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Prison Legal News: February, 2021

Issue PDF
Volume 32, Number 2

In this issue:

  1. The Way Prisoners Flag Guard Abuse, Inadequate Health Care and Unsanitary Conditions Is Broken (p 1)
  2. Collateral Consequences of Mass Incarceration (p 8)
  3. New York Parole System Badly in Need of Repair (p 10)
  4. From the Editor (p 10)
  5. Pandemic Update: News on Vaccines and Prison and Jail Staffing (p 12)
  6. Urgent Need for Vaccine Administration in Prisons, Jails and Detention Centers (p 14)
  7. Almost 300,000 Fell Ill and 2,000 Died from COVID-19 in U.S. Jails, Prisons (p 18)
  8. California Loses Round in Legal Fight to Deny Parole Based on Gang Affiliation (p 20)
  9. Was Indiana Women’s Prison Willfully Ignorant About COVID-19 Numbers? (p 21)
  10. How a Private Prison Company’s Defamation Suit Against One of Its Critics Backfired (p 22)
  11. After $625,000 Settlement, Oregon Deputy Charged in Assault of Prisoner (p 24)
  12. Pinellas County, Florida Sheriff’s Office Sued in Federal Court for Treatment of Transgender Prisoner (p 25)
  13. Federal Judge Slaps ICE, GEO Group Over “Abominable Performance” and Officials Who Lied During Testimony (p 26)
  14. No Summary Judgment on Oregon Prisoner’s Retaliatory Termination Claim (p 27)
  15. Missouri Prisoner Pleaded for Release Before Dying of COVID-19 (p 28)
  16. Minnesota State and Federal Prisoners COVID Case Surge Sparks ACLU Lawsuit (p 28)
  17. Ninth Circuit Finds California Prisoner’s Administrative Remedies Effectively Unavailable (p 29)
  18. Federal Educational Aid Restored for State and Federal Prisoners (p 30)
  19. Fourth Circuit Holds Prisoner’s Indefinite Period of Solitary Confinement at Virginia Supermax May Amount to Atypical and Significant Hardship (p 30)
  20. Progress Made in Fight Against Prison Gerrymandering But Battle Continues (p 32)
  21. COVID-19: What Texas Must Do to Save Prisoners’ Lives (p 32)
  22. Ninth Circuit Reverses Lower Court’s Dismissal of California Prisoner’s Religious Freedom Lawsuit (p 33)
  23. Minnesota Prison Guard Fired for Excessive Force After Brawl Linked to Floyd Protests (p 34)
  24. New Details Emerge on Senseless Death in a Milwaukee, Wisconsin Jail (p 34)
  25. Justice Department Report Documents Brooklyn Metropolitan Detention Center’s Poor Response to COVID-19 Crisis (p 36)
  26. $1.1 Million Settlement in Kentucky Jail Sex Abuse Suit (p 36)
  27. Global Tel*Link Hit with Sanctions For Discovery Violations in Georgia Prison Call Class Action (p 38)
  28. Federal Judge in Georgia Grants Class Action Status to Prisoners’ Suit Against Global Tel*Link (p 38)
  29. Fourth Circuit: ADA Relief Claims Improperly Dismissed in Virginia (p 40)
  30. Private Prison Companies Face Stock Crash, Credit Crunch (p 40)
  31. Former BOP Director Norman Carlson, Who Developed Supermax Model, Dies at 86 (p 42)
  32. Arizona Pays Prisoners Pennies on the Dollar to Fight Fires, All in the Name of Saving Money (p 42)
  33. Mellon Foundation to Provide $5.25 Million in Program to Distribute Books to Prisoners (p 43)
  34. Experts Find “Deplorable” Conditions at Mississippi’s Parchman Prison (p 44)
  35. ICE Refused Help in Containing Coronavirus in New Mexico Detention Centers (p 44)
  36. Troubled Ohio Jail Faces Two More Lawsuits (p 46)
  37. Pennsylvania Correctional Emergency Response Teams Face New Scrutiny in “Noose” Controversy (p 46)
  38. Child Sexual Abuse: It’s Never Too Late to Speak Out (p 48)
  39. New Mexico Corrections Pays $1.4 Million to Settle Whistleblower Complaint Alleging Retaliation for Exposing Deficiencies in Corizon Medical Care (p 48)
  40. Ninth Circuit Holds Intermediate Scrutiny Applies in Challenges to Facially Discriminatory Prison Regulations (p 52)
  41. Overtime Payouts in California Prison System Approach $500 Million (p 53)
  42. Idaho Supreme Court Holds Prisoners Have No Right to Paid or Unpaid Employment (p 54)
  43. Legislative Exemption Let Fired Alaska Cop Be Rehired as Jailer (p 55)
  44. Prisoners Paid $2 Per Hour to Move COVID-19 Corpses in El Paso, Texas (p 56)
  45. NY Federal Court Denies Summary Judgment on Claims of Improper Medication Seizure, Evidence Fabrication, Improper Frisk During Prison Visit (p 56)
  46. Minnesota Man Out of Prison After Being Exonerated of Murder (p 57)
  47. Federal Court Again Orders California DOC to Remedy Continuing ADA Violations (p 58)
  48. $4.65 Million Settlement for Florida Female Prisoner Left Quadriplegic After Brutal Beating by Guards (p 58)
  49. Decline in South Dakota State Prisoners Not Due to COVID (p 59)
  50. COVID-19: The Politics of Prisoner Vaccination (p 60)
  51. DOJ Report: Carceral Population Falls, 2017-2018 (p 60)
  52. Sixth Circuit Affirms Tennessee DOC’s Hepatitis C Treatment Due to Lack of Funds (p 62)
  53. News in Brief (p 62)

The Way Prisoners Flag Guard Abuse, Inadequate Health Care and Unsanitary Conditions Is Broken

Prisoners rely on grievances as an early-warning system for dangerous conditions, from poor medical care to abuse. But in Illinois, experts say the system is sputtering, with little oversight, resulting in injuries to prisoners.

This story was originally published by ProPublica. ProPublica Illinois is a nonprofit ...

Collateral Consequences of Mass Incarceration

According to the report, “Conviction, Imprisonment, ...

New York Parole System Badly in Need of Repair

From the Editor

For decades, prisoncrats have claimed that if they were given an opportunity to rectify complaints by prisoners there would be no need for litigation. Everyone involved knows that is a lie. Since the passage of the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) in 1996, prisoners must exhaust internal administrative grievance systems ...

Pandemic Update: News on Vaccines and Prison and Jail Staffing

All preventive measures undertaken by individuals to protect themselves and ...

Urgent Need for Vaccine Administration in Prisons, Jails and Detention Centers

Almost 300,000 Fell Ill and 2,000 Died from COVID-19 in U.S. Jails, Prisons

California Loses Round in Legal Fight to Deny Parole Based on Gang Affiliation

Was Indiana Women’s Prison Willfully Ignorant About COVID-19 Numbers?

Between late September and mid-October, prison officials reported 28 new cases and, by ...

How a Private Prison Company’s Defamation Suit Against One of Its Critics Backfired

A judge finds that CoreCivic played a role in the family separation crisis.

by Madison Pauley, Mother Jones, December 11, 2020

he mother who would end the Trump administration’s family separation policy arrived at the US-Mexico border in November 2017 with her 6-year-old daughter in tow. Ms. L, as she ...

After $625,000 Settlement, Oregon Deputy Charged in Assault of Prisoner

Pinellas County, Florida Sheriff’s Office Sued in Federal Court for Treatment of Transgender Prisoner

Federal Judge Slaps ICE, GEO Group Over “Abominable Performance” and Officials Who Lied During Testimony

No Summary Judgment on Oregon Prisoner’s Retaliatory Termination Claim

Missouri Prisoner Pleaded for Release Before Dying of COVID-19

“I’m afraid I may be ...

Minnesota State and Federal Prisoners COVID Case Surge Sparks ACLU Lawsuit

Ninth Circuit Finds California Prisoner’s Administrative Remedies Effectively Unavailable

Joshua Franklin Snyder was a pretrial detainee at two Riverside, California, detention facilities. While there, Snyder complained about unsanitary ...

Federal Educational Aid Restored for State and Federal Prisoners

Fourth Circuit Holds Prisoner’s Indefinite Period of Solitary Confinement at Virginia Supermax May Amount to Atypical and Significant Hardship

Elbert Smith, a Rastafarian ...

Progress Made in Fight Against Prison Gerrymandering But Battle Continues

COVID-19: What Texas Must Do to Save Prisoners’ Lives

With other large ...

Ninth Circuit Reverses Lower Court’s Dismissal of California Prisoner’s Religious Freedom Lawsuit

On July 21, 2020, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed a lower court’s dismissal of a prisoner’s religious freedom suit that had been dismissed as time barred.

California prisoner C. Dwayne Gilmore brought federal suit, alleging religious freedom claims in violation of ...

Minnesota Prison Guard Fired for Excessive Force After Brawl Linked to Floyd Protests

The death of George Floyd after being pinned to ...

New Details Emerge on Senseless Death in a Milwaukee, Wisconsin Jail

Justice Department Report Documents Brooklyn Metropolitan Detention Center’s Poor Response to COVID-19 Crisis

by Kevin Bliss

The Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) in Brooklyn, New York was investigated by the Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) concerning its response to the COVID-19 pandemic. A report released November 10, 2020 stated that MDC was insufficiently prepared to cope with the pandemic ...

$1.1 Million Settlement in Kentucky Jail Sex Abuse Suit

The women’s lawsuit alleged that between February 1, 2018, and August 20, 2018, Perry “harassed, assaulted, abused, and sexually ...

Global Tel*Link Hit with Sanctions For Discovery Violations in Georgia Prison Call Class Action

Federal Judge in Georgia Grants Class Action Status to Prisoners’ Suit Against Global Tel*Link

Monday, November 30, 2020, was a big day for a group of Georgia prisoners suing their phone service provider, Global Tel*Link (GTL), over the company’s allegedly hidden policy of confiscating any unused funds in their accounts after 90 days.

U.S. District Court Judge Amy Totenberg granted the suit class action ...

Fourth Circuit: ADA Relief Claims Improperly Dismissed in Virginia

In 2006, Virginia prisoner Douglas Fauconier was diagnosed with myasthenia gravis, ...

Private Prison Companies Face Stock Crash, Credit Crunch

Former BOP Director Norman Carlson, Who Developed Supermax Model, Dies at 86

Carlson grew up in Sioux City, Iowa where he summered with a local ...

Arizona Pays Prisoners Pennies on the Dollar to Fight Fires, All in the Name of Saving Money

Mellon Foundation to Provide $5.25 Million in Program to Distribute Books to Prisoners

The program will provide the same 500-book collection to 1,000 prisons. ...

Experts Find “Deplorable” Conditions at Mississippi’s Parchman Prison

ICE Refused Help in Containing Coronavirus in New Mexico Detention Centers

Troubled Ohio Jail Faces Two More Lawsuits

Pennsylvania Correctional Emergency Response Teams Face New Scrutiny in “Noose” Controversy

After guards searched their dorm room, Tyson and his roommates noticed something resembling a ...

Child Sexual Abuse: It’s Never Too Late to Speak Out

There are a number of risk factors that make an individual more likely to ...

New Mexico Corrections Pays $1.4 Million to Settle Whistleblower Complaint Alleging Retaliation for Exposing Deficiencies in Corizon Medical Care

An October 15, 2020 report from the Santa Fe New Mexican revealed that in March 2020, the New Mexico Corrections Department (NMCD) paid $1.4 million to settle a whistleblower complaint that exposed deficiencies of private health-care provider Corizon Correctional Health Care (Corizon) and the NMCD’s failure to ...

Ninth Circuit Holds Intermediate Scrutiny Applies in Challenges to Facially Discriminatory Prison Regulations

Overtime Payouts in California Prison System Approach $500 Million

Idaho Supreme Court Holds Prisoners Have No Right to Paid or Unpaid Employment

by Matt Clarke

On August 5, 2020, the Idaho Supreme Court held that state prisoners have no right to paid or unpaid employment despite a state law stating that the board of correction “shall provide for the care, maintenance and employment of all prisoners,” Idaho Code § 20-209.

Idaho state ...

Legislative Exemption Let Fired Alaska Cop Be Rehired as Jailer

Prisoners Paid $2 Per Hour to Move COVID-19 Corpses in El Paso, Texas

In November 2020, a surge of COVID-19 cases overwhelmed the health care system ...

NY Federal Court Denies Summary Judgment on Claims of Improper Medication Seizure, Evidence Fabrication, Improper Frisk During Prison Visit

Lisa Bobbit arrived at ...

Minnesota Man Out of Prison After Being Exonerated of Murder

by Ed Lyon

Javon Davis, aka James Lamar Davis, was talking to his girlfriend on the phone during the wee hours of April 12, 2014 as two men were gunned down while leaving their workplace at Target Field.

During what Hennepin County cops called an investigation, a statement was ...

Federal Court Again Orders California DOC to Remedy Continuing ADA Violations

$4.65 Million Settlement for Florida Female Prisoner Left Quadriplegic After Brutal Beating by Guards

Decline in South Dakota State Prisoners Not Due to COVID

COVID-19: The Politics of Prisoner Vaccination

DOJ Report: Carceral Population Falls, 2017-2018

Sixth Circuit Affirms Tennessee DOC’s Hepatitis C Treatment Due to Lack of Funds

The district court’s judgment was entered after a four-day ...

News in Brief

Afghanistan: As fighting continued between Taliban forces and the Afghan military on September 3, 3020, both parties announced they had nearly completed a prisoner exchange negotiated the previous February. According to a report by Japan’s public broadcasting company, HNK, the Taliban said all 1,000 Afghan prisoners it agreed to release ...