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Prisoner Education Guide

Prison Legal News: November, 1997

Issue PDF
Volume 8, Number 11

In this issue:

  1. Private Transportation Firms Take Prisoners for a Ride (p 1)
  2. Escaped Prisoner Rides into Sunset (p 2)
  3. Tensions Rise in Ohio Prisons (p 3)
  4. From the Editor (p 4)
  5. Notes from the Unrepenitentiary (p 5)
  6. Oklahoma Pulls Out of TX Rent-A-Jail (p 6)
  7. DOJ to Probe Texas Rent-A-Jail (p 6)
  8. 'Training Video' Reveals Beatings in Texas Rent-A-Jail (p 6)
  9. ACLU and PLN Challenge Washington DOC Censorship (p 7)
  10. Alive Today! Death Row Calling U.S.A. (p 7)
  11. Texas Parole Case Reversed (p 8)
  12. PLN Editor Settles Retaliation Suit (p 9)
  13. Ohio Prison Doctor Liable in Asthma Death (p 9)
  14. Detention and Corrections CaseLaw Catalog (p 10)
  15. Criminal Practice Handbook (p 10)
  16. Restoring Justice (p 11)
  17. Civil Disabilities of Convicted Felon: A State-by-State Survey (p 11)
  18. Texas Mandatory Release Statute Creates Liberty Interest (p 12)
  19. A Matter of Fact (p 13)
  20. NM Prisoners Refuse to Break Rocks (p 14)
  21. BOP Sentence Reductions Cannot Be Denied Retroactively (p 14)
  22. Former Prison Security Chief Convicted (p 15)
  23. Attention Foreign Nationals (p 16)
  24. Prisoner Literacy Obscure & Outdated (p 16)
  25. Sewing Our Own Destruction (p 16)
  26. Prisoner Calls Big Business in CA (p 16)
  27. Trailers for Tana (p 17)
  28. Electronic Guards of the Future? (p 17)
  29. Exiled From Idaho (p 17)
  30. Media Allowed Access to CA Executions (p 17)
  31. PLRA Exhaustion Requirement Jurisdictional (p 18)
  32. 3rd Cir. Applies 'Imminent Danger' Exception to PLRA 3 Strikes (p 18)
  33. Factual Findings Required in 8th Amendment Suit (p 19)
  34. Attica Justice -- Served 26 Years Later (p 19)
  35. Fear Alone Doesn't Violate Eighth Amendment: No Immunity for Retaliation (p 20)
  36. Pepper Spray Uprising in Arkansas (p 21)
  37. Washington Officials Liable for Seizing Court Tape (p 21)
  38. Fourth Amendment Forbids Taping of Jail Confession to Clergy (p 21)
  39. News in Brief (p 22)

Private Transportation Firms Take Prisoners for a Ride

by Alex Friedmann

Many of the hundred-thousand-plus prisoners of the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) are familiar with the BOP's buses that shuttle convicts around the country. The federal government also maintains a fleet of a dozen planes designated for transporting prisoners, known as ConAir, which was brought to ...

Escaped Prisoner Rides into Sunset

Eight federal prisoners being transported in a van operated by Federal Extradition Agency escaped July 30 near Ordway, Colorado. Two guards working for the private transport firm were driving nine prisoners across Colorado when they stopped to drop one prisoner off at the Crowley county sheriffs department. One guard took ...

Tensions Rise in Ohio Prisons

A PLN subscriber wrote to describe a "mini riot" which occurred June 3, 1997, in one of the dorms at the North Central Correctional Institution in Marion, OH. He reported that six prisoners and two guards were injured.

The disturbance "was brought on by the severe takeback of our property ...

From the Editor

The past several months have seen a lot of changes at PLN. Our sample mailing campaign has been proceeding so that by the end of this year we will have mailed out more than 50,000 sample copies. It is still too early to tell what our total response will ...

Notes from the Unrepenitentiary

Pick up your trumpet, raise your voice: it's time to make noise. 1998 will see two important efforts to win the release of all u.s.-held political prisoners and prisoners of war. These efforts need the support of all justice loving people, all those who stand against the ...

Oklahoma Pulls Out of TX Rent-A-Jail

The state of Oklahoma announced in July that it would pull 500-plus prisoners out of the Limestone County Detention Center, in part because of a conflict over the use of pepper spray on "unruly inmates."

Limestone County, Texas, contracts with a private firm, Capital Correctional Resources, Inc. (CCRI), to operate ...

DOJ to Probe Texas Rent-A-Jail

The Brazoria County Jail, site of the video-taped beatings that aired on network television, is but one of 38 for-profit jails or prisons in the state of Texas. And it's not the only one with problems, just the one with the most press.

A week before Brazoria County erupted ...

'Training Video' Reveals Beatings in Texas Rent-A-Jail

The state of Missouri was swift to react to the explosive national news coverage resulting from the release of a video tape showing Missouri prisoners being kicked and beaten during a "shake down" at a Texas Rent-A-Jail. The state of Missouri announced that it was terminating its $6 million contract ...

ACLU and PLN Challenge Washington DOC Censorship

In its 1995 session the Washington state legislature considered HB 1054, which would have censored a wide variety of publications sent to prisoners based on their "sexual" or "violent" content. HB 1054 was not passed but the DOC got the message and "reinterpreted'' its 1992 mail censorship policy, DOC policy ...

Alive Today! Death Row Calling U.S.A.

If you are on the row in the USA and would like to have your story broadcast over radio and/or published, call collect and we will talk. I will record our conversation(s) and mail copies to the News Net service in your state, Pacifica Radio, and the National ...

Texas Parole Case Reversed

In the October, 1996, issue of PLN we reported the class action suit Johnson v. Texas Dept. of Criminal Justice, 910 F. Supp. 1208 (WD TX 1995) in which a federal district court in Texas ordered the state parole board to not consider "protest letters" unless the letters were disclosed ...

PLN Editor Settles Retaliation Suit

In the May, 1993, issue of PLN we reported that PLN editor Paul Wright had won a reversal and remand from the ninth circuit court of appeals in an unpublished ruling, Wright v. Rebiero, a retaliation suit filed against Washington state prison officials. On May 6, 1997, the case was ...

Ohio Prison Doctor Liable in Asthma Death

A federal district court in Ohio held that factual disputes required a trial to determine if Ohio DOC medical staff were liable in the death of a prisoner who died from an asthma attack. Ernest Davis was an Ohio state prisoner with asthma. Assigned to work in the prison kitchen ...

Detention and Corrections CaseLaw Catalog

By Paul Wright

If you are a jail or prison litigator have you ever wished for a digest of all the major and most of the minor cases dealing with the subject you're litigating? I know I have. Hours spent poring over the West's digests where prison cases ...

Criminal Practice Handbook

Books dealing with criminal law and its practice are relatively common. Many such books are multi-volume sets totaling thousands of pages and costing hundreds of dollars. The result is they tend to be used more as references of last resort for those able to purchase them. Apparently tired of that ...

Restoring Justice

Over the years, countless people have asked me The Question. People who have never been imprisoned (and who think my 16 years behind bars makes me an expert) are especially prone to ask it.

"You seem to be very well informed about criminal justice issues," The Question usually begins, "how ...

Civil Disabilities of Convicted Felon: A State-by-State Survey

By Jon Marc Taylor

Under federal and various state laws, conviction of a felony has consequences that may continue long after the sentence has been served. Convicted felons may lose essential rights of citizenship, such as the rights to vote and to hold public office, and may be restricted in ...

Texas Mandatory Release Statute Creates Liberty Interest

The court of appeals for the fifth circuit held that Texas prisoners have a due process liberty interest in their good time credits as it affects their mandatory parole release date. Nesbitt Madison, a Texas state prisoner, was infracted for allegedly assaulting his cellmate. At the disciplinary hearing Madison attempted ...

A Matter of Fact

The 1987 Federal Sentencing Guidelines Manual had 325 pages. In 1988 there were 225 federal sentencing appeals. The 1996 Federal Sentencing Guidelines Manual had ballooned to 1,137 pages. In 1995 there were 8,731 federal sentencing appeals.

There were 41 federal prisons constructed between 1900 and 1980.

States and ...

NM Prisoners Refuse to Break Rocks

New Mexico state corrections chief Rob Perry announced a proposal in June 1997 to allow disciplinary segregation prisoners to reduce their seg time if they agree to break rocks with sledgehammers. The proposal may have had more to do with publicity than punishment. The rock-breaking plan was duly reported by ...

BOP Sentence Reductions Cannot Be Denied Retroactively

The court of appeals for the ninth circuit held that a Bureau of Prisons (BOP) policy which created a new definition of "non-violent" offense could not be applied retroactively to deny a one-year sentence reduction to prisoners who had successfully completed a substance abuse program. 18 U.S.C. § 3621 ...

Former Prison Security Chief Convicted

By Julia Lutsky

William T. Mack, 53, was convicted at the end of May in a continuing federal investigation of corruption at the Mansfield Correctional Institute (MANCI) in Ohio. Mack, who had been chief of security at MANCI prior to his transfer to Grafton Correction Institute (GCI) in February of ...

Attention Foreign Nationals

Greetings from Alliance of Incarcerated Canadians in American Prisons (AICAP). Our purpose is to have all foreign citizens [not just Canadians] to serve their sentences in their home countries. In September, 1996, Congress enacted new amendments under the Immigration Reform Act, which allows for transfer of offenders to serve their ...

Prisoner Literacy Obscure & Outdated

A news item you might want to use in the paper: Washington Post (Feb. 18, l997) reported that the OMB [a federal budget office] compiled a "secret list" of 254 federal programs that could be cut to save money. They wouldn't release the entire list at that time (I ...

Sewing Our Own Destruction

When I saw Dan Pens' front page PLN article [Oct. '96] on UNICOR production of bullet resistant vests (there's no such animal as "bullet proof" vests) I was struck by the difference in perspective. I read some of the same material he relied on for his article. Sure, the ...

Prisoner Calls Big Business in CA

Prisoners' loved ones are hit with a $3.00 surcharge [connect fee] whenever they accept a collect call from a California prisoner. The $3.00 surcharge is in addition to the per-minute billing.

The California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) approved this $3.00 surcharge after MCI presented it to them ...

Trailers for Tana

I have received new insight into the warden [Tana Wood's] motivations for arbitrarily taking away as many EFV [Extended Family Visit, aka trailer visit] privileges as she can.

In the early 90's at MSC [the Medium Security Annex of the Washignton state penitentiary at Walla Walla], they built ...

Electronic Guards of the Future?

The Arizona Department of Corrections (ADC) is conducting a pilot program at the Cook Unit. If they like the results, ADC will implement the program state-wide.

I am sure you are familiar with these electronic ankle bracelets that people on home arrest are required to wear? [Editor's Note: Yes ...

Exiled From Idaho

I'm a prisoner from Idaho doing time in a private facility in Minnesota. I'm sure you all never hear much about the DOC in Idaho. It's pretty small, a little less than 4,000 prisoners. It has much of the same problems as the rest of the ...

Media Allowed Access to CA Executions

A federal district court in California held that media witnesses who attend state executions must be allowed to witness the entire proceeding. When California began lethal injection executions in 1996, it did not allow witnesses to enter the observation room adjoining the execution chamber until the victim was already strapped ...

PLRA Exhaustion Requirement Jurisdictional

A federal district court in Arizona held that the PLRA's administrative exhaustion requirement, codified at 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a), requires prisoners to exhaust administrative remedies and the failure to do so deprives the court of subject matter jurisdiction. Dallas Morgan, an Arizona state prisoner, filed suit claiming ...

3rd Cir. Applies 'Imminent Danger' Exception to PLRA 3 Strikes

The court of appeals for the third circuit held that a district court erred when it dismissed a prisoner's In Forma Pauperis (IFP) suit because three prior suits had been dismissed, when the instant suit claimed the plaintiff was in imminent danger. Henry Gibbs is a Pennsylvania state prisoner ...

Factual Findings Required in 8th Amendment Suit

The court of appeals for the seventh circuit held that district courts must make clear, specific factual findings when ruling on contested issues relevant to prisoners' constitutional claims. Aaron Isby, an Indiana state prisoner, filed suit claiming his eighth amendment rights were violated when he was placed in a freezing ...

Attica Justice -- Served 26 Years Later

The old Italian proverb postulates that "revenge is a dish best served cold." Justice is a dish also usually served cold, although those with a taste for justice rarely prefer it so. Maybe somebody should ask Frank Smith.

Twenty-six years after Smith was beaten and tortured in an orgy of ...

Fear Alone Doesn't Violate Eighth Amendment: No Immunity for Retaliation

The court of appeals for the seventh circuit held that a prisoner's fear of being attacked, by itself, does not violate the eighth amendment. The court also held that prison officials who retaliate against prisoners who complain about prison conditions are not entitled to qualified immunity. John Babcock, a ...

Pepper Spray Uprising in Arkansas

Wrightsville Arkansas, prison farm labor camp, July, 1997. The sweltering daytime temperature tops 100 degrees. It's still more than 80 degrees just after midnight. And then a spark is lit.

A guard at the Arkansas DOC Wrightsville Unit, reportedly acting on a tip, went into one of the 50-man ...

Washington Officials Liable for Seizing Court Tape

In an unpublished ruling, the court of appeals for the ninth circuit held prison officials were not entitled to qualified immunity for intentionally withholding a prisoner's video taped court transcript. Robert Wrinkle a Washington state prisoner at the Clallam Bay Corrections Center, sought to submit a pro se brief ...

Fourth Amendment Forbids Taping of Jail Confession to Clergy

The court of appeals for the ninth circuit held that state prosecutors, judges and jail officials violated the fourth amendment and the now defunct Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), 42 U.S.C. § 2000bb, by secretly taping the confession a jail detainee gave a Catholic priest. Conan Hale was being ...

News in Brief

AR: The DOC announced plans to convert the Hiland Mountain Correctional Facility into a women's prisons as the legislature refuses to provide funds to build one. Hiland currently houses 230 male sex offenders undergoing treatment. During a 1-year transition, the prison will be co-ed, housing male sex offenders and ...

 

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