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Brian Sonenstein

About Me:
Campaign Director at Firedoglake. Follow me on twitter @bsonenstein
 
Website:
http://firedoglake.com/author/bsonenstein/
About Me:
Campaign Director at Firedoglake. Follow me on twitter @bsonenstein

New Solitary Confinement Unit Plagued by Old Problems on Rikers Island

By: Tuesday March 31, 2015 1:00 pm

This post was originally published to PrisonProtest.com. At the beginning of March, New York City’s Board of Correction released a preliminary report on Rikers Island’s controversial new isolation facility, the Enhanced Supervision Housing Unit (ESHU). The $14.8 million ESHU was proposed to house 250 of Rikers’ so-called “most dangerous” inmates– a small minority of the [...]

NYC DOC Allegedly Withholds Records on Violence Against Developmentally Disabled Juvenile Inmate

By: Saturday March 21, 2015 2:00 pm

This post was originally published at PrisonProtest.com. A lawsuit filed on March 12th in the Eastern District of New York claims the New York City Department of Corrections (DOC) withheld important records from a federally-mandated disability advocate after they learned guards had brutally attacked a developmentally disabled juvenile inmate at the Robert N. Davoren Complex [...]

Lawsuit: Corizon Doctor Tells New York City Inmate to Throw Severed Finger in Garbage

By: Wednesday March 11, 2015 12:00 pm

On January 26, 2015, Rudolph Richardson sued the city of New York, prison healthcare contractor Corizon Health Services and Dr. Landis Barnes for allegedly delaying and denying him emergency medical care following an incident in which his cell door slammed shut on his fingers. According to the complaint filed in the District Court of the [...]

Corrections Corp. of America Reaches Settlement in Idaho Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

By: Wednesday March 4, 2015 7:00 pm

Idaho Correctional Center, Screenshot from Google Maps[/caption]On February 23rd, Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) settled a lawsuit brought by a former nurse at the Idaho Correctional Center (ICC) named Michelle Pierce, who claimed she had been fired in retaliation for reporting sexual harassment and abuse by her colleagues. The terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

Pierce’s disturbing story is one of several to have come out in the wake of Idaho’s decision to take back control of the facility last year. Under CCA’s watch, ICC was nicknamed “gladiator school” for its high levels of violence, and allegations have surfaced indicating the private prison contractor may have manipulated prisoner medical records to cover up neglect and mismanagement. Pierce’s story provides an additional perspective on the atmosphere permitted, and sometimes encouraged, by CCA leadership within ICC.

Judge Decides FBI, Justice Department May Keep Records on Investigation Into WikiLeaks Secret

By: Wednesday March 4, 2015 5:16 pm

A federal judge has determined the government does not have to release records related to its investigation into WikiLeaks. The judge indicated the court was “persuaded” there is a “criminal investigation.” The government had provided “sufficient specificity” as to the investigation’s status and a “sufficient explanation as to why the investigation is of long-term duration.”

Thousands of Immigrant Prisoners Moved to Undisclosed Locations After Protesting Conditions

By: Thursday February 26, 2015 1:00 pm

Nearly three thousand immigrant prisoners are being transferred to undisclosed federal facilities after a two-day demonstration against indecent living conditions and medical care left the Willacy County Regional Detention Facility in need of repairs.

Virginia Woman Dies In Custody After Being Tasered, Placed In Restraints and Anti-Spit Hood

By: Friday February 20, 2015 5:00 pm

On February 3rd, a 5’3″, 130 pound Virginia woman was killed after six deputies tased her before locking her in restraints with an anti-spitting hood over her head. Natasha McKenna, who was 37 years old and suffered from schizophrenia from a young age, went into cardiac arrest before ever leaving the jail and later died at the hospital.

Montana Legislature Debuts Bill Prohibiting Solitary Confinement for Minors, Seriously Mentally Ill

By: Friday February 20, 2015 12:00 pm

A bill introduced in the Montana House of Representatives this week would curb the use of isolation in state prisons. The Montana Solitary Confinement Reform Act (or House Bill 490) was introduced by Democrat Jenny Eck and would ban solitary confinement for people under the age of 18 and those with severe mental illness. It would also introduce due process and appeal measures for inmates facing solitary and require weekly mental health evaluations for isolated inmates.

Former Corizon Doctor Accused of Molesting Scores of Prisoners Served with Two New Lawsuits

By: Thursday February 19, 2015 3:00 pm

With the filing of two new lawsuits in New Mexico this week, Dr. Mark E. Walden stands accused of sexually assaulting scores of prisoners while working for inmate healthcare contractor Corizon Health Services inside two different GEO Group for-profit prisons in the state.

Filed on February 13th and 16th, the lawsuits are the sixth and seventh to be brought against Dr. Walden in the past three years, and raise the total number of Walden’s known and alleged victims to around 50.

Walden is accused of fondling prisoners’ genitals and conducting superfluous, aggressive rectal exams for ailments like tooth aches and toe fungus. Walden has denied any and all wrongdoing, and Corizon and GEO Group have so far refused to speak with the press on these matters.

Report: Incarcerated People More Likely to Suffer from Chronic Illness and Infectious Disease Than Public

By: Wednesday February 18, 2015 5:00 pm

The federal Bureau of Justice Statistics released a new report (PDF) this month on the health of incarcerated people in state and federal lock-ups from 2011-12. The study focused on both prisoners (i.e. people serving longer sentences) and jail inmates (i.e. people awaiting trial or serving shorter sentences), and found they were not only more likely to have had chronic medical conditions and/or infectious disease than the general population, but were also often denied prescription medication after admission. The report also mentions that incarcerated women and prisoners over 50 suffered at disproportionately higher rates from chronic and infectious medical conditions than the rest of the population.

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