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Prison Legal News: May, 2022

Issue PDF
Volume 33, Number 5

In this issue:

  1. PrimeCare: Less Medical Care for Prisoners, Higher Expenses for Taxpayers, More Profits for Corporate Owner (p 1)
  2. Vermont Supreme Court: Removing Prisoner From Programming Is Reviewable When Catalyst Was Punitive (p 14)
  3. From the Editor (p 14)
  4. $11 Million Settlement Reached in Tennessee Suit Alleging False Arrest and False Imprisonment of Minors (p 16)
  5. $5.5 Million Settlement to California Prisoner Left Incapacitated After Suicide Attempt at Santa Cruz County Jail (p 18)
  6. Nine Deaths in Three Years at CoreCivic Jail in Florida, None From COVID-19 (p 18)
  7. Pittsburgh Jail Records 13 Deaths in Two Years, Only One From COVID-19 (p 20)
  8. California Federal Court Approves Consent Decree Upgrading Mental Health Care at Alameda County Jail (p 22)
  9. Trapped in The Floods: With Floodwaters Rising, Prisoners Wait for Help in Floating Feces (p 24)
  10. Fifth BOP Staffer Arrested in “Rape Club” at California Federal Prison (p 28)
  11. $316,673 Settlement in New Mexico Prisoner’s Lawsuit Over Stabbing at GEO-Operated Private Prison (p 46)
  12. HRDC Sues New Hampshire Jail over Publications Banned under No-Hard-Copy Mail Policy (p 48)
  13. Guard Arrested for Running “Fight Club” in New Jersey Prison Kitchen (p 48)
  14. Tenth Circuit Says Disabled Colorado Prisoner Offered Diapers Rather Than Bathroom Pass May Deserve Damages Under ADA (p 50)
  15. Ninth Circuit Says Nevada DOC Not Micromanaged by Requirement to Treat Prisoner’s Severe Mental Illness; Upholds Preliminary Injunction (p 52)
  16. Con Who Conned Cons is Sentenced to Federal Prison (p 53)
  17. DOJ Reaches Settlement Over Disability Access With Vermont Prison System (p 54)
  18. Lifting Six-Year Moratorium, Oklahoma Treats Witnesses to Convulsing and Vomiting Prisoner During Execution (p 60)

PrimeCare: Less Medical Care for Prisoners, Higher Expenses for Taxpayers, More Profits for Corporate Owner

by Matt Clarke

The news from Pennsylvania on April 4, 2021, had a sadly familiar ring to it: A prisoner died a preventable death in a county lockup, costing a bundle to settle, so county officials were turning to a private healthcare provider. They granted a multi-million-dollar annual contract—a million ...

Vermont Supreme Court: Removing Prisoner From Programming Is Reviewable When Catalyst Was Punitive

In a decision reached on October 8, 2021, the Vermont Supreme Court held that a determination by state prison officials to remove a prisoner from programming was reviewable when the catalyst was punitive. The claim at issue was based upon the failure to provide the prisoner a hearing before imposing ...

From the Editor

This issue of PLN marks our 32nd anniversary. Having published 384 issues since May 1990, we have been reporting on the growth of the American police state for 32 years as its prison and jail population has more than doubled from one million to almost 2.3 million reported in 2020. ...

$11 Million Settlement Reached in Tennessee Suit Alleging False Arrest and False Imprisonment of Minors

by Ed Lyon

On December 20, 2021, a settlementwas approved by a federal court in a lawsuit alleging the illegal arrest and detention of some 1,500 children at the Rutherford County Juvenile Detention Center (JDC) in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. As a result, members of the proposed classes of plaintiffs were eligible ...

$5.5 Million Settlement to California Prisoner Left Incapacitated After Suicide Attempt at Santa Cruz County Jail

by Ed Lyon

On December 16, 2021, a federal court in California approved a $5.5 million settlement between Santa Cruz County and the estate of a former prisoner at the county jail whose attempt on his own life there left him an invalid.

Sometime after 11 a.m. on February 15, ...

Nine Deaths in Three Years at CoreCivic Jail in Florida, None From COVID-19

The Citrus County Detention Facility(CCDF) in Lecanto, Florida, serves a modest-sized county with a population of 149,383, slightly over the average in all 2,843 jail jurisdictions in the U.S. The mortality rate in all U.S. jails in 2018—the last year for which federal Bureau of Justice statistics were published—averaged 154 ...

Pittsburgh Jail Records 13 Deaths in Two Years, Only One From COVID-19

by Jo Ellen Nott

In the two years since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020, deaths have more than doubled at the Allegheny County Jail (ACJ) in downtown Pittsburgh, even as the jail population was cut drastically in an effort to curb the spread of the SARS-COV2 virus. Yet ...

California Federal Court Approves Consent Decree Upgrading Mental Health Care at Alameda County Jail

by David M. Reutter

On February 7, 2022, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California approved a Consent Decree in a class-action lawsuit filed against the Alameda County Jail in Santa Rita that accused officials there of subjecting “individuals with mental health diagnoses and/or other psychiatric disabilities” ...

Trapped in The Floods: With Floodwaters Rising, Prisoners Wait for Help in Floating Feces

by Alleen Brown

The flooding in Dixie County, Florida, began in July, brought on by Tropical Storm Elsa. Then the rains kept falling. By August, the ground was saturated, and the semirural county was underwater.

At the Cross City Correctional Institution, the prison administration repeatedly canceled visitation hours throughout July. ...

Fifth BOP Staffer Arrested in “Rape Club” at California Federal Prison

by Jo Ellen Nott

Once known for famous prisoners from Hollywood, the Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) at Dublin, California, is now in the spotlight for a different reason: As of March 2022, at least five Bureau of Prisons (BOP) employees have been charged with sexually abusing women held at the ...

$316,673 Settlement in New Mexico Prisoner’s Lawsuit Over Stabbing at GEO-Operated Private Prison

by Matt Clarke

On October 1, 2021, the New Mexico Corrections Department (NMCD) and the private operator of one of its prisons, the GEO Group, agreed to pay $316,673.53 to settle a lawsuit brought by a prisoner stabbed and severely injured by another prisoner at a GEO-operated state prison that ...

HRDC Sues New Hampshire Jail over Publications Banned under No-Hard-Copy Mail Policy

By Sam Rutherford

On March 11, 2022, the Human Rights Defense Center (HRDC), PLN’s publisher, filed suit in U.S. District Court for the District of New Hampshire under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that the Strafford County House of Correction (HOC) violated its rights under the First and Fourteenth ...

Guard Arrested for Running “Fight Club” in New Jersey Prison Kitchen

by Ashleigh Dye and Jayson Hawkins

A New Jersey prison guard was arrested on October 1, 2021, on charges he ran a “fight club” in the kitchen he supervised at Bayside State Prison, regularly beating and torturing prisoners who worked under him there.

“A badge is not a license to ...

Tenth Circuit Says Disabled Colorado Prisoner Offered Diapers Rather Than Bathroom Pass May Deserve Damages Under ADA

by David M. Reutter

In an opinion issued on September 8, 2021, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit ruled the federal district court in Colorado erred in dismissing a state prisoner’s claim filed under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. ch. 126 §12101 et seq., ...

Ninth Circuit Says Nevada DOC Not Micromanaged by Requirement to Treat Prisoner’s Severe Mental Illness; Upholds Preliminary Injunction

by Matt Clarke

On August 30, 2021, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit took the Nevada Department of Corrections (DOC) to task over a four-year delay in providing a state prisoner the only drugs known to safely treat his severe mental illness. Swatting away DOC’s contention it ...

Con Who Conned Cons is Sentenced to Federal Prison

The federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) has no parole, but there are ways for a federal prisoner to shorten a sentence length. One way is to successfully complete a 13-week Residential Drug Abuse Program (RDAP), earning up to 12 months of credit toward release.

Enter RDAP Law Consultants, LLC, a ...

DOJ Reaches Settlement Over Disability Access With Vermont Prison System

by Jacob Barrett

On October 28, 2021, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) reached a settlement with the Vermont Department of Corrections (DOC) to remedy conditions in state prisons that fail to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. ch. 126 § 12101 et seq.

The settlement ...

Lifting Six-Year Moratorium, Oklahoma Treats Witnesses to Convulsing and Vomiting Prisoner During Execution

by Keith Sanders 

Several journalists spoke out about what they witnessed during the execution by lethal injection of Oklahoma prisoner John Marion Grant on October 28, 2021, saying the 60-year-old convulsed over a dozen times and then began vomiting after the first drug, a sedative, was administered.

Sean Murphy and ...