News

BOP Relents on Forcing Chaplains to Carry Pepper Spray

In mid-October we reported on a federal prison chaplain who was being denied direct contact with inmates because for religious reasons he refused to carry pepper spray when meeting them. For a decade, the Rev. Ronald Apollo had been employed by the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) and was head chaplain at a medium-security prison

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Drug Addicts Suffer Preventable Deaths in U.S. Jails

There is a growing epidemic of opioid addiction in the United States. According to the federal Centers for Disease Control, over 33,000 opioid-related deaths occurred in 2015, representing a quadrupling of such fatalities since 1999. It is estimated that three-quarters of crimes are related to drugs and two-thirds of prisoners have a history of substance

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New York: Inhumanity in the Guise of Education at Rikers Island Jail

The New York City Board of Correction (BOC), which provides oversight of the city’s jails, has approved the use of controversial “restraint desks” for violent prisoners aged 18 to 21 held at the Rikers Island jail complex. The desks – used in classrooms where programming is provided – allow for free movement of the hands

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Prison Workers Will Receive $7.5 Million for Riot Death, Injuries

In what may be the state’s largest-ever settlement of a civil lawsuit, on Dec. 15 a federal judge approved a settlement agreement between Delaware and survivors of a correctional officer killed last February during an inmate riot and takeover at a state prison, and five other corrections officers held by rioters during an 18-hour siege.

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Prisoner’s Wrongful Death FTCA Claim Dismissed For Lack of Jurisdiction

The United States District Court for the District of Maryland has dismissed a Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) case brought against the United States over the 2013 wrongful death of a prisoner held at Federal Correctional Institution Cumberland, Maryland. The case was brought by the widow and sons of Stephen P. Gardner. They claimed that

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Volunteers, Mayor Take Action to Clothe Freezing Prisoners in New York City

The New York City Department of Correction and city officials are rethinking their policy of releasing prisoners without jackets during frigid winter months. The New York Daily News reported in December 2016 that the city was routinely freeing prisoners from jail and court without proper winter clothing. Beleaguered public defenders and legal aid attorneys went so far

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Federal Prison Inmate Headcount Declines for Third Straight Year

Declining prison populations may eventually help alleviate the effects of overcrowding. By Christopher Zoukis The Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) reported last month that during Fiscal Year 2016 — which closed at the end of September — the number of federal inmates in its facilities declined for the third consecutive year. The 192,170 inmates in

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Abuse by Oregon Jail Guard Nets Probation; Defense Attorney Blames Victim

By Prison Legal News A former Oregon jail guard was sentenced to probation for sexually abusing a female prisoner after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge; his defense attorney blamed the incarcerated victim while the prosecutor defended the light sentence. The guard, Eddie James Miller, 60, was later accused of sexually harassing a co-worker. As

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Oklahoma Jailers Not Immune from Excessive Force Claims

By Prison Legal News The Oklahoma Supreme Court has held that jail officials are not immune from liability for excessive force claims under the Oklahoma Governmental Tort Claims Act (OGTCA). On May 17, 2011, Daniel Bosh was detained at the Cherokee County Detention Center for failure to pay a traffic ticket. Video surveillance showed him

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