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Prisoner Education Guide

Prison Legal News: March, 1995

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Volume 6, Number 3

In this issue:

  1. CA Prison Guards - A Potent Political Interest Group (p 1)
  2. Liability for Filming Search Affirmed (p 3)
  3. AG Mail Must be Treated as Legal Mail (p 3)
  4. WI Guard Indicted for Mail Obstruction (p 3)
  5. Police Report Inadmissible in Rape Case (p 4)
  6. 6th Cir. Rules on BOP Phone Suit PI (p 4)
  7. Attorney General Subject to Suit (p 6)
  8. No Liberty Interest in GA Parole Rules (p 6)
  9. New Trial for Improper Voir Dire (p 7)
  10. MI DOC Has Duty to Give Women Prisoners Legal Aid (p 7)
  11. Medical Indifference Suit Requires New Trial (p 8)
  12. MI DOC Visitor Ban Overturned (p 9)
  13. TX Parole Board Can't Use Voided Priors (p 9)
  14. BOP Good Time Ploy Exposed (p 10)
  15. Settlement Reached in MT Prison Case (p 10)
  16. FBI Investigates CDC Shootings (p 11)
  17. BOP Guard Killed (p 11)
  18. WA Special Commitment Center Failing (p 11)
  19. WA Prisoners Under Attack (p 12)
  20. WA "Corrections" Committee (p 15)
  21. Editorial (p 16)
  22. Confronting the Helms Amendment (p 16)
  23. Prison Weight Lifting is a Nonsense Issue (p 17)
  24. Ohio Offshore Industries Project (p 18)
  25. News in Brief (p 19)

CA Prison Guards - A Potent Political Interest Group

By Dan Pens

There is a well fed political interest group feasting at the California public trough, and most taxpayers are unaware of the huge growth in this creatures appetite and political clout. It has grown from a political runt to one of the biggest hogs in the barnyard in an incredibly short span of time. This political interest group has swelled with such swiftness and cunning that most California taxpayers would not even recognize its name, much less realize how much of an impact it is having on their pocketbooks and on the states economy. Im talking about the California Correctional Peace Officers Association (CCPOA).

In 1980 there were 22,500 prisoners in California. The average salary for California prison guards was $14,400 a year. The state budget for corrections was $300 million per year. In the past, California schools and universities were the envy of the world. The states economy was strong, bolstered by huge numbers of defense jobs. The California Correctional Peace Officers Association (CCPOA) was a politically minuscule organization vying for attention among the giants of fat defense contractors.

In 1994 there are over 115,000 prisoners in California. The average salary for California prison ...

Liability for Filming Search Affirmed

In the November, 1994, issue of PLN we reported Ayeni v. Mottola, 848 F Supp 362 (ED NY 1994) which denied qualified immunity to Secret Service (SS) agents who allowed a CBS television crew to film the search of a familys home. The Ayeni family was suspected of being involved in a fraudulent credit card operation and a search warrant was obtained to search their home for evidence of illegal activity. SS agents searched the home for three hours and during the search a camera crew from CBS Street Stories filmed the events inside the home, without the Ayenis permission. No evidence of illegal activity was found. The Ayenis filed suit claiming that the filming of the search warrant execution violated their fourth amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. The SS agents filed a motion for summary judgment claiming they were entitled to qualified immunity for their actions. In the above ruling the district court denied their motion. That ruling has been affirmed by the second circuit court of appeals.

The appeals court discussed both the fourth amendments requirements for reasonableness and its protection of citizens privacy and the extensive body of case law behind it ...

AG Mail Must be Treated as Legal Mail

Rakim Muhammad is a Michigan state prisoner. He challenged a Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) policy of treating mail to prisoners from the state Attorney generals office as ordinary mail, i.e. opened outside the addressees presence, rather than as legal mail where it is opened by prison officials only in the recipients presence and is not read. The policy was stated in a memo from the Administrator of the MDOCs Hearings Division and stated that "mail to a prisoner from the Attorney Generals Office need not be treated as legal mail and thus confidential." After a piece of mail from the AGs office addressed to him was opened outside his presence Muhammad filed suit. The district court found the policy to be unconstitutional and the court of appeals for the sixth circuit affirmed.

The MDOC defendants argued that prisoners have no interest regarding the confidentiality of mail from the AGs office because the AGs office represents the prison and is thus adverse to prisoners interests. The appeals court rejected this as indicating "a surprising lack of imagination." Noting that prisoners may write to the AGs office for a variety of reasons, such as seeking legal remedies, negotiate future prosecutions ...

WI Guard Indicted for Mail Obstruction

In the October, 1994, issue of PLN we reported that U.S. Postal investigators were investigating the discovery of large quantities of prisoner mail found in the garbage at the Waupun Correctional Institution in Wisconsin. On December 8, 1994, the US Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, Thomas Schneider, announced that Waupun prison guard James Ehrenburg had been charged with a violation of 18 U.S. § 1701, "Obstruction of the Mails." This charge is a misdemeanor and Ehrenburg faces a maximum penalty of 6 months imprisonment and a $5,000 fine if convicted.

The one count indictment reads: "The United States attorney charges that on or about July 26, 1994, in the State and Eastern District of Wisconsin, James T. Ehrenburg, the defendant herein, did knowingly and willfully obstruct and retard the passage of mail by discarding first class mail addressed and intended for delivery to inmates of the Waupun Correctional Institution; in violation of Title 18, United States Code 1701." Dated: December 6, 1994.

Since we began publishing, PLN has had delivery problems at Waupun. Upon learning of the discovery of prisoners mail in the garbage at Waupun we also contacted the US Attorneys office and provided him ...

Police Report Inadmissible in Rape Case

William Miller is a Michigan state prisoner. He filed suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claiming that he was subjected to cruel and unusual punishment when a prison supervisor and two guards were informed he was in danger, did nothing to protect him and he was subsequently raped by several prisoners. After a jury trial the district court entered a verdict in favor of the prison official defendants that held that the rape had not, in fact, occurred. The court of appeals for the sixth circuit reversed and remanded by holding that the lower court had erred in its evidentiary rulings.

That error involved the admissibility of Michigan State Police reports concerning the investigation of the rape charge, which were introduced into evidence despite Millers hearsay objection to the documents. The reports in question were two police investigation reports where the alleged rapists denied committing the rape and the third was a statement from the county prosecutor declining prosecution because the victim, Miller, "lacked credibility" and there was insufficient evidence to show that a rape had occurred. The lower court admitted the documents under Fed.R.Evid. 803(8)(c) which establishes exceptions to the hearsay exclusionary rule. This ...

6th Cir. Rules on BOP Phone Suit PI

The March and November, 1994, issues of PLN both contained extensive articles about Washington v. Reno, the nationwide class action suit that challenges numerous aspects of the Inmate Telephone System (ITS) in the process of being installed at federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) facilities across the country. Copies of the above issues of PLN are still available for $1.00 each so we will assume reader familiarity with the scope and nature of the litigation and just report on this preliminary ruling. Readers will note that this is not a ruling on the merits of the case, rather, the appeals court ruled on the BOPs appeal from the district court issuing a Preliminary Injunction (PI) enjoining several aspects of the ITS.

The appeals court held that because the BOP had made many of the changes the plaintiffs had initially sought in their lawsuit, the PI issued by the lower court should be dissolved in part, modified in part and remanded to the lower court for a hearing on the merits of the case. This published decision discusses numerous aspects of the case, both those at issue in the complete litigation and those at issue in this appeal from the PI ...

Attorney General Subject to Suit

Attorney General Wendy Ritz ordered the court reporter not to prepare the transcript, despite the court order to the contrary, because she thought the petition would be dismissed on procedural grounds. The state court called the AGs conduct "outrageous" and ordered the attorney generals office to cease and desist from ever similarly proceeding.

Gagan filed suit against Ritz under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claiming that her actions in countermanding the state judges order to prepare his trial transcripts violated his right of access to the courts. The district court dismissed the suit relying on Imbler v. Pachtman, 424 US 409, 46 S.Ct. 984 (1976) and various circuit cases, which hold that prosecutors and attorney generals are absolutely immune from suit. The court of appeals for the tenth circuit affirmed the dismissal with regards to the Colorado attorney general but reversed and remanded with regards to AG Ritz.

The appeals court noted that prosecutors are entitled to absolute immunity in § 1983 suits for activities "intimately associated with the judicial process" such as initiating and pursuing criminal prosecutions. All actions by a prosecutor are not subject to absolute immunity merely because they are performed by a prosecutor. Investigative and administrative ...

No Liberty Interest in GA Parole Rules

In the April, 1994, issue of PLN we reported Sultenfuss v. Snow, 7 F.3d 1543 (l1th Cir 1993).  Stephen Sultenfuss is a Georgia state prisoner serving sentences for two drug convictions. Under the rules of the Georgia Board of Pardons and Parole (GBPP) he should have served 10 months in prison. Disregarding their own rules the GBPP imposed a period of 62 months of incarceration before parole.

Sultenfuss filed suit under § 1983 with several other Georgia prisoners alleging that the GBPPs actions, not following their own rules, violated the plaintiffs rights to due process and equal protection of the law. The district court dismissed the suit as being frivolous under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(of). The court of appeals for the eleventh circuit reversed and remanded holding that Georgia parole board rules created a due process liberty interest. The court of appeals for the eleventh circuit granted a rehearing en banc and in its new 6 to 5 ruling reversed itself, holding that Georgia parole rules do not create a liberty interest. This case represents a major setback for Georgia state prisoners.

The appeals court gave an extensive discussion of state created liberty interests and cites extensive case ...

New Trial for Improper Voir Dire

California state prisoner Floyd Scott claimed that prison officials used excessive force in physically restraining him after he attacked a guard. The case went to trial and the jury returned a verdict in favor of the defendant prison officials. Scott appealed claiming that the trial court had committed reversible error when it told the jury panel members, during, about his prior convictions for sexual battery and rape. The court of appeals for the ninth circuit held that this disclosure was a prejudicial error and reversed and remanded the case for a new trial.

Prior to the trial, defense counsel informed the court that it planned to introduce evidence about Scotts criminal history in order to impeach his testimony because in a deposition Scott allegedly denied having the two prior convictions. Neither party sought special instructions to the jury concerning the prior convictions or the nature of the offenses leading to the convictions. In questioning jury panel members, the court asked one juror whether the fact that Scott had been convicted of rape and sexual battery would affect the manner in which he viewed Scotts testimony. The juror said no.

However after the trial actually commenced, Scotts criminal history was never ...

MI DOC Has Duty to Give Women Prisoners Legal Aid

Past issues of PLN have detailed the long running saga by Michigan state prisoners to ensure their right of access to the courts [See: PLN, Nov. 1994] whereby the DOC must provide them with either law library access or the assistance of counsel. The latest installment is that the MDOC decided to halt funding for Prison Legal Services of Michigan (PLSM) to provide women prisoners with assistance in 42 U.S.C. § 1983 suits challenging prison conditions.

The DOC took this position concluding that previous court rulings, Knop v. Johnson, 977 F.2d 996 (6th Cir.1992) did not apply to female prisoners in Michigan and thus did not obligate them to provide women prisoners with access to the courts.  The district court was apparently disturbed by this novel interpretation of law and issued an order designed to clarify the MDOCs obligation towards its female prisoners.

"Defendants argument is based entirely on the presumption that the right to § 1983 legal assistance was established in Knop and Hadix. Thus if Knop and Hadix do not apply to the scope of legal assistance provided to female inmates, the plaintiff class does not have a right to §1983 legal assistance. The error in ...

Medical Indifference Suit Requires New Trial

William Hathaway is a New York state prisoner.  In 1973 he underwent hip fusion surgery and had three metal pins inserted into his left hip joint. He continued to experience pain after the surgery and in 1977 sought medical assistance from Dr. Schlesinger, the prison doctor. Schlesinger found one of Hathaways feet was shorter than the other and prescribed orthopedic shoes. Joseph Foote, general practitioner, consulted with Schlesinger about the condition and they referred Hathaway to Dr. Quellman, an orthopedic specialist.

Quellman diagnosed a degenerative disease in the left hip joint and prescribed pain killers and orthopedic shoes. In 1980 Hathaway repeatedly sought treatment for chronic pain in his hip.  In July, 1980, Foote and Quellman took X-rays which showed that two of the three pins in Hathaways hip had broken. They did not tell Hathaway of the broken pins nor discuss treatment options. Hathaway learned they were broken in July, 1981, when a nurse told him. After learning of his condition Hathaway told Foote he would consent to surgery but this was not presented a treatment option.

The hip pain persisted and went untreated. A Prisoners Legal Services attorney wrote to prison officials seeking treatment for Hathaway in 1982 ...

MI DOC Visitor Ban Overturned

Randy Kelley is a Michigan state prisoner who was infracted and found guilty by a prison disciplinary board of sexual misconduct, namely, cupping his hands over his wifes breasts during a visit. As a result, both he and his wife were given a permanent visitor restriction. Keller is serving a 30 to 60 year sentence.

Keller filed suit in Ingham County Circuit Court challenging the permanent visitor ban as being unlawful and contrary to Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) policy. The court agreed and overturned the ban. Keller did not challenge the results of the disciplinary hearing.

The MDOC at first argued that Kelley lacked standing to challenge the visitation restriction because it was imposed on his wife. The court rejected this argument finding that MCL 791.251 and MSA 28.2320(51) intend that visitation be a prisoners right "which the prisoner himself must be permitted to vindicate at an administrative hearing where the Department proposes to restrict that right."

Proceeding to the merits of the claim the court held that the visitation ban was unlawful for several reasons. First, Kelley was not allowed to be present and participate in the hearing which denied him his visiting rights. The ...

TX Parole Board Can't Use Voided Priors

John Cook is a Texas state prisoner. In 1964 he was convicted of burglary. In 1982 he was convicted of indecency with a child and received a 20 year sentence which included a ten year enhancement for the 1964 conviction. In 1987 the court of appeals for the fifth circuit voided the 1964 conviction and reversed the 1982 conviction. Cook entered no contest plea on the indecency charge in exchange for a time served sentence.

In 1993 Cook was convicted of possessing a controlled substance and sentenced to five years in prison. That same year Cook was deemed ineligible for parole because of a criminal behavior pattern, involvement with a controlled substance, multiple offender status and a parole violation on a previous sentence. Cook admits that the controlled substance factor is a valid parole issue but that the parole board had violated his constitutional rights by considering the other three factors which had been voided by the appeals court. Cook filed suit against the parole board under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 seeking an injunction prohibiting the board from considering the voided issues in determining his parole eligibility.

The district courtdismissed the suit holding that Cook had to pursue the ...

BOP Good Time Ploy Exposed

Over the years has repeatedly gotten inquiries from readers in the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) inquiring about rumors that the amount of statutory good time they were eligible to earn under the new sentencing guidelines would be increased from 56 days a year to relieve prison crowding. Our response has been that given the political climate it will be surprising if good time remains at all, much less that itll be increased. As an example, the 1994 crime bill reduced good time awards to 54 days a year for "violent offenders." The sheer number of inquiries should have made us suspicious, but we attributed it to wishful thinking on the part of BOP prisoners.

PLN has received a signed copy of a memo marked "restricted communication" dated December 8, 1992, and signed by Philip Spears, warden. While the prison is not specified the American Corrections Association states that Mr. Spears was warden of the Federal Prison Camp in Big Spring, Texas, in the early 90s. The memo, addressed to all department heads on the subject of "EGT Dispensation Program" states:

"Thanks to all department heads for their participation in the EGT [Earned Good Time] Dispensation Program. I would like ...

Settlement Reached in MT Prison Case

A settlement agreement has been reached between attorneys for prisoners at the Montana State Prison (MSP) and Montana state officials responsible for running the prison. The case, Langford v. Racicot, was originally filed on December 30, 1993. The National Prison Project of the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation in Washington, D.C. and local counsel Edmund Sheehy and Scott Wurster brought the case before U.S. Magistrate Leif Erikson in the Federal District of Montana in the aftermath of the 1991 riot and loss of life.

The settlement, approved by the court on November 29, 1994, was reached after a year-long pretrial investigation revealed serious problems in medical, dental and mental health services at the prison, among other things. If defendants fail to abide by the agreement, reached after many months of negotiations, or if conditions deteriorate during the life of the agreement, attorneys for the prisoners retain the right to seek further relief from the court at any time. This is critically important, especially in the event of future overcrowding or lack of resources.  

Some of the key provisions of the settlement are as follows:  

increased physician and nursing coverage to meet the needs of the MSP population ...

FBI Investigates CDC Shootings

In the January, 1995, issue of we ran an article about the shooting death of a San Quentin prisoner by California Department of Corrections (CDC) guards. In the past ten years CDC guards have shot and killed 36 prisoners, including three since September, 1994. That is three times more than all other U.S. prison systems combined.

In October, 1994, the FBI announced that it was investigating possible civil rights violations at the Corcoran State Prison near Fresno where seven prisoners have been shot to death by guards since the prison opened in 1988. The FBI has notified the CDC of the investigation and asked them not to interfere. A CDC spokesman has stated that a federal grand jury may be convened to investigate as well Guards and other prison employees have been interrogated by the FBI, apparently focusing on the prisons shooting policy. Prisoners were interviewed as well.

Corcoran has the highest number of shooting deaths of any CDC facility, followed by Pelican Bay where four prisoners have been gunned down by CDC guards since it opened in 1989. The Kings County district attorney has reviewed each of the shooting deaths at Corcoran and stated that none of the ...

BOP Guard Killed

A report in the Atlanta Journal Constitution states that the US penitentiary in Atlanta is the most dangerous federal prison in the country with five prisoners killed in a year. During a May, 1994, tour by BOP director Kathleen Hawk, one prisoner stabbed and killed another. Prison guards have complained that they are in danger of being assaulted because the assault rate at Atlanta is 33 per 1,000 prisoners, three times the national BOP average. Of course, this doesn't take into account that a prison's definition of assault includes throwing a tray, spitting, etc. Warden Fred Stock dismisses guards complaints as whining. Everyone knew what they were getting into when they signed up...

On December 22, 1994, several weeks after the above article appeared, D'Antonio Washington, a BOP guard at Atlanta Penitentiary died from head injuries he received from a prisoner. The BOP stated he was the first guard killed at Atlanta in 15 years and the first in the BOP since 1987. The FBI stated that it already had a suspect but did not identify him until such time as he was indicted by a grand jury. No reason was given for Washington's killing ...

WA Special Commitment Center Failing

In 1989 Washington State passed a controversial "civil commitment" law to allow for the indefinite incarceration of "dangerous sexual predators." Opponents of this law point out that although those who are determined to be sexual predators are confined to a "treatment center" until they can show that they are no longer dangerous, the laws true purpose is indefinite imprisonment of those who fall under its scope. Challenges to the civil commitment law itself have withstood state court scrutiny and litigation is pending in federal district court.

One of the prisoners confined in the "Special Commitment Center", Richard Tutay, filed suit in a separate action claiming that although he was confined there until he can demonstrate that he has received a sufficient amount of treatment, conditions in the center preclude him from getting quality treatment. His suit alleged that his confinement amounted to imprisonment and that he was treated more like a prisoner than as a person with a mental illness.

In response to that suit, U.S. District Court Judge William Dwyer issued an injunction calling for a variety of improvements in the way the center is run.  He ordered the appointment of a special master to evaluate the treatment ...

WA Prisoners Under Attack

By Paul Wright

Someone once said that no citizen's life, limb or property was safe while the legislature was in session. Substitute "Prisoner" for "citizen" and you have an idea of what things are like in Washington. Fortunately, the Washington state legislature is only in session for periods of 60 to 105 days a year. The 1995 legislative session began on January 9 and ends on April 15, until then it's a countdown of prisoners being held hostage by the most vicious and reactionary elements in state politics. [Due to the shortness of the legislative session and PLN's press deadlines we can't  provide up to the minute coverage of legislation. Once the session is over we will report on what was actually passed into law. If immediate action is required on a specific bill we will send our  Washington readers a special mailing to that effect.]

A whole slew of repressive anti-prisoner legislation was profiled before the legislature's session  even began. A lot of the bills were introduced by Spokane Republican Mike Padden. Padden  heads the Law and Justice committee in the state house. Judging him from his television  appearances he is about as bright ...

WA "Corrections" Committee

By Paul Wright

On September 6, 1988, Diane Ballisiotes was killed by Eugene Kane, a prisoner on work release in Seattle, Washington. Kane had been serving time for two assaults on women and was paroled despite DOC psychologists stating he was at high risk to re-offend. When Diane died a career was born. Her estranged mother Ida was on her way to becoming a professional victim and prisoner basher.

Ida rapidly grabbed the spotlight by founding "Friends of Diane" which initially sought to limit the number of work release fatalities in the downtown Seattle area. Ida filed suit against the state for $3 million over Dianes death, claiming that the state was negligent for not supervising Kane. The case was settled for an undisclosed amount and Ida has been cashing in ever since, embracing on a full time career bashing prisoners.

Ida was active as one of the front people for Washington Citizens for Justice, the right wing group that includes John Carlson and David LaCourse that sponsored the "3 Strikes Youre Out" initiative. In 1992 she ran for office and was elected to the state legislature as a Republican, representing Mercer Island. She is a primary backer of Initiative ...


This is the best part about being an editor. Every other month I get to sit down and write whatever comes to mind. And I know itll be read by over a thousand people.  Hey!  Wait a second... whatta ya flipping that page for? Oh well, at least I candream about being read by a thousand people.

For those of you who keep up on such matters, the Preliminary Injunction in the PLN lawsuit against the WA parole board (ISRB) was denied. This PI would have allowed Ed Mead to resume "contact" i.e. correspondence and phone calls with us "convicted felons" in order to have a hand in publishing this newsletter (oops, Paul says we should call it a magazine from now on). I wish Ed could continue working with us here at PLN,  but I understand he keeps himself busy and has been applying his talents and energy in other political areas.

What editorial would be complete without the pitch for more donations? Well, we dont aim to give you an incomplete editorial. Id like to remind you all that postage rates went up in January, but PLNs rates didnt. Please continue to support PLN.  Send whatever you ...

Confronting the Helms Amendment

In the December, 1994, issue of PLN we reported on and analyzed the federal crime bill and discussed one of its components, section 20409, which seeks to limit prisoners ability to challenge prison overcrowding via class action suits. Elizabeth Alexander, Associate Director for Litigation of the National Prison Project, has written an excellent legal analysis of that section of the crime bill. She agrees with PLNs analysis of the amendment to the effect that it does not make any substantive changes to the law governing prison overcrowding actions

The paper discusses the power of federal courts to issue injunctions against overcrowding, class action certification, modifying consent decrees, etc. It also analyzes congressional intent in making the law as well as its practical effects. "Thus the legislative history of the Helms Amendment suggests that its intent was to reinforce existing constitutional standards, not to change them." Any attorney litigating class action or prison overcrowding suits should read Ms. Alexanders paper of the above title. It is available from the NPP, their address is on page 20 of this issue of PLN

Prison Weight Lifting is a Nonsense Issue

Across the country Republicans have seized on prison weigh-lifting as a no risk political "issue" to make big hoopla over. The corporate media has abetted this by running sensationalist stories of prisoners bulking up by pumping iron. So far Mississippi and Wisconsin have banned weights in prison. The California legislature has required that the DOC submit a plan so prisoners can use weights but not build strength or bulk. The Washington state legislature is going to consider the matter this term, it is being pushed by Mike Padden, the anti-abortion Republican from Spokane and Ida Ballasiotes, the professional prisoner basher who heads the "corrections committee" in the state house.

Prisoners have been lifting weights in Washington for over forty years. How many people outside prison knew or cared about this until the Republicans and media made it an issue? None. Weight lifting has been popular in prison for decades with both prisoners and their keepers for several reasons.

Prisoners like to pump iron because it represents an opportunity for intense work outs and solid exercise year round, even when prison yards are closed due to rain, fog, snow, etc. Some prisoners lift weights as a means to release tension, build ...

Ohio Offshore Industries Project

In the state governments effort to market prisoners as cheap labor it has unveiled the Ohio Offshore Industries Project. This marketing campaign offers companies a vast pool of cheap prison labor as an attractive alternative to foreign based production. Companies have been moving overseas to take advantage of cheap labor, and the government hopes to keep these companies in the U.S. or lure them back by offering prison laborers. Overall this project is an effort to stop economic decline, and it also helps reduce the cost of imprisonment.

Ohios Department of Corrections (ODOC) has entered into a contract to supply space and laborers to a private firm called Unibase. Unibase is a data processing company that has eighteen of these work programs in prisons across the country.

The work involves entering data into computers, and prisoners are paid a base rate of $0.47 an hour, plus an incentive pay based on keying speed.  The incentive pay rate has been lowered continuously to a point where workers can not key in data fast enough to earn more than the base pay of $0.47 an hour. Unibase is attracted to this cheap labor, and knows that prisoners cannot legally ...

News in Brief

Morocco: On November 24, 1994, the Moroccan Human Rights Organization reported that the head of Morocco's delegation to a UN anti-torture conference was Kadouri Yousfi. Yousfi now heads the Moroccan national security apparatus but in the 1970's and '80's he was warden of the infamous Derb Moulay Cherif jail in Casablanca where thousands of prisoners and detainees were regularly tortured. The group said that sending Yousfi to the anti-torture conference made it skeptical of the willingness of the US backed regime of King Hassan II to stop torturing its citizens.

Mexico: On December 11, 1994, 17 prisoners in the CeReSo prison in Cuidad Juarez escaped by digging a tunnel 80 yards long from a prison cell to an orchard outside the prison. Prison officials learned of the escape after the prisoners were seen running down a city street. They then found a hole in the wall leading to the tunnel. The tunnel was elaborate, having electrical wiring and an air compressor that supplied oxygen. In May, 1994, four prisoners broke out of CeReSo after receiving automatic weapons from men posing as attorneys. On December 18, 1994, sixteen prisoners escaped from the Nuevas Casas Grandes prison near Ciudad ...


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