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Prison Legal News: October, 1995

Issue PDF
Volume 6, Number 10

In this issue:

  1. The Bottom Line: California's Prison Industry Authority (p 1)
  2. Editorial (p 3)
  3. AZ Chain Gangs Protested (p 4)
  4. 10,000 Kurdish POWs on Hungerstrike (p 5)
  5. Police Chiefs Scoff at Death Penalty (p 6)
  6. U.S. Supreme Court: Time on Bail Doesn't Count (p 6)
  7. Delay in Dental Care States Claim (p 7)
  8. WA Publisher Only Rule Challenged (p 7)
  9. Loompanics Unlimited (p 8)
  10. Jail Population Report (p 8)
  11. The Citebook (p 8)
  12. US Prison Population Report (p 8)
  13. Strangeways 1990: A Serious Disturbance (p 9)
  14. South Africa Bans Death Penalty (p 9)
  15. Detainees Entitled to Exercise and Law Library (p 10)
  16. No Immunity for Hearing Officers (p 10)
  17. 7th Cir. Clarifies "Deliberate Indifference" for Medical Cases (p 11)
  18. Translators Required for Medical Interviews (p 12)
  19. Retaliatory Discipline Violates Due Process (p 12)
  20. Cocaine Sentencing Disparities May Change (p 13)
  21. Disciplinary Segregation Bars Criminal Prosecution (p 13)
  22. Retaliatory Infraction Illegal (p 14)
  23. Death Row Prisoners Keep Right to Contact Visits with Counsel (p 15)
  24. All Writs Act Limited (p 16)
  25. Asbestos Exposure States Claim (p 16)
  26. Population Cap, Fines Affirmed (p 17)
  27. Article Clarification (p 18)
  28. CBCC EFV Stabbing Trial (p 18)
  29. Worked to Death: OH Work Release Programs (p 18)
  30. Gunslingers Dressed in Hot Pink (p 19)
  31. MN Passes Laws Against Prison Litigators (p 19)
  32. FL Enacts More Anti-Prisoner Laws (p 19)
  33. Madrid Published (p 20)
  34. AZ Court Affirms Food Packages (p 20)
  35. Reader Mail: PA Settlement Correction (p 21)
  36. AZ's War on the Federal Judiciary (p 21)
  37. News in Brief (p 22)

The Bottom Line: California's Prison Industry Authority

Imagine a half-billion dollar manufacturing company that uses slave labor, has little overhead, ignores state and federal laws regulating workplace safety, includes hazardous materials in the construction of its products, forces customers to buy those products under penalty of law, yet loses money. Now, imagine that this company is protected ...

Editorial

Welcome to another issue of PLN. Some of you may have noticed some changes in last month's issue of PLN. We have recently undergone some of the biggest transitions in PLN's history. First, if the format looked a little different that is because we have begun the transition ...

AZ Chain Gangs Protested

When Arizona became the second state to reinstate the use of prison chain gangs, Donna Hamm wasn't going to allow it to happen without her voice of protest being heard.

On June 12, 1995, Ms. Hamm, a long time prisoner rights activist, PLN supporter, former judge and organizer for ...

10,000 Kurdish POWs on Hungerstrike

Since 1984 the Kurdish people in Turkey led by the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) have been engaged in a war for an independent socialist homeland. The Turkish government has responded with a brutal military and political campaign of terror and genocide, similar to that waged against Kurds in neighboring Iraq ...

Police Chiefs Scoff at Death Penalty

A poll of randomly selected 386 police chiefs in the US found that most believed the death penalty does nothing to deter crime. The poll found that only one percent of the police chiefs believed the death penalty should be a primary focus to stop violent crime. Many of the ...

U.S. Supreme Court: Time on Bail Doesn't Count

The US supreme court has held that the time a defendant spends "released" on bail doesn't count towards completion of his/her sentence even if the "release" is under highly restrictive conditions that are tantamount to jail. Ziya Koray was charged with money laundering and after pleading guilty to ...

Delay in Dental Care States Claim

The eighth circuit court of appeals has reaffirmed the long-standing principle that delaying dental care for prisoners violates the eighth amendment. Ronald Boyd, a Missouri state prisoner, began suffering pain to his jaw on June 1, 1991. He requested to see a dentist. After receiving no response he filed another ...

WA Publisher Only Rule Challenged

In the February, 1995, issue of PLN we reported on Sindars v. Riveland, an unpublished ninth circuit ruling reversing dismissal of a Washington state prisoner's challenge to the Washington DOC's "publisher only" rule which mandates that all written materials be sent from the publisher. In a very similar ...

Loompanics Unlimited

Loompanics modestly bills itself as "the best book catalog in the world." If it's not the best it is certainly the most diverse, having all the books you've heard about but probably haven't seen in the neighborhood bookstore. Loompanics is a publisher and vendor that pushes the ...

Jail Population Report

Like the prison population the nation's jail population has soared in recent years, overshadowed by prison crowding. According to a recent Department of Justice report, Jails and Jail Inmates 1993-94, the national jail population was at an all time record high of 490,442 detainees as of June 30 ...

The Citebook

Review by Paul Wright

The Citebook is a 275 page book written by Tony Darwin designed to help laypersons help themselves in researching their litigation. Now in its eleventh printing the book is organized by subject and gives a brief description of relevant cases. This book is in a category ...

US Prison Population Report

According to the Department of Justice the American prison population has grown more than 2.5 times between 1980 and 1993. As of 1993, the latest year statistics are available, 2.6% of the US adult population, 4.9 million adults, were on parole, probation, in prison or jail. This ...

Strangeways 1990: A Serious Disturbance

Review by John Bowden

>On 1 April 1990, the British prison system was shaken to its very foundations by an uprising of prisoners at Strangeways in Manchester; an uprising so prolonged and visible that it acted as a catalyst for wider prisoner unrest throughout the system and a focus for ...

South Africa Bans Death Penalty

On June 6, 1995, the Constitu tional Court of South Africa issued a ruling banning capital punishment in that country. The court was established earlier this year to interpret South Africa's new constitution, the first to guarantee equal rights for all citizens. During the negotiations that led to the ...

Detainees Entitled to Exercise and Law Library

Pretrial detainees, like convicted prisoners, retain a right of access to the courts and to outdoor exercise. Jim Housley was a pretrial detainee in the Custer County jail in Oklahoma. He filed suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claiming that his constitutional rights were violated when he was denied ...

No Immunity for Hearing Officers

Prison officials who hear and decide prisoners' administrative appeals from disciplinary hearings are only entitled to qualified immunity for their actions. Jerry Young is a New York state prisoner. He was found guilty of misconduct at five separate prison disciplinary hearings and sentenced to segregation as a result. He administratively ...

7th Cir. Clarifies "Deliberate Indifference" for Medical Cases

To state an eighth amendment violation, prisoners must do more than claim mere negligence by prison medical staff. Willie Sellers was a federal prisoner held at the infamous penitentiary at Marion. He is also a diabetic. He filed suit claiming that prison officials violated his eighth amendment rights by showing ...

Translators Required for Medical Interviews

Pretrial detainees and convicted prisoners held in the Kern County, CA jail filed a class action suit challenging the jail's use of padded safety cells for violent and suicidal prisoners and other jail conditions. The district court held that the "safety cells," consisting of bare cells with no furniture ...

Retaliatory Discipline Violates Due Process

A federal district court in New York has held that retaliatory infractions violate due process and that housing an asthmatic prisoner on an upper tier may violate the eighth amendment. Prison officials and detectives are also liable when they interrogate prisoners concerning crimes and do not provide counsel when requested ...

Cocaine Sentencing Disparities May Change

The Sentencing Guidelines Com mission (SGC) is an independent body created by Congress in 1984 to reduce sentencing disparities in the federal court system. This has included creating sentencing guidelines which greatly restrict the discretion of judges in imposing sentences. In 1986 and 1988 congress passed laws mandating mandatory minimum ...

Disciplinary Segregation Bars Criminal Prosecution

PLN rarely reports unpublished court rulings but we do so occasionally when such rulings have a news value to readers or state a novel legal theory. This is such a case. A superior court in Norfolk County Massachusetts has held that filing criminal charges against a prisoner confined to disciplinary ...

Retaliatory Infraction Illegal

The court of appeals for the second circuit reaffirmed that infractions in retaliation for prisoners' exercise of constitutionally protected rights are unlawful. The court also noted that administrative dismissal of such charges do not bar § 1983 actions for damages resulting from punishment imposed at the defective hearing. Darnell Jones, a ...

Death Row Prisoners Keep Right to Contact Visits with Counsel

The court of appeals for the tenth circuit has held that condemned and maximum security prisoners held in an Oklahoma control unit are entitled to contact visits with their attorneys. The court also held that all violations of prisoners' constitutional rights require a full judicial review pursuant to Turner v ...

All Writs Act Limited

The seventh circuit court of appeals has given a narrow interpretation to the All Writs Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1651, by holding that a district court lacked the authority to order the Illinois DOC to transport a prisoner to a medical expert witness's office for an examination when ...

Asbestos Exposure States Claim

A district court in Massachusetts has held that a suit claiming exposure to asbestos states a claim for violation of the eighth amendment. County jail prisoners filed suit claiming they were exposed to "raw, open and dry asbestos fibers" on exposed pipes within the jail. The plaintiffs stated they had ...

Population Cap, Fines Affirmed

The court of appeals for the fifth circuit has affirmed a district court ruling which set population caps on the population of a county jail and imposed fines for each prisoner over the cap held at the jail. The court also affirmed the lower court ruling that the state was ...

Article Clarification

In the August, 1995, PLN our ar ticle WA Passes Record Anti-Prisoner/Defendant Legislation commented at length on House Bill 2010. We were somewhat skeptical of provisions within the bill that designated efforts to explore establishing a kosher kitchen at the Airway Heights prison near Spokane, WA for the purpose ...

CBCC EFV Stabbing Trial

In the March, 1995, issue of PLN we reported that Todd Hiivala, a prisoner at the Clallam Bay Correction Center (CBCC) in Washington, stabbed his wife Heather several times during an Extended Family Visit (EFV) on January 7, 1995. Hiivala was shot by tower guard Doug Campbell during the stabbing ...

Worked to Death: OH Work Release Programs

By Dan Cahill

Many of us have been concerned about the possibility of abuse and tragedy in the unprotected use of prison labor. Over the past several years Ohio legislators have made it legal to market prison labor to private companies.

One of the mot recent tragedies involved the trash ...

Gunslingers Dressed in Hot Pink

Alabama has been in the forefront of new, not necessarily good, ideas lately. The state that brought back chain gangs has announced, in May, 1995, that it will begin dressing male prisoners who habitually expose themselves to female guards in hot pink pants and shirts. The DOC has ordered 50 ...

MN Passes Laws Against Prison Litigators

The 1995 session of the Minnesota state legislature passed laws aimed directly at jailhouse layers. MN Statute § 243.241 titled "Civil Action Money Damages" was created. It states: "Money damages recovered in a civil action by an inmate confined in a state correctional facility or released from a state correctional ...

FL Enacts More Anti-Prisoner Laws

On June 14, 1995, several laws affecting prisoners were passed into law without the signature of Governor Lawton Chiles. Under this legislation prisoners convicted after October 1, 1995, must serve at least 85% of their sentences in prison. Other laws will expand the prison system's "legal" population capacity and ...

Madrid Published

In the August, 1995, issue of  PLN we reported Madrid v. Gomez, the class action suit challenging conditions at Pelican bay State Prison in California. We noted that as we went to press the ruling had not been published despite having been issued on January 10, 1995. The ruling was ...

AZ Court Affirms Food Packages

In an Order dated April 7, 1995, United States District Judge C.A. Muecke ruled in Hook v. Arizona, No. CIV 73-97 PHX CAM, that Arizona inmates will continue to receive three 25 pound food packages at Christmas. Arizona inmates will also be allowed once again to have hot pots ...

Reader Mail: PA Settlement Correction

Regarding your article in the July issue of Prison Legal News on page 11 about the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, you state "attorneys representing all PA state prisoners had reached a settlement...." Two Pennsylvania prisons were not part of that litigation. SCI Pittsburgh was involved in ongoing litigation, Tillery v ...

AZ's War on the Federal Judiciary

In large class action suits when courts find constitutional violations they sometimes order large-scale changes. This is especially the case in institutional reform litigation that typically involves prisons. To ensure that court orders are being carried out and to measure progress, which sometimes takes years and often encounters resistance and ...

News in Brief

Vietnam: During the American attack on Vietnam the South Vietnamese government took over a prison originally built by the French on Con Son island and turned it into a notorious torture and murder camp. Communists and other opponents of the puppet regimes were held for years in notorious "tiger cages ...