California Still Keeping Inmates in Solitary, Ninth Circuit Hears

The California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation is still keeping inmates in isolation, violating a landmark settlement that ended indefinite solitary confinement in California, counsel for a class of 1,600 prisoners told a Ninth Circuit panel Tuesday.

Read more

Covid-19 in Prison

A federal court in Louisiana granted in part a diabetic inmate’s request for a temporary restraining order, finding that staff at the Elayn Hunt Correctional Center in St. Gabriel, Louisiana, must comply with internal policies and the governor’s recommendations about disinfecting common areas, wearing masks, and implementing social distancing measures to limit the spread of Covid-19. 

Read more

Prison Transfers

A federal court denied a request by prisoners at the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola, Louisiana, to stop the Department of Corrections from transferring Covid-19 “carriers” to maximum-security prison, finding that the request is based on “speculation and conjecture” about what the department “‘might’ do with respect to transferring inmates.”

Read more

Transgender in Prison

The 11th Circuit ruled that an inmate’s claims against the Florida Department of Corrections’ now-repealed “freeze frame” policy limiting transgender inmates to the medical treatments they were receiving when they were taken into custody are moot. The circuit court also found the department did not violate the Eighth Amendment when it refused the inmate’s request to wear long hair, makeup and women’s undergarments.

Read more

Civil Rights Commission Takes Stand for Female Inmates

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights issued a report Wednesday that condemned how state and federal prisons treat female inmates, saying a broad range of disparities in areas from medical care to discipline show that correctional facilities are not designed for or tailored to women’s needs. 

Read more

Religious Practice in Prison

The Sixth Circuit remanded a suit brought by inmates who practice the “Christian Identity” religion – which is “explicitly racist” and associated with white supremacy – against the Michigan Department of Corrections relating to its refusal to provide them with the same privileges as members of recognized religions. 

Read more

Sanctions

A federal court in Arizona ruled that the state will be fined $100,000 a month for each instance of the Arizona Department of Corrections’ non-compliance with performance measures in a remediation plan it agreed to under the terms of a 2014 settlement with inmates who claimed the prison health care system caused pain, suffering and multiple inmate deaths. 

Read more

Timberland Boots

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that a lower court properly dismissed a group of inmates’ claims that a new Department of Corrections rule that prevents inmates from possessing Timberland boots in prison violates consumer protection law. The boots were banned after an inmate attacked and killed a prison guard by kicking him in the head with his boots.

Read more

Forced to Translate

A federal court in Illinois ruled that a former corrections officer may pursue race discrimination claims against a county. The man says he was directed to serve as a Spanish translator, while working as a corrections officer, without receiving extra pay and was subjected to racial slurs from colleagues because he refused to continue acting as a translator.

Read more