Prison News

Supreme Court Weighs How to Define Violent Felonies Triggering ACCA

By Christopher Zoukis Congress passed the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA) in 1984, aiming to bring longer sentences to violent career criminals. Under ACCA, federal defendants facing firearms possession charges can get much longer sentences if they have previously been convicted of three or more violent felonies or serious drug crimes. The 10-year maximum sentence…

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Virginia Expands Defendants’ Access to Prosecution Evidence

By Christopher Zoukis After considering for years whether to revise its criminal procedure rules to broaden defendants’ access to information that will be used to prosecute them, the Virginia Supreme Court has decided to expand defendants’ pre-trial access to prosecutors’ evidence. An order issued September 5 by the top state court will require state prosecutors…

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Is It Curtains For The First Step Act?

By Christopher Zoukis Back in February, the House of Representatives by a 360-59 margin passed H.R. 5628, the “First Step” Act – an acronym for the “Formerly Incarcerated Re-enter Society Transformed Safely Transitioning Every Person Act.” With bipartisan co-sponsors, Reps. Doug Collins (R-GA) and Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), the bill had cleared the House Judiciary Committee…

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Texas Governor Issues Proposal to Revise Bail Procedures

By Christopher Zoukis On August 7, Texas governor Greg Abbott announced a new package of proposals intended to reform the state’s bail system. Together the collection was named the “Damon Allen Act,” to commemorate a state trooper who was killed in the line of duty last Thanksgiving. During a traffic stop, Trooper Allen was ambushed…

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Lawsuit Over GEO Group “Voluntary” $1 a Day Work Program Survives Motion to Dismiss

By Christopher Zoukis A federal judge refused to dismiss a lawsuit challenging private prison company GEO Group’s “Voluntary Work Program,” which pays detained immigrants $1 per day for cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, and otherwise running the facility in which they are held. The December 6, 2017 order rejected GEO’s arguments that federal law preempts any…

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Ohio Experiences Continued Problems with Aramark Over Alleged Food Fraud

By Christopher Zoukis The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (ODRC) over­paid food service giant Aramark $57,193 for food provided to nonexistent prisoners, investigators found. The overpayment was uncovered by the state Office of the Inspector General (OIG). According to a June 15, 2017 report, the OIG began investigating Aramark after learning of a dispute…

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The Insanity Defense: It’s Not What You Think

By Christopher Zoukis In the American criminal justice system, a defendant who commits a crime while “insane” cannot be held legally responsible for that crime. In such cases, legal guilt is not established, and the defendant may not be punished. Instead, a defendant who is found not guilty by reason of insanity (“NGRI”) is involuntarily…

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