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Prison Legal News: August, 1998

Issue PDF
Volume 9, Number 8

In this issue:

  1. Through the Civil Commitment Looking Glass (p 1)
  2. A Zoo Within a Prison (p 4)
  3. CCA Sells Self; Wackenhut Creates REIT (p 5)
  4. From the Editor (p 6)
  5. NJ Prisoners Refuse to Swallow PINs (p 6)
  6. Idaho Law Libraries Closed, Pillaged (p 7)
  7. STGMU-tized in New Jersey (p 7)
  8. Notes from the Unrepenitentiary (p 8)
  9. MCI Refund to Florida Prisoner Families (p 8)
  10. Los Angeles Jail Death Ruled Homicide (p 9)
  11. The Tough-On-Crime Myth: Real Solutions to Cut Crime (p 10)
  12. The Real War on Crime: The Report of the National Criminal Justice Commission (Book Review) (p 10)
  13. The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Prison: Ideology, Class and Criminal Justice (p 10)
  14. Union County, NJ, Jail Guards Convicted (p 11)
  15. PLRA Finding Required for Injunctive Relief (p 12)
  16. Plaintiffs Must Be Allowed to Present Evidence in PLRA Motions to Terminate Prospective Relief (p 12)
  17. TDCJ PLRA Forms Okay (p 13)
  18. CA Tort Claim Not Required for Administrative Exhaustion (p 13)
  19. Consent Decree Termination Upheld (p 13)
  20. Dismissal for Lying About Poverty Affirmed (p 13)
  21. PLRA Filing fees Don't Apply to Civil Commitments (p 13)
  22. PLRA Fees Don't Apply to Mandamus (p 13)
  23. $22,500 to Seattle WA Jail Brutality Suit (p 14)
  24. Proof of Administrative Exhaustion Required (p 14)
  25. Mock Prison Riot Staged (p 14)
  26. Racism in the Ranks (p 15)
  27. WA Prison Telemarketing Elicits Controversy - Again (p 16)
  28. CBCC Warden Fired in Telemarketing Hoopla (p 17)
  29. Bureau of Prisons Estopped from Denying Sentence Reduction (p 19)
  30. Sentence Runs During Wrongful Release (p 19)
  31. U.S. Supreme Court Clarifies § 1983 Claims (p 20)
  32. Jericho: Thoughts From Political Prisoners in Leavenworth (p 21)
  33. Jericho '98 March and Rally (p 21)
  34. Convict Mine Labor in the Information Age (p 22)
  35. Cheaper to Exile Prisoners? (p 23)
  36. Prisons Promoting Tourism (p 24)
  37. Jailers Charged in Bribery, Kickback Schemes (p 24)
  38. WI Predator-Law Poster Boy Gets Released (p 25)
  39. WI Guard Settles Discrimination Suit for $105,000 (p 25)
  40. News in Brief (p 26)
  41. Mailbox Rule Applied to Habeas Petitions (p 27)
  42. WA DOC Investigators Can't Detain Visitors: Drugs Suppressed (p 28)
  43. Oregon Guard Pleads Guilty to Perjury (p 28)
  44. Risk of Serious Harm States Claim (p 29)
  45. Disciplinary Hearing Violations Enjoined (p 29)
  46. Probable Cause Required for Visitor Body Cavity Search (p 30)

Through the Civil Commitment Looking Glass

If the object or purpose of the Kansas [civil commitment] law had been to provide treatment but treatment were adopted as a sham or mere pretext, there would have been an indication of the forbidden purpose to punish . -- Justice Kennedy's concurring majority opinion in Hendricks v. Kansas , 117 S ...

A Zoo Within a Prison

On April 18, 1998, a fleet of buses, trucks, and police cruisers rolled up to the SCC's subterranean asylum. It was moving day.

Washington sex offenders have continually been snared by the civil commitment process since 1990. Because only one has been deemed "cured" of the mental abnormality which ...

CCA Sells Self; Wackenhut Creates REIT

In July 1997 the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) spun off a related company, the Prison Reality Trust, which was formed to purchase CCA's prisons under a lease-back arrangement [ PLN Dec. 97]. Prison Realty is a real estate investment trust, or REIT, which offers certain corporate tax advantages. Nine ...

From the Editor

Greetings and welcome to the 100th consecutive monthly publication of PLN . Who knew when Paul Wright and Ed Mead put out the first rough and tumble issue of PLN in May 1990, that it would flourish and prosper for 100 months? Certainly not the Washington prisoncrats who initially tried to ...

NJ Prisoners Refuse to Swallow PINs

Approximately two years ago, the entire NJ prison system switched to an "automated call" phone system. Despite a predicted hike in costs to family and friends of prisoners, very few prisoners objected in a short-lasting boycott.

On September 15, 1997, the prison population here (Trenton State Prison/NJ State Prison ...

Idaho Law Libraries Closed, Pillaged

Following the lead of Arizona
[See: "Experiment in Access" Oct '97 PLN ], the Idaho DOC, on January 19, 1998, revised their method of providing court access to Idaho prisoners.

Under the revised policy, the law libraries in Idaho prisons will permanently close. Court access will be provided by a state ...

STGMU-tized in New Jersey

On March 4, 1998, approxmately 170 NJ state prisoners were rounded up by the Special Operation Group (S.O.G.) and Internal Affairs, cameras in hand, and shipped to this [Northern State] prison. We were handed a memo signed by the Assistant Commissioner, Howard Beyers and dated 4 March. This ...

Notes from the Unrepenitentiary

On June 1, Rosalind Simpson Moore-Bey died at home in Washington, D.C. To anyone who has passed through the D.C. Jail or CTF (Central Treatment Facility), Roz's name is not only familiar it is well-known. Her name is known, as well, to many prisoners with HIV or ...

MCI Refund to Florida Prisoner Families

Friends and family of Florida prisoners may be entitled to $190,000 worth of free telephone calls under a recommendation issued by the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC).

Between February and July 1996, as previously reported in several PLN articles, telephone giant MCI overcharged Florida customers who accepted phone calls ...

Los Angeles Jail Death Ruled Homicide

Los Angeles County coroner's investigators revealed in early April that a jail detainee who died in November during a "physical altercation" with seven sheriff's deputies at the L.A. Twin Towers jail was a victim of homicide.

The incident occurred on Wednesday, November 26, 1997 -- the day before ...

The Tough-On-Crime Myth: Real Solutions to Cut Crime

American penal reform movements have a long and distinguished history: that of middle-class activists working to check the excesses of the centralized state against the underclass. Some of the reformers had good hearts, some didn't. Either way, they're responsible for many of the most hellish elements of incarceration ...

The Real War on Crime: The Report of the National Criminal Justice Commission (Book Review)

by Steven R. Donziger, Editor Harper Perennial, 1996, $15.00

by Daniel Burton-Rose

The Tough-On-Crime Myth: Real Solutions to Cut Crime, by Peter T. Elikann Insight Books, 1996, $24.95

The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Prison: Ideology, Class and Criminal Justice , by Jeffrey Reiman, Allyn and Bacon ...

The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Prison: Ideology, Class and Criminal Justice

Jeffrey Reiman's book is an excellent antidote to The Real War on Crime and The Tough on Crime
Myth. First published in 1979 and now in its fifth revised edition, The
Rich Get Richer is a classic attempt to tear-down the socially-constructed barriers that obscure the class bias in ...

Union County, NJ, Jail Guards Convicted

In June, 1995, twenty-five political asylum seekers were hauled in chains from a federal INS Detention Center in Elizabeth, NJ, to the nearby Union County Jail. The 25 immigrant detainees many of whom are refugees who escaped religious and political persecution in their home countries were forced by guards to ...

PLRA Finding Required for Injunctive Relief

The court of appeals for the Ninth circuit held that district courts must make specific findings under the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) before granting prospective relief regarding prison conditions and this requirement applied retroactively to cases pending at the time of the PLRA's enactment on April 26, 1996 ...

Plaintiffs Must Be Allowed to Present Evidence in PLRA Motions to Terminate Prospective Relief

The court of appeals for the Eighth circuit held that court injunctions limiting jail or prison populations must be dissolved unless findings to justify such relief are entered by a three judge district court. Once a motion to terminate an injunction is filed, the plaintiffs must be given an opportunity ...

TDCJ PLRA Forms Okay

TDCJ PLRA Forms Okay: The court of appeals for the fifth circuit denied a prisoner's motion to proceed on appeal with IFP status because he refused to fill out a Texas Dept. of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) form authorizing withdrawals from his prison trust account to pay PLRA filing fees ...

CA Tort Claim Not Required for Administrative Exhaustion

CA Tort Claim Not Required for Administrative Exhaustion: A federal district court in California held that it is not necessary for CDC prisoners to submit a California Tort Claims Act (CTCA) complaint to the state Board of Control before filing suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. 42 U.S ...

Consent Decree Termination Upheld

Consent Decree Termination Upheld: In the April, 1997, issue of PLN we reported Hadix v. Johnson , 947 F. Supp. 1100 (ED MI 1997) where a district court struck down 18 U.S.C. § 3626 as unconstitutional. Section 3626 allows for the immediate termination of consent decrees. The court of appeals ...

Dismissal for Lying About Poverty Affirmed

Dismissal for Lying About Poverty Affirmed: The court of appeals for the seventh circuit held that 28 U.S.C. § 1915(c) requires courts to dismiss cases if applicants for In Forma Pauperis (IFP) status lie about their poverty. Courts have the discretion to make the dismissals with prejudice. Since ...

PLRA Filing fees Don't Apply to Civil Commitments

PLRA Filing Fees Don't Apply to Civil Commitments: A federal district court in Wisconsin held that the filing fee provisions of the PLRA do not apply to so called "sex predators" civilly committed in detention facilities for "treatment." 28 U.S.C. § 1915(h) defines prisoners as those incarcerated ...

PLRA Fees Don't Apply to Mandamus

The court of appeals for the tenth circuit held "that this circuit will no longer require mandatory fees under the PLRA for filing petitions for writs of mandamus seeking to compel district courts to hear and decide actions brought solely under 28 U.S.C. § 2241, 2254 and 2255. To ...

$22,500 to Seattle WA Jail Brutality Suit

The King County (Seattle) jail in Washington settled a brutality suit on January 26, 1998, by paying a former jail prisoner $22,500. Lonnie Burton was a prisoner in the King County jail when he alleged he was attacked without provocation by jail guard Troy Bacon, who slammed Burton's ...

Proof of Administrative Exhaustion Required

Proof of Administrative Exhaustion Required: A federal district court in California held that prisoners filing suit have to provide proof, at the time of filing, that they have exhausted their administrative remedies pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a). "Before he may properly file an action in this court ...

Mock Prison Riot Staged

On April 25 and 26, 1998, there was a weekend-long riot at the old West Virginia State Penitentiary. This wasn't your typical prison riot, though. First of all, it was anything but spontaneous. Rather, the two-day event was meticulously planned, and carried out by prison guards and law enforcement ...

Racism in the Ranks

By W. Wisely

Agroup of prison guards at the California Institute for Men, in Chino, call themselves SPONGE, an acronym for the "Society for the Prevention of Niggers Getting Everything." In Wasco prison, a guard wears a sheet over his head while working a cellblock. In Folsom, a swastika is ...

WA Prison Telemarketing Elicits Controversy - Again

In December 1997 and January 1998, statewide media attention spotlighted a "shocking" prison tele- marketing partnership between the Washington state Parks and Recreation Department and the Department of Corrections (DOC) Correctional Industries (CI). For two years prisoners at Clallam Bay Corrections Center (CBCC) manned the Parks Department's toll-free information ...

CBCC Warden Fired in Telemarketing Hoopla

As part of the CBCC shake up that occurred over publicity of prisoner Parker Stanphil sending holiday cards to women whose addresses he obtained while employed at his Correctional Industries telemar-keting job, Clallam Bay Corrections Center (CBCC) superintendent Robert Wright was fired. In numerous media interviews Wright claimed he was ...

Bureau of Prisons Estopped from Denying Sentence Reduction

A federal district court in Colorado granted a habeas corpus petition reducing a federal prisoner's sentence by one year for successfully completing a drug treatment program. The court held the BOP was estopped from denying the sentence reduction having initially granted it, then denied it. In 1994 congress enacted ...

Sentence Runs During Wrongful Release

The Arizona supreme court held that when a prisoner is incorrectly released before his sentence expires the sentence continues to run and the offender is entitled to any good time credits he would have accrued had he remained in custody. The court also held prisoners have no legal duty to ...

U.S. Supreme Court Clarifies § 1983 Claims

John Midgley and David C. Fathi

Recently, the United States Supreme Court has made it difficult for prisoners to successfully file claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 that "necessarily imply" the invalidity of a conviction or a decision that lengthens a prison term, such as a prison disciplinary hearing ...

Jericho: Thoughts From Political Prisoners in Leavenworth

JERICHO 98 -- as many people already know and we hope many more soon will know, is the nationwide March 27th rally in Washington DC, calling for the recognition and release of all political prisoners in America.

Here are some of the principle reasons we think this rally is so important ...

Jericho '98 March and Rally

Between 5,000 and 7,000 people gathered in Washington, D.C. on March 27, 1998 to protest the Big Lie: The U.S. has no political prisoners. And like Joshua at the legendary battle of Jericho, the marchers circled the citadel of their foes -- the White House -- and blasted ...

Convict Mine Labor in the Information Age

One hundred years ago the U.S. economy was in the heyday of its Industrial Age. Steel was king. Railroads, machine tools, heavy manu- facturing. All fueled by coal.

Some of that coal was hacked out of the earth by companies in Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia that utilized convict `.lease ...

Cheaper to Exile Prisoners?

The state of Connecticut closed its Northeast Correctional Institution (NCI) in July 1997 in a budget-cutting move. Just seven months later, state legislators called for the governor to reopen NCI because of overcrowding in the state's other prisons.

But the administration of Gov. John G. Rowland claims that it ...

Prisons Promoting Tourism

As states spend an increasing amount of their budgets to expand their prison systems they increasingly seek ways to replenish impoverished state coffers. One major source of revenue is tourism, and some states are well-known for their tourist attractions -- such as Disneyworld and Epcot Center in Orlando, Florida; the Grand ...

Jailers Charged in Bribery, Kickback Schemes

Asenior administrator in the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and an independent contractor face felony bribery charges involving padded contracts for millions of dollars in jail food. And, in Texas, a McLennan County grand jury indicted a county sheriff's Sgt. on misdemeanor charges stemming from "unethical [food procurement ...

WI Predator-Law Poster Boy Gets Released

On Halloween, 1973, nine-year-old Lisa French disappeared while trick-or-treating in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. Gerald Turner, a neighbor and friend of the French family, was ultimately convicted of abducting, raping and murdering the girl. Dubbed the Halloween Killer, Turner languished in the maxi- mum-security Waupun prison until 1992, when he ...

WI Guard Settles Discrimination Suit for $105,000

Ablack prison guard who filed a discrimination suit against the Wisconsin Department of Corrections agreed to a $105,000 settlement in December, 1997, shortly after a U.S. district court judge ruled the case would go to trial. An unusual term of the settlement allowed Sgt. William Rogers to face ...

News in Brief

Brazil: On May 28, 1998, 22 prisoners were killed by other prisoners at the Barretto Campelo prison. Designed to hold 400 prisoners, the prison held 1,200 at the time of the incident. Police claim the killings occured as a group of prisoners sought to avenge the death of a ...

Mailbox Rule Applied to Habeas Petitions

The court of appeals for the Third circuit extended the mailbox rule to habeas corpus petitions, holding that habeas petitions are considered filed when given to prison officials for mailing. Donald Burns, a New Jersey state prisoner, gave his federal habeas petitions to prison officials to mail on April 22 ...

WA DOC Investigators Can't Detain Visitors: Drugs Suppressed

Astate appeals court in Washington held that prison investigators lack the authority to detain and question visitors, therefore any drugs found after a search had to be suppressed. William Dane, a Washington state prisoner at the Clallam Bay Correction Center (CBCC) was being investigated for drug smuggling activities by CBCC ...

Oregon Guard Pleads Guilty to Perjury

Aformer Oregon prison corporal pleaded guilty to one count of perjury on April 17, 1998, after prosecutors offered to downgrade the felony perjury charge to a misdemeanor. The guard, Cpl. Ronald Robertson, 32, was sentenced to two days in jail and 36 months probation.

Robertson was fired by the Oregon ...

Risk of Serious Harm States Claim

A federal district court in New York held that jail officials can be held liable for exposing jail detainees to a significant risk of serious harm, whether or not any injury actually occurs. The court also held that jail conditions intended to be punitive are also unconstitutional. Richard Heisler was ...

Disciplinary Hearing Violations Enjoined

A federal district court entered an injunction in a class action suit which challenged the systematic denial of due process in prison disciplinary hearings. Prisoners at the Statevile Correctional Center in Illinois filed a class action suit claiming they were denied due process under a prison policy that prohibited prisoners ...

Probable Cause Required for Visitor Body Cavity Search

A federal district court in Utah held that prison officials must have probable cause and a valid search warrant before subjecting a prison visitor to a body cavity search. Stana Laughter is married to a Utah state prisoner. Laughter visited her husband in prison on a regular basis, often accompanied ...