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Prison Legal News: January, 1993

Issue PDF
Volume 4, Number 1

In this issue:

  1. Free Speech for Whom? (p 1)
  2. Lay Advisor Can't be Adverse Witness (p 2)
  3. A Nation in Chains (p 2)
  4. Must Inmate Detail Witness Testimony As Condition to Having Witness Called? (p 3)
  5. Generalized Written Statement of Hearing Committee Accepted, Where Evidence Clear (p 3)
  6. Hunger Strike Ends After 19 Days (p 3)
  7. Exposure to AIDS Contaminated Sewage Banned (p 4)
  8. Wisconsin Parolees Have Liberty Interest in Avoiding Forced Medication (p 4)
  9. Legal Mail May Not Be Read by Prison Guards (p 5)
  10. Prisoners Support Guzman Defense (p 5)
  11. Deliberate Indifference Standard in Medical Cases Explained (p 5)
  12. Editorial (p 6)
  13. Length of Work Day Increasing (p 6)
  14. Latin American Prisons (p 7)
  15. Military Police Massacre at Least 111 in Brazilian Prison (p 8)
  16. Aborigines Have High Jail Death Rate (p 8)
  17. Rampant Violence in Venezuelan Prisons (p 8)
  18. Pendleton News (p 9)
  19. McNeil Island News (p 9)
  20. On Taking DNA Samples (p 9)

Free Speech for Whom?

[EDITOR'S NOTE: In the Dec., 1992 issue of PLN we reported that supporters of Mumia Abu Jamal, the former Black Panther on death row in Pennsylvania accused of killing a cop, had shouted down Penn. Governor Casey at a forum in New York City. The forum had been sponsored ...

Lay Advisor Can't be Adverse Witness

On May 18, 1987, an inmate at the Arizona State Prison at Tucson was found stabbed to death. An investigation ensued, and Ruben Melendez was ultimately indicted for the killing. While the investigation was still in progress, DOC personnel formally notified Melendez that he was accused of a DOC administrative ...

A Nation in Chains

"Presidents Reagan and Bush have ensured that the federal courts will not be representative. Instead, they are a bastion of White America. They stand as a symbol of White Power." Can you guess who said these words?

I'll wager most folks missed the identity of the speaker. Stephen Reinhardt ...

Must Inmate Detail Witness Testimony As Condition to Having Witness Called?

"We are also of the opinion that the inmate facing disciplinary proceedings should be allowed to call witnesses...when permitting him to do so will not be unduly hazardous to institutional safety or correctional goals." This principle was stated by the Supreme Court in its landmark disciplinary hearings case, Wolff ...

Generalized Written Statement of Hearing Committee Accepted, Where Evidence Clear

A disciplinary hearing committee's written decision saying it based its finding of guilt on "written reports and testimonies presented at the hearing" was constitutionally acceptable where that information could be interpreted only as either showing the charges (of verbal harassment) were true (the written report) or false (the inmate ...

Hunger Strike Ends After 19 Days

By Muna Muhaisen

Palestinian political prisoners ended their hunger strike last week after the Israeli Prison Authority entered negotiations with prisoner representatives and agreed to establish an investigative committee to look into the prisoners' demands.

The strike, which began Sept. 27, was called off in the northern prisons - led by ...

Exposure to AIDS Contaminated Sewage Banned

Prisoners at a Missouri county jail were involved in the large scale cleanup of raw sewage at the jail hospital. The sewage was contaminated with the AIDS virus from AIDS patients in the jail hospital. Prisoners were not provided with protective clothing during the cleanup nor informed of the risks ...

Wisconsin Parolees Have Liberty Interest in Avoiding Forced Medication

Jeffrey Felce is a Wisconsin parolee released on mandatory parole. While in prison Felce threatened prison and parole officials. They tried to commit him but were unable to do so because he was found to have mental problems but not to be incompetent. A condition of his parole was that ...

Legal Mail May Not Be Read by Prison Guards

John Reneer is a Kentucky state prisoner. He filed suit claiming violation of his first amendment rights when prison officials read his incoming legal mail in front of him. The prison warden claims he ordered a search of Reneer's incoming legal mail based on a suspicion he was responsible ...

Prisoners Support Guzman Defense

After the capture of Abimael Guzman, some friends of the Peruvian revolution contacted us and informed us of the worldwide effort to protect his life. A few revolutionaries here in Leavanworth federal penitentiary then got together to figure out what we could do. We felt we could raise some awareness ...

Deliberate Indifference Standard in Medical Cases Explained

John McGuckin is an Arizona state prisoner. In 1986 he was injured while in a prison camp. He did not receive medical treatment for his injuries, which by now included massive herniation of his back and upper torso, until 1989, three and a half years later. He filed suit claiming ...

Editorial

Editorial Comments

My, how time's fun when you're having flies. Here we are opening the new year with the start of our fourth volume of the PLN. It doesn't seem that long. Publishing the newsletter has been a good experience for Paul and me. We've already ...

Length of Work Day Increasing

One of the most ancient ways to increase returns from the exploitation of labor, Karl Marx noted in Volume I of Capital, is to lengthen the working day. Slave owners, feudal lords, and capitalists had that device in common. In a recent book, The Overworked American: The Unexpected Decline of ...

Latin American Prisons

[PLN readers have read as we have regularly reported on the state of the U.S. prison system and its many abuses and faults. You may wonder, "how are things in prisons elsewhere?", well we wondered about this too. In future issues of PLN we hope to bring you articles ...

Military Police Massacre at Least 111 in Brazilian Prison

On the night of Oct. 2, just hours before nationwide municipal elections, the Military Police swept into Sao Paulo's Carandirú Prison, Latin America's largest, and killed a still unknown number of inmates. Officials originally put the death toll at 111; on Oct. 7 the federal Justice Ministry said ...

Aborigines Have High Jail Death Rate

Nineteen Australian Aborigines died in police cells and prisons in 1990 and 1991 despite a multimillion dollar inquiry aimed at stopping aboriginal deaths in custody, according to a recent report. The continued over-representation of Aborigines in Australian prisons was a major contributing factor, the report by the Australian Institute of ...

Rampant Violence in Venezuelan Prisons

by María Dubayle, Venezuelan journalist

The situation inside Venezuela's prisons reflects the serious deficiencies in the country's protection of human rights.

According to figures from the Public Ministry's Human Rights Office, so far this year more than 160 prisoners have been killed inside Venezuelan jails.

Fighting between ...

Pendleton News

I am writing to you from inside the walls of Pendleton, the Indiana State Reformatory. Since November of 1991 we have gone through a systematic deprogramming. All programs have been abolished. Vocations, education, spiritual, and psychiatric for 80 percent of our population. Very few in the cellhouses remain employed in ...

McNeil Island News

They plan to open 1,000 new beds in January, and have added no new room to the hospital or kitchen. It already takes five months to get any dental work done, and I'm thinking of preparing a § 1983 on the whole hospital as it is. Being at this ...

On Taking DNA Samples

[The following letter was written in response to our article "Taking DNA Samples Violates Ex Post Facto Clause" in the September 1992 issue of the newsletter.]

My name is Dale Gardner. I am currently incarcerated in the State Correctional Institution; Huntingdon, PA. I am writing in response to your article ...