The Voice of the Anti-Imperialist Movement from

Under Lock & Key

Graphic design skills? Help us with our new logo! help out
[Legal] [Medical Care] [ULK Issue 57]
expand

Americans with Disabilities Act Overview

Title II The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), codified as Title 42 of the United States Code, Section 12131 (42 USC §12131, herein after §12131), applies to "any State or local government, any department, agency, special purpose district, or other instrumentality of a State or States or local government..." (§12131[1][A][B]). The ADA defines a "qualified individual with a disability [as] an individual with a disability who, with or without reasonable modifications to rules, policies, or practices, the removal or architectural, communication, or transportation barriers, or the provision of auxiliary aids and services, meets the essential eligibility requirements for the receipt of services or the participation in program or activities provided by a public entity."(§12131[2]).

Disabled prisoners in state facilities come under the auspices of ADA provisions.

"[S]tate prisons fall squarely within definition in 42 USCS §12131(1)(B), of 'public entity' subject to Title II, (2) text of ADA provides no basis for distinguishing recreational activities, medical services, and educational and vocational programs provided to prison inmates from 'services, programs, or activities' provided by other public entities ...[.] [T]itle II's definition of 'qualified individual with disability' [...] which refers to 'disability' requirements and 'participation' in programs, does not exclude prisoners."(Pennsylvania Department of Corrections v. Yeskey, 118 S.Ct. 1952)

In the landmark case Ball v. LeBlanc, 792 F.3d 584, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit held: Under the ADA, Louisiana state prisoners on Angola's death row were to be considered disabled if:

"[They have] 'a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.' (42 U.S.C. § 12102[1][A]). The statute defines a major life activity in two ways. First, major life activities include, but are not limited to: caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, thinking, communicating, and working.

"Second, a major life activity includes 'the operation of a major bodily function.' Such functions include, but are not limited to: the immune system, normal cell growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, endocrine, and reproductive functions. The prisoners can prove themselves disabled if their ailments substantially limit either a major life activity or the operation of a major bodily function."(42 U.S.C. § 12102 [2][A][B])

The ADA requires prison officials to reasonably accommodate disabled prisoners in regard to all activities afforded able-bodied prisoners. "[D]eliberate refusal of prison officials to accommodate inmate's disability-related needs ([in] virtually all [ ] prison programs) constituted exclusion from participation in or denial of benefits of prison services, programs, or activities. '[P]ublic entity' under 42 USCS §12131(1) includes prisons."(United States v. Georgia, 126 S.Ct. 877; Loye v. County of Dakota, 625 F.3d 494)

Though the ADA bestows on disabled state prisoners the right to reasonably participate in all prison activities, probably of paramount importance to disabled prisoners is participation in requisite programs that must be attended per consideration for early release from prison to limited liberty on parole. The ADA ensures disabled prisoners access to these activities as well.(United States v. Georgia, supra.; Yeskey, supra.; Jaros v. Illinois Department of Corrections, 684 F.3d 667; Gorman v. Bartch, 152 F.3d 907; Paulone v. City of Frederick, 787 F.2d 360; Raines v. Florida, 983 F. Supp. 1362)

An organizational tactic that disabled prisoners might employ in combating discriminatory exclusion from prison programs, activities, and/or services, could be to pursue litigation as a class, or group, of plaintiffs pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure (FRCP) Rule #23. To identify as a class, disabled prisoners must establish "numerosity, commonality, and typicality."(Kerrigan v. Philadelphia Board of Elections, 248 FRD 470; Marcus v. Department of Revenue, 206 FRD 509)

In short, a contingent of disabled prisoners must convince the Federal court there is a significant number of "similarly situated" prisoners being denied their rights and entitlements guaranteed by the ADA, thereby identifying a class the court can certify as such.(Armstrong v. Schwarzenegger, 261 FRD 173) Once a class has been certified, any injunctive relief enforcing the ADA encompasses all prisoners identified as the class of prisoner plaintiffs.(Schwarzenegger, supra; Benjamin v. Department of Public Welfare, 807 F.Supp.2d 201)

Monetary damage awards can be obtained if the state actors are deliberately indifferent to prisoners' disability or if violations of the ADA are intentional.(United States v. Georgia, supra; Tennessee v. Lane, 124 S.Ct. 1978; Panzardi-Santiago v. University of Puerto Rico, 200 F.Supp.2d 1).

The ADA enjoins prison systems to provide disabled prisoners auxiliary or adaptive aid devices ensuring disabled prisoners are reasonably able to participate in prison programs, activities, and/or services. (Robertson v. Las Animas County Sheriff's Department, 500 F.3d 1185). This means if you are disabled or impaired as recognized per the provisions of the ADA, the state must provide you with implements and apparatus so as to assist you in participating in common daily and required programmatic activities.

In sum, to prevail on an ADA violation claim, a disabled state prisoner would submit to a Federal district court with jurisdiction a civil rights violation complaint pursuant to 42 USC §1983 (United States v. Georgia, supra) (a §1983 form can be obtained from the clerk in the district in which the civil suit is to be filed) citing §12131 as statutory provision authorizing the claim. In the complaint a prospective plaintiff must show they are a qualified person with a disability, they were excluded from participation in or denied benefits of a prison system's programs, activities, and/or services, and the exclusion and/or denial of benefits was due to the prisoner's disabilities.(United States v. Georgia, supra; Panzardi-Santiago, supra; Constantino v. Madden, 16 FLW Fed D 321)

Prison administrators are to be trained, and to train or to have trained prison officials and personnel that are to supervise and have contact with disabled prisoners.(Gorman, supra) Moreover, it is important disabled prisoners be aware non-medical prison officials can in no way supersede any medical directive affecting a prisoner's disability or accommodation thereof. (Chisolm v. McManimon, 275 F.3d 328; Beckford v. Irvin, 49 F. Supp. 2d 170; Saunders v. Horn, 959 F. Supp. 689; Arnold on Behalf of H.B. v. Lewis, 803 F. Supp. 246)

The above is a very brief and truncated overview of the ADA as it applies to state prisoners and should not be construed as a comprehensive examination of disability law as it pertains to prisoners. This article is no more than a primer meant to initiate disabled prisoners with their legal rights and remedies. If a disabled prisoner is experiencing abuse and discrimination at the hands of prison officials, the disabled prisoner should take it upon themselves to research pertinent precedents and authorities necessary in remedying the situation and pursue those via the various avenues of relief.

The U.S. Department of Justice provides a free 211 page booklet entitled "ADA Title II Regulations: Non-discrimination on the Basis of Disability in State and Local Government Services." The booklet can be had in large print, audiotape, Braille, and DVD. The booklet can also be provided in Cambodian, Chinese, Hmong, Japanese, Korean, Laotian, Spanish, Tagalog and Vietnamese. Or it could be, that is until the Jingoist xenophobe Trump took the imperialist helm. The DOJ can be contacted at:

U.S. DOJ
Civil Rights Division
Disability Rights Sec.
950 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20530

There are a number of non-governmental organizations that assist disabled prisoners on a pro bono basis. The DOJ can provide contact information for disability rights advocates in your area.

Finally, the law library at your facility may have available for review the annotated version of §12131. This annotated edition of Title II of the ADA provides synoptic court rulings of the rights afforded disabled prisoners.

Very important is to document and keep records of all acts of disability discrimination and violations of the ADA — incidents, names, dates, witnesses, etc. This can best be accomplished via the administrative grievance procedure at your prison, while at the same time executing the required exhaustion of administrative remedies prior to filing suit.

In closing, it is my sincere desire that this overview proves to be of effective utility to those disabled prisoners facing the barbarous conditions of existence imposed on them by the enforcers of the carceral state.

To any able-bodied prisoners that may read this brief overview, I would remind you, an injury to one is an injury to all!

chain
[Legal] [Ohio]
expand

Fighting Envelope Denial in Ohio

Informal Complaint Resolution
Submitted to Warden: Mr. Hooks
January 1st, 2017

Complaint regarding: Appropriate Supervision/discrimination, to wit: A.R. 5120-9-04.

On November 17, 2016 the Ross County Correctional Institution mail room received twenty-five (25) embossed envelopes from a Mrs. [name omitted] that was addressed to be delivered to myself. However, on this occasion the aforementioned embossed envelopes were confiscated as contraband and were never returned to my wife or forwarded to me. A new policy, (75-MAL-01), has purportedly been instituted that bans all incoming embossed envelopes sent from the family and friends of those incarcerated at the Ross County Corr. Inst. As it stands, I [name omitted] am legally indigent, as I've been held to the monthly stipend of $10 for the past fifteen years, under the banner of court cost, fines and restitution and I can't afford to purchase embossed envelopes along with hygiene and miscelaneous laundry products. This new policy (75-AL-01) discriminates against every indigent prisoner on this compound and ultimately affects the quality of a relationship already deprived of hand-to-hand contact with friends and loved ones in free society, and the quality of tenure of incarceration.

Listed below are a variety of prisoners adversely affected by this new policy (75-HAL-01), who have no alternative means of purchasing embossed envelopes. Accordingly, we respectfully request the above mentioned new policy, be rendered moot and that the original policy, that allowed prisoners to receive embossed envelopes from family and friends be re-instated.

Please assist us in any way you deem appropriate.

Cc: Special Litigation Section
U.S. Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
950 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20530

MIM(Prisons) responds: Our job as revolutionaries is to organize people and bring them together. The primary task of U.$. prisons is to control oppressed-nation people, and to prevent them from organizing to change their conditions within this capitalist society. The above policy in Ohio serves no purpose except to exacerbate the already difficult situation of oppressed people to not only organize but also stay mentally and relationally healthy when locked up. This policy is one tiny piece of a much larger battle.

chain
[Legal] [Texas] [ULK Issue 57]
expand

Suit to Ensure Improved Disciplinary Process for Deaf Prisoners

I am hearing (deaf) / speech (mute from past strokes) / vision (blind in one eye and impaired in other eye) and W/C [bathroom] restricted/disabled. Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) was refusing to turn the closed captioning on the televisions for me and other offenders who are deaf, hearing impaired, disabled, or hard of hearing.

Also, being given disciplinary case knowing I was deaf, violating my due process rights by not passing a note. No written communication of what was going on during the disciplinary process so-called "investigations."

Now, thanks to Texas Civil Rights Project (TCRP), Mr. Brian R. McViverin and Ms. Barke Butler and three others, TDCJ is to have closed captioning feature on these dorm dayroom TVs from the time they are turned on to rack time. And any disciplinary cases I'm (or others of my type of hearing disabilities in accordance of the ADA) given, TDCJ must use special forms for me to read, answer, and sign/initial during the whole process. And anything spoken must be written down. If I see any lip movement and it is not written down, this becomes a violation of my Civil Action suit.

So, if you can, read this Civil Action No. 4:12-cv-02241 compromise and settlement agreement. Please let others know of this. I know I can not have been the only one that has had these problems with TDCJ.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This contributor shouldn't have had to go through the trouble of filing a Civil Action Suit in order to be afforded what is already guaranteed to em from the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). We here at MIM(Prisons) are disgusted by the behavior of TDCJ, which we see reflected all across the country in various forms. In a society that isn't run by profit and pigs, the courtesy of inclusion wouldn't require all the runaround and paperwork.

chain
[Legal] [Organizing] [California State Prison, Corcoran] [California] [ULK Issue 60]
expand

PLC Report from Corcoran SHU

Revolutionary Greetings,

This is my report about how the Prisoners' Legal Clinic here in the Corcoran Ad-seg/SHU is going. As a Clinic Coordinator, I've been responsible for showing inmates how to read and study the Title 15, which allows you to know what rights you have as a prisoner, and learn how to file a box. You'd be surprised to know, a lot of inmates don't understand the basics, but we've had minimal success. The accomplishments have resulted in (1) inmates getting their property in an orderly fashion, (2) getting allowable items that were granted from the hunger strikes, (3) receiving our program of yard & showers that we're being denied for lack of staff, (4) and being assigned a regular counselor to come by once a week to see if we need any assistance and making sure we get our NDS privileges (phone calls weekly or monthly & canteen draw of $165.00 instead of $55.00).

I've also filed a few written letters that have helped a few people get back to court, and allowed them to also be able to go to the law library once a week without having a case pending, which was the only way before. At this time we do not need any legal materials as we have enough at our disposal. This is a positive endeavor here, and this concluded my report.


MIM(Prisons) adds: The Prisoners' Legal Clinic is a serve the people program, made up of prisoners in the United $tates who are fighting injustice in the anti-imperialist movement. Through the PLC legally-savvy comrades offer legal assistance to others in their prison in exchange for some political work. And behind the scenes MIM(Prisons) provides the resources and support needed by our Clinic Coordinators. This program helps support necessary legal struggles of prisoners while also making the connection between these struggles and our broader political organizing. Write to us for more information if you want to coordinate a Clinic where you are at.

chain
[Abuse] [Legal] [Medical Care] [Louisiana] [ULK Issue 56]
expand

Clarifying Legal Tactics: Deadly Heat in Louisiana

In response to the article in ULK 55 titled "Correction to Deadly Heat in Louisiana Article," I am equally compelled to struggle my point across to my Texas comrade and all other comrades within the jurisdiction of the 5th Circuit. Our Texas comrade has committed the error of "seeing only a tree instead of the forest," please allow me to explain.

While it is correct that the 5th Circuit remanded the case back to the District Court with an order to apply the injunction to only the three plaintiffs in Angola's death row – Ball, Magee and Code – if one would read and digest the discussion of the 5th Circuit's ruling then one would see that it is obvious that in order for "all" prisoners to receive this relief then "all" prisoners would have to file! And I am fairly sure that most comrades can "come up" with a medical condition! In section 3 of the opinion under "disability claims" the court stated in the last paragraph that because the plaintiffs failed to properly introduce their ADA claims that it was fatal as to that claim, therefore "reading between the lines" one can grasp the nugget of wisdom!

So in conclusion there has been and is a victory against the deadly heat in Louisiana, so I urge all comrades to flood the courts with their own "personal" suits and bypass the stacked deck of the PLRA, entiendes? Please read the "entire" case with footnotes etc.: it was declared that the heat can be a violation of the Eighth Amendment. (The ADA provides "endless" major life activities and functions so everyone can find a niche). So if the heat is a violation of a federal right then – (quote from opinion) "such relief shall extend no further than necessary to correct the violation of the federal right of a particular plaintiff or plaintiffs!"

Be that plaintiff!

Please read the case: Elzie Ball, et al. v. James M. Leblanc, et al. U.$. District Court for the Middle district of Louisiana, 988 F. Supp. 2d 639; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 178557 Civil Action No.: 13-00368-BAJ-SCR. This is on order from Ball v. Leblanc, 792 F.3d 584, 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 11769 (5th Cir. La. 2015).


MIM(Prisons) responds: In "Correction to Deadly Heat in Louisiana Article", another writer responded to this writer's original article on this lawsuit from ULK 53. The responder pointed out that the 5th Circuit Court's decision only afforded people with pre-existing medical conditions relief from the dangerous heat in Louisiana prisons. And so ey clarified that the ruling does not automatically apply to all of Louisiana's death row. We are glad that both writers chimed in on the topic, to clarify the ruling and the suggested tactics.

We need to think creatively about how to use this court decision to expand protections to anyone with any medical condition. In conditions like this that are truly dangerous (as we approach summer once again) we encourage people to follow this comrade's lead and look for ways to use the legal system to improve safety of your conditions.

Perhaps others will disagree with this tactic and propose other better uses for people's time and legal research. It's slow to engage in debate through the pages of a bi-monthly newsletter like Under Lock & Key but this is beneficial to all readers and a part of the unity-criticism-unity process. It's a healthy debate over tactics that will keep pushing our work forward, so write to us and let us hear your thoughts.

chain
[Abuse] [Legal] [Kentucky] [ULK Issue 56]
expand

Access to Courts Denied in Kentucky

I'ma start this letter out by sending all my respects to all involved in educating and enlightening those who is fighting such as myself. These past couple of weeks have been very hectic. Here at Kentucky State Reformatory, we have difficulties with the administration denying legal help from legal aids on cases and with research and filing.

In Kentucky, prisoners in administration and punitive segregation are being denied legal representation by legal aides on filing motions, briefs, etc. and on research. Most of us have active cases and are filing new cases, but the administration have told us "prisoners" that the legal aides can't assist us on any cases and they have notified the legal aides not to assist us on our cases. The legal aides have been told that they can only assist us and represent us at adjustment committee hearings.

Everyone knows that you have to and need to do research before an active case can even begin and finish, so this bureaucratic red tape is just another arbitrary denial of access to courts, and a violation of the Kentucky Constitution and the U.$. Constitution. Right now I am seeking out accurate factual materials to write out a petition to send to the warden, and accurate factual civil and human rights and constitutional Kentucky and federal laws to fight this injustice.

An injustice to one is an injustice to all.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This is not an issue unique to Kentucky. Prisoners in Texas are also being denied access to courts because of a "cite only" rule. And in Georgia our comrades are denied access to the courts because they are on Tier II restrictive housing. In North Carolina there are no law libraries, and the agency that is designated to satisfy the requirement of access to courts is almost entirely useless.

For all our comrades who advocate working through the courts for remedies, we have as many comrades who write in saying it is impossible for them to access legal material or assistance. This is one of many reasons why we don't believe the oppressors will ever set up a system that grants real power or dignity to oppressed people, including U.$. prisoners. We work within the system when we can, but we also need to build our own independent institutions, outside the current criminal injustice system, in order to meet and maintain our goals.

chain
[Legal] [Estelle High Security Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 55]
expand

Expose Texas Denial of Access to Courts

Estelle Unit operates a "cite only" method of providing prisoners access to courts, requiring prisoners to submit "cite specific requests" to Access to Courts (ATC) officials in order to receive legal research materials. Courts have repeatedly ruled cite-only access fails to satisfy constitutional de minimis, explaining it is unreasonable to expect a doctor of jurispridence to request cites by note, let alone a pro se laypersyn prisoner.

Recently I was told by law library staff a case I cite-specifically requested didn't exist. I called bullshit stating the Texas Criminal Practice Guide, John Boston's and Dan Manville's Prisoners' Self-Help Litigation Manual, and Manville's Prisoners' Disciplinary Self-Help Litigation Manual don't lie. I was then threatened with disciplinary action. I invited such, desiring the denial of access to courts be documented. The next day when admitted to the so-called law library I was confronted by the ATC Supervisor in possession of the case at issue, and all kinds of papers for me to sign, validating I had in fact received the cite in question.

The very same day the above phantom caselaw was produced, I requested another case by cite, and again told the case didn't exist. I then set a trap. I have repeatedly trapped and caught ATC pigs claiming specifically-requested case citations did not exist which do indeed exist. Case in point: I requested a denial of access to courts case per the Estelle "cite only" method. I was told the case did not exist. I waited a short period, then requested the supposed nonexistent case be Shephardized, a method of cross-reference. At the next day's so-called law library session the Shephardized lexis.com download was presented to me showing the case in question had been published in 1997. Priceless. Absolutely priceless. Dumb blank faces blinking back at me.


MIM(Prisons) responds: The oppressors will never give the oppressed the tools to overcome their oppression. This anecdote is an example of exactly why we believe we need to build a revolutionary movement to force the state to give up its power, so we can put an end to Amerikkka's prison system!

This article referenced in:
chain
[Legal] [Louisiana] [ULK Issue 55]
expand

Correction to Deadly Heat in Louisiana Article

There was an entry in ULK 53 I am compelled to address under the heading "Deadly Heat Victory in Louisiana." It was erroneously reported the 5th Circuit ruling in Bell v. LeBlanc, 792 F. 3d 584, mandated the temperature be maintained "at or below 88 degrees in Angola's death row buildings."

Not so. The 5th Circuit held the U.S. District Court Middle District of Louisiana ruling encompassing all of Louisiana's death row overly broad, and therefore an abuse of the District Court's discreation, violation of the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA). The 5th Circuit pared down the District Court's ruling to affect only the three named plaintiffs: Elzie Ball, Nathaniel Code, and James Magee. The only reason the 5th Circuit upheld the District Court's ruling as pertaining to these three plaintiffs is because all three are afflicted with pre-existing medical conditions that are susceptible to heat-induced complications.

"Based on its findings of fact, we affirm the district court's conclusion that housing these prisoners in very hot cells without sufficient access to heat-relief measures, while knowing that each suffers from conditions that render him extremely vulnerable to serious heat-related injury, violates the Eighth Amendment. ... The district court also erred because it awarded relief facility-wide, instead of limiting such relief to Ball, Code, and Magee. ... Because the district court's injunction provides an unnecessary type of relief and applies beyond these three Plaintiffs, it violates the PLRA. Accordingly, the district court abused its discretion. ... We emphasize, however, that the finding of substantial risk regarding a heat-related injury is tied to the individual health conditions of these inmates." Ball v. LeBlanc, 792 F.3d 584, 596-600, FNG.
The 5th Circuit opined Ball, Code, and Magee could be housed in cells closer to the death row guards' station, which is air conditioned, thereby cooler than the remainder of death row cells. Or, at most, a single death row tier could be air conditioned as a heat-relief measure for prisoners similarly situated to Ball, Code, and Magee. But as for requiring the Louisiana Department of Corrections to maintain temperatures below 88 degrees at Angola's death row altogether, the 5th Circuit judged that was not necessary to comport with the Federal Constitution.

Moral being, if it sounds too good to be true.. perhaps MIM(Prisons) should submit to me these litigous tidbits for vetting and verification.


MIM(Prisons) responds: Thank you to this comrade for setting the record straight, and helping to keep our subscribers from venturing down a wrong path in seeking their own relief from extreme heat, especially as summer is fast approaching. We rely on our subscribers to share their knowledge with us, whether it be their legal expertise, organizing experience, or theoretical understanding. Everyone should be making an effort to increase our collective abilities, which our oppressors try so hard to eliminate.

chain
[Legal] [Virginia]
expand

Potential Legal Argument for VA Grievance Battle

I read with interest the article on the lack of a constitutional right to a grievance procedure ( Prisoners Unite Against Suppression of VA DOC Grievance Procedure) in ULK 54. This happens to be an issue I researched a few months ago. Unfortunately I'm Federal, not state, so I can't file a §1983 anyway, which is a shame because I'd just love to take this one to the Supreme Court.

This legal argument should work. However, the only place I can see it working is at the Supreme Court itself. I offer it in the hopes that someone else can run with it.

The article is quite correct. There are many 4th circuit opinions throwing out prisoners' §1983 actions for denial of or retaliation against filing grievances, most of which go back to Adams v. Rice 40F.3d.72, 75 (4th Cir. 1994). This opinion, however, was before the 1995 Prison Litigation Reform Act, 1997(e). The argument is that, as 1997(e) came later than Adams v. Rice, and congress could not have intended to make a constitutional right (the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances under Amendment 1) contingent upon conduct that is not constitutionally protected, that therefore Adams v. Rice and all subsequent case law should be declared null and void.

Digging a bit deeper, I found that Adams bases its opinion on Flick v. Alba, 932 F.2d 728, 729 (8th Cir 1991) claiming there is "no constitutional right to participate in grievance proceedings."

The problem with this is that Flick v Alba states, "When the claim underlying the administrative grievance involves a constitutional right, the prisoner's right to petition the government for redress is the right of access to the courts, which is not compromised by the prison's refusal to entertain his grievance." After 1997(e), of course, that last clause is false, 1997(e) specifically and deliberately makes a prison's refusal to entertain grievances compromise the right of access to the courts. That's what 1997(e) is for!

If there be any justice, this is a slam-dunk argument. Of course, there isn't any justice. But occasionally a judge, wanting to gain status by overturning a long-held precedent might do the right thing, if only accidentally. It might also have some value as a rallying point for activism.

One might also argue a violation of equal protection under the fourteenth amendment, but I'm not sure how much that would add. A couple of paragraphs couldn't hurt, though.

chain
[Campaigns] [Legal] [Nevada] [ULK Issue 55]
expand

Nevada Further Restricts Grievance Process in New Regulations

I am writing to update you on comrades' struggles against the Nevada Department of Corrections (NDOC) grievance process. I have been fighting against the inmate grievance process as employed by the NDOC for over a year now. Last week, the caseworker came to my door and informed me that all of my grievances had been rejected as improper grievances due to a new Administrative Regulation (AR740) regarding grievances, which among other things states that:

  1. Inmates cannot state more than one claim per grievance,
  2. Inmates may file no more than a single grievance in any 7 day period,
  3. Those who violate these rules will face disciplinary action.

On this date, the case worker had over 300 grievances which were denied as improper. The NDOC has implemented this revised AR740 to circumvent inmate grievances so that they do not have to address our concerns.

I, and others, will of course, continue our struggle against the NDOC grievance process. If you or anyone else has any ideas on a path we should take to get this issue to court, I would appreciate it.


MIM(Prisons) responds: We do have a Nevada grievance petition for use by prisoners to fight the violation of First Amendment rights based on the AR740 rules. We will need someone from Nevada to volunteer to re-write this petition to cite the updated rules. But the bigger problem is that these rules were changed to essentially limit the ability of prisoners to file grievances, which of course is required if we're going to demand these grievances be addressed. This sounds like a case that needs to be taken to court, and perhaps would interest one of the legal advocacy organizations in Nevada. Short of that we are stuck fighting within their (arbitrary) rules.

This regulation change underscores our message that we're not going to beat the criminal injustice system at their own game. We can sometimes use their own rules and laws to gain small victories, but in the end the courts and prisons are set up to perpetuate the injustice system. We can only win by organizing independent institutions and dismantling this system.

Write to us for a copy of the old Nevada grievance petition if you can help update it based on these new regulations.

chain