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Abuse in Los Angeles Jails Leads to Investigations, Lawsuits and Eventual Reforms

By Mike Brodheim and Alex Friedmann WITH SEVEN FACILITIES THAT HOUSE from 15,000 to 18,000 prisoners, Los Angeles County’s jail system is the nation’s largest – and, arguably, among the most dangerous in terms of staff-on-prisoner violence. The jail system, operated by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD), is facing an investigation by the

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Denying Felons Food?: An Affront to Every American Citizen

The New York Times recently published an editorial piece in their Sunday Review entitled “Unfair Punishments: Denying ex-offenders food stamps and welfare encourages dangerous behavior like prostitution” (Sunday, March 17, 2013).  The editorial discussed the link between restricting food stamps and welfare from felons and their engaging in high-risk behaviors like prostitution in an attempt

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Prison Can Destroy Videotaped Evidence If Not Done In Bad Faith

By Christopher Zoukis The Seventh Circuit has ruled that when prison officials intentionally destroy videotaped evidence of an alleged instance of excessive force, a suing prisoner is not entitled to an “adverse inference” jury instruction unless he can show that the prison’s intentional destruction of the evidence was done in bad faith. Larry Bracey is

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Federal Court Grants Six-Month Extension to Reduce CDCR Prison Population

By Prison Legal News The three-judge federal court over a long-standing prison healthcare class-action suit against California took a slight turn on January 29, 2013, when the court gave the state a six-month extension to achieve the prison population reduction it had ordered previously. The court had required the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation

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The First Amendment in Twenty-First Century American Corrections

By Christopher Zoukis The other day a friend asked me a question.  The question was, “What does the future of the battle for prisoners’ rights look like?”  To this, I responded that the battle ground will most likely revolve around the First Amendment; that we, as prisoner rights advocates, would have to fight for the

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The Ryan Ferguson Case

Dianne-Frazee Walker The sentencing amelioration organization, Injustice Anywhere, has created a petition for Bill Ferguson to free his son, Ryan Ferguson. Prior to 2001, Ryan Ferguson had a clean criminal record, but after a jury trial in 2005, Ferguson was convicted of a murder he claims he did not commit. Ferguson was charged with murdering

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How to Defend Against Federal Bureau of Prisons Disciplinary Proceedings

By Christopher Zoukis The vast majority of inmates within the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) will eventually find themselves the focus of a disciplinary proceeding.  This is because BOP disciplinary policy includes everything from the seemingly inconsequential to the criminal.  In fact, federal inmates are known to receive incident reports for actions which they weren’t

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