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Prison Legal News: March, 1994

Issue PDF
Volume 5, Number 3

In this issue:

  1. Court Enjoins BOP Phone System (p 1)
  2. OH Prisoners Seek Court Access (p 2)
  3. Ohio to Build Super-Max Prison (p 2)
  4. Minor Detainees Entitled to Education (p 3)
  5. 9th Circuit Affirms Gutting of WSR Consent Decree (p 3)
  6. Chicago Police Torture Suspects (p 4)
  7. Court Rules Suit Waiver is Not Enforceable (p 4)
  8. New Book Planned (p 5)
  9. S.Ct. Hears Argument in Prisoner Attack Case (p 5)
  10. Smoking Ban Upheld (p 5)
  11. Someone Wants to Listen to You! (p 5)
  12. The Rights of Visiting and Visitors (p 6)
  13. A Tomb in Columbia (p 8)
  14. Eighth Circuit Clarifies Retaliation Standard (p 10)
  15. Consent Decree Modified to Permit Racial Segregation (p 10)
  16. PCP Responds to Allegations of Gay Persecution (p 11)
  17. Voices from the Chowchilla Women's Prison (p 12)
  18. News in Brief (p 14)
  19. Prison Takeovers, Austerity Protests Wind Down in Argentina (p 15)
  20. Needs Mail Stamping of Prisoner Mail Information (p 15)
  21. 100 Plus Killed in Venezuelan Prison Riots (p 15)

Court Enjoins BOP Phone System

On October 13, 1993, Judge Henry Wilhoit of the U.S. District Court in Kentucky entered a preliminary injunction barring the federal Bureau of Prisons from implementing its Inmate Telephone System (ITS). The case is Washington v. Reno, case number 93-217 and 93-290. Readers should note that so far this ...

OH Prisoners Seek Court Access

Ohio prisoners have filed a class action suit alleging that the Ohio DOC has promulgated conditions which prevent the exercise of prisoners right of access to the courts. The claims include depriving prisoners in segregation and protective custody of law library access and access to persons trained in the law ...

Ohio to Build Super-Max Prison

In the wake of the April, 1993. rebellion at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility (SOCF) which left 10 dead Ohio prisoners and prison activists had hoped the state would examine it's policies which result in Ohio have the highest level of overcrowding in the nation at 178%. The state ...

Minor Detainees Entitled to Education

Twenty-three school age detainees in the Cook County Jail (Chicago, Illinois) filed suit alleging they were either denied complete access to regular and special educational services during their period of pre-trial detention or received services vastly inferior to those provided non-detainees. The plaintiff prisoners claimed this condition violated their substantive ...

9th Circuit Affirms Gutting of WSR Consent Decree

By Paul Wright

In 1978 prisoners at the Washington State Reformatory (WSR) in Monroe, WA filed suit over inhumane prison conditions at the prison. In 1981 prisoners and the DOC entered into a consent decree whereby the prisoners dismissed the suit in exchange for, among other things, an agreement that ...

Chicago Police Torture Suspects

[Generally PLN only reports on cases involving prison civil rights issues or the occasional procedural matter affecting pro se litigants. This is a police brutality case which we present more for it's informational value than it's relevance to prison litigation. All too often we hear about police torture ...

Court Rules Suit Waiver is Not Enforceable

This case involves release-dismissal agreements where a party will agree not to sue a government agency or official and the agency in turn agrees to either drop or reduce charges against the person. In many cases prison officials will have prisoners agree not to file suit in exchange for release ...

New Book Planned

The Hidden Side of The Criminal Justice System by prisoners, ex-prisoners, their family members and loved ones. Prisoners and ex-prisoners: Who are you? Send us your poetry, art, fiction, or personal history.

Prisoners, ex-prisoners, family and loved ones: How "just" is the trial process? What is the effect of limiting ...

S.Ct. Hears Argument in Prisoner Attack Case

On January 12, 1994, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral argument in Farmer v. Brennan , Case no. 92-7247. Farmer is a transsexual federal prisoner who was raped after being placed in general population at the U.S. Penitentiary at Terre Haute, IN. She filed suit claiming that prison officials ...

Smoking Ban Upheld

In May of 1993 officials at the Berks County Prison in Pennsylvania initiated a policy which prohibited smoking by prisoners at the facility. Four prisoners filed suit claiming that the ban on smoking constituted cruel and unusual punishment in violation of their eighth amendment rights. They also claimed that a ...

Someone Wants to Listen to You!

I would like to hear from young inmates (25 years of age and younger) who would like to help me write the story of young people in prison. I wish to learn about your thoughts on friendship, punishment, loyalty, authority, fear, school, family and anything else you think I need ...

The Rights of Visiting and Visitors

By Paul Wright

For every prisoner and the relative, friend or loved one of a prisoner, visiting is an issue of paramount importance. While most prison officials pay lip service to the idea that visiting is important and that they want to do everything to enable prisoners to maintain ties ...

A Tomb in Columbia

By Raul Zibecchi

[The following article appeared in the December 10, 1993, edition of the Uruguayan weekly Brecha . It was translated and edited by PLN Editor Paul Wright. Given the fact that tens of thousands of Americans languish in prison as casualties in the "War on Drugs" we think this ...

Eighth Circuit Clarifies Retaliation Standard

George Goff is an Iowa state prisoner. On January 15, 1990, another prisoner at a medium security facility reported being stabbed. Confidential informants allegedly told prison officials that Goff was the culprit. On January 19, 1990, the prison's warden and deputy warden were served with lawsuits challenging conditions of ...

Consent Decree Modified to Permit Racial Segregation

In 1988 a prisoner at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility (SOCF)at Lucasville, OH, filed suit challenging the prison's practice of assigning prisoners to cells based on their race. This practice led to the racial segregation of prisoners. The court appointed counsel in the case, a class was certified ...

PCP Responds to Allegations of Gay Persecution

By Paul Wright

Since we began publishing PLN we have reported on struggle and conditions affecting political prisoners of diverse movements, groups and parties around the world, to include Palestinian, Irish, Puerto Rican, New Afrikan, Anti-imperialist and Peruvian prisoners to name a few. Generally this reporting has met with interest ...

Voices from the Chowchilla Women's Prison

Women in prison are entitled to the same community standard of care that people have outside. However, just the opposite is true at the Central California Women's Facility at Chowchilla, California (CCWF). The CCWF is probably the largest women's prison in the country.

The Facts
There are over ...

News in Brief

[This is a new feature in PLN which will provide short news items related to prisons which while interesting are not big enough to make up an article. If you like this feature let us know and send us news clippings of interest.]

17 Dec 1993, Moreno Amud the warden ...

Prison Takeovers, Austerity Protests Wind Down in Argentina

Awave of prison rebellions throughout Argentina ended on Dec. 22 when inmates in Bahia Blanca reached an agreement with government negotiators. The inmates turned the institution back over to authorities only after they agreed to address the prisoners' demands and promised no reprisals. The prisoners were demanding respect for their ...

Needs Mail Stamping of Prisoner Mail Information

On November 1, 1993, Wisconsin Prisons started to stamp prisoner mail as originating in a prison. We filed for a temporary injunction in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin. On October 28, 1993, the court came back with a dismissal order, stating it was not ...

100 Plus Killed in Venezuelan Prison Riots

At least l09 prisoners have died and 54 remain injured after a group of inmates started a fire at Sabaneta prison in Maracaibo, Venezuela, on Jan. 3. Sabaneta prison is racially segregated, with about 800 Guajiro Indians on one side and some 2,000 non-Indians on the other. The fire ...