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Prisoner Education Guide

Prison Legal News: July, 1995

Issue PDF
Volume 6, Number 7

In this issue:

  1. Supreme Court Turns Back Parole Challenge (p 1)
  2. 4th Cir. Clarifies IFP Dismissal Standard (p 2)
  3. Private Physician Subject to Section 1983 Liability (p 3)
  4. No Interlocutory Appeal of Discovery Order (p 4)
  5. 9th Cir. Upholds Attorney Fee Award (p 5)
  6. Appointment of Counsel (p 5)
  7. Unprovoked Assault States Claim (p 6)
  8. Prisoners Entitled to Meaningful Ad Seg Review (p 6)
  9. Helms Amendment Ruled On (p 7)
  10. Qualified Immunity Granted for Denial of Exercise (p 8)
  11. AA Probation Requirement Illegal for Atheist (p 9)
  12. Denial of Food May Violate Eighth Amendment (p 9)
  13. Confinement Claim Barred by Res Judicata (p 10)
  14. NJ Sex Offender Registration Ruled On (p 10)
  15. Retaliatory Infraction States Claim (p 10)
  16. PA Class Action Settlement Published (p 11)
  17. Denial of Witnesses Violates Due Process (p 11)
  18. Dismissal for Failure to Amend Complaint Reversed (p 11)
  19. Warden Survey Released (p 12)
  20. TDCJ Selling Counterfeit Meat (p 12)
  21. MI Drug Patch Testing (p 13)
  22. CA Families Fight to Maintain Bonds (p 13)
  23. NV Phone Rate Scalping Examined (p 13)
  24. 51 Months for Sex With Prisoners (p 14)
  25. Who's Treating the Doctor (p 14)
  26. AL Brings Back Chain Gangs (p 15)
  27. Violence Increases in Fed Prisons (p 15)
  28. SC Prisoners Protest Haircut Policy (p 15)
  29. From The Editor (p 16)
  30. FL Prisoner Has Right to Die (p 16)
  31. Books Available: The Penitentiary in Crisis: From Accomodation to Riot in NM (p 17)
  32. Books Available: Cages of Steel (p 17)
  33. Books Available: Barred: Women, Writing and Political Detention (p 17)
  34. Prisoners and the Law (p 17)
  35. Book Review: Prison Violence in America (p 18)
  36. Litigation Status Report Available (p 18)
  37. News in Brief (p 18)
  38. Book Review: Civil Liability in Criminal Justice (p 18)
  39. The Rise and Fall of California's Radical Prison Movement (Book Review) (p 18)
  40. Raze the Walls Burned (p 19)
  41. Health Problems in WY (p 19)

Supreme Court Turns Back Parole Challenge

In the July, 1994, issue of PLN we reported Morales v. California DOC, 16 F.3d 1001 (9th Cir. 1994). The appeals court held that a California statute that was modified to allow for parole hearings every three years instead of every year violated the Ex Post Facto provisions of ...

4th Cir. Clarifies IFP Dismissal Standard

The court of appeals for the fourth circuit has limited the discretion of district courts to dismiss suits filed in forma pauperis (IFP) on grounds of frivolousness where the court believes the complaint is untimely. The court also discussed when a cause of action accrues in cases where the cause ...

Private Physician Subject to Section 1983 Liability

Private physicians who show deliberate indifference to prisoners serious medical needs may be sued under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 even though they are not prison employees. With the increased trend of prison systems contracting out prisoner medical care this fourth circuit decision firmly reestablishes the states obligation to provide ...

No Interlocutory Appeal of Discovery Order

In a sharply worded opinion the eighth circuit court of appeals has described the limited circumstances in which it will entertain an interlocutory appeal from a district courts discovery orders. The case involves Sherman White, an Iowa state prisoner, who filed suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claiming he ...

9th Cir. Upholds Attorney Fee Award

This is not a prison case per se. It involves the ninth circuit court of appeals upholding an award of attorney fees of $66,535 in a case where the plaintiff only recovered nominal damages of $1. Because prison litigation often involves small or nominal damage awards this case will ...

Appointment of Counsel

In the February, 1994, issue of PLN we extensively discussed the third circuits ruling in Tabron v. Grace, 6 F.3d 147 (3rd Cir.1993) which set forth the standards district courts should use when ruling on pro se prisoner plaintiffs motion for appointment of counsel. The ruling was an ...

Unprovoked Assault States Claim

The sixth circuit court of appeals held that an unprovoked assault by Ohio prison guards states a claim for an eighth amendment violation. In doing so, the court rejected the prison guards' contention that unprovoked assaults do not, as a matter of law, state an eighth amendment claim. The case ...

Prisoners Entitled to Meaningful Ad Seg Review

New York state law has created a liberty interest for its prisoners to remain free from administrative segregation (ad seg) and prisoners cannot be held on indefinite ad seg status without meaningful review of that status. Prisoners have no federal constitutional right to remain free from ad seg but such ...

Helms Amendment Ruled On

In the December, 1994, issue of PLN we analyzed various provisions of the federal crime bill that was passed that year. One of the provisions was the Helms amendment which limited the relief that federal courts could grant in class action suits brought by prisoners alleging overcrowding and such. At ...

Qualified Immunity Granted for Denial of Exercise

In the May, 1994, issue of PLN we reported Allen v. City and County of Honolulu, 39 F.3d 936 (9th Cir. 1994) which held that prison officials were not entitled to qualified immunity for denying a segregated prisoner at least one hour of exercise per day. In that case ...

AA Probation Requirement Illegal for Atheist

In the May, 1994, issue of PLN we reported Warner v. Orange County Dept. of Probation, 827 F. Supp. 261 (SD NY 1993) which refused to dismiss a probationers claim that being forced to attend Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings as a condition of probation violated his first amendment rights because ...

Denial of Food May Violate Eighth Amendment

As district court in New York has held that depriving a prisoner of all meals for a two day period may violate the eighth amendment when imposed as a punitive sanction. Sean Williams is a New York prisoner confined in a control unit. After refusing to return a food tray ...

Confinement Claim Barred by Res Judicata

The May, 1995, issue of PLN reported on Rooding v. Peters. 864 F. Supp. 732 (ND IL 1994) in which the court found unconstitutional an Illinois DOC policy which required prisoners to serve at least 60 days in an IDOC facility, even if this meant holding them past their release ...

NJ Sex Offender Registration Ruled On

In 1990 Washington state passed the Community Protection Act which contained provisions requiring that sex offenders register with police and it also allowed law enforcement officials to notify the public of the sex offender's address, criminal history, etc. Since then several other states have passed similar laws. New Jersey ...

Retaliatory Infraction States Claim

An Illinois district court has reaffirmed that prisoners retain a first amendment right to complain about prison conditions without fear of being subjected to retaliation by prison officials. Selma Geder, an Illinois state prisoner, filed numerous administrative grievances complaining about prison conditions. In retaliation for such complaints he was infracted ...

PA Class Action Settlement Published

The October, 1994, issue of PLN reported that on August 12, 1994, attorneys representing all Pennsylvania state prisoners had reached a settlement with prison officials of that state regarding almost every aspect of prison conditions in that state. The district court has published the entire settlement agreement for those interested ...

Denial of Witnesses Violates Due Process

A federal district court in New York has held that a prisoner's due process rights were violated at a disciplinary hearing when the hearing officer refused to call a guard as a witness and failed to interview the guard to determine what his testimony would be. Michael McConnell, a ...

Dismissal for Failure to Amend Complaint Reversed

The court of appeals for the second circuit has held that a pro se prisoner's complaint should not be dismissed for failure to file a clear and concise complaint, failing to comply with the pleading requirements of Federal Civil Procedure and for failing to submit to discovery. Noah Simmons ...

Warden Survey Released

On December 21, 1994, Illinois US senator Paul Simon (D) released a survey he had conducted of 157 prison wardens across the country. Simon told a news conference he was releasing the survey because it was time for a "reality check" as congress gears up for yet another crime bill ...

TDCJ Selling Counterfeit Meat

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice(TDCJ) is getting into the fast food business. This is a new and different type of fast food, though. What makes it a fast is how fast prisoners whisk their trays to the garbage can to dump the fake soy-based meat substitute off of ...

MI Drug Patch Testing

A reader submitted a copy of a MDOC memorandum from the acting warden of Egler Prison, in Jackson Michigan, which we quote in full:

AThis facility has been selected to participate in a Pilot Study of the PharmChem Sweat Patch as a means for testing drug abuse. Beginning in early ...

CA Families Fight to Maintain Bonds

Hundreds of family members, loved ones, friends, and advocates  converged  on  the California Department  of  Corrections headquarters April 27, 1995, to express their support for family ties and opposition to a proposed administrative regulation which would eliminate family visits for a large segment of the prison population.   Speakers,  including  volunteers ...

NV Phone Rate Scalping Examined

In response to complaints from prisoners, family members and prison activists, the Nevada Public Service Commission (PSC) began work in December on a plan to regulate phone systems at jails and prisons. PSC Commissioner, Galen Denio, said he has to review testimony and documents from telephone companies and prison officials ...

51 Months for Sex With Prisoners

Suspended Gulf County (Pensacola), FL Sheriff Al Harrison, 52, was found guilty by a federal jury on January 27, 1995, of seven misdemeanor counts of violating the civil rights of five former female prisoners at the Gulf County Jail over a period of several years. The jury found that Harrison ...

Who's Treating the Doctor

In September, 1994, the Washington DOC hired James McGuire to work as a psychiatrist at the McNeil Island Corrections Center (MICC). His work involves diagnosing and prescribing drugs to sex offenders, among other prisoners at the facility. This in itself is unremarkable. What is unusual is the fact that McGuire ...

AL Brings Back Chain Gangs

Ron Jones, commissioner of the Alabama DOC, has announced that it has ordered 300 sets of leg irons to the tune of $17,000 so prisoners can be put to work for the first 90 days of their sentences. Jones is carrying out a directive from Republican Governor Fob James ...

Violence Increases in Fed Prisons

BOP records show an increase of violence at the five older U.S. Penitentiaries at Atlanta, Leavenworth, Lewisburg, Lompoc and Terre Haute. Statistics from the two newer prisons at Florence and Allenwood are not yet available.

BOP records show that prisoner assaults on guards increased 11% in 1994 over the ...

SC Prisoners Protest Haircut Policy

In February, 1995, Michael Moore, a prison administrator from Texas, was appointed head of the South Carolina DOC. He promptly implemented the Aget tough on prisoners policies of recently elected Republican governor David Beasley. To date this has included cutting back on work release and furloughs and announcing a new ...

From The Editor

From the Editor

by Dan Pens

Paul says I can only have a thousand words; we have backlog of articles and cases waiting for space. So I'll get right to it. We recently started including a Adrop card in every issue. Sorry if they fall out and make paper ...

FL Prisoner Has Right to Die

In 1972 Florida prisoner Michael Costello filed a lawsuit that eventually turned into a class action suit that resulted in improving living conditions, court access and medical care for state prisoners. Governor Lawton Chiles estimated that the costs to the state for litigating the suit, before it was settled in ...

Books Available: The Penitentiary in Crisis: From Accomodation to Riot in NM

The author is a former New Mexico assistant attorney general who was involved in investigating the causes and effects of the Santa Fe prison riot in 1980. The book takes a fairly objective analysis of the rise of the American prison movement in the 60's and 70's and ...

Books Available: Cages of Steel

Due to a shortage of space we are just giving short announcements to readers as to which books are available that may be of interest. The brevity of the review is no reflection on the quality of the book, just a matter of our being short on space.

Cages of ...

Books Available: Barred: Women, Writing and Political Detention

Barred: Women, Writing and Political Detention, by Barbara Harlow, examines and presents the writings of women political prisoners in Northern Ireland, Palestine, El Salvador, Egypt, South Africa and the United States. The book gives an analysis of the dynamics of resistance movements and political detention, the educational and social role ...

Prisoners and the Law

Review

Prisoners and the Law is the title of the four volume set by law professor Ira Robbins. First published in 1985 the set is regularly updated, most recently in December of 1994. While many books on prisoner rights give an overview of the applicable case law Robbins does that ...

Book Review: Prison Violence in America

by M. Braswell, R. Montgomery and L. Lombardy.

The book opens with a letter from George Jackson, excerpted from Soledad Brothers. What follows is a rather detailed and scholarly examination of numerous aspects of prison violence. Included are chapters on the impact of Ruiz v. Estelle, a historical-statistical overview of ...

Litigation Status Report Available

The National Prison Project of the ACLU has issued its latest, updated status report on state prisons and the courts. The report gives a detailed listing, by state, indicating which prisons and prison systems are under court order or consent decrees to limit their populations or otherwise improve their conditions ...

News in Brief

WA: Dan Hughes, the city maintenance supervisor of West Richland used a work crew from the Coyote Ridge Correctional Center to fix the irrigation system, clean a forklift and paint a fuel tank at his home in 1992 and 1993. The prisoner work crew was under contract to do maintenance ...

Book Review: Civil Liability in Criminal Justice

Book review by H.E. Barrineau III

This 108 page book provides a minimalist and simplistic, but quite broad overview of § 1983 litigation. It is aimed at criminal justice employees who are likely to be sued. The book is liberally spiced with relevant case citations, but rather lacking in ...

The Rise and Fall of California's Radical Prison Movement (Book Review)

This is a history of the California prison movement from 1950 to 1980, focusing on San Quentin state prison and highlighting the role that prison reading and writing played in the creation of radical prisoner ideology in those years. This was an extraordinary era in California prisons, one that saw ...

Raze the Walls Burned

Raze the Walls (RTW) is a Seattle based anti-prison collective that has supported prison activists (including PLN), published a prisoner resource directory among other activities. On May 12, 1995, they suffered a big setback when the squatted house they occupied burned to the ground. Not only did they lose their ...

Health Problems in WY

We have a new Health Service provider that took over from the state. They worry about costs over and above prisoners' health care. The name of the provider is Wexford Health Services, Inc. Their home office address is 4500 PGA Blvd. Suite 302, Palm Beach, FL 33418. It is rumored ...

 

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