Skip navigation

Articles about Phone Justice

Indiana Control Unit Prisoners File Suit and Strike

On May 4, 1992, the Indiana Civil Liberties Union filed a class action suit in the Marion County, Indiana, Superior Court. The action is Taifa Vs. Bayh, and challenges numerous conditions of confinement at the Westville, IN, Maximum Control Center. It is interesting to note the action is being filed in state court. Because the suit claims prison officials have violated several state statutes only a state court can rule on the state law claims. It may also be that the Indiana state constitution provides more protection than the federal constitution. In recent years the US Supreme Court has steadily narrowed the scope of 8th amendment protection available to prisoners from the federal courts.

The suit directly challenges the philosophy behind the "supermax" control unit prison, both at Westville and another "supermax" under construction in Sullivan, IN. The plaintiff class is currently over 80 men housed at the MCC. The suit claims that Indiana prison officials have violated state law by administratively housing prisoners in MCC for long periods of time when Indiana statutes limit the conditions where prisoners can be segregated. The criteria for MCC placement is vague, subjective and discretionary allowing prisoners to be placed in MCC in ...

Suit Filed Over Telephone Services

South Carolina prisoners have filed a class action suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983 and 47 U.S.C.201(b) and 202(a) of the Federal Communications Act. The defendants are officials in the South Carolina DOC and the U.S. Sprint telephone company.

The prisoners allege that the telephone company practice of announcing to would be recipients of prisoner telephone calls that the caller is in prison is unconstitutional and violates their right to freedom of speech. The Federal Communications Act makes it unlawful for telephone companies to engage in any type of discriminatory practice or subject any person or class of persons to undue prejudice or disadvantage. The Act provides for damages from the carrier for any such violations.

A copy of the complaint, Federal Communications Act, Motion for Temporary Restraining Order, etc., are all available for $2.00 or seven 29ยข stamps from: Creations, P.O. Box 2403, Burlington, NC 27216-2403.

Counsel Appointed in Denial of Telephone, Beating Claim

Counsel Appointed In Denial Of Telephone, Beating Claim

Billy Tucker was arrested and jailed in Kendall County, Ill. At the time of his arrest he was bloody and had a broken hand and ribs. He was taken to a hospital and washed but not treated for his broken bones. He was denied medical treatment for his broken bones for the entire nine and a half months he was in the Kendall County jail. As a result, he suffered permanent physical deformations. For four days he was also denied access to a phone, after which he was only allowed to use a monitored phone. Tucker filed suit under 1983, claiming violation of his 8th and 14th amendment rights.

The district court dismissed his complaint for not responding to defendant's motion to dismiss portions of his complaint. The court did so without ruling on Tucker's motion to appoint counsel.

On appeal, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed and remanded the case. The court of appeals held that Tucker's complaint should not have been dismissed unless the district court first notified Tucker of the consequences of not following the briefing schedule. The court also held that the district court ...

Clallam Bay Gets Computer Phones

Starting on August 8th, prisoners at C.B.C.C. were treated to a new phone service, one run by a computer. You pick up the phone ant the machine asks for your name and the number you want to call. It hen dials the number and tells the person at the other end: "Will you accept a collect call from Such and Such, who is a prisoner in a correctional institution? If so, press `three' on your touch-tone phone." The electronic operator then times your call, and after nine minutes warns you that you have one minute left. At ten minutes the phone is automatically cut off.

Needless to say, this new system is not a big hit with C.B.C.C. prisoners. Indeed, since many of the families and loved ones of prisoners are poor, they cannot afford the more expensive touch-tone phones. This of course has the effect of denying phone rights to those men with the poorest families.

Look for the arrival of this "brave new world" of phone service at a prison near you.