Tag Archive: lawsuits

Native-American inmates in Alabama continue fight over prison system’s rule against having long hair

Doug Dark Horns Bailey talks about trying to practice his religious beliefs during the more than 18 years he spent in prison.

Doug Dark Horns Bailey talks about trying to practice his religious beliefs during the more than 18 years he spent in prison.

11th Circuit ruling sided with Ala. Corrections Department

From Montgomery Advertiser

Doug Dark Horns Bailey held the silver-and-brown strands of his hair, gathered in two tails running down his back. This, he said, was sacred.

“Long before science ever heard of DNA, our ancestors knew our essence was contained in our hair,” said Bailey, an artist and Creek Indian who lives in Wetumpka. “Long, long before they ever started using DNA, we believed our essence was in our hair. That’s why we don’t cut it.”

While serving an 18-year sentence for robbery in the Alabama prison system, Bailey reconnected with his faith, and said it was key to helping him reform his ways and stay out of legal trouble.

“I just felt reconnected again,” he said. “I felt like myself again. I felt like a real individual, and not some lost, castaway soul.”

Bailey, released in 2004, is a plaintiff in a long-running suit brought by Native-American inmates against the Alabama Department of Corrections over religious rights. The suit, which dates back to 1993, has opened the door for some practices for inmates. However, DOC policies require all male inmates to keep hair cut short, and that remains a point of contention. (more…)

Judge to hear arguments in Central Prison lawsuit

Central_Prison315_280By EMERY P. DALESIO, Associated Press

RALEIGH, N.C. — A federal judge was scheduled to hear arguments Thursday about dismissing a lawsuit that accuses guards at North Carolina’s maximum security prison of sadistically beating inmates, resulting in broken bones and wheelchair confinement.

U.S. District Judge Terrence Boyle planned to consider whether there is enough evidence already presented in court documents to go ahead with the lawsuit on behalf of eight inmates at Central Prison in Raleigh.

The inmates accuse 19 correctional officers of taking handcuffed and shackled inmates from solitary confinement cells where they were placed for disciplinary reasons to blind spots out of view of security cameras, then severely beating them. Former prison administrators Gerald Branker and Kenneth Lassister are accused in the lawsuit of failing in their duties for not developing policies on investigating inmate abuse complaints and to preserve video tapes that might contain evidence from being erased.

“For years, the inmates of Unit One have pursued every avenue available to them to put an end to the violence that is routinely inflicted upon them. They have filed grievances, engaged in letter writing campaigns to public officials, gone on hunger strikes, and exhausted all of the administrative remedies available to them. The violence has not stopped,” wrote Elizabeth Simpson, an attorney for North Carolina Prisoner Legal Services representing the inmates. (more…)

Daniel McGowan Loses Lawsuit Against Bureau Of Prisons

daniel_mcgowan_FREE!By Matt Sledge / Huffington Post

A federal court has dismissed an environmental activist’s claims against the U.S. Bureau of Prisons over a restrictive prison wing he was housed in, but a lawsuit filed by other prisoners against the government over its restrictive communication management units continues.

Daniel McGowan, 39, served seven years in federal prison for arson connected with the Earth Liberation Front, four of them in the secretive communication management units, or CMUs, dubbed “Little Guantanamo” by critics.

Along with dozens of other mostly Muslim inmates, McGowan’s phone calls with the outside world and physical contact with his family were severely limited. Even after he was released to a halfway house, McGowan was briefly tossed back into prison this year for writing a Huffington Post blog entry detailing his case. (more…)

North Carolina Prisoner Legal Services On The Chopping Block

jailNCPLS is encouraging people to contact their state house representatives to support their funding (find your representative here)

From NC Policy Watch

Moving the State Bureau of Investigation from Attorney General to Department of Public Safety oversight may have been one of the lead stories coming out of the Senate budget released on Monday, but there’s several other head-scratching and fiscally short-sighted ideas tucked away in there.

Among them: slashing funding for North Carolina Prisoner Legal Services, the group providing the often constitutionally-mandated legal assistance for some 37,000 inmates in state corrections facilities.

The Senate proposal calls for the elimination of the $2.89 million contract with Prisoner Legal Services, “in favor of prison legal terminals provided by Department of Public Safety.” (more…)