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Prison Legal News: September, 1993

Issue PDF
Volume 4, Number 9

In this issue:

  1. Placing Con in Cell with Dying PWA Doesn't State Claim (p 1)
  2. Exposure to Secondary Smoke Can State Claim (p 1)
  3. AIDS Patient Released from Jail (p 2)
  4. NYC Jails Breeding TB (p 2)
  5. Women Prisoners Hold AIDS Walkathon (p 3)
  6. Washington Women in Prison (p 3)
  7. English Only Rule Not Applicable to Group Prayers (p 4)
  8. New Prisoner Resource Guide Available (p 4)
  9. Should You Tell a Potential Employer You're an Ex-Felon? (p 4)
  10. Harassment of Jailhouse Lawyer Violates Access to Courts (p 4)
  11. The Black Political Voice (p 5)
  12. Campaign of Repression (p 6)
  13. Freedom for Puerto Rican POWs (p 7)
  14. Prisoners as Workers: Court Defines Applicability of FLSA (p 8)
  15. Solidarity with Revolutionary Prisoners (p 8)
  16. Prisoners as Workers in Washington State: New Law Will Increase Exploitation (p 9)
  17. Editorial (p 10)
  18. CEML Update (p 11)
  19. The Telephone Game (p 11)
  20. News from Florida (p 12)
  21. FLA Death Penalty Games (p 12)
  22. Grievance Appeals Necessary (p 12)
  23. Prison Privatization in England (p 13)
  24. MI Phone Rip Off (p 13)
  25. The Collapse of the Brazilian Penal System (p 14)
  26. German Geriatric Prison (p 14)
  27. Guatemalan Prison Riot (p 16)
  28. Death Squads and Prison Protests in Ecuador (p 16)

Placing Con in Cell with Dying PWA Doesn't State Claim

Woodrow Johnson is a federal prisoner confined at FCI Talladega, Alabama. The suit was instituted pro se pursuant to the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), 28 U.S.C. § 2674, Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents , 403 U.S. 388, 91 S.Ct. 1999 (1971), and 28 U.S.C. § 1331, wherein he ...

Exposure to Secondary Smoke Can State Claim

Donald McKinney was a Nevada state prisoner who filed a civil rights complaint against prison officials, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, claiming that his involuntary exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) from his cellmate's and other inmates' cigarettes posed an unreasonable risk to his health, thus subjecting him to ...

AIDS Patient Released from Jail

Gregory Scarpa is a pretrial detainee with full-blown AIDS. He is an alleged mafia captain awaiting trial on charges of racketeering, various murders, murder conspiracies, etc. While on bail previously he was involved in a shoot out and, according to the government, continued his loan sharking activities.

The court granted ...

NYC Jails Breeding TB

New York City's jails are a breeding ground for tuberculosis, with inmates 10 times as likely to catch the disease as the general public, according to a city report.

"The New York City jail system may be an important amplification point in the ongoing tuberculosis epidemic," wrote Dr. Eran Y. ...

Women Prisoners Hold AIDS Walkathon

The April 24, 1993," Fight AIDS" Walkathon, held at the women's maximum security Shawnee Unit of the federal prison in Marianna, FL, was a great success. Eighty women participated, walking 1636 laps, over 300 miles. Over 90% of the prisoners joined in the effort, even the three women in segregation ...

Washington Women in Prison

by V.M.

This has been called "The Year of the Woman" in the field of politics, but apparently those politics extend only as far as the media. Certainly there is no evidence of discrimination or abuse coming to a halt within the confines we live in here.

Since the beginning ...

English Only Rule Not Applicable to Group Prayers

Aprison rule requiring prisoners to communicate in the "English language only" can not reasonably be construed to apply to prayers, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held in a civil rights case. Therefore, the court concluded, prison officials violated a prisoner's due process rights when they punished ...

New Prisoner Resource Guide Available

The Prisoner Rights Union in California has published their 1993-94 Resource Guide. While the guide will be especially useful to prisoners in California it contains a lot of helpful information for prisoners anywhere. It is 56 pages long and literally filled with information.

For those located in California it contains ...

Should You Tell a Potential Employer You're an Ex-Felon?

By John Adams

I'm a prisoner at the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla, Washington, as well as a student at the Walla Walla Community College currently working for my AAAS degrees in Business Management and Bookkeeping. All the business courses I've taken are designed to teach you how to ...

Harassment of Jailhouse Lawyer Violates Access to Courts

Aprison guard's harassment of inmate paralegals is actionable under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 as a violation of other prisoners' right of access to the courts, which was recognized as a constitutional right in Bounds v. Smith , 430 U.S. 817 (1977), declared a U.S. district court in New Jersey. Assuming ...

The Black Political Voice

by Gerald D. Fuller

Maryland's disenfranchisement statute has its roots in the federal constitution. The state would have its citizens believe that Maryland's election laws which govern disenfranchisement are fair and impartial and are not discriminatory where blacks are concerned. It is precisely because a citizen can lose his franchise ...

Campaign of Repression

By Mumia Abu Jamal

The most repressive regime in America just got more repressive. In November, 1992, the Pennsylvania (PA) Department of Corrections implemented revised administrative directives 801/802. [ Editors Note: These rules affect only prisoners in administrative and disciplinary segregation. ]

With planned restrictions barring all but personal and ...

Freedom for Puerto Rican POWs

Today the United States government holds in its custody many Puerto Rican women and men, criminalizing them for having fought for the independence of their country. Like George Washington in his day, they are anti-colonial combatants. Washington's contemporary, Thomas Paine, defended in Common Sense the choice to take up arms ...

Prisoners as Workers: Court Defines Applicability of FLSA

By Ed Mead


Court Defines Applicability of Fair Labor Standards Act

Many years have passed since the era of liberal court rulings in the field of prisoners' rights. These ground-breaking decisions were handed down in the wake of a budding prisoners' movement, a movement led by the likes of George ...

Solidarity with Revolutionary Prisoners

Solidarity With Revolutionary Prisoners

We are a committee formed by two Italian political groups (Il Bollettino and Solidarieta Proletaria), which have been focusing on revolutionary political prisoners for a number of years, since the early eighties.

Our activity of support for political prisoners not disassociated from the class struggle develops ...

Prisoners as Workers in Washington State: New Law Will Increase Exploitation

By Ed Mead

The 1993 session of the Washington State Legislature has passed a new law that will dramatically increase the number of prisoners working in this state's institutional industries. Governor Lowry should have signed Senate Bill 5989 into law by the time you read this. In addition to increasing ...


RESIST GRANT: In my last editorial comments I waxed eloquent on the increased cost of our current publishing format and the need for us to obtain new readers in order to sustain the cost of these increased pages. More paying subscribers, I pointed out, would ensure that we were able ...

CEML Update

[CEML is the Committee to End the Marion Lockdown, an anti-control unit group. PLN recently received the following letter from CEML concerning their activities. ]

This has been the busiest of times for CEML. First, work continues to prevent the opening of the new control unit at Florence, Colorado, or ...

The Telephone Game

Nearly a year and a half after a scandal about purchasing involving the North Carolina Coin Tel Company has passed. The grand jury has finally indicted two people in the illegal activities.

The indictments handed down against D.R. Hursey and Michael A. Weaver focus on a $1.2 million dollar contract ...

News from Florida

News From Florida

It seems that the governor of this state [Florida] is trying to pass a 25¢ tax on every pack of cigarettes to raise money for the construction 21,000 additional prison beds to keep the violent offenders behind bars longer and, if possible, not to let them out ...

FLA Death Penalty Games

I'm in the midst of challenging the reappointment of a guy named Spalding to the Capital Collateral Representative (CCR) post of Florida (that's the state funded agency that handles collateral appeals for indigent capital/condemned prisoners). I'm still on direct appeal, but I feel that I have standing as a prospective ...

Grievance Appeals Necessary

Being incarcerated now for over nine years between the federal BOP and the state of Alaska, I have found that many prisoners who file grievances do not follow up on them. Many get "pissed off" and go with that attitude when initially filing grievances against their keepers. When the grievance ...

Prison Privatization in England

The British government's "privatization program" for prisons and prison service is proceeding fast. After the contracting out of the Wolds prison in Humberside to Group 4 security, Blakehurst, a new prison in Worcestshire, has been tendered out to UK Detention Services. Meanwhile bids have just closed for the contract to ...

MI Phone Rip Off

I have read the article which appeared in PLN (Vol. 4, number 4) by Paul Wright about the prison telephone system. I was amazed to learn that the Washington DOC telephone contract states that the commission checks are sent to each institution and made payable to the Inmate Welfare Fund. ...

The Collapse of the Brazilian Penal System

By Jayme Brenner

[Editors Note: This article was translated by Paul Wright from El Dia Latinoamericano , a regional bi-weekly published in Mexico. While most American readers of PLN are familiar with the prison crisis facing the US, the fact is that virtually all of the capitalist countries are in ...

German Geriatric Prison

Germany may have the most humanitarian prison in existence today. [ Editors note: They may also have the most inhumane prison as well, the notorious Stammheim prison is where the sensory deprivation isolation now in widespread use across the world was first developed in the mid-70's against German political prisoners. ...

Guatemalan Prison Riot

Some 1,000 prisoners of Pavocinto penitentiary near Guatemala City who took over the prison grounds on April 11, 1993, allowed authorities back in on April 13, 1993, after a 30 hour standoff. In exchange, the government promised that living conditions in the prison would be improved. Nine prisoners escaped, five ...

Death Squads and Prison Protests in Ecuador

According to a note sent to the police in Guayaquil, Ecuador, on April 12, 1993, a death squad called the "Anti-Crime Clean Up Squad" has claimed responsibility for the death of six common criminals and promised the shooting of another seven. The six victims had criminal records and were shot ...