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Jail and Prisoner Law Bulletin

A Civil Liability Law Publication
for officers, jails, detention centers and prisons

ISSN 0739-0998

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2005 JB Oct (web edit.)

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Featured Cases – with Links

First Amendment
Medical Care
Medical Care: Dental
Personal Appearance
Prison Litigation Reform Act: Exhaustion of Remedy
Prisoner Classification
Prisoner Suicide
Private Prisons & Entities
Searches: Visitors
Strip Searches: Prisoners

Noted in Brief -- With Some Links
Access to Courts/Legal Info (3 cases)
Disability Discrimination: Prisoners (2 cases)
Filing Fees
Medical Care
Medical Care: Mental Health (2 cases)
Prison Litigation Reform Act: Exhaustion of Remedies (3 cases)
Prisoner Assault: By Inmates (2 cases)
Prisoner Classification
Prisoner Discipline (3 cases)
Prisoner Suicide
Segregation: Administrative
Strip Search: Prisoner
Visitation (2 cases)




First Amendment

Gang members had no First Amendment right to belong to gangs, so their transfer to the "highest security" prison in Illinois, even if in "retaliation" for gang activity, was not improper. Federal appeals court reinstates, however, claims concerning whether adequate due process was provided for prisoners transferred there, and whether certain prisoners were transferred in retaliation for having pursued grievances and/or litigation concerning their conditions of confinement.

     Prisoners incarcerated at Tamms Correctional Center brought a federal civil rights lawsuit against officers and employees of the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) claiming that their transfers there violated their rights to due process of law, freedom of association, and against retroactive enhancement of their punishment ("ex post facto" punishment). While a federal appeals court upheld the dismissal of these claims, it ordered further proceedings with respect to the prisoners' due process claims and the claim that at least some of the transfers were carried out in retaliation for the exercise of First Amendment rights.

     Tamms, according to the decision, is the "highest security" prison in Illinois, and the conditions there were designed to be harsh so that the threat of being transferred there would deter prisoners elsewhere from disobeying prison rules. The IDOC itself states that Tamms prisoners are exposed to hardships that are not experienced in segregated confinement at any other maximum-security facility in the state. All of the plaintiff prisoners were transferred to the facility within a year after it opened.

     The appeals court found that the plaintiff prisoners could be classified into two categories--the "gang plaintiffs" and the "litigation plaintiffs," although some of the "gang plaintiffs" were also "litigation plaintiffs." The gang plaintiffs claimed that the IDOC encouraged their gang activity before 1996, but then changed its policy and now transfers gang leaders to Tamms for no reason but their gang affiliation. The litigation plaintiffs claimed that IDOC has a policy of transferring inmates to Tamms with a history of filing actions, grievances, or other complaints about IDOC and prison conditions, as a means of retaliation for the trouble they cause the department through their litigation activities. Each of the individual plaintiffs argued that their disciplinary history alone did not warrant a transfer to the facility.

     The appeals court agreed with the trial court that the gang plaintiffs had no First Amendment right to "freedom of association" which was violated, as they had no First Amendment right to belong to a gang and regulating gang activity served legitimate penological goals. Further, the change in prison conditions brought about by their transfer constituted a "reasonable regulation," and not "additional punishment," defeating their "ex post facto" claim. Even if they were transferred to Tamms in "retaliation" for their gang activities, these plaintiffs had no viable claim.

     The appeals court found, however, that given the harsh conditions at Tamms, the plaintiffs all had a possible due process liberty interest in not being placed there, which might be violated by the absence of pre-placement hearings for those in administrative detention status there, and the absence of any hearings at all for those placed there in disciplinary status.

     The court also reinstated claims by a number of plaintiffs asserting that they may have been transferred to the facility in retaliation for their exercise of their First Amendment rights to pursue grievances and/or litigation concerning their conditions of confinement.

     Westefer v. Snyder, No. 03-3318,  2005 U.S. App. Lexis 19217 (7th Cir.).

    » Click here to read the text of the opinion on the Internet. [PDF]

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Medical Care

Prisoner who suffered a miscarriage at a county detention facility while waiting for a transfer to a state prison adequately alleged deliberate indifference to her condition to make summary judgment for the defendants inappropriate.

     A pregnant prisoner at the Sebastian County Detention Center in Arkansas suffered a miscarriage while awaiting transfer to the Arkansas Department of Corrections. She filed a lawsuit against the county, the county sheriff's office, the sheriff individually, a jail administrator, two nurses, and a number of jailers.

     She claimed both deliberate indifference to her serious medical needs in violation of the Eighth Amendment, and a number of state law claims.

     The plaintiff was sentenced to ten years in prison on a conviction for manslaughter. She learned she was pregnant while out on bond pending her appeal, and turned herself in to begin serving her sentence before her scheduled appointment for prenatal care. She was booked into the county detention facility pending transfer to a state prison. She realized, on her first day there, that she was bleeding. During the intake, she completed a medical questionnaire indicating that she was pregnant, and stated on the form that she was "passing blood clots." She also completed a form asking to see a nurse.

     The prisoner allegedly demanded transportation to an emergency room, but was instructed to rest with her feet elevated. Although paperwork on her first day in the facility indicated that the prisoner had been "seen by" the nurse, the prisoner claimed that she was not actually seen until the following day. The prisoner stated that the nurse who saw her appeared not to believe that she was pregnant, and denied a request for Tylenol and pads, stating that she just needed bed rest.

     She was later able to get some pads. Subsequently, when some fellow inmates took a pad containing blood clots to one of the deputies, who was supposed to show it to the nurse on duty, no one came to check on the prisoner, according to the complaint.

     When she was transported to another county, she allegedly bled through her clothes and onto the seat of the bus on the way. She was then transported back to the first county, where she was placed in an observation cell. During the second day in that cell, she experienced extreme pain, and was allegedly "screaming, hollering, and beating on the wall" to try to get deputies to come and see her. When deputies finally arrived, they allegedly told her that there were no doctors available, that they could not see any blood, and that there was nothing wrong with her and that she just needed to lie down and put her feet back up.

     The entire time she was in the observation cell, she claimed, no one actually entered the cell until after she miscarried.

     A federal appeals court rejected arguments that the plaintiff failed to show that her health was exposed to an excessive risk, as opposed to the health of her unborn child, or that she failed to show that they actually knew of an excessive risk to her health because she was not "showing" at the time and was only "experiencing minimal feminine bleeding."

     While the prisoner may not have been showing, the court stated, she allegedly informed prison officials that she was pregnant, bleeding, and passing blood clots. There was also evidence in the record that she was in extreme pain from cramping, so much that it affected her ability to eat and shower.

     Based on those facts, if true, there was information which "constituted a need for medical attention that would have been obvious to a layperson, making submission of verifying medical evidence unnecessary." Under those circumstances, the court could not say as a matter of law that the defendants were not deliberately indifferent in responding to the plaintiff's miscarriage. The defendants were not, therefore, entitled to qualified immunity.

     Pool v. Sebastian County, No. 04-2799, 2005 U.S. App. Lexis 17489 (8th Cir.).

    » Click here to read the text of the opinion on the Internet. [PDF]

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Medical Care: Dental

Despite an alleged one-month delay in obtaining dental treatment for him, a prisoner failed to allege facts that would show that defendant prison officials were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs in not arranging for him to obtain immediate dental treatment for gingivitis and broken teeth.

     An Oklahoma prisoner claimed that employees of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs in denying him needed dental care. The trial court denied the defendants' motion for summary judgment, but a federal appeals court ruled that the plaintiff failed to allege specific facts sufficient to show deliberate indifference, which was an essential element of his case, entitling the defendants to summary judgment.

     The plaintiff claimed that he first requested medical treatment for bleeding, swelling, and infection in his mouth, and was seen two days later by a prison doctor who diagnosed gingivitis and broken teeth, and prescribed an antibiotic and ibuprofen for the pain. The doctor also allegedly told the prisoner that he needed to see a dentist immediately, but he did not see a dentist, according to the plaintiff, until a full month later.

     The prisoner sued the warden, the acting chief health service administrator, and a certified dental assistant, claiming that they were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs by refusing to obtain dental treatment for him, causing him to endure thirty to forty days of severe pain. The plaintiff did not, however, claim that these defendants had any personal role in his treatment or ever examined him.

     Plaintiff's claim amounted to ascribing deliberate indifference to the failure of the defendants to arrange for him to see a dentist prior to the regular prison dentist's scheduled rounds. The health service administrator denied the prisoner's grievance, telling him he was scheduled with the dentist "in the very near future," and the warden allegedly signed off on the denial of the grievance.

     Deliberate indifference, however, must be based both on the existence of objectively serious medical needs, and knowledge by the defendant of the substantial risk of serious harm from the failure to provide particular care. The appeals court found that, even taking the facts and their inference in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, he failed to show the subjective knowledge sufficient to prove his case.

     Despite the prisoner's claim that the defendants should have arranged for immediate dental care, the prison's policy provided that outside dental resources could be accessed only in the case of a dental "emergency," and only when such emergency is identified by designated medical personnel, such as a dentist, physician, a nurse practitioner, a physician assistant, or a registered nurse.

    No one with such authority every classified the prisoner's case as an "emergency," and the doctor who allegedly recommended that the plaintiff seek immediate dental care never filed the required form indicating a dental emergency as required by the policy. The Defendants, therefore, were never told that the prisoner's situation constituted an emergency, and were therefore not "aware of facts" from which they could have known that a "substantial risk of serious harm" existed.

     Johnson v. Mullin, No. 04-7110, 2005 U.S. App. Lexis 19285 (10th Cir.).

    » Click here to read the text of the opinion on the Internet.

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Parole officials were not entitled to absolute immunity for allegedly refusing to investigate a parolee's claim that the revocation of his probation had been overturned, and that therefore he should not be on parole.

     An Indiana man whose probation was revoked challenged the revocation in court, and obtained a ruling that it was improper because it occurred long after the original term of probation had expired. Dawson v. State, 751 N.E.2d 812 (Ind. Ct. App. 2001). On remand to the trial court, an order was issued for his release from prison. The trial judge's office faxed a copy of the Indiana Court of Appeals' decision to the Indiana Department of Corrections (DOC), but did not include a copy of the trial court's release order. As a result, the prisoner remained in prison for another fourteen months, until he was released on parole supervision. He reported for the supervision, and told parole officials that his original probation revocation had been overturned, but he was unable to convince officials that he should not be on parole.

     He filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the DOC, and several parole officials. The trial court dismissed claims against the DOC and its parole officials, ruling that they could not be held liable for the plaintiff's wrongful continued incarceration and parole supervision because they had no power to "recompute a sentence," and were not at fault for the failure to transmit the release order.

     A federal appeals court reversed the dismissal of the claims against the parole officials, which was granted on the basis of absolute immunity, which it ruled they were not entitled to.

     The court noted that the prisoner did not question his fourteen months incarceration, as he was not informed of the Court of Appeals' decision, and believed that his appeal was still pending. He learned of it after his release on parole, and then protested to parole officials that his placement on parole supervision was improper, but this "apparently fell on deaf ears."

     The federal appeals court found that the allegations against the parole officials did not involve acts similar to those performed by judges. The defendants allegedly ignored the parolee's protests and refused to investigate his claim of entitlement to release from parole "in the ordinary course of performing their everyday duties as parole officials."

     Dawson v. Newman, No. 04-2894, 2005 U.S. App. Lexis 17487 (7th Cir.).

    » Click here to read the text of the opinion on the Internet. [PDF]

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Personal Appearance

Overturning injunction allowing Native American prisoner to wear a "kouplock" (a square section at the base of the skull where the hair is allowed to grow long), federal appeals court finds that the trial judge failed to give proper deference to prison officials on the issue of whether long hair on a prisoner presented security problems.

     A Native American prisoner of Cherokee ancestry, serving a life sentence in the Ohio prison system, while incarcerated began to practice a native religion that prohibits him from cutting his hair. As a result, he claimed that prison rules which restricted the length of his hair violated his right to practice his religion, and violated the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (RLUIPA), 42 U.S.C. § 2000cc et seq.

     After a hearing, the trial court issued an order allowing the prisoner to maintain a "kouplock" (a two inch by two inch square section at the base of the skull that is grown longer than the person's remaining hair). A federal appeals court reversed the district court's decision, in light of Cutter v. Wilkinson, 349 F.3d 257 (6th Cir. 2003), rev'd, 125 S. Ct. 2113 (2005), which held that the RLUIPA was unconstitutional. Hoevenaar v. Lazaroff, 108 Fed. Appx. 250 (6th Cir. 2004), vacated by 125 S. Ct. 2536 (2005).

     On remand from the U.S. Supreme Court, the federal appeals court ordered further arguments on the prison warden's other arguments for reversing the trial court decision, which were not previously addressed.

     The federal appeals court concluded that the trial court, in issuing its decision allowing the prisoner to have a "kouplock," failed to give proper deference to prison officials on the issue of whether it presented security, identity or other concerns.

     Prison officials argued that an absolute ban on long hair promotes security by preventing inmates from hiding contraband in their hair, and prevents inmates from quickly changing their appearance after a prison-break by cutting their hair. The plaintiff prisoner claimed that these concerns could be satisfied by less restrictive alternatives including allowing inmates to grown their hair long, but requiring them to be subjected to periodic hair searches, taking pictures with and without long hair to distribute in the event of an escape, and permitting, on a case-by-case basis, those inmates with a low security risk to grow a kouplock. The trial court concluded that the plaintiff would likely lose on his first two alternatives, but had a significant likelihood of success on the third.

     The trial court, in ruling for the plaintiff, stated that a kouplock does not provide the same opportunities to conceal facial characteristics upon escape, as it is only a two-inch square of hair growing from the base of the skull, and noted that individualized religious exceptions were permitted prior to 1991, and that the warden did not demonstrate that contraband issues improved after removing the discretion to grant an exception. It also noted that Ohio prison regulations permitted women to grow hair to the middle of their backs due to their lower overall security classification. In concluded that the prisoner would likely succeed on the merits in arguing that a policy of permitting kouplocks for inmates with sincerely held religious beliefs who pose a low security risk, was a less restrictive alternative to achieving the state's compelling interest in ensuring prison security.

     Rejecting this analysis, the appeals court stated that the court must give "due deference" to the judgment of prison officials, given their expertise and the significant security concerns implicated by prison regulations.

     The appeals court found, to the contrary, that there was testimony by both the warden and a security specialist that the trial court's solution of allowing kouplocks on an individualized basis for "low-threat" prisoners was insufficient to protect the state's interest in safe and secure prisons. They argued that contraband was a problem for all types of prisoners, and that the plaintiff himself had a long history of possessing and hiding contraband, and had twice attempted to escape from prison, using contraband. Dangerous contraband items, including an ice pick, could be hidden in a kouplock.

     The trial court, the appeals court concluded, "did not give proper deference to the opinions of these veterans of the prison system." And their testimony was not rebutted by the plaintiff. The appeals court therefore reversed the trial courts injunctive order and held that further proceedings should be held in the case.

     Hoevenaar v. Lazaroff, No. 03-4119, 2005 U.S. App. Lexis 19361 (6th Cir.).

    » Click here to read the text of the opinion on the Internet. [PDF]

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Prison Litigation Reform Act: Exhaustion of Remedy

Officer accused of using excessive force against prisoner who assaulted him was not entitled to dismissal of the lawsuit based on the prisoner's alleged failure to exhaust available administrative remedies. The prisoner filed a grievance concerning the officer's action, and allegedly failed to appeal further since there was never any response to his grievance.

     While a pre-trial detainee in a county jail in Illinois, a prisoner became involved in a physical fight with an officer that resulted in him spending two days in the hospital, and being sentenced to three years of imprisonment for aggravated battery on a peace officer. The prisoner claimed that he filed a grievance against the officer and other officers involved in the incident on the day he was released from the hospital, claiming that the officer attacked him, hitting him while he was handcuffed, after which someone kicked him down a nearby staircase.

     When he allegedly failed to receive a response to that grievance, the prisoner filed several others, and then filed a federal civil rights lawsuit.

     A federal trial court dismissed the case on the basis of failure to exhaust available administrative remedies as required by 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1997e. It found that the dismissal was premature, and that the defendants did not show that the plaintiff failed to exhaust his administrative remedies.

     The defendant officer claimed that the prisoner did not file an appeal from the denial of his grievance, but failed to mention that the Cook County Department of Corrections had not responded to the grievances at all.

     The federal appeals court noted that the grievance policy at issue required a decision to be made within 30 days of its filing, unless a prisoner is given a notice that more time is required. It also allowed five working days from receipt of the decision to appeal it. But the policy did not tell a prisoner what to do when the Department fails to respond to his grievance and there is no decision to appeal. Under these circumstances, the court found, the defendant officer was not entitled to judgment on the basis of any alleged failure to exhaust.

     The appeals court also rejected the argument that the prisoner's conviction for assault on the officer barred his excessive force claim, noting that the prisoner claimed that he was subjected to excessive force after the assault occurred.

     Brengettcy v. Horton, No. 03-3813, 2005 U.S. App. Lexis 19362 (7th Cir.).

    » Click here to read the text of the opinion on the Internet. [PDF]

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Prisoner Classification

Designating a prisoner as a member of a "Security Threat Group" on the basis of gang activity without a prior hearing did not violate his rights.

     A Michigan prisoner filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against several officials of the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC). He claimed that his designation as a member of a "Security Threat Group" (STG) without a hearing violated his constitutional rights. The trial court dismissed this claim and also granted summary judgment on a claim that the prison's Security Threat Group Coordinator retaliated against him. A federal appeals court has upheld this result.

     The prisoner is a Moorish-American Muslim, allegedly affiliated with a gang known as the Vice Lords. He began writing letters to family members and to other inmates regarding the prison's STG policy directive, complaining that it infringed on prisoners' constitutional rights and on their ability to obtain parole, and indicated that he was considering taking legal action against the Security Threat Group Coordinator. These letters also allegedly contained "veiled references" to the Vice Lords gang, using terms like "golden sun" and "black moon," which are allegedly gang symbols, and the phrase "la via va va," which is allegedly Vice Lord code for "all is well."

     When the Security Threat Group Coordinator intercepted one of these letters he issued a "Notice of Intent to Conduct an Administrative Hearing, (NOI)" and also ordered the prisoner to refrain from any further correspondence involving STG matters. The prisoner claimed that the references in his letters were "religious" and therefore should not be considered violations of the STG policy. The prisoner was subsequently notified that he had been designated an STG leader, and he protested that this designation without a hearing violated his due process rights.

     He was subsequently denied receipt of a magazine which allegedly contained pictures of gang signs, and received another NOI from the Security Threat Group Coordinator informing him that he was being classified as an "STG II" because he had sent his grandfather a photograph of himself in which he displayed a gang tattoo on his arm. He again objected to this designation without a hearing.

     His subsequent lawsuit asserted claims that the officials' conduct in applying and enforcing the prison's STG policies against him violated his constitutional rights to equal protection, due process of law, access to the courts, freedom from censorship of his mail and publications, freedom of religion, and freedom from retaliation.

     The prisoner dropped his freedom of religion claim on appeal, and the appeals court rejected all of his other claims.

     The appeals court found that the Department of Correction's policy directive on the classification of inmates as STG members was rationally related to a legitimate state interest of maintaining order in the prison.

     The policy states that the following factors may be considered in designating a group as a STG: " (1) history and purpose of the group, (2) organizational structure of the group, (3) propensity for violence or specific violent acts or intended acts that can be reasonably attributed to the group, (4) illegal or prohibited acts that can be attributed to the group, (5) demographics of the group, (6) existence of any written materials related to the group, (7) specific illegal acts that can be associated with the group, and (8) any other relevant information." None of these factors, the court found, is "discriminatory."

     While it may be true that "homosexual predators" and "escape risks" in the state's prison system receive a hearing before being designated as such, that did not mean that prisoners classified as STG members were necessarily entitled to the same procedural protections, "because the STG policy directive is not aimed at a suspect class, nor does it invade a fundamental right."

     Because the state was not obligated to provide such hearings, the fact that it offers one for some prison classifications, but not for others "is of no federal constitutional consequence," the court ruled, "so long as the choice is not an arbitrary one." In this case, the court reasoned, threats to prison security "presumably demand more immediate attention than the threats presented by the other categories mentioned" by the plaintiff.

     Rejecting the prisoner's claim of denial of access to the courts, the appeals court noted that the prisoner could file a grievance contesting the STG designation, and once he exhausted the prison's internal grievance process, he could present his claim in federal court. Therefore, the failure to conduct a hearing before designating him a member of an STG did not deny him all avenues to challenge the designation.

     The appeals court also found no violation of the First Amendment in the withholding of material sent through the mails containing gang symbols, and no evidence that the actions taken against the prisoner were in retaliation of his announced intentions to take legal action against the STG Coordinator.

     Harbin-Bey v. Rutter, No. 04-1458, 2005 U.S. App. Lexis 17511 (6th Cir.).

    » Click here to read the text of the opinion on the AELE website.

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Prisoner Suicide

Facts alleged were sufficient to create a genuine issue as to whether an officer was deliberately indifferent to a "strong likelihood" that a DUI arrestee would commit suicide while in the city jail.

     A federal appeals court has reinstated federal civil rights claims against a police officer alleging that he was deliberately indifferent to a "strong likelihood" that a DUI arrestee would commit suicide while confined in the City of Citronelle, Alabama jail. After the arrestee successfully committed suicide, her estate sued the officer.

     While the trial court granted summary judgment to the defendant officer, the federal appeals court found that there was evidence that the defendant officer had information that the prisoner had recently attempted to slit her wrists, and that he had told the prisoner's parents that he was suicidal. This created a genuine issue of material fact, the court found, regarding the defendant officer's knowledge that there was a strong likelihood that the prisoner would commit suicide.

     The arrestee was taken into custody on DUI charges, and at the city jail had to be forced into her cell. She used her shoe to beat on the walls and doors and also hit the light fixture with her shoe while standing on her bunk bed. She allegedly made statements to medical personnel that she had attempted suicide by overdose in the past four times when she was taken to outside medical facilities after complaining of seizures.

     The arrestee proved to be a troublesome prisoner and an officer needed to use pepper spray to subdue her. An officer at the jail was allegedly told by a jailer at another jail that the prisoner, sometime in the past month, had tried to cut her wrist there, and had also been "troublesome" while incarcerated there. The prisoner ultimately hung herself in her cell with strips from a blanket, and died.

     There was evidence, the appeals court summarized, that the defendant officer knew of the prisoner's past suicide attempt by attempting to slit her wrists only a month before, and told the prisoner's parents that he believed her to be suicidal. Despite this, it was undisputed that the officer did not communicate his belief that the prisoner was a strong suicide risk to anyone else at the jail, and did not take the actions he himself said he would have taken with a prisoner regarded as a suicide risk.

     He did not inform other officers to check on the prisoner every fifteen minutes, did not remove items from the prisoner's cell with which the prisoner could harm herself, did not place her in the "drunk tank," and did not return her to a medical center for treatment and observation. "In short," the appeals court stated, the officer "did nothing."

     The evidence of the officer's "complete failure" to take any action, the court found, "creates a substantial issue" about whether the suicide was avoidable. At the time of the incident, it noted, it was clearly established that an officer's deliberate indifference to the risk of serious harm to a detainee is a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment.

     The appeals court upheld, however, the dismissal of federal claims against the city, finding no evidence that the death was caused by any official municipal policy or custom. State law claims were also reinstated against all defendants, since they were not dismissed on the merits by the trial court, which merely declined to exercise jurisdiction over them when no federal claims remained pending.

     Snow v. City of Citronelle, No. 04-14409, 2005 U.S. App. Lexis 17243 (11th Cir.).

    » Click here to read the text of the opinion on the Internet. [PDF]

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Private Prisons & Entities

Federal prisoner could not pursue federal civil rights claims for damages against employees of a privately operated prison when Kansas state law provided alternative remedies for each of his viable claims.

     A federal prisoner held at a privately run prison as a pre-trial detainee under a contract with the U.S. Marshals Service sued prison employees for alleged violation of his Eighth Amendment right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment and for alleged violation of his Fifth Amendment right to due process. The claims were asserted under Bivens v. Six Unknown Fed. Narcotics Agents, 403 U.S. 388 (1971), which allows direct lawsuits against federal employees for violations of constitutional rights. The claims were asserted in two separate lawsuits, which were subsequently consolidated for appeal.

     The trial court addressing the Eighth Amendment claim dismissed the case for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, while the trial court addressing the Fifth Amendment claims dismissed the lawsuit for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. A federal appeals court upheld the dismissal of both lawsuits.

     The Eighth Amendment claims involved the alleged wrongful failure to prevent an attack on the plaintiff prisoner by members of a prison gang known as the Mexican Mafia. Following the first attack, he was allegedly not transferred to a new housing pod, and was attacked by members of the same gang a second time later that day. The court addressing those claims held that because "other remedies are available," including state law negligence actions, the U.S. Supreme Court would not extend Bivens to private employees of government contractors, and dismissed the claims for lack of jurisdiction.

     The Fifth Amendment due process claims involved the prisoner's assignment to administrative segregation for thirteen months as an escape risk, the failure to provide him with written notice of the reasons for his segregation immediately upon his placement in segregation, the failure to provide a hearing on his segregation status for five months, and various conditions of confinement during the time he was in segregation, including denial of access to a law library, and alleged unconstitutional monitoring of his phone calls with his attorneys. In this instance, the trial court rejected the individual defendants' jurisdictional arguments because the U.S. Court of Appeals had not addressed the issue of whether a Bivens claim could be asserted against the individual employees of a federal contractor, but found that the facts alleged did not state a due process claim.

     In upholding this result in both cases, the federal appeals court noted that the U.S. Supreme Court, in Correctional Services Corp. v. Malesko, 534 U.S. 61 (2001), held that there is no private right of action for damages against private entities that engage in alleged constitutional deprivation. The Supreme Court, however, did not indicate that the federal courts "lack jurisdiction" to hear such claims, but rather focused, as did Bivens, "on the existence of a remedy for the alleged violation of federal rights." The appeals court found that both trial courts had jurisdiction to hear all of the plaintiff's constitutional claims, but also held that in both cases, he failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted.

     In Malesko, the U.S. Supreme Court found that no Bivens action could be brought against a private entity such as Correctional Services Corp. (CSC), a private corporation under contract with the federal Bureau of Prisons to operate a halfway house. But the decision did not directly address whether a Bivens claim could be brought against an individual guard. In holding that there was no Bivens claim against CSC, the Court focused on the "core premise" of Bivens, which is concerned "solely with deterring the unconstitutional acts of individual officers, which would not be accomplished by bringing claims against a corporation. It further noted that the plaintiff in that case did not lack an alternative remedy because of the existence of a state law claim for negligence.

     The appeals court ruled that there is no implied private right of action for damages under Bivens against employees of a private prison for alleged constitutional deprivations when "alternative state or federal causes of action for damages are available to the plaintiff." In this case, the appeals court found that the plaintiff prisoner could pursue a negligence claim under Kansas law for the injury he asserted that he suffered from the alleged Eighth Amendment violation based on the existence of a special relationship which exists between prison employees and prisoners in their care.

     As for the Fifth Amendment due process claims concerning placement in segregation without a hearing and denial of access to a law library, the federal appeals court found that the allegations, even if true, did not rise to the level of a constitutional violation, and therefore should be dismissed in any event. The conditions that the plaintiff faced in segregation, the court found, were not improper, as he was first placed there because bed space was lacking in the general population, and he subsequently remained there due to his plot to escape from his previous pretrial detention facility. "A substantiated escape threat, as is found here, is a legitimate non-punitive rationale" for the prisoner's continued segregation.

     While the prisoner was denied access to a law library, he did not suffer any actual injury or inability to pursue legal claims, so that there was no violation of his due process right of access to the courts.

     On the claim that the prisoner's phone calls to his attorney were monitored, the court noted, Kansas law contains criminal prohibitions against third parties unlawfully monitoring phone calls without the permission of at least one of the parties to the conversation. Monitoring a phone call between an inmate and his lawyer in violation of the Fifth Amendment could give to civil liability for "intrusion upon seclusion" under state law, so an alternative remedy is available.

     Peoples v. CCA Detention Ctr., No. 04-3071, 2005 U.S. App. Lexis 19283 (10th Cir.).

    » Click here to read the text of the opinion on the Internet.

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•••• Editor's Case Alert ••••

Federal appeals court reinstates prisoner's lawsuit claiming that prison officials violated his right to religious freedom by refusing to allow him to organize an inmate study group to discuss atheism. Atheism qualified as the prisoner's "religion" for purposes of a First Amendment claim. Defendant officials failed to show that they had a secular purpose for their decision, since they allow group meetings of other faiths.

     A Wisconsin inmate claimed that prison officials infringed on his First Amendment right to "practice his religion" by refusing to allow him to create an inmate group to study and discuss atheism. The lawsuit was filed seeking damages against the then warden of Waupun Correctional Institution, an institution run by the Wisconsin Department of Corrections.

     While there, the prisoner submitted an official form titled "Request for New Religious Practice," in which he asked to form an inmate group interested in humanism, atheism, and free speaking. He stated that the group would work "to stimulate and promote Freedom of Thought and inquiry concerning religious beliefs, creeds, dogmas, tenets, rituals and practices[, and to] educate and provide information concerning religious beliefs, creeds, dogmas, tenets, rituals, and practices." He also submitted a list of atheist groups and literature.

      Prison officials concluded that the request was not motivated by "religious" beliefs. Therefore, rather than evaluating the request under a relatively more flexible policy for new religious groups, it was considered under the procedure for forming a new inmate activity group, and the request was denied, on the basis that they were "not forming new activity groups at that time."

      The prison officials did not treat atheism as a "religion," the appeals court noted, which was "perhaps in keeping" with the prisoner's own insistence that "it is the antithesis of religion."

     The appeals court noted that it had suggested in the past that a person's sincere beliefs dealing with issues of "ultimate concern" that occupy for them "a place parallel to that filled by" God in traditionally religious persons, those beliefs are their religion, and that atheism may be considered, in that manner, a religion, since it takes a "position on divinity." The plaintiff prisoner claimed that his atheist beliefs play a central role in his life, and the defendants did not dispute that his beliefs were sincerely held.

     The decision noted further that the Supreme Court has recognized atheism as equivalent to a "religion" for purposes of the First Amendment on numerous occasions, most recently in McCreary County v. ACLU, 125 S. Ct. 2722 (2005). The right protected by the First Amendment includes the right to select any religious faith "or none at all."

     Accordingly, the court found that atheism qualified as the plaintiff's "religion" for purposes of his First Amendment claim.

     Still, the court found that in the context of the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment, the prisoner had failed to show that his right to practice atheism was "burdened in a significant way." He had introduced no evidence showing that he would be unable to practice atheism effectively without the benefit of a weekly study group, and the defendants apparently allowed him to study atheist literature on his own, consult informally with other atheist inmates, and correspond with members of the atheist groups he identified.

     Further, the defendant officials presented evidence stating that allowing any group of inmates to congregate for a meeting raised security concerns and required staff members to supervise the group. The appeals court found that the trial court properly granted summary judgment on the prisoner's Free Exercise Clause claim, since the court could not say that the denial of the request for a study group was not rationally related to a legitimate interest in maintaining institutional security.

     The same was not true, however, the appeals court stated, as to a claim by the prisoner that the denial violated the clause of the First Amendment prohibiting an Establishment of Religion.

     The trial court improperly failed to recognize that the prisoner was trying to start a "religious" group, and that atheism was his religion, the court found. It was undisputed that other religious groups are permitted to meet at the prison, and the defendants "have advanced no secular reason why the security concerns they cited as a reason to deny his request for an atheist group do not apply equally to gatherings of Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, or Wiccan inmates."

     Since the defendants failed "even to articulate" a secular reason why a meeting of atheist inmates would pose a greater security risk than meetings of inmates of other faiths, their rejection of the request for a study group on atheism could not survive the requirement that there be a secular reason for the policy. The court therefore ordered further proceedings on the plaintiff's Establishment Clause claim.

     Kaufman v. McCaughtry, No. 04-1914, 2005 U.S. App. Lexis 17608 (7th Cir.).

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Search: Visitors

•••• Editor's Case Alert ••••

Practice of conducting random searches of prison visitors' vehicles did not violate their constitutional rights despite a lack of individualized suspicion, and was a proper special needs search based on concerns about prison security.

     Two regular visitors to a prisoner confined in a facility under the control of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections filed a lawsuit arguing that the practice of subjecting visitor's cars to random searches violated their Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights. The trial court rejected these claims as a matter of law and entered summary judgment in favor of the defendant correctional officials.

     The prisoner, who is the father of one of the visitors, was confined at the State Correctional Institute at Huntingdon, where a parking lot is maintained for use by visitors. In upholding the reasonableness of the random searches, a federal appeals court noted that some inmates have outside work details and may have access to visitors' vehicles parked at the prison.

     A large sign notifies visitors that their persons, vehicles, and personal property entering or brought onto prison grounds are subject to search, including through the use of drug detection dogs and electronic devices, and that anyone caught bringing prohibited items onto the grounds will be "prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."

     Visitors are randomly required to sign a "Consent to Search Vehicle" form, and those who refuse to sign the form are simply refused entry to the prison. If a search proceeds and contraband or evidence of illegality are found, the Pennsylvania State Police are notified.

     The policy does not require corrections officers to have a search warrant, probable cause, or reasonable suspicion before searching a vehicle on prison grounds. Two searches of the plaintiffs' vehicle did not uncover any contraband or evidence of illegal activity.

     In upholding these searches, the appeals court stated that when a Fourth Amendment intrusion "serves special government needs, beyond the normal need for law enforcement," it is necessary to balance the individual's privacy expectations against the government's interests to decide whether it is impractical to require a warrant or some level of individualized suspicion.

     Given the special and serious security dangers at a penal institution, the court found, and considering the "relatively minor inconvenience of the searches," the practice of engaging in suspicionless searches of visitors' vehicles "is valid under the special needs doctrine." 

     The appeals court rejected the argument that the "special needs" doctrine did not apply due to the fact that prison officials notify police if they uncover contraband, and that the searches were therefore conducted to further the "goals of ordinary law enforcement.

     The appeals court also noted that it found no evidence or even allegation that prison officials improperly utilized their discretion to select the vehicles of visitors for search on the basis of impermissible or discriminatory criteria, such as race. The court therefore declined to hold that the vehicle search program was unreasonable "simply because it vests the decision of which vehicles are to be searched in the random discretion of the officers in the field."

     Neumeyer v. Beard, No. 04-1499, 2005 U.S. App. Lexis 18308 (3d Cir.).

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Strip Searches: Prisoners

Woman's strip search at county jail, although carried out under a policy of strip searching all detainees who are to be put in the general population, did not violate her rights, since there was reasonable suspicion that she was concealing weapons or contraband based on her having been charged with a violent crime. Reasonable suspicion, an appeals court rules, is determined on an objective basis, even if those actually carrying out the search did not subjectively suspect the detainee of possessing weapons or contraband.

     A woman arrestee after a domestic dispute with her estranged husband filed a lawsuit challenging a county jail's practice of strip searching all detainees who were to be placed in the general jail population, regardless of whether there was reasonable suspicion for the search of a particular pretrial detainee.

     A federal appeals court ruled, on the basis of past precedent, that such a general practice, "for now at least," is an unlawful basis for the searches, but it also held that the defendants sued by the plaintiff were entitled to summary judgment because the strip search of this plaintiff was in fact supported by reasonable suspicion.

     The plaintiff was arrested as the "chief aggressor" in the domestic dispute and charged with family violence battery. A female officer who is ordinarily a dispatcher ultimately took her into a windowless bathroom, with no one else in the room, and told her to disrobe, lift her breasts, and cough three times while squatting. She did not touch the detainee, and the officer exhibited a "businesslike" demeanor during the search. The officer had been used in the past to perform such searches when no female jailer was on duty, and her understanding was that the jail's practice was to strip search everyone who came to be jailed regardless of the charge.

     The trial court ruled that the "indiscriminate strip-search practice" at the jail was unconstitutional under the appeals court's prior decision in Wilson v. Jones, 251 F.3d 1340 (11th Cir. 2001), and also concluded that there was no reasonable suspicion for the particular search.

     The federal appeals court, while agreeing that the prior precedent make the jail's alleged practice unconstitutional, noted that the charge of family violence battery brought against the plaintiff--which was a "crime of violence," was sufficient to create reasonable suspicion that she might be concealing weapons or contraband, and therefore justified the strip search, even if the individuals carrying out the search did not subjectively suspect the plaintiff of possessing weapons or drugs.

     The strip search was therefore reasonable and the defendants were entitled to summary judgment.

     Hicks v. Moore, No. 03-13868, 2005 U.S. App. Lexis 18831 (11th Cir.).

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Noted In Brief

Access to Courts/Legal Info

     Prison officials' alleged refusal to provide prisoner free photocopies of legal documents he claimed he was required to serve on the defendants in his federal civil rights lawsuit did not deny him his constitutional right of access to the courts. The prisoner did not claim that the federal court would not accept service of hand-copied documents or that he was unable to produce them. His lawsuit was therefore properly dismissed as frivolous. Miller v. Donald, No. 04-13695, 132 Fed. Appx. 270 (11th Cir. 2005). [PDF]

     Correctional officers' alleged confiscation of prisoner's legal materials did not violate his right of access to the courts when he failed to show that this action caused actual injury to his attempt to obtain post-conviction relief on his criminal conviction when the court ultimately ruled that none of his post-conviction claims could be asserted under applicable law. Gordon v. Morton, No. 04-4754, 131 Fed. Appx. 797 (3rd Cir. 2005). [PDF]

     Prisoner failed to show that correctional officers' alleged failure to respond to certain requests for legal writing supplies and specific law books violated his constitutional right of access to the courts. During the three-year period during which he alleged that his right of access to the courts was "restricted," the prisoner managed to file at least forty-nine lawsuits in both federal and state court. Davidson v. Murray, No. 92-CV-0283, 371 F. Supp. 2d 361 (W.D.N.Y. 2005).

Disability Discrimination: Prisoners

     Prisoner failed to provide adequate evidence that he was denied access to prison grievance procedures on the basis of a disability. While he claimed that he was unable to write with his right hand, medical records merely showed him, at the time of the alleged deprivation, as having a weakened grip in his right hand, not an inability to write. Further, the grievance procedure allowed him to request assistance if he was unable to write for any reason, and there was no evidence that he ever requested any such assistance or ever requested a grievance form. Johnson v. Wackenhut Corrections Corporation, No. 04-6245, 130 Fed. Appx. 947 (10th Cir. 2005).

     Prisoner with a gastrointestinal problem which substantially limited his eating was entitled to pursue both his Eighth Amendment and disability discrimination claims based on the failure of a prison classification committee to recommend his transfer to another facility with an acute care hospital despite orders from his doctor that he required such care. Appeals court also finds that there were genuine issues of material fact as to whether the prison failed to adequately accommodate the prisoner's eating disability, barring summary judgment on claims for money damages under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. Sec. 12101 et seq. Scott v. Garcia, No. CIV. 00-1849, 370 F. Supp. 2d 1056 (S.D. Cal. 2005).


     Prisoner could not seek, under 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1983, to challenge being charged with escape while those charges were pending. Further, even if he were convicted, a habeas corpus petition, rather than a federal civil rights action, would be the proper way to challenge the conviction in federal court. Any claim for money damages, additionally, was barred under Heck v. Humphrey, No. 93-6188, 512 U.S. 477 (1994), until and unless a conviction occurred and was subsequently set aside. Thomas v. Barker, No. CIV. 1:CV05-0665, 371 F. Supp. 2d 636 (M.D. Pa. 2005).

Filing Fees

     A Louisiana state statute providing for an automatic stay on lawsuits filed by indigent prisoners until all court costs are paid did not violate equal protection of law or unconstitutionally bar the prisoner's right of access to the courts. Court rules that the statute applies both to new lawsuits filed and those pending at the date of its enactment. Rhone v. Ward, No. 39,701, 902 So. 2d 1258 (La. App. 2nd Cir. 2005). [PDF]

Medical Care

     A mere disagreement between prison medical personnel and a prisoner concerning the treatment for his seizures did not show deliberate indifference to the prisoner's serious medical needs in violation of the Eighth Amendment. The prisoner also failed to show that officers used excessive force in employing shackles to restrain him during his transport from the prison to the hospital and during his hospital stay. Taggart v. MacDonald, No. 04-35493, 131 Fed. Appx. 544, 2005 U.S. App. Lexis 8858 (9th Cir. 2005).

Medical Care: Mental Health

     Prison officials did not show deliberate indifference to the serious needs of a mentally ill and suicidal prisoner by failing to provide requested therapeutic art supplies, when they did provide a medical examination and anti-psychotic medications. Scarver v. Litscher, No.01C497, 371 S. Supp. 2d 986 (W.D. Wis. 2005).

     Mere three-day delay between the date a prisoner was incarcerated in a county jail and the date she was seen by a psychiatrist did not establish deliberate indifference by the County or its Commissioner to her serious medical needs. Evidence in the record showed that she was seen by mental health personnel whenever she requested, and that problems with her medication were remedied as soon as those problems were brought to the attention of medical personnel. Atkins v. County of Orange, No. 01CIV.11536, 372 F. Supp. 2d 377 (S.D.N.Y. 2005).

Prison Litigation Reform Act: Exhaustion of Remedies

     A prisoner's "untimely" administrative grievance was insufficient to satisfy the requirement under the Prison Litigation Reform Act, 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1997e, that available administrative remedies be exhausted before filing suit. Appeals court orders prisoner's lawsuit, asserting claims for alleged exposure to hazardous chemicals, and harassment and retaliation by prison officials, dismissed. Johnson v. Meadows, No. 03-15636, 2005 U.S. App. Lexis 15233 (11th Cir.). [PDF]

     Prisoner failed to adequately exhaust available administrative remedies when he filed written grievances concerning his claims for disciplinary parole consideration and retaliation, but failed to seek final administrative review of these grievances. Jones v. Maher, No. 04-3993, 131 Fed. Appx. 813 (3rd Cir. 2005). [PDF]

     Prisoner's lawsuit had to be dismissed without prejudice in its entirety when he failed to file grievances concerning his claims of denial of medical assistance, and filed his lawsuit before exhausting his available administrative remedies on his claim that he was assaulted by a correctional officer. Prisoners are required by 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1997e, the court rules, to totally exhaust available administrative remedies on all claims contained in their lawsuit before filing suit, under the principles stated in Bey v. Johnson, No. 03-2331, 407 F.3d 801 (6th Cir. 2005). [PDF] Sanchez-Ramos v. Sniezek, No. 4:05CV780, 370 F. Supp. 2d 652 (N.D. Ohio 2005).

Prisoner Assault: By Inmates

     Prisoner failed to show that correctional employees and officials had knowledge or reason to anticipate that a fellow prisoner would use a combination lock as a weapon to assault him. The mere fact that an object is solid or hard is insufficient to prove it is inherently dangerous, giving rise to liability on the part of correctional authorities for allowing a prisoner to possess it. No liability in prisoner's negligence claim. Morris v. Union Parish Police Jury, No. 39,709-CA, 902 So. 2d 1276 (La. App. 2nd Cir. 2005). [PDF]

     Injuries that a prisoner suffered during an assault by another inmate were not foreseeable, so that the State of New York could not be held liable for them in a negligence lawsuit. Codrington v. State of New York, 797 N.Y.S.2d 100 (A.D. 2nd Dept. 2005).

Prisoner Classification

     Trial court improperly dismissed prisoner's lawsuit against probation officer claiming that his placement in a detention facility was a violation of his rights when there were court orders requiring that he be placed in a halfway house for his alleged probation violation. The lawsuit was not barred by the rule in Heck v. Humphrey, No. 93-6188, 512 U.S. 477 (1994) when it only challenged his confinement in one facility instead of another, and did not challenge either the duration or fact of his confinement. Taylor v. U.S. Probation Office, No. 03-5370, 409 F.3d 426 (D.C. Cir. 2005). [PDF]

Prisoner Discipline

     Prisoner had no right, under Indiana state law, to seek state court judicial review of prison discipline imposed against him, when prison disciplinary actions were specifically excluded from law providing for judicial review of an agency action. Blanck v. Ind. Dept. of Corr., No. 52S02-04-09-CV-405, 829 N.E.2d 505 (Ind. 2005). [PDF]

     Determination that prisoner was guilty of failing to obey a direct order and refusing to comply with instructions concerning urinalysis drug testing procedures was supported by substantial evidence, including the testimony of the correctional officers who reported the incident. Ruggiero v. Goord, 796 N.Y.S.2d 752 (A.D. 3d Dept. 2005). [PDF]

     Prisoner's procedural due process rights were violated when he was denied access to a surveillance videotape that he contended showed that another prisoner put contraband in his cell. The tape was relevant to the disciplinary proceeding even if the images were not clear, and he was entitled to introduce it as evidence. At the same time, prison personnel did not "destroy" the tape to prevent him from using it as evidence, when the tapes were routinely recycled or reused if not requested for use within 30 days. Phelps v. Tucker, No. 3:04CV006, 370 F. Supp. 2d 792 (N.D. Ind. 2005).

Prisoner Suicide

     Allegedly suicide-prone prisoner failed to show a causal connection between the pending execution of another inmate and the alleged increased risk that he and other suicide-prone prisoners might attempt to harm themselves. Trial court properly dismissed his lawsuit, which he sought to bring as a class action on behalf of suicide-prone prisoners, seeking to bar the execution. Ziemba v. Rell, No. 05-8903, 409 F.3d 553 (2nd Cir. 2005). [PDF]


     Facility's policy barring a prisoner from taking off his shoes when entering the chapel was supported by reasonable safety and security objectives, and the prisoner could remove his shoes to pray in his own cell, so that he had an alternative means of satisfying his belief that he should take off his shoes before prayer. Williams v. Secretary for the Department of Corrections, No. 04-14328, 131 Fed. Appx. 682 (11th Cir. 2005). [PDF]

Segregation: Administrative

     New York City correctional institution violated the due process rights of a pre-trial detainee in placing him in 23-hour per day in-cell lock-in for over 6 months, and failing to hold any hearing for at least eleven weeks on accusation that he was involved in a fatal assault on another inmate. Further, the detainee was never fully informed of his rights at the hearing finally conducted. People ex rel Furde v. N.Y.C. Dept. of Correction, 796 N.Y.S.2d 891 (Sup. Bronx County 2005).

Strip Search: Prisoner

     Unclothed body cavity search of male prisoner during cell transfer in segregated housing violated his rights if it was "needlessly intrusive," based on presence of female officer, which the prisoner found "degrading and humiliating. Officer who conducted the search, however, was entitled to qualified immunity from liability because there was, at the time of the search, January 2, 2001, no clearly established right of the prisoner to be free from the exposure of his body to officers of the opposite gender. Lay v. Porker, No. CV02-01680, 371 F. Supp. 2d 1159 (C.D. Cal. 2004).


     Prison officials did not act with improper retaliation by continuing a restriction on visitation of a maximum security prisoner after he was acquitted of disciplinary charges of disobeying a direct order to stop holding hands with his wife while praying during a contact visit. The restriction was legitimate on the basis that the prisoner disobeyed a direct order, and the prisoner failed to show that the defendants would not have continued the restrictions on his visitations in the absence of his filing of grievances and acquittal of the disciplinary charges. Larson v. Cooper, No. S-10708, 113 P.3d 1196 (Alaska 2005).

     Directive banning prisoners convicted of sex offenses against minors from receiving visits from minors, including their own children, was rationally related to legitimate penological interests in safety and security. Prison officials were aware of research showing that many sexual offenders repeated their offenses, that minor victims of sex offenses know the perpetrators between 80 and 90 percent of the time, and that sexual offenders who prey on children frequently "psychologically groom" them for a time before engaging in sexual activity. Further, there was evidence of incidents of sexual molestation of children in visiting rooms, and staffing inadequacies in terms of adequately monitoring such visits. The directive, therefore, did not violate prisoners' rights and was not cruel and unusual punishment. Further, the prisoners had alternative means of maintaining family relationships as they could communicate with family members by mail, telephone calls, or messages brought by persons authorized to visit. Doe v. Donahue, No. 49A02-0408-CV-674, 829 N.E.2d 99 (Ind. App. 2005). [PDF]

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     Annual Reports: Michigan Youth Correctional Facility 2005 Annual Report. [PDF]

     Juvenile Offenders: Planning Community-Based Facilities for Violent Juvenile Offenders as Part of a System of Graduated Sanctions (NCJ 209326) August 2005 OJJDP Juvenile Justice Practices Series, Bulletin, 39 pages Zavlek, S. Presents basic information relevant to planning smaller, community-based or regional facilities to provide secure confinement for serious, violent, and/or chronic juvenile offenders. The Bulletin discusses the advantages of these facilities and outlines a process for developing them within a comprehensive juvenile justice system master plan. It also describes three sample programs and lists related resources. Available online only. PDF (697 KB).

     Mental Illness: Evidence-Based Enhancement of the Detection, Prevention, and Treatment of Mental Illness in the Correction Systems. NIJ-Sponsored, 8/2005, NCJ 210829. PDF

     Statistics: Suicide and Homicide in State Prisons and Local Jails. Describes historical trends in State prison and local jail inmate mortality rates based on inmate death records submitted by local jails (for 2000-2002) and State prisons (for 2001-2002). The report also compares current prison and jail mortality rates by demographic characteristics, offense types, and facility size and jurisdiction and compares the general population mortality rates with mortality rates in correctional facilities. Comparisons are made to both the raw mortality rates for the general population and those standardized to match the demographic makeup of the inmate populations. This report presents the first findings from the Deaths in Custody Reporting Program, which implements the Death in Custody Reporting Act of 2000 (P.L. 106-297). This new program involves the collection of individual records for every inmate death in the Nation’s local jails and State prisons. The program also includes the collection of death records from State juvenile correctional authorities (begun in 2002) and State and local law enforcement agencies (begun in 2003). For updated data, see Suicide and Homicide in Prisons and Jails in Key Facts at a Glance. Highlights include the following: * In 2002 the suicide rate in local jails (47 per 100,000 inmates) was over 3 times the rate in State prisons (14 per 100,000 inmates). * Homicide rates were similar in local jails (3 per 100,000) and State prisons (4 per 100,000). * Violent offenders in both local jails (92 per 100,000) and State prisons (19 per 100,000) had suicide rates over twice as high as those of nonviolent offenders (31 and 9 per 100,000 respectively). 08/05 NCJ 210036 Press release | Acrobat file (617K) | ASCII file (38K) | Spreadsheets (zip format 60K)


     • Abbreviations of Law Reports, laws and agencies used in our publications.

     • AELE's list of recently-noted jail and prisoner law resources.

Cross References

Featured Cases:

Prisoner Assault: By Officer -- See also, Prison Litigation Reform Act: Exhaustion of Remedies
Prisoner Transfer -- See also, First Amendment
Probation -- See also, Parole
Religion -- See also, Personal Appearance

Noted In Brief Cases:

Death Penalty -- See also, Prisoner Suicide
Drugs and Drug Screening -- See also, Prisoner Discipline (2nd case)
First Amendment -- See also, Prisoner Classification
Medical Care -- See also, Disability Discrimination: Prisoners (2nd case)
Prisoner Discipline -- See also, Segregation: Administrative
Prisoner Suicide -- See also, Medical Care: Mental Health (1st case).
Privacy -- See also, Strip Search: Prisoner
Religion -- See also, Visitation (1st case)
Sex Offender Programs and Notification -- See also, Visitation (2nd case)

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