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Prison Legal News: March, 2021

Issue PDF
Volume 32, Number 3

In this issue:

  1. Inside Trump and Barr’s Last-Minute Killing Spree (p 1)
  2. Sequel: Three Additional Federal Executions Before Trump Left Office (p 8)
  3. Analysis: Federal Executions in Indiana Became ‘Super-Spreader’ Events (p 10)
  4. From the Editor (p 12)
  5. California Prison System Fined $400,000 For Prisoner Transfers That Sparked Surge in COVID-19, Also Faulted For Easing Restrictions (p 12)
  6. COVID Pandemic: Medical Update (p 14)
  7. Biden to Phase Out Privately-Run Federal Prisons; Critics Say Plan Too Timid (p 16)
  8. Reuters Investigation: Lamentable Medical Care in Jails and Prisons Exposed During Pandemic (p 18)
  9. $300,000 Award for Illinois Prisoner in Sexual Assault Claim (p 19)
  10. Second Circuit Upholds New York Prison Guards’ Federal Criminal Convictions for Assaulting Prisoner (p 20)
  11. Last-Minute DOJ Order Clears Way for Possible Return of Home Confinees to Prison (p 20)
  12. Centurion Opts Out of Mississippi Prison Medical Contract (p 21)
  13. A Guide To Finding Housing After Incarceration (p 22)
  14. New Surge of COVID Is Spreading “Like Wildfire” in Illinois Prisons (p 26)
  15. Lawsuit Against Pennsylvania County Over Prisoner’s Death in Restraint Chair Settled for $3 Million (p 28)
  16. Arizona Grandmother Sues After Being Jailed and Forced to Drink From Toilet (p 28)
  17. Audits Reveals Problems With Privatized Food Service at Pennsylvania’s Allegheny County Jail (p 30)
  18. Essay: What Spurred the Rise in Mass Solitary Confinement (p 30)
  19. Report: Video Courtroom Proceedings Have Negative Impact on Fairness and Access to Justice (p 32)
  20. No Sentence Reduction for Former Pennsylvania Judge Who Was Caging Kids for Kickback Cash (p 32)
  21. New Mexico Lawyer Fights to End Solitary Confinement (p 34)
  22. Federal Court Orders Body Cams Be Worn by Guards in Effort to Stop Abuse of Disabled at California Prison (p 34)
  23. Arizona Supreme Court Overturns Decision Allowing Special Master to Review Recordings of Jail Phone Calls to Attorney Alleged to be Privileged (p 36)
  24. COVID-19 Pandemic Leads to Founding of Congressional BOP Reform Caucus (p 36)
  25. Greedo Still Influencing From Texas Prison (p 38)
  26. Federal Judge Dismisses Arizona Woman’s Wrongful Conviction Suit (p 38)
  27. Victim Compensation and Restorative Justice as Alternatives to Sentencing Enhancements for Hate Crimes (p 40)
  28. Private Medical Contractor Wellpath Pays $4.5 Million in Death of Mentally Ill Jail Detainee After Judge Finds It Destroyed Evidence (p 40)
  29. Nearly Killed by Dehumanizing Culture of Indifference, Oregon Prisoner Sues for $975,000 (p 42)
  30. Prosecutors Drop Charges Against Florida Prisoner Accused of Assaulting Guard After Video Surfaces (p 42)
  31. Pay-to-Stay Fees Impoverish Prisoners, Increase Recidivism (p 44)
  32. ICE Detention Facility Deaths Now Highest Since 2005 (p 44)
  33. Pardoned Nevada Bank Robber’s Story Creates Hope for Prisoners (p 46)
  34. Prisoner Art on Display in New York City Exhibition (p 46)
  35. CoreCivic Faces Liability for Wiretap Act Violations in Nevada Case (p 47)
  36. Mentally Ill Oregon Prisoner’s “Needless & Preventable” Death From Flu Complications Nets Record $3 Million Settlement (p 48)
  37. Sixth Circuit Orders Michigan District Court to Review Prisoner’s Plea for Compassionate Release (p 49)
  38. California Starts Phase-Out of Most State Juvenile Prisons, but Loophole Allows Two to Remain Open (p 50)
  39. Mass Incarceration Fueling Spread of COVID-19 in Local Communities (p 50)
  40. Ohio Supreme Court Orders Department of Rehabilitation and Correction to Revise Calculation of Prisoner’s Sentence (p 52)
  41. Nevada Reduces Share of Prisoners’ Money That Can be Taken for Restitution (p 52)
  42. California Sheriff Hid Number of Deaths in Sacramento County Jails (p 53)
  43. As Prisoners Die, Washington Officials Resist Reform (p 54)
  44. Pennsylvania Supreme Court Rules Prisoners Can Challenge Deductions Taken From Their Accounts (p 56)
  45. California’s San Quentin and Folsom Prisons Hardest-Hit by COVID-19 (p 56)
  46. Mississippi Department of Corrections Lifts Smoking Ban at its Prisons (p 57)
  47. Second Circuit Court of Appeals Partly Overturns New York District Court, Allows Prisoner’s PREA Violations Claims to Proceed (p 58)
  48. Minnesota Counties Pay Out More Than $10 Million For Prison and Jail Settlements (p 58)
  49. Data: Families of Arizona Prison Guards Suffer High Rates of Domestic Violence (p 59)
  50. Federal Court Finds Missouri Parole System Unconstitutional (p 60)
  51. New Allegations of Abuse and Sexual Assault at Edna Mahan Women’s Prison in New Jersey (p 60)
  52. Successive Corruption Scandal Rocks Mississippi Prison System (p 62)
  53. News in Brief (p 62)

Inside Trump and Barr’s Last-Minute Killing Spree

Private executioners paid in cash. Middle-of-the-night killings. False or incomplete justifications. ProPublica obtained court records showing how the outgoing administration used its final days to execute the most federal prisoners since World War II.

by Isaac Arnsdorf, ProPublica, Dec. 23, 2020

This story was originally published by ProPublica. ProPublica ...

Sequel: Three Additional Federal Executions Before Trump Left Office

Analysis: Federal Executions in Indiana Became ‘Super-Spreader’ Events

From the Editor

California Prison System Fined $400,000 For Prisoner Transfers That Sparked Surge in COVID-19, Also Faulted For Easing Restrictions

COVID Pandemic: Medical Update

New variants of the coronavirus

February saw numerous reports about mutations and new variants of the pandemic coronavirus. A variant called B.1.1.7 was first identified in England (UK) last fall. B.1.1.7 spreads among people more easily (is more infectious) and may also cause serious illness ...

Biden to Phase Out Privately-Run Federal Prisons; Critics Say Plan Too Timid

Reuters Investigation: Lamentable Medical Care in Jails and Prisons Exposed During Pandemic

$300,000 Award for Illinois Prisoner in Sexual Assault Claim

The court’s September 29, 2020, order was issued following a damages bench trial. The lawsuit was filed by Illinois prisoner Donald Quickle. He was represented ...

Second Circuit Upholds New York Prison Guards’ Federal Criminal Convictions for Assaulting Prisoner

When prisoners Kevin Moore and Tyron Hollmond arrived at New York’s Downstate Correctional Facility, ...

Last-Minute DOJ Order Clears Way for Possible Return of Home Confinees to Prison

According to the memo, if the U.S. attorney general ...

Centurion Opts Out of Mississippi Prison Medical Contract

A Guide To Finding Housing After Incarceration

These questions are particularly pressing because around two-thirds of returning citizens are arrested within just three years ...

New Surge of COVID Is Spreading “Like Wildfire” in Illinois Prisons

Part of the Series: Despair and Disparity: The Uneven Burdens of COVID-19

With COVID-19 raging throughout the United States, there is a growing sense of desperation among people in prison. Pablo Mendoza, who recently got out of prison, said that those inside “are ...

Lawsuit Against Pennsylvania County Over Prisoner’s Death in Restraint Chair Settled for $3 Million

Arizona Grandmother Sues After Being Jailed and Forced to Drink From Toilet

Audits Reveals Problems With Privatized Food Service at Pennsylvania’s Allegheny County Jail

by Jayson Hawkins

Two audits released July 20, 2020 revealed a series of shortcomings by a food service contractor tasked with providing meals to juvenile detainees and in Pennsylvania’s Allegheny County.

Florida-based contractor Trinity Services Group was paid $3.5 million to provide three meals a day to prisoners at the ...

Essay: What Spurred the Rise in Mass Solitary Confinement

Report: Video Courtroom Proceedings Have Negative Impact on Fairness and Access to Justice

No Sentence Reduction for Former Pennsylvania Judge Who Was Caging Kids for Kickback Cash

Former Luzerne County juvenile court president Judge Mark Ciavarella, ...

New Mexico Lawyer Fights to End Solitary Confinement

Federal Court Orders Body Cams Be Worn by Guards in Effort to Stop Abuse of Disabled at California Prison

Arizona Supreme Court Overturns Decision Allowing Special Master to Review Recordings of Jail Phone Calls to Attorney Alleged to be Privileged

Christopher Matthew Clements was an Arizona county jail prisoner ...

COVID-19 Pandemic Leads to Founding of Congressional BOP Reform Caucus

House Rep. Fred Keller (R-Pa.) announced the formation of the BOP Reform ...

Greedo Still Influencing From Texas Prison

Federal Judge Dismisses Arizona Woman’s Wrongful Conviction Suit

Judge Roslyn Silver harshly criticized Milke in her ruling, saying the destroyed records would have ...

Victim Compensation and Restorative Justice as Alternatives to Sentencing Enhancements for Hate Crimes

During the decades dominated by ...

Private Medical Contractor Wellpath Pays $4.5 Million in Death of Mentally Ill Jail Detainee After Judge Finds It Destroyed Evidence

The family’s attorney, Edwin ...

Nearly Killed by Dehumanizing Culture of Indifference, Oregon Prisoner Sues for $975,000

Prosecutors Drop Charges Against Florida Prisoner Accused of Assaulting Guard After Video Surfaces

Pay-to-Stay Fees Impoverish Prisoners, Increase Recidivism

Wisconsin Watch, a watchdog ...

ICE Detention Facility Deaths Now Highest Since 2005

Pardoned Nevada Bank Robber’s Story Creates Hope for Prisoners

Prisoner Art on Display in New York City Exhibition

CoreCivic Faces Liability for Wiretap Act Violations in Nevada Case

The court’s October 27, 2020, opinion was issued ...

Mentally Ill Oregon Prisoner’s “Needless & Preventable” Death From Flu Complications Nets Record $3 Million Settlement

Sixth Circuit Orders Michigan District Court to Review Prisoner’s Plea for Compassionate Release

The court’s October ...

California Starts Phase-Out of Most State Juvenile Prisons, but Loophole Allows Two to Remain Open

Mass Incarceration Fueling Spread of COVID-19 in Local Communities

Assessing the relationship ...

Ohio Supreme Court Orders Department of Rehabilitation and Correction to Revise Calculation of Prisoner’s Sentence

DRC prisoner Charles Fraley pleaded guilty to multiple aggravated robberies. In Cause No. 11CR-403, ...

Nevada Reduces Share of Prisoners’ Money That Can be Taken for Restitution

Marsy’s Law was ...

California Sheriff Hid Number of Deaths in Sacramento County Jails

As Prisoners Die, Washington Officials Resist Reform

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Rules Prisoners Can Challenge Deductions Taken From Their Accounts

The court’s October 1, 2020, opinion was issued in an appeal brought by prisoner Aquil Johnson, who sought a refund of monies ...

California’s San Quentin and Folsom Prisons Hardest-Hit by COVID-19

Mississippi Department of Corrections Lifts Smoking Ban at its Prisons

Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC) enacted a smoking and tobacco product ...

Second Circuit Court of Appeals Partly Overturns New York District Court, Allows Prisoner’s PREA Violations Claims to Proceed

Minnesota Counties Pay Out More Than $10 Million For Prison and Jail Settlements

One of the ...

Data: Families of Arizona Prison Guards Suffer High Rates of Domestic Violence

Nearly 20 ...

Federal Court Finds Missouri Parole System Unconstitutional

by Dale Chappell

The U.S. District Court for the Western  District of Missouri entered an order on November 12, 2020, finding that Missouri’s parole system was unconstitutional, handing down a laundry list of corrections needed.

The problem was Missouri’s handling of parole revocation proceedings, which the Court said violated parolees’ ...

New Allegations of Abuse and Sexual Assault at Edna Mahan Women’s Prison in New Jersey

Successive Corruption Scandal Rocks Mississippi Prison System

News in Brief

Arizona: In January 2021, two women who worked at an Arizona state prison operated by Florida-based GEO Group pleaded guilty to having sex with inmates there. Melony Petrovffsky, 50, ran the commissary for the private contractor at a prison in Golden Valley, where she was allegedly caught on video surveillance ...