Browsing: Prison Life

hartwell1Reading from the Voice Media empire:A federal lawsuit filed on behalf of a man who suffered numerous seizures during a twenty-day stay in a county jail last year claims that jail officials “purposefully destroyed” video evidence in the case — and that the facility’s private, for-profit medical provider has a pattern of denying treatment and resisting sending inmates to hospitals, even in life-threatening emergencies. Westword has the story.

prison.illustration.gettyReading from the Voice Media empire: One state’s Department of Corrections has agreed to pay a fairly modest $171,000 to settle a lawsuit in the torturous, slow-motion, completely preventable jail death of Dennis Choquette in November 2016. But Choquette’s estate has also reached confidential agreements with a slew of other defendants, including a giant private-prison company that owns the facility where most of the horrors took place. And given the disturbing facts of the case, which we first outlined earlier this year, the sum of the settlements is almost certainly much, much larger. Westword has the story.

taser.getty.imagesReading from the Voice Media empire:  This past summer, family members of Marvin Booker, who died in jail during a July 2010 excessive-force incident that led to a $6 million settlement, appeared at a press conference to demand that the current prosecutor begin a new investigation into the tragic incident. Now, the DA is referring what she calls a “limited aspect” of the case to a grand jury, and while she isn’t divulging any specifics, the panel will almost certainly look into reports of a missing Taser that Booker’s loved ones see as evidence of a potential criminal coverup. Westword has the story.

james.holmes.sentencing.cbs4.800Reading from the Voice Media empire: Theater shooter James Holmes has been on the move within the prison system since a 2015 attack on him by Mark “Slim” Daniels, who apologized in a letter for being unable to send the man who killed twelve people and injured seventy others at the Aurora Century 16 theater on July 20, 2012, to “Satan’s lake of fire.” Now, for the first time in more than a year, we finally know his location. At present, he’s being held at the United States penitentiary in Allenwood, Pennsylvania. Westword has the story.

sir.mario.owens.mug.528x350Reading from the Voice Media empire: Senior Judge Christopher Munch’s ruling upholding the death-penalty conviction of Sir Mario Owens in a 2005 double homicide, was remarkable not so much for its conclusions as for its sheer bulk. Weighing in at close to 1,400 pages, it’s the War and Peace of judicial reasoning — and a good indication of how complex the case has become through more than a decade of legal maneuvering, a labyrinthine journey to one state’s lethal-injection gurney that’s far from over. Westword has the story.

prisonbars.1200x804Reading from the Voice Media empire: When one state’s branch of the American Civil Liberties Union heard that Iraqi detainees being held inside an immigrant detention center – a 1,500-bed facility run by the private prison company GEO Group – were being singled out and harassed by the facility’s guards, ACLU attorneys and staff members went to investigate. What they learned from two of the men, France Anwar Elias and Kamran Mallak, whom they interviewed over several trips in August, deeply concerned them. Westword has the story.

marvin.booker.surveillance.footageReading from the Voice Media empire: Marvin Booker died after being placed in a sleeper hold and tased while in jail for a minor offense seven years ago. The case netted a $6 million settlement, but questions raised in a documentary film about the Taser in the incident, which somehow disappeared during the course of the investigation, has led the family to call for a criminal investigation into a possible cover-up. Westword has the story.

william.anderson.mug.shotReading from the Voice Media empire:The death of William Anderson, a forty-year-old inmate at a big city jail, has led to a war of words between the local sheriff’s department and Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Anderson died during a fight with fellow detainee Ricardo Lopez-Vera, nineteen. But while the district attorney declined to charge Lopez-Vera in the incident, his undocumented status led to detention by ICE, which claims the sheriff released him without properly informing the federal agency even though there was an immigration hold on him. Westword has the story.

2775636014_a5e40d041f_z_2_Daniel/Flickr

For decades of Texas summers, prisoners of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice have lived in heat they described as equivalent to “walking out to your car in the middle of the summertime,” to “getting into a hot box in the sun.” They have often slept on the concrete because it is cooler than their mattresses, and away from fans that blow hot air on them. They have sometimes struggled to write letters because their sweat drips over the paper as if it were raining. Twenty-three men have died in these conditions since 1998, including Larry McCollum, who, just days after being booked for writing a hot check, died of a heat stroke while convulsing atop his bed. His internal temperature was found to be 109 degrees.

These are all among the reasons that, on Wednesday, a federal judge in Houston ruled that such conditions violate the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment — that there is a “substantial risk of serious illness or death from the current conditions at the Pack Unit.”

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