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Prisoner Education Guide

Prison Legal News: June, 1996

Issue PDF
Volume 7, Number 6

In this issue:

  1. Japanese Justice: The Police Detention and Prison Systems (p 1)
  2. From the Editor (p 3)
  3. Report on Japanese Prisons Released (p 3)
  4. A Matter of Fact (p 4)
  5. Pro Se Tips and Tactics (p 5)
  6. No Due Process in Seg Placement (p 6)
  7. Maryland Lifers Denied Parole (p 7)
  8. No Stay in DC Women Prisoners' Suit (p 7)
  9. Mississippi Unable to Pay the Piper (p 8)
  10. Ninth Circuit Expands Mailbox Rule (p 8)
  11. Okay for Guards to View Naked Prisoners (p 9)
  12. Florida Prisoners Type Political Donor Lists (p 9)
  13. No Free Lunch (p 10)
  14. Indiana Prisoners Not Entitled to Disciplinary Due Process (p 10)
  15. State Seizes County Jail (p 11)
  16. Washington Supreme Court Upholds Discriminatory Earned Time Policy (p 11)
  17. America's Most Wanted Hypocrite (p 12)
  18. Military Prison Locked Down (p 12)
  19. Illinois DOC Violates Court Access Rights (p 13)
  20. Phone Graft in Florida (p 13)
  21. $176,000 Awarded in Attorney Fees (p 14)
  22. Washington Prisoners Protest Money Seizure Law (p 14)
  23. California EFV Ban Enjoined (p 15)
  24. Ninth Circuit Revisits Attorney Fees (p 15)
  25. Supervisor Liable in Retaliation Suit (p 16)
  26. Nevada Utilities Commission Caps Prison Phone Rates (p 16)
  27. $5 Million Awarded in New York Prison Stabbing (p 17)
  28. Washington Prison Doctor Has License Suspended, Again (p 17)
  29. Chemical Toilets May Violate Eighth Amendment in Massachusetts Class Action (p 18)
  30. Michigan Visiting TRO Denied (p 19)
  31. Indian Journalist/Ex-Prisoner Denied Travel (p 19)
  32. IFP Status Not Available for Trivial Suits (p 20)
  33. Washington Prisoners Have No Right to Earned Time (p 20)
  34. Tenth Anniversary of Peru Prison Massacres (p 21)
  35. News in Brief (p 27)

Japanese Justice: The Police Detention and Prison Systems

by Gary P. Leupp

Japanese justice officials boast of their extraordinarily high rate of conviction (99.94% in 1994). They imply that this rate results from efficient police work and careful judicial proceedings. When a high profile case (such as that involving the Aum Shinrikyo doomsday cult, or the U ...

From the Editor

I welcome you to the 74th consecutive monthly issue of PLN. When we first published in 1990, the state of Washington attempted to deny delivery of PLN to every prisoner in the state. PLN made it clear that we'd challenge the ban in court, however, and senior DOC officials ...

Report on Japanese Prisons Released

Human Rights Watch Asia has recently released a booklet titled Prison Conditions in Japan. The 93 page booklet gives a detailed overview of the Japanese prison system. Organized by topic the booklet includes a summary with chapters covering police detention, physical conditions, communication between prisoners and the outside world, punishment ...

A Matter of Fact

Welcome to this new feature of PLN. Often we run across amazing facts, figures, quotes, or statistics, but don't have the time, energy, or space to develop a full-length article. So, in the same vein as "News in Brief," this column will be consist solely of bite-sized morsels of ...

Pro Se Tips and Tactics

This column discusses the defense of so-called "qualified immunity" that is available to public officers and employees sued under 42 U.S.C. Section 1983. I will first discuss what an "immunity" is, then what "qualified" immunity is as distinguished from "absolute" immunity, and finally how the issue of qualified ...

No Due Process in Seg Placement

In the August, 1995, issue of PLN we reported Sandin v. Conner, 115 S.Ct. 2293 (1995) in which the supreme court held that prisoners have no due process rights in disciplinary hearings as long as the length of their sentence is not affected, i.e. no good time is ...

Maryland Lifers Denied Parole

In 1993, the Maryland DOC instituted a policy which denied all lifers a security status below medium. Those lifers who were then in minimum security facilities, pre-release, and work release were checked in and transferred to maximum and medium security prisons. This was done in reaction to the sensationalist journalism ...

No Stay in DC Women Prisoners' Suit

In the December, 1995, issue of PLN we reported Women Prisoners of D.C. DOC v. District of Columbia, 877 F. Supp. 634 (DC DC 1995), a class action suit by women prisoners challenging their conditions of confinement and an atmosphere of sexual assault and harassment. The district court ruled ...

Mississippi Unable to Pay the Piper

Last year Mississippi implemented the country's toughest sentencing bill, requiring all convicts (not just 'serious" or violent" criminals) to serve 85 percent of their sentences. Corrections Commissioner Steve Puckett said that law is causing a serious financial dilemma and needs to be reviewed.

Under the previous sentencing scheme prisoners ...

Ninth Circuit Expands Mailbox Rule

The court of appeals for the ninth circuit has held that a prisoner's notice of appeal is timely filed as long as it is mailed within the applicable time limit; the court does not require the notice to be mailed by a method that creates a written log. The ...

Okay for Guards to View Naked Prisoners

The court of appeals for the seventh circuit held that it is constitutionally permissible for female guards to routinely view naked male prisoners. Albert Johnson, a pretrial detainee in the Cook County (Chicago) jail, filed suit claiming that female guards monitoring male prisoners while they showered, dressed, used the bathroom ...

Florida Prisoners Type Political Donor Lists

Florida state elections officials are hiring prisoners to type into a computer the names of big-money political donors. Secretary of State Sandra Mortham's office is under orders to make the contributions information available on the internet. Mortham said her office will save tax dollars by paying prisoners 15 to ...

No Free Lunch

Most readers are aware of the growing practice of charging prisoners and jail detainees a fee for medical services. Two southern jurisdictions have introduced what may be the next wave - charging for meals.

Sheriff Bobby Knowles of the St. Lucie County Jail in Fort Pierce, Fla. announced that he will ...

Indiana Prisoners Not Entitled to Disciplinary Due Process

In two separate rulings a federal district court in Indiana held that a prison disciplinary hearing committee does not have to provide any form of due process when it sentences a prisoner to long terms of disciplinary segregation. Lorenzo Stone-Bey, an Indiana state prisoner and long-time PLN reader, was infracted ...

State Seizes County Jail

On January 19, 1996, nearly 200 New Jersey state corrections officers, dressed in full riot gear, descended on the Hudson County Jail and seized control of the facility. The jail's warden was removed, the facility was locked down, and every cell was searched for contraband. Harold Beyer, assistant state ...

Washington Supreme Court Upholds Discriminatory Earned Time Policy

The Washington state supreme court has upheld a practice by county jails awarding lesser amounts of earned time to pretrial detainees, usually too poor to afford bail, who are later convicted. Pursuant to RCW 9.94A.150(l) the DOC, which holds convicted felons, and county jails, which hold misdemeanants ...

America's Most Wanted Hypocrite

John Walsh is known to millions of television viewers as the host of America's Most Wanted on FOX TV. The program features lurid reenactments of crimes and ask for viewer assistance in locating people that police claim have committed the crime in question. Over the years political fugitives such ...

Military Prison Locked Down

On March 2, 1996, Pfc. Thomas Enochs, a prison guard, told a prisoner at the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas not to wear a T-shirt on his head. The unidentified prisoner then assaulted Enochs, who set off a body alarm to summon other guards. Enochs was taken ...

Illinois DOC Violates Court Access Rights

A federal district court in Illinois held that the Illinois DOC violates the rights of segregated prisoners by requiring them to rely on a "runner system" in order to do legal research and litigate their claims. In a lengthy post trial ruling examining court access practices at five maximum security ...

Phone Graft in Florida

Competing telephone companies submitted bids to provide "inmate phone services" to 35 Florida prisons. The contract was awarded to North American Intelecom (NAI) Inc. over rival MCI Telecommunications. MCI filed a protest based on the fact that they scored higher than NAI in the Department of Corrections' bid ranking system ...

$176,000 Awarded in Attorney Fees

A federal district court in Illinois entered an award of $163,276 in attorney fees and $12,398 in costs pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1988 to prisoner plaintiffs who won $130,000 in damages at a jury trial after being beaten by prison guards. The court discussed the ...

Washington Prisoners Protest Money Seizure Law

In the May, 1995, issue of PLN we ran the article Harsher Prison Measures Opposed: "Family Values'' Stop Here which reported the solidarity demonstration held by some 20 people in front of the King County (Seattle), WA jail on March 20, 1995. That same day prisoners at the Washington State ...

California EFV Ban Enjoined

Past issues of PLN have reported on legislative efforts to eliminate or restrict prisoners access to Extended Family Visits in California. A series of state court rulings have been issued [See PLN, Feb., Apr., Sep, 1995, for more details] on this topic. Unable to completely eliminate the EFV program, in ...

Ninth Circuit Revisits Attorney Fees

The court of appeals for the ninth circuit has again held that attorney fee awards under 42 U.S.C. § 1988 should be awarded by district courts based on the relief achieved by the prevailing party. Institutional reform litigation by its nature is a long, involved process, litigation concerning the ...

Supervisor Liable in Retaliation Suit

A federal district court in New York held that supervisory prison officials can be found liable when they are aware of retaliation taken against prisoners but do nothing to stop it. The court dismissed claims challenging the New York DOCS practice of discontinuing free general mail postage and prohibiting prisoners ...

Nevada Utilities Commission Caps Prison Phone Rates

In the July, 1995, issue of PLN we reported that the Nevada Public Service Commission (PSC) was considering putting an end to the extortionate phone rates paid by people who accepted collect calls from Nevada state prisoners. On September 12, 1995, the PSC announced that the rates charged for prison ...

$5 Million Awarded in New York Prison Stabbing

In December, 1995, a jury in the New York state court of claims awarded former prisoner Anthony Barrett $5,180,645 in damages for pain and suffering, lost income and expenses. In 1987 Barrett was left paralyzed after being stabbed in the back by a prisoner at the Auburn Correctional ...

Washington Prison Doctor Has License Suspended, Again

In October, 1994, the Washington State Medial Quality Assurance Commission began an investigation into the qualifications of Dr. Thomas McDonnell, the supervising physician at the Washington Corrections Center (WCC) in Shelton, WA. The investigation began after the Commission received two anonymous complaints. On April 8, 1996, the commission suspended McDonnell ...

Chemical Toilets May Violate Eighth Amendment in Massachusetts Class Action

A federal district court in Massachusetts has set for trial a class action suit by state prisoners claiming that chemical toilets pose a health hazard that violates the eighth amendment's ban on cruel and unusual punishment. Also to be decided at trial is whether exposing the prisoners to asbestos ...

Michigan Visiting TRO Denied

A federal district court in Michigan denied state prisoners a Preliminary Injunction (PI) in their challenge to new visiting rules. The Michigan DOC recently enacted more restrictive rules on visitation that prohibit visits by all minors other than prisoners' own children; it prohibits visits with children if parental rights have ...

Indian Journalist/Ex-Prisoner Denied Travel

M.N. Ravunni is the secretary of the Central Propaganda Committee of the Communist Party of Kerala in India. He is also the chief editor of the magazine Munnanipo-rali. In July, 1995, Mr. Ravunni applied for a passport to visit other countries, including the U.S. and discuss the political ...

IFP Status Not Available for Trivial Suits

The court of appeals for the third circuit has expanded the ability of district courts to dismiss suits filed in forma pauperis by indigents. This case epitomizes the maxim that bad cases make bad case law. Melvin Deutsch is a federal prisoner who filed suit under the Federal Tort Claims ...

Washington Prisoners Have No Right to Earned Time

The state court of appeals for Division III has held that Washington state prisoners have no constitutional or statutory right to be allowed to earn "earned time" credits. Dagoberto Galvez was placed in administrative segregation where he was not allowed to earn "earned time" credits to reduce his sentence. Galvez ...

Tenth Anniversary of Peru Prison Massacres

[The following article is excerpted from the book Gloria al Día de Heroísmo, which is an account of the uprising and massacre of Peruvian political prisoners and Prisoners of War on June 19, 1986. This year marks the tenth anniversary of the uprising.]

The historical background of the uprising is ...

News in Brief

PA: On April 6, 1996, four prisoners in the Adams county prison used tools and a weighted sock to attack two guards and escape from the minimum security prison. Police said the escapees may have been picked up by an accomplice in a car. The prisoners took off their jump ...

 

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Disciplinary Self-Help Litigation Manual

 



 

Federal Prison Handbook

 



 


 

Disciplinary Self-Help Litigation Manual