Category Archives: Prisoners

A Halfway House Nightmare

When I saw that halfway houses were trending on Twitter last week, I almost started laughing. I didn’t know what the story was about, but I could take an educated guess. In case you missed it, the New York Times ran a series of pieces on the deplorable conditions at private New Jersey halfway houses. Then, [...]
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Why You Shouldn’t Bank With Wells Fargo

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If you are concerned about the number of citizens we as a society simply give up on by locking them up for decades, then you might want to think about not banking with Wells Fargo. Charles Davis at Salon writes that the Wells Fargo used bailout funds to invest in the GEO Group, the second largest private prison [...]

Supreme Court Takes A Close Look At Prisoner Transsexual Case

Last week, the Supreme Court relisted a case involving some transsexual prisoners’ claims that the State of Wisconsin violated their right to adequate medical care by failing to provide them with hormonal therapy. The case is Smith v. Fields, No. 11-561. Both the Federal District Court and Seventh Circuit found in favor of the prisoners, concluding that the [...]
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The Seventh Circuit Rules that Pro Se Prisoner Missed His Chance at Resentencing

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I wrote this past year about the obstacles that prisoners filing pro se face when challenging their convictions and sentences. The Seventh Circuit’s opinion today in United States v. Wyatt kind of typifies the problems inherent in a system that requires uneducated prisoners to fend for themselves and learn the law within a year in order to meet [...]
Also posted in Criminal Law |( 1 Comment)

The Supreme Court’s Latest Miranda Ruling Is A Failure All The Way Around

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What happens when no one comes to the defense of defenseless prisoners? Rulings like last week’s decision in Howes v. Field, No. 10-680, where the Supreme Court held that law enforcement questioning of an inmate inside a prison about allegedly criminal events that occurred outside the prison is not necessarily a custodial situation for Miranda purposes. Or, [...]
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The Way in Which Federal Prosecutors Charge Offenses Leads to Different Sentences Between White and Black Males

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Professors Marit Rehavi and Sonja Starr recently published this piece, entitled Racial Disparity in Federal Criminal Charging and Its Sentencing Consequences.  After analyzing data, the professors concluded that federal prosecutors charge offenders differently by race, and those charging differences often lead to disparities in sentences. Not surprisingly, men of color are charged, and therefore, sentenced more harshly. Here [...]

Michelle Alexander’s Book on Mass Incarceration

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I’ve been reading lots of write-ups for Law Professor Michelle Alexander’s book on the American criminal justice system, entitled The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. From what I’ve read, and heard from others in the legal community, it sounds like an amazing work. You can find the website for the [...]
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The Mass Incarceration Problem

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This week Adam Gopnik published a piece at The New Yorker on this country’s mass incarceration problem. Not only does it provide a number of sources and statistics to back up its claims, it also does so in a wonderful yet chilling way. The piece is long but well worth the read. You can find [...]

Attorney Abandonment Matters at the Supreme Court

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Yesterday, Justice Ginsburg announced the decision in Maples v. Thomas. For the second time in the last two years, the Supreme Court said that it matters when an attorney abandons their client. It Matters. For prisoners this is good news for those pursuing postconviction relief. The Court has long held that a criminal defendant has no right to [...]
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A Pro Se Prisoner Victory

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As Professor Michael W. Martin and I pointed out in our new articles in the Fordham Law Review (here and here), although a huge swath of litigation occurring in federal courts is a result of filings from pro se prisoners, very few of those litigants actually obtain some modicum of success, let alone win a new [...]
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