August 27, 2012

Man Accuses Prison of Violating His 13th Amendment Rights (You Know, The One That Banned Slavery)

It’s been 147 years since slavery was abolished in the United States, but one man believes a Vermont prison treated him as if he were back in the 1800s. Finbar McGarry has filed a lawsuit against the state’s prison system and a number of prison officials, alleging they violated his 13th Amendment rights — under which all Americans are guaranteed freedom from “slavery or involuntary servitude.” McGarry, in the $11 million lawsuit, claims he was forced to work for hardly any pay under unsafe conditions at a Vermont jail. According to CBS, he was arrested for a domestic disturbance in December 2008. He spent six weeks in prison
August 26, 2012

Rights group joins case over solitary confinement cells in CA where prisoners kept for years

August 26, 2012

Patrick Earl Conely, Appellant v. Texas Board of Criminal Justice et al., Appellees

Appellant Patrick Earl Conely, an inmate confined in the Institutional Division of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ), who is appearing pro se and in forma pauperis, appeals the dismissal of his suit against the Texas Board of Criminal Justice and Candace Moore.   Because we conclude that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in dismissing Conely's suit pursuant to chapter 14 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code, we will affirm.   See Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem.Code Ann. §§ 14.001–.014 (West 2002).
August 26, 2012

Inmates sue over Pelican Bay ‘sensory deprivation’

Ten inmates held in isolation at California's Pelican Bay State Prison for more than a decade sued the state Thursday, saying their conditions - which deprived them of virtually all human contact and any meaningful chance for release - violate international standards against torture and inhumane treatment. The prolonged solitary confinement in the North Coast prison's Security Housing Unit is the harshest anywhere in the nation and "strips human beings of their basic dignity and human
August 25, 2012

Struggle for prison health care enters new phase

A new phase opened May 7 in the long-running struggle to provide adequate health care for California prison inmates and to end conditions a federal judge said in 2005 were leading to the unnecessary death of one inmate a week. The State of California, the attorneys who brought the lawsuit on behalf of prison inmates, and the receiver now in charge of prison health care filed a joint report in court this week, setting forth their differing - in some cases opposing - views on how to end the receivership while assuring adequate treatment for the state's current inmates. The state claims prison health care has been "totally transformed," w
August 25, 2012

In Jackson, tourists pay for the chance to experience life behind bars

Tours are booming for Michigan's most famous lockup city, with visitors coming from across the state and beyond to go on the Jackson Historic Prison Tour. Its highlight: the infamous 7-Block at the former State Prison of Southern Michigan. It closed in 2007. The eerie 7-Block, still part of a razor-wire enclosed ca
July 26, 2012

State sued over prison conditions

Conditions at Vienna Correctional Center are something out of a Dickens novel, judging by a stomach-churning lawsuit filed earlier this month by inmates who say they live with filth, vermin and a paucity of bathrooms. A lawyer for inmates says that prisoners at Vienna and Vandalia Correctional Center, which could be the next legal target, are living in poorer conditions than inmates in California, which has been ordered to reduce overcrowding by a federal judge. “We are worse than California,” s
July 26, 2012

Sexual Exploitation of Female Offenders

There was yet another mention in the press recently about the systematic and prolonged sexual exploitation of female inmates by male corrections staff. The description of the inmates’ helplessness and victimization was almost too painful for me to read. A question kept ringing in my ears, a question posed by corrections officials nationwide who are baffled as to why corrections workers would risk
June 28, 2012

PLRA trumps again

A federal judge overstepped his authority by creating review procedures of Illinois supermax prison transfers, the 7th Circuit ruled, finding that the Illinois Department of Corrections can conceive its own system. Robert Westefer, representing a class of inmates incarcerated in the Closed Maximum Security Unit at the Tamms Correctional Center, challenged the procedures by which the Illinois Department of Corrections assigns inmates to the prison in a 2000 lawsuit. Westefer claimed that transfer procedures violated prisoners' due process rights.
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