Prisoner Rights

Florida Voters Restore Ex-Felons’ Voting Rights

By Christopher Zoukis In the November mid-term election, Florida voters approved Amendment 4, the Voting Restoration Amendment, a ballot measure amending the state’s constitution to eliminate a provision that permanently removed the voting rights for well over a million state residents who have been convicted of felonies. The new amendment becomes Article VI, sections 4(a)…

Read More

DOJ IG’s Report: BOP Fails to Meet Needs of Female Inmates

By Christopher Zoukis A report issued September 18 by the Inspector General (IG) of the Department of Justice (DOJ) identifies shortcomings in how the leaders of DOJ’s Bureau of Prisons (BOP) and the correctional facilities it runs fail to meet the needs of its female inmates. Women are about 7% of all sentenced federal inmates…

Read More

“Making a Murderer” Defendant Asks Supreme Court to Undo Conviction

By Christopher Zoukis Brendan Dassey, the younger defendant convicted of crimes covered in the hugely popular 2015 Netflix documentary series, Making a Murderer, has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse his conviction, arguing police coerced him into making false confessions. Dassey’s uncle, Steven Avery, is serving a life sentence without possibility of parole for…

Read More

Transfer Van Takes 18 Days to Move Inmate from Virginia to Texas

By Christopher Zoukis While at a convenience store in Winchester, Virginia in September 2016, Edward Kovari was arrested by a local police officer who had been checking out-of-state license plates and found an outstanding warrant from Texas accusing Kovari of having stolen the car he was driving. A waiter in his upper-30’s, Kovari had recently…

Read More

Palestinian Prisoners Stage Hunger Strike

By Christopher Zoukis Around 1,000 Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails launched a hunger strike on April 17, 2017, a date also known as Palestinian Prisoners Day. According to the Palestinian Prisoners Center for Studies, the strike was meant to protest the “difficult humanitarian conditions” inside Israeli prisons. Al Jazeera reported that the prisoners’ demands included…

Read More

Innocence Project Emerging in Israel

By Christopher Zoukis Wrongful convictions are a well-known phenomena in the United States; the administration of one of the world’s largest criminal justice systems virtually guarantees mistakes and failures. Famous cases such as that of Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, who was framed for murder and spent 20 years in prison, and whose case was made into…

Read More

Vermont Supreme Court Upholds Rights of Jailhouse Lawyers

By Christopher Zoukis In a unanimous and lengthy opinion, the Vermont Supreme Court dismissed a charge of unauthorized practice of law brought against a jailhouse lawyer. Martin Serendipity Morales, a prisoner who identifies as female, was being held at the Marble Valley Regional Correctional Center when she was charged with a felony by Bennington County…

Read More

Taping Inmate-Lawyer Conferences Stirs Outrage at Kansas Prison

By Christopher Zoukis It began last year during an investigation of contraband smuggling into the Leavenworth Detention Center, a privately run federal prison in Kansas operated by CoreCivic, formerly known as the Corrections Corporation of America. During that investigation, a federal prosecutor in Kansas City told a private defense lawyer she could not lawfully represent…

Read More

Challenge to Sex Offender Passport Identifier Dismissed by California Federal Court

By Chris Zoukis A challenge to the newly passed “International Megan’s Law” has been tossed out of court by Judge Phyllis J. Hamilton of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. The plaintiffs alleged that the International Megan’s Law to Prevent Child Exploitation and Other Sexual Crimes through Advanced Notification of…

Read More