancient Prison to Quarantine COVID-19 Prisoners

by Ed Lyon

Prisons are obvious contagion grounds for COVID-19, and conditions in Alabama are among the worst in the nation. Now, it appears, those conditions could get worse even as the coronavirus problem is rapidly spreading at prisons in Alabama and across the country.

On April 16, 2020 the ...

CoreCivic Detention Center Demanded Detainees Sign Liability Release to Receive Masks

by David M. Reutter

Detainees at CoreCivic’s Otay Mesa Detention Center (OMDC) in California were enthusiastic when told they would be issued face masks to protect themselves from COVID-19. The mood changed quickly when employees conditioned that issuance on the signing of a contract that held CoreCivic “harmless” from wearing ...

COVID-19 Cases Soar at Federal Prisons in California; Half at Lompoc Have the Coronavirus

As of May 12, 2020, the number of COVID-19 infections had exploded at a trio of federal prisons in southern California, placing one at the top of all 142 facilities operated by the federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP).

Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) Lompoc, located in Santa Barbara ...

Unsealed Documents Expose Treatment Failures at San Diego Jail

by Anthony W. Accurso

In response to a motion filed by the ACLU, a judge in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California unsealed documents in June 2019 related to the failures of San Diego County Sheriff’s Department and its mental health provider, Correctional Physicians Medical Group ...

Federal Court Slams Michigan Jail for Bungling COVID-19 Pandemic, Demands Names of Vulnerable Prisoners for Release

On April 17, 2020, a judge for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan granted a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the Oakland County Jail due to its mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic. Plaintiffs filed a class action complaint against the Oakland County Jail ...

Prison Officials Limit Prisoner Communications During COVID-19 Crisis

Prisoners struggling to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic — often without masks, sufficient cleaning supplies or the ability to social distance — are crying for help to the outside world by any means possible. Some prison authorities have responded by cutting off their access to phones and ...

Rhode Island Corrections’ Union President Fined for Excessive Political Donations

The Rhode Island Board of Elections voted in December 2019 to fine correctional officers’ union president Richard Ferruccio for allowing the union’s Political Action Committee (PAC) to exceed the state’s limit on annual campaign contributions for three successive years. Ferruccio agreed to pay the $1,020 penalty after ...

Silence: The Bureau of Prisons’ Pathetic Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

The silence is deafening. Over a week in mid-May, Prison Legal News tried to contact public information officers at seven federal prisons seeking an answer to a straightforward question: What are you doing to protect prisoners at your facility from COVID-19?

The answer?

As of press time, ...

Hawaii Institutes Non-Contact Visits at Another Prison to Control Contraband

Hawaii’s Department of Public Safety (DPS) has now banned contact visits at three of the state’s correctional institutions: Oahu Correctional Community Center (OCCC), Maui Correctional Community Center (MCCC), and Halawa Correctional Facility (HFC).

The only way families and friends of those incarcerated there can see their loved ...

Number of California Prisoners Falling; Lifer Population Declines Slightly as Well

As of April 1, 2020, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) counted just over 122,000 prisoners in custody, more than 25 percent lower than its 2006 peak, continuing a downward trend that began after a 2011 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that capped the state prison ...

New York Judge Orders Release of 18 Rikers Island Detainees Due to COVID-19 Risk

On April 6, 2020, New York Supreme Court Judge Mark Dwyer ordered the release of 18 pre-trial detainees held at Rikers Island in response to a lawsuit brought by attorneys Lauren Gottesman and Mary Lynne Werlwas of the Legal Aid Society, and Robert Briere. The lawyers had ...

Kansas County Jails People for Unpaid Medical Bills

by Douglas Ankney

A county in rural Kansas is jailing people over unpaid medical debt, CBS News reported in February 2020. The county is Coffeyville, Kansas, which has a poverty rate twice the national average.

It’s also the place where attorneys such as Michael Hassenplug have built a successful law ...

$200,000 Awarded to Missouri Prison Guard Over Sexual Harassment, Retaliation

On October 3, 2019, a Missouri jury entered judgment in favor of a former Missouri Department of Corrections (DOC) employee who alleged she had suffered workplace sexual harassment, gender discrimination, and retaliation. The jury awarded her $200,000 in compensatory damages.

Ana Barrios was hired by the DOC ...

New ACLU Study Says COVID-19 Deaths in Prison Will Soar Without More Releases, Fewer Arrests

An April 22, 2020 report by the American Civil Liberties Union, with the collaboration of researchers from Washington State University, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Tennessee, shows that COVID-19 deaths in jails, prisons and the communities where they are located will skyrocket unless there ...

Deplorable Conditions at South Carolina Prisons Prompt Call for UN Intervention

Despite settling a landmark prisoner civil rights case in 2016, and after a bloody 2018 riot led to a nationwide prisoner work strike that same year, conditions in facilities run by the South Carolina Department of Corrections (SCDOC) remain so bad that prisoner advocates in late-2019 appealed ...

Louisiana Governor’s Inaction Prevents Release of Grandmother Hospitalized with COVID-19

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards had yet to act on a July 2019 recommendation by the state Board of Pardons and Parole to grant Gloria Williams’ request for commutation.

Williams is Louisiana’s longest incarcerated prisoner, the last of the three people sent to prison for a robbery ...

Report: Oaks of Justice Pitch to Help Prisoners Return Home Appears Shady

It’s scarcely news that people incarcerated in federal prison are often desperate for any possible chance to return home. Unfortunately, prisoners aren’t really in a position to verify the legitimacy of assorted offers of shortened sentences, and misinformation is rampant.

On its website, the group Oaks of ...

First Prisoners and Staff, Including a Warden, Dead from COVID-19 in Louisiana; Hundreds Infected

Like most prison systems, the Louisiana Department of Corrections (LDOC) has been battling the COVID-19 pandemic in crammed facilities that make for easy transmission of the highly contagious coronavirus. As a consequence, the number of positive tests for the disease within LDOC facilities continues to grow, ...

Florida Continues to Use Slave Labor During Coronavirus Outbreak

Florida is one of a handful of states that doesn’t pay prisoners to work, constituting what some consider slave labor. Meanwhile, the Florida Department of Corrections (DOC) continues to use prison labor during the coronavirus pandemic, despite the obvious risk it poses. 

The Florida Times-Union reported in ...

Interview: Don Specter of the Prison Law Office on California Prisons, COVID-19 and Governor Newsom

Don Specter is the executive director of the Berkeley, California-based Prison Law Office, a nonprofit public interest law firm that provides free legal services to adult and juvenile offenders. It has litigated numerous successful institutional reform cases that, among other things, have improved health-care services, guaranteed prisoners ...

Report: Tennessee Prison Population Climbs, Bucks Nationwide Trend

Incarceration is not the answer to crime, concludes a December 19, 2019 report by the Tennessee Criminal Justice Investment Task Force (CJITF). “Despite incarcerating more people and spending over $1 billion annually on corrections in the state budget, Tennessee has the fourth highest violent crime rate ...

Mississippi Jail to Stay Open Despite Massive “Financial Trouble”

On December 12, 2019, the Board of Supervisors of Mississippi’s Issaquena County granted an eleventh-hour reprieve to the Issaquena County Regional Jail just five days before it was set to close and over 300 prisoners were to be moved. The Mayersville jail is the county’s largest employer, ...

Audit: Massachusetts Department of Corrections Failed to Provide Timely Health Care or Reentry Services

Nebraska Prison Employee Labor Agreement Contains Unusual Provision

On December 27, 2019, Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts and the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 88, the union that represents Nebraska Department of Corrections (DOC) workers, announced a “Letter of Agreement” that provides for increased worker pay and creates a new career ladder for DOC guards.

The ...

Sandoval County, New Mexico Settles Public Records Lawsuit with Human Rights Defense Center

Sandoval County, New Mexico on February 24, 2020, settled a public records lawsuit with the Human Rights Defense Center (HRDC), the parent corporation of Prison Legal News, which alleged that the county had refused to provide records that were required to be released under the state’s ...

Coronavirus Crisis: Wisconsin Releases Around 1,600 Prisoners, an ‘Inconsequential’ Number

By May 8, 2020, the Wisconsin Department of Corrections had released almost 1,600 prisoners as the coronavirus spread, Madison.com reports.

 “The vast majority — 1,447 individuals released from March 2 to May 4 — are inmates who had been detained because they violated terms of their probation, parole or extended ...

New York Federal Guard Sentenced to 25 Years for Sexually Abusing Prisoners

New York federal judge Kiyo A. Matsumoto on July 31, 2019, sentenced former Bureau of Prisons Lieutenant Eugenio Perez to 25 years in prison. A jury in May 2018 found Perez guilty of six counts of deprivation of civil rights, four counts of aggravated abuse, five ...

California Prison Reform Results in Housing Challenges for Former Prisoners

Over 600,000 people are released from prisons across the U.S. each year, and a growing number of reentry providers are prepping to absorb increasing numbers as states reform their systems.

In California, though, as the state implements long-overdue reforms in the criminal justice system, people are ...

Sign the Papers! Alabama Prisoners Get Masks for COVID-19 but With Strings Attached

As the threat of COVID-19 contagion has become tangible to prison populations across the United States, the Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) has implemented risk management and mitigation protocols throughout its prison system.

Among these is the cessation of accepting new prisoners from county jails and transfers ...

HRDC Settles California Jail Censorship Suit for $143,500, Consent Decree

On May 13, 2020, the Human Rights Defense Center (HRDC), the parent organization of Prison Legal News, settled a federal civil rights action concerning California’s Tehama County Jail censorship of prisoner publications like PLN in violation of the First Amendment.

The complaint, filed February 14, 2020 ...

More Than 200 Convicted of Corruption at Baltimore Department of Corrections; More Charges Announced

More than 200 guards, prisoners and civilians have been convicted of corruption at the Baltimore Department of Corrections’ prison system over the last four years. In a major new case revealed in December 2019, then-acting Captain Kevin Hickson and 24 other members of the Baltimore Central Regional ...

Innocence Project Working to Prove Arkansas Executed Innocent Man

On January 23, 2020, the family of an Arkansas man who was executed three years earlier, filed a lawsuit to obtain evidence from the scene of the murder for which he was convicted, hoping to finally submit it for DNA testing.

“My family has been unable to ...

$500,000 Settlement for Colorado Prisoner Beaten During Seizure

Colorado prison officials agreed to pay $500,000 to settle a lawsuit alleging a guard severely beat a prisoner who was experiencing a seizure.

Prisoner Jayson M. Oslund entered the Colorado Department of Corrections for the second time in September 2010. He had a documented history of ...

Tenth Circuit Reinstates Colorado Prisoner’s Claim that Requires BOP to Release Him from Imprisonment for Marijuana Possession

On December 16, 2019, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the dismissal of Colorado federal prisoner Aaron Sandusky’s petition for a writ of habeas corpus, thereby remanding the case for further proceedings. The writ claimed that a congressional appropriations rider prohibits the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) ...

$500,000 Settlement From Psychiatrist for Failing to Treat New Mexico Prisoner Who Committed Suicide

In November 2019, the family of a New Mexico prisoner who committed suicide while incarcerated at a privately operated prison agreed to a $500,000 settlement against the psychiatrist, Andrew Kowalkowski, who subcontracted with Corizon. Earlier in 2019, the family entered into confidential settlements with the two other ...

Florida Prison Officials Ordered to Not Retaliate Against Prisoner

Florida federal district Judge Mark E. Walker entered a protective order to end retaliation against state prisoner Johnny Hill.

The court’s January 28, 2020, order was entered to protect one of the plaintiffs in the class-action lawsuit challenging the conditions of confinement in Florida’s segregation units. ...

Nevada Supreme Court Holds Firefighting Prisoner Cannot Challenge Worker’s Compensation Based on Prison Pay

Following his release, a former Nevada Department of Corrections (DOC) prisoner who was injured while working as a firefighter for the Nevada Division of Forestry (NDF) challenged the calculation of his post-release worker’s compensation benefits based on his miniscule prison salary. On December 26, 2019, the Nevada ...

$2,800 Verdict As Jury Finds Pennsylvania Jail Discriminated Against Women Prisoners in Reentry Center

Pennsylvania state court jury found on November 19, 2019 that the Berks County Jail violated the constitutional rights of women by denying them the same access to reentry privileges as men. The jury awarded $2,800 in compensatory damages to the lead plaintiff in the case, Theresa ...

Tornado Rips Through South Carolina, Displacing Federal Prisoners

A deadly tornado ripping through South Carolina on April 13, 2020 has forced the federal Bureau of Prisons to start moving hundreds of prisoners from FCI Estill.

The prison, located west of Charleston in Hampton County, took a direct hit from the tornado, an EF-4 on the ...

Gallup Poll Shows Growing Opposition to Death Penalty

A Gallup poll revealed that 60% of Americans believe that life in prison without parole is a better approach for a murder conviction than the death penalty. The poll was cited in the Death Penalty Information Center’s 2019 year-end report. “The death penalty has now disappeared from ...

Federal Judge Keeps Heat on Florida to Implement Amendment 4 Voter Restoration for Ex-Felons

On April 7, 2020, Florida’s Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis and its GOP-dominated legislature lost another round in their battle to limit a voter-approved amendment to the state constitution providing automatic restoration of voting rights to most convicted felons “upon completion of all terms of sentence including ...

News in Brief

Alabama: Doctors have warned about the toxicity of K2, a common synthetic marijuana smuggled into prisons. Alabama Department of Corrections narcotics dog Jake, a 5-year-old Belgian Malinois, died after an allergic reaction to the substance found in a July 2019 contraband search at Staton Correctional Facility in Elmore County. ...