Pricey Video Services Increasingly Supplant In-Person Prison Visits

Video chat replacing in-person prison visits?

By Christopher Zoukis Video visitation services are already available in more than 600 penal institutions, and the upward trend shows few signs of the growing trend slowing down. They’ve also sparked a debate over whether the services are a valuable, lower-cost alternative to in-person visits to distant locations (as the…

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State of Michigan Sues Incarcerated Author in Attempt to Force Him to Pay for His Own Incarceration

By Christopher Zoukis Curtis Dawkins published a collection of short stories in 2016 to great critical acclaim. The Graybar Hotel was picked up by Scribner, one of the most well-known and respected publishing houses in the country, and sales have been brisk. Dawkins, who earned his MFA from Western Michigan…

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High Court Stays Execution Where Judge Overrode Jury Recommendation

By Christopher Zoukis A little over two years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court in Hurst v. Florida ruled 8-1 it was unconstitutional for state judges to overrule jury sentencing recommendations in death penalty cases. The high court ruled a criminal defendant’s Sixth Amendment right to a trial by jury was…

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Inmates Lose Court Challenge to Ohio’s Execution Drugs

syringe and three vials of medication

By Christopher Zoukis A divided federal court of appeals has rejected a challenge to the three-drug execution protocol Ohio plans to use. The state had suspended executions for more than three years due to litigation attacking its three-drug lethal injection method, and to its inability to obtain barbiturates formerly used…

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Pfizer Deals Blow to Lethal Injections

By Christopher Zoukis Pfizer, Inc., the world’s second-largest pharmaceutical manufacturer, recently announced new restrictions on the distribution of drugs used to execute prisoners. The May 13, 2016 announcement detailed “distribution restrictions” that the company is placing on certain drugs used in lethal injection protocols, including pancuronium bromide, potassium chloride, propofol,…

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When is sexual abuse not sexual abuse? When it happens to a prisoner.

 Public service campaign from justdetention.org This past week saw the handing down of an important ruling in Second Circuit Court of Appeals regarding the rights of prisoners; specifically a prisoner’s right not to be sexual abused by prison officials. If you’re questioning how this could even have been a question…

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Fifth Circuit: Sleep Deprivation May Violate Eighth Amendment

By Matt Clarke In an unpublished ruling, the Fifth Circuit held on April 1, 2014 that a Texas prisoner’s sleep deprivation-based challenge to the security schedule used by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) may state a valid claim for violation of the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition on cruel and…

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Flimsy Reasons for Prolonged Lockdowns

By David Reutter / Prison Legal News The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has held that an Illinois prisoner’s complaint that frequent lockdowns for substantial periods of time deprived him of exercise and caused him various health problems stated an Eighth Amendment claim. However, the Court found that he failed…

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