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Prison Legal News: July, 2021

Issue PDF
Volume 32, Number 7

In this issue:

  1. The Contraband Wars Prison authorities target books and mail, miss the goods coming through the staff door (p 1)
  2. From the Editor (p 12)
  3. Course of the Covid Pandemic (p 14)
  4. “Progressive” Seattle Mayoral Candidate Exposed as Shill for the Private Prison Industry (p 18)
  5. Ohio County Executive and Underlings Under Investigation for Jail Corruption and Deaths (p 20)
  6. Inmate Magazine Service Advertising Results in FTC Complaint (p 20)
  7. Coronavirus Lockdowns in Prisons Test Limits of Colorado’s Rules on Solitary Confinement (p 22)
  8. Guard “Justified” in Shooting Death of Elderly Woman in Spokane County Jail Lobby (p 25)
  9. Wisconsin Prisoner In Vegetative State After Suicide Attempt Wins New Trial on Jury Instruction Error (p 26)
  10. After DOJ Finds Unconstitutional Conditions for Mentally Ill Prisoners in Solitary, Massachusetts Experiments with Monitoring Gadget (p 26)
  11. Illinois Prisoner’s Negligence Lawsuit Alleging Injuries from Wart Treatment Timely Filed (p 28)
  12. District Court Certifies Class Status in Louisville Jail Overdetention of Prisoners’ Suit (p 28)
  13. Eleventh Circuit Upholds Some Convictions of Four Georgia Prison Guards for Drug Smuggling; Reverses Others for Retrial (p 30)
  14. Law Review States Prisons Better Off With Public Health Care Rather than Private (p 30)
  15. $6.2 Million Judgment for California Deputies Negligence Causing Arrestee Injuries Affirmed (p 32)
  16. U.S. Supreme Court Reverses Dismissal of Texas Prisoner’s Feces Covered Cell Lawsuit (p 32)
  17. Incarcerated Persons Not In-Custody for Miranda Purposes (p 33)
  18. Woman Abuse Survivors Sent to Prison for Self-Defense (p 34)
  19. Inspector General Finds Botched Transfers Caused COVID Outbreak at San Quentin, 29 Dead (p 34)
  20. North Carolina Prisons Underreport COVID Related Deaths (p 36)
  21. New Jersey Legionnaires’ Disease Outbreak Kept Quiet in State Prisons (p 38)
  22. GAO Reports ICE Wastes Hundreds of Millions Each Year (p 40)
  23. The Enduring Life of Life Sentences (p 42)
  24. Federal Court Orders Release of Documents for Connecticut Prison Cancer Death (p 44)
  25. Second Circuit Holds Connecticut Can’t Indemnify Guard in Assault Case Then Seek Cost of Incarceration; $650,000 Awarded in Failure to Protect Case (p 46)
  26. Virginia Votes to Abolish Death Penalty (p 46)
  27. Architects Question Whether Building “More Humane” Prisons is Possible (p 48)
  28. Georgia Sheriffs Entitled to Eleventh Amendment Immunity When Setting Jail Policies That Lead to Prisoners Being Sexually Abused (p 48)
  29. $54,000 Award of Attorney Fees to Enforce Settlement Agreement on Behalf of Deaf Prisoners (p 49)
  30. En Banc Eleventh Circuit Holds Prisoners Can Seek Punitive Damages Without Physical Injury (p 50)
  31. Sixth Circuit Reverses Dismissal of Retaliation Suit by Pro Se Michigan Prisoner (p 50)
  32. Maine Supreme Judicial Court Holds Courts Have Authority to Enjoin DOC from Unconstitutional Segregation Practices (p 52)
  33. From a Picture Grew Thousands of Words (p 52)
  34. $200,000 Settlement for Kentucky Woman in Jail Childbirth Suit (p 53)
  35. Oregon Federal Court Issues Class Certification in HRDC Challenge to NUMI Release Debit Cards (p 54)
  36. Maine Prisons Expand Medication Assisted Treatment (p 54)
  37. Advancing Stage of HCV Triggers Imminent Danger Exception to PLRA Three Strikes Rule (p 54)
  38. When Prisoners Die, Hawaii Keeps it Secret (p 56)
  39. Three Illinois Guards Indicted for Fatally Beating Prisoner (p 56)
  40. Majority of Americans Now Favor Life Imprisonment Over Death Penalty (p 57)
  41. Fifth Circuit Upholds Dismissal of Transfer Lawsuit by Suicidal Prisoner (p 58)
  42. Iowa Jails Lower Phone Rates But Not Far Enough (p 58)
  43. Colorado Supreme Court Holds Prisoners Entitled to Preliminary Hearing on New Charges (p 59)
  44. After Backlash, Tennessee State University President Reverses Decision to Join CoreCivic Board (p 60)
  45. “We Want Court dates!” (p 60)
  46. News in Brief (p 62)

The Contraband Wars Prison authorities target books and mail, miss the goods coming through the staff door

The ...

From the Editor

Course of the Covid Pandemic

“Progressive” Seattle Mayoral Candidate Exposed as Shill for the Private Prison Industry

By Ken Silverstein

“I’m running for Mayor so every family can see their future in Seattle,” says Casey Sixkiller. “It requires bold action, leadership experience when it matters most, and a mayor who wakes up every day focused on rebuilding a more equitable, inclusive, and thriving city.”

One can understand ...

Ohio County Executive and Underlings Under Investigation for Jail Corruption and Deaths

Inmate Magazine Service Advertising Results in FTC Complaint

IMS and ...

Coronavirus Lockdowns in Prisons Test Limits of Colorado’s Rules on Solitary Confinement

by John Herrick, The Colorado Trust

Last summer, Matthew Harter, a 50-year-old from Lakewood, Colo., was incarcerated at Centennial Correctional Facility South, a prison in Cañon City, when he started to have trouble breathing. 

Harter didn’t have COVID-19. He had anxiety, he said, because he was in quarantine, alone in ...

Guard “Justified” in Shooting Death of Elderly Woman in Spokane County Jail Lobby

Jack King, Nancy’s nephew, told the Spokane-Review that Nancy King suffered from alcoholism and ...

Wisconsin Prisoner In Vegetative State After Suicide Attempt Wins New Trial on Jury Instruction Error

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a jury’s judgment in a civil rights action alleging guards at Wisconsin’s Madison County Jail (MCJ) were deliberately indifferent to a detainee's medical care. The court found the jury was improperly instructed to determine if the defendants’ actions were ...

After DOJ Finds Unconstitutional Conditions for Mentally Ill Prisoners in Solitary, Massachusetts Experiments with Monitoring Gadget

Six months after the Department of Justice (DOJ) issued a highly critical report accusing the Massachusetts Department of Corrections (MADOC) of violating the constitutional rights of mentally ill prisoners by holding them in isolation too long, the agency has not made conditions any less ...

Illinois Prisoner’s Negligence Lawsuit Alleging Injuries from Wart Treatment Timely Filed

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the dismissal of state law negligence claims based upon a prisoner being forced to self-apply a medication that was not supposed to be dispensed to patients. The court, however, affirmed the dismissal of a deliberate indifference claim.

The court’s ...

District Court Certifies Class Status in Louisville Jail Overdetention of Prisoners’ Suit

In February 2017, plaintiffs Jacob Healy, James Michael Jarvis, Jr., Cynthia Dawn Yates, and ...

Eleventh Circuit Upholds Some Convictions of Four Georgia Prison Guards for Drug Smuggling; Reverses Others for Retrial

by Matt Clarke

On March 17, 20201, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit upheld the convictions of two former Georgia Department of Corrections (DOC) prison guards for attempted distribution of methamphetamine while reversing for new trial the attempted distribution convictions of two other DOC guards and ...

Law Review States Prisons Better Off With Public Health Care Rather than Private

Micaela Gelman, professor of New York University School of Law, penned the article, Mismanaged Care: Exploring ...

$6.2 Million Judgment for California Deputies Negligence Causing Arrestee Injuries Affirmed

The court’s February 2, 2021, opinion was issued in an appeal by the defendants after a jury found for ...

U.S. Supreme Court Reverses Dismissal of Texas Prisoner’s Feces Covered Cell Lawsuit

Incarcerated Persons Not In-Custody for Miranda Purposes

The Wisconsin Supreme Court held “that neither the Wisconsin Constitution nor the purposes underlying Miranda warnings support a judicially created rule treating all incarcerated individuals as ‘in custody.’”

The court’s January 29, 2021 opinion was issued in an appeal brought by Brian L. Halverson. He was held at the Vernon ...

Woman Abuse Survivors Sent to Prison for Self-Defense

Inspector General Finds Botched Transfers Caused COVID Outbreak at San Quentin, 29 Dead

North Carolina Prisons Underreport COVID Related Deaths

Billy Bingham, a ...

New Jersey Legionnaires’ Disease Outbreak Kept Quiet in State Prisons

After one person died and another spent a month in a coma, state officials found Legionella bacteria in the water at two New Jersey prisons.

by Akela Lacy, The Intercept

After Jamil Robinson drank the water from the infirmary at East Jersey State Prison, he became so violently ill that prison officials ...

GAO Reports ICE Wastes Hundreds of Millions Each Year

The Enduring Life of Life Sentences

One of every seven prisoners is ...

Federal Court Orders Release of Documents for Connecticut Prison Cancer Death

The lawsuit was filed by the ...

Second Circuit Holds Connecticut Can’t Indemnify Guard in Assault Case Then Seek Cost of Incarceration; $650,000 Awarded in Failure to Protect Case

Virginia Votes to Abolish Death Penalty

Architects Question Whether Building “More Humane” Prisons is Possible

by Daniel A. Rosen

Does more fresh air, sunlight, and space for rehabilitative programs mean a prison or jail is more humane? That’s the question many architects are struggling with as expensive new facilities are built around the country.

Architecture and design may be able to play a key role ...

Georgia Sheriffs Entitled to Eleventh Amendment Immunity When Setting Jail Policies That Lead to Prisoners Being Sexually Abused

by David M. Reutter

The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal of a civil rights complaint against a Georgia Sheriff. The Court held the Sheriff was entitled to Eleventh Amendment immunity.

The Court's May 7, 2021, opinion was issued in an appeal brought by Oqueshia Andrews. Her civil ...

$54,000 Award of Attorney Fees to Enforce Settlement Agreement on Behalf of Deaf Prisoners

by David M. Reutter

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a district court’s order granting attorney’s fees after it found the Illinois Department of Correction (IDOC) was in “substantial noncompliance” with a consent decree in a class action lawsuit filed by deaf and hard of hearing prisoners. It reversed ...

En Banc Eleventh Circuit Holds Prisoners Can Seek Punitive Damages Without Physical Injury

The court’s en banc ruling was issued on April 9, 2021 in an appeal brought by ...

Sixth Circuit Reverses Dismissal of Retaliation Suit by Pro Se Michigan Prisoner

The court’s June ...

Maine Supreme Judicial Court Holds Courts Have Authority to Enjoin DOC from Unconstitutional Segregation Practices

From a Picture Grew Thousands of Words

Thus ...

$200,000 Settlement for Kentucky Woman in Jail Childbirth Suit

According to court documents, on May 15, ...

Oregon Federal Court Issues Class Certification in HRDC Challenge to NUMI Release Debit Cards

by David M. Reutter

An Oregon federal district court issued an order that certified a class in a lawsuit challenging the issuance of debit cards by NUMI upon release in lieu of the cash that was confiscated from detainees upon arrest.

The Courts June 8, 2021, order was issued in ...

Maine Prisons Expand Medication Assisted Treatment

Going cold ...

Advancing Stage of HCV Triggers Imminent Danger Exception to PLRA Three Strikes Rule

The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, in an unpublished decision, found that a prisoner stated a claim showing he was in imminent danger of physical harm, and that a district court erred in dismissing the prisoner’s complaint based on a Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) three strikes bar.

The Court’s ...

When Prisoners Die, Hawaii Keeps it Secret

Three Illinois Guards Indicted for Fatally Beating Prisoner

Three Illinois prison guards have been fired and indicted on federal charges for the fatal beating of a handcuffed prisoner. On May 17, 2018, Western Illinois Correctional center guards Lt. Todd Sheffler, 51, Sgt. Willie Hedden, 41, and Alex Banta, 28, were escorting prisoner Larry Earvin, 65, from a residential ...

Majority of Americans Now Favor Life Imprisonment Over Death Penalty

In 1985, Gallup began asking the question: “If you could choose between the following two approaches, which do you think ...

Fifth Circuit Upholds Dismissal of Transfer Lawsuit by Suicidal Prisoner

Iowa Jails Lower Phone Rates But Not Far Enough

Colorado Supreme Court Holds Prisoners Entitled to Preliminary Hearing on New Charges

David Subjack and Darryl Lewis Lynch are Colorado State Penitentiary prisoners who were charged with the class 4 ...

After Backlash, Tennessee State University President Reverses Decision to Join CoreCivic Board

News media reported that TSU President Glenda Glover had decided to join the board ...

“We Want Court dates!”

News in Brief

Alabama: According to a report by the Alabama Political Reporter, a state prisoner was fatally stabbed by another man incarcerated with him at Fountain Correctional Facility in Atmore on May 4, 2021—just one day before his scheduled release, which would also have been his twenty-fourth birthday. Pending an autopsy on ...