Jails and Prisons: News and Publications

Murphy v. Smith

"Incarcerated men and women too often suffer horrific abuses that call out for recompense and deterrence... The lower court in this case imposed a rule that every damage award in a case 'brought by a prisoner' under 42 U.S.C. Section 1997e(d) must be reduced automatically by 25%. That blanket rule not only conflicts with the text and intent of the Prison Litigation Reform Act, 42 U.S.C. Section 1997e(d), as the petitioner's brief shows, but it also undermines arbitrarily the deterrent and compensatory purposes of Section 1983."

$5M Settlement for Family of California Jail Detainee Dead Following 46-Hour Chair Restraint

Andrew Holland died at the San Luis Obispo County Jail on January 22nd, 2017. Incarcerated since 2015 for public disturbance and resisting arrest, a judge ultimately ordered psychiatric treatment for his schizophrenia, though his transfer to a psychiatric facility was not effected even though space was reportedly available at the county facility. Instead, prior to his death, Holland was placed in an isolation cell for ten days and then chair restraint for forty-six hours.

Unjust: LGBTQ Youth Incarcerated in the Juvenile Justice System

Movement Advancement Project
Movement Advancement Project

"'Unjust: LGBTQ Youth Incarcerated in the Juvenile Justice System'" examines how LGBTQ youth who are incarcerated in juvenile detention and correctional facilities face bias in adjudication, and mistreatment and abuse in confinement facilities. LGBTQ youth also lack supportive services when leaving the criminal and juvenile justice systems, often forcing them back into negative interactions with law enforcement.

Given that nearly 40% of incarcerated girls in identify as LGB and 85-90% of incarcerated LGBTQ youth are youth of color, it is crucial that any effort to change the way youth in the United States engage with the juvenile justice system must consider the unique experiences of LGBTQ youth. This spotlight report highlights the experiences of LGBTQ youth incarcerated in the juvenile justice system."

Settlement of $4M for Woman Jailed for 4 Years Before Charges Dropped

In a false imprisonment and malicious prosecution case litigated for over a decade, this month New York City finally settled with Maria De Lourdes Torres for $4 million. The settlement provides approximately $1 million for each year Torres was jailed at Rikers Island before the murder charges brought against her were dropped in 2007.

Ziglar v. Abbasi, et al.

"...whether Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1971), provides a cause of action for Respondents' claim that the punitive and abusive mistreatment inflicted upon them while they were detained in a federal correctional facility was unconstitutional. The breadth of the Petitioners' position is startling. They claim that no Bivens remedy is available because this case involves high-level policy decisions and touches on issues of national security and immigration. That proposed rule would effectively immunize tens of thousands of federal officers, and large swaths of federal law enforcement activity, from damages, no matter how egregious the officers' conduct... This Court should reject that extreme position and affirm the critical importance of a Bivens remedy in deterring unconstitutional conduct and enforcing constitutional rights."

$1M Settlement in California Jail Suicide Lawsuit

Amanda Sloan, a 30-year-old mother of three, was originally arrested and booked for speeding away during a traffic stop and allegedly discharging a gun out of the sunroof of her car. She scaped from jail and was placed on the county's Most Wanted list. Arrested again after her mother tipped the police off to her location (reportedly stressing that she would attempt "suicide by cop"; deputies shot her five times during the second arrest), Sloan was taken to the Santa Cruz County Main Jail, where she continued to threaten suicide. On July 17, 2013, she was found dead in her cell.

NYC Pays $5.75M Settlement for Death of Rikers Prisoner

On September 27th, 2016, New York City agreed to pay $5.75 million to settle a lawsuit brought by the family of Bradley Ballard, a mentally ill and diabetic Rikers Island prisoner who was found naked and covered in excrement after being locked in his cell for six days. The settlement is reportedly the largest ever paid by the city over the death of a prisoner in its custody.