Skip navigation

Prison Legal News: May, 2021

Issue PDF
Volume 32, Number 5

In this issue:

  1. The Punishment Economy: Winners and Losers in the Business of Mass Incarceration (p 1)
  2. Use of Solitary Confinement During Pandemic Detrimental To Prisoners and Not Slowing Spread of COVID-19 (p 12)
  3. From the Editor (p 12)
  4. Why Did a St. Louis Man Die in a Federal Prison Coronavirus Hotspot? (p 14)
  5. Texas Prisons Close Amid Pandemic (p 20)
  6. The Importance of Establishing Veterans Benefits While in Prison (p 22)
  7. Alabama Prisons, Among Deadliest for COVID-19, Not Prepared to Vaccinate Prisoners (p 24)
  8. ICE Holding Cuban Detainee for 11 Years and Counting Following Florida Prison Release (p 24)
  9. Massachusetts Uses Medical Parole to Avoid In-Custody Deaths From COVID-19 (p 26)
  10. Amid Widespread Calls for Abolition, Mariame Kaba Sheds Light With Latest Book (p 26)
  11. Second Circuit Reinstates Acquitted New York City Man’s Claims of Police Due Process Violations and Excessive Use of Force by Jailers (p 28)
  12. Music Project Brings Prisoners’ Stories to Life in Song (p 28)
  13. Report: Massachusetts Prisons Continue to Fail on Mental Health Care (p 29)
  14. Idaho Supreme Court Orders Release of Death Penalty Related Documents (p 30)
  15. Federal Court: COVID-19 Vaccine Must be Available to All Oregon Prisoners (p 30)
  16. Second Circuit Reverses Summary Judgment in Lawsuit Alleging New York Guard Sexually Assaulted Female Prisoners (p 32)
  17. BOP’s Terminal Island Response Sparked COVID-19 Spread (p 32)
  18. Texas Moves to Deny Housing for Released Prisoners (p 34)
  19. Qualified Immunity Granted on Claim of Sleep Deprivation From Guard Noise During Suicide-Prevention Checks in California (p 34)
  20. California State Prisoners Pay Teen’s School Tuition (p 35)
  21. Smoking on the Chain Gang (p 36)
  22. Medical Copays for Prisoners Suspended in Several States Due to COVID-19 (p 38)
  23. Washington State Governor Signs Bill Banning Private Prisons Statewide (p 38)
  24. Pandemic Medical Update: Vaccines, Variants and More (p 40)
  25. Southern Republican Senators Criticize Third Pandemic Relief Bill for Giving Payments to Prisoners (p 41)
  26. Broad Support for North Carolina Bill to Bar Shackling Pregnant Prisoners (p 42)
  27. Judge Slaps Arizona With $1.1 Million Fine Over Prison Health Care (p 42)
  28. HRDC Wins FOIA Lawsuit filed in Washington State for Unredacted ICE Documents (p 44)
  29. With the majority of corrections officers declining the COVID-19 vaccine, incarcerated people are still at serious risk (p 44)
  30. Report: Private Company Rubber-Stamps Inspections of Abuse-Ridden ICE Detention Camps (p 46)
  31. Family of San Quentin Prisoner Who Died of COVID-19 Due to “Horribly Botched Transfer” Files Lawsuit (p 48)
  32. Report Calls for the End of Solitary Confinement at Michigan Prisons (p 50)
  33. Washington Supreme Court Holds Ongoing Contempt Not Required to Impose Sanctions for Violating Injunction Against Releasing Sex Offender Records (p 50)
  34. Repairing Credit After Release from Prison (p 51)
  35. Report: Border Patrol Misappropriated Funds and Failed to Provide Proper Medical Care to Accurately Report Migrant Deaths (p 52)
  36. Lawsuit Over Pennsylvania Prisoner’s Fatal Asthma Attack Allegedly Triggered by Excessive Use of Pepper Spray (p 54)
  37. Biden’s Justice Department Nomination Faces Aggressive Opposition From Senate Republicans (p 54)
  38. Narrowing the Remedial Gap: Damages for Disability Discrimination in Outsourced Federal Programs (p 56)
  39. COVID-19 Kills Jeffery Epstein’s Former Cellmate (p 61)
  40. News in Brief (p 62)
  41. Banksy Artwork Appears on Jail in England (p 62)

The Punishment Economy: Winners and Losers in the Business of Mass Incarceration

by Daniel A. Rosen

“This is an industry that profits from human suffering.”

—David Fathi, Director, ACLU’s
National Prison Project

Starting with math may be a bad idea, but numbers help tell this story: In Virginia, keeping the average prisoner behind bars costs taxpayers about $30,000 per year; in some ...

Use of Solitary Confinement During Pandemic Detrimental To Prisoners and Not Slowing Spread of COVID-19

From the Editor

Why Did a St. Louis Man Die in a Federal Prison Coronavirus Hotspot?

Howard grew up in the St. Louis suburb of Normandy. In his late teens, before his first stretch in prison, he acquired the street name of “The Black Italian Snake.”

Proud of the moniker, ...

Texas Prisons Close Amid Pandemic

TDCJ said the latter two were expected to be temporary ...

The Importance of Establishing Veterans Benefits While in Prison

Imprisoned veterans across the country need to know about the service-connected disability compensation and rehabilitation benefits they may be eligible for. Even as prisoners, veterans still have options which are not available to the general population that could greatly impact their lives, especially as they work toward ...

Alabama Prisons, Among Deadliest for COVID-19, Not Prepared to Vaccinate Prisoners

The ADOC has ...

ICE Holding Cuban Detainee for 11 Years and Counting Following Florida Prison Release

Massachusetts Uses Medical Parole to Avoid In-Custody Deaths From COVID-19

Amid Widespread Calls for Abolition, Mariame Kaba Sheds Light With Latest Book

Second Circuit Reinstates Acquitted New York City Man’s Claims of Police Due Process Violations and Excessive Use of Force by Jailers

Jarrett Frost was arrested by New York City police in January ...

Music Project Brings Prisoners’ Stories to Life in Song

The Long Time Gone album was released ...

Report: Massachusetts Prisons Continue to Fail on Mental Health Care

Investigators cited hundreds of instances of MDOC employees failing to prevent suicide or other self-harm among prisoners who had been designated for ...

Idaho Supreme Court Orders Release of Death Penalty Related Documents

The court’s November 20, 2020, order was issued ...

Federal Court: COVID-19 Vaccine Must be Available to All Oregon Prisoners

The court’s February 2, 2021 order also granted provisional class certification to all adults in ...

Second Circuit Reverses Summary Judgment in Lawsuit Alleging New York Guard Sexually Assaulted Female Prisoners

The lawsuit was filed by prisoners Tara Lucente, Jaimie ...

BOP’s Terminal Island Response Sparked COVID-19 Spread

Texas Moves to Deny Housing for Released Prisoners

Whether a former prisoner’s conviction was for a violent, nonviolent, ...

Qualified Immunity Granted on Claim of Sleep Deprivation From Guard Noise During Suicide-Prevention Checks in California

California State Prisoners Pay Teen’s School Tuition

Unfortunately, near the end of his freshman year both of Green’s parents lost their jobs due to ...

Smoking on the Chain Gang

Those ...

Medical Copays for Prisoners Suspended in Several States Due to COVID-19

Most states ...

Washington State Governor Signs Bill Banning Private Prisons Statewide

Pandemic Medical Update: Vaccines, Variants and More

Course of the Pandemic

The United States has lately stabilized at around 60,000 new infections per day. This is not good, as daily infections need to go down much further before control of the pandemic can be achieved. At least deaths and hospitalizations have continued ...

Southern Republican Senators Criticize Third Pandemic Relief Bill for Giving Payments to Prisoners

Editors’ Note: On March 17, the IRS announced that the federal income tax filing due date for individuals filing for the 2020 tax year was extended from April 15, 2021, to May 17, 2021

No Republican senator voted to ...

Broad Support for North Carolina Bill to Bar Shackling Pregnant Prisoners

Judge Slaps Arizona With $1.1 Million Fine Over Prison Health Care

The court’s February 24, 2021 order was the latest move to compel ADOC to comply with its ...

HRDC Wins FOIA Lawsuit filed in Washington State for Unredacted ICE Documents

On March 20, 2018, ...

With the majority of corrections officers declining the COVID-19 vaccine, incarcerated people are still at serious risk

Low rates of vaccine uptake among correctional staff make it clear that withholding the vaccine from people who are locked up — or offering it only to a small fraction of the prison population — is senseless.

by Wanda Bertram and Wendy Sawyer, Prison Policy Initiative

Correctional staff in most states have been eligible ...

Report: Private Company Rubber-Stamps Inspections of Abuse-Ridden ICE Detention Camps

The prolonged use of solitary confinement, ice-cold detention ...

Family of San Quentin Prisoner Who Died of COVID-19 Due to “Horribly Botched Transfer” Files Lawsuit

Report Calls for the End of Solitary Confinement at Michigan Prisons

The report discussed the effects of ...

Washington Supreme Court Holds Ongoing Contempt Not Required to Impose Sanctions for Violating Injunction Against Releasing Sex Offender Records

Repairing Credit After Release from Prison

Report: Border Patrol Misappropriated Funds and Failed to Provide Proper Medical Care to Accurately Report Migrant Deaths

According to a July 2020 report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office ...

Lawsuit Over Pennsylvania Prisoner’s Fatal Asthma Attack Allegedly Triggered by Excessive Use of Pepper Spray

According ...

Biden’s Justice Department Nomination Faces Aggressive Opposition From Senate Republicans

On credentials and experience alone, ...

Narrowing the Remedial Gap: Damages for Disability Discrimination in Outsourced Federal Programs

I. Introduction

Kamyar Samimi, a sixty-four-year-old legal permanent resident from Iran, died in U.S. immigration detention in December 2017. After more than four decades in the United States, he’d been confined at the Aurora Contract Detention Facility, a ...

COVID-19 Kills Jeffery Epstein’s Former Cellmate

Prior to his stay at the Queens lock up, Reyes was housed at the Manhattan Correctional ...

News in Brief

Alabama: In February 2021, Huntsville TV station WHNT reported a delay in the trial on theft and ethics charges of Mike Blakely, sheriff of Limestone County, Alabama. According to the report, retired Colbert County Circuit Judge Pride Tompkins, who had been appointed to hear the case at a trial scheduled ...

Banksy Artwork Appears on Jail in England

The painting shows a prisoner in stripped garb escaping on a rope made of bedsheets as he repels down the wall with a ...