Tuesday, Feb 24, 2015, 1:00 pm · By George Lavender
Captive Nation: Black Prison Organizing in the Civil Rights Era is published at a time of growing interest in movements against mass incarceration and police violence. The Prison Complex spoke with the author, Dan Berger, about why he became interested in the history of black prison organizing, and what lessons and perspectives that earlier period of prison activism might offer today’s campaigns.
You began corresponding with political activists in prison when you were younger, could you talk a little bit about what prompted you to start writing to them?
When I was a teenager we moved from upstate New York to Florida, which was a very big move. I had been getting involved in activism around the time that we moved and had several friends who had been arrested in protests, and a couple of them had been beat up by the police. So from an early age I had a certain kind of consciousness about the criminal justice system. And then when we moved I was looking for other organizers and folks that had been involved who could show me the ropes. That was really hard to find in suburban Florida. I wrote to lots of different progressive and radical organizations, and ultimately came across groups that were doing support work for political prisoners in the US. And so out of that I started corresponding with people when I was about 16, and those correspondence became friendships that continue to this day.
Who were you writing with?
The first people I wrote with were Sundiata Acoli, a former Black Panther who was arrested with Assata Shakur on the New Jersey Turnpike in 1973 and who has been imprisoned ever since. A federal appeals court has <recently> said he should be granted parole and that the state of New Jersey had in fact erred by keeping him in prison for so long, (although that decision is now on hold. I wrote with Ray Luc Levasseur who got out of prison <11> years ago. I wrote with David Gilbert, former member of the Weather Underground who is also still in prison and who was arrested in October 1981 one month before I was born, in New York as part of a tragically failed robbery of a Brinks truck in which two police officers and a security guard were killed. He's been in prison ever since. Later, I wrote with others too, including Veronza Bowers, Marilyn Buck, Oscar Lopez , Herman Bell, and Jalil Muntaqim.
Based on who you chose to write to, it sounds like you were already forming your own political views, but to what extent do you think that correspondence shaped your own politics?
I came to realize, and I say this in the book, that one of the best places for a white suburban teenager to learn about histories of Black Power and other social movement histories as well as the devastating realities of US racism and imperialism was from people in prison. This was the mid to late 1990s, the era of "there is no alternative." Those correspondences were tremendously helpful for my own political development to have extended access to alternate viewpoints, alternate histories that I wasn't seeing elsewhere. But I think it was ultimately most helpful in being able to discover my own voice and my own politics. I don't think I got my politics from people in prison, but my politics were definitely shaped in conversation with people in prison as well as people who had been in prison but were released. I think it really opened the door to me on the whole set of conversations and histories and communities that had been so shut out of the dominant discourse—including among many activists and among historians.
Talk about when you first decided to write a book about black prison organizing and why?
I consciously decided to write this book when I was in graduate school. I went to graduate school interested in researching the history of prison organizing. But in many ways, the origins of this book really start with the correspondences I developed in high school and the realization at how many stories of the 1960s and 1970s had yet to be told. I was particularly interested in how people in prison were themselves participants in social movements. I knew from my friends in prison how much they and others were very involved in trying to stop the spread of HIV and AIDs in prison and to confront the abysmal, what-passes-for-healthcare in prison. I knew that that work was happening in the 1980s and 90s but I was also hearing about the 1960s and 70s, about there being a larger movement in prisons and around prisons. So I went to grad school really hoping to look more into that. That ultimately became my dissertation and ultimately became my book project. I think I've been consciously working on this book about 7 years but it really feels like an encapsulation of conversations and investigations that I've been doing for more like 15 or 16 years. Part of what I found in that research, and this has been true in my own organizing experience, was that the organizing in prison at its best has been more than just about what was happening in prison, and has never been limited to people who are in prison. What so struck me about black prison organizing in the 1950s, 60s and 70s was how central the prison was to a larger movement for racial, social, and economic justice.
Monday, Feb 23, 2015, 12:00 am · By George Lavender
Conservative Koch Industries’ inclusion in the list of funders of a new criminal justice reform campaign raised eyebrows when it was announced on Thursday. But one incongruity has flown under the radar: Controversial billionaires Charles and David Koch have strongly backed some of the leading Republican opponents to criminal justice reform.
The $5 million Coalition for Public Safety brings together an unlikely coalition of groups ranging from liberal groups such as the Center for American Progress to right-wing organizations like FreedomWorks for what they themselves call “the largest national effort to make the U.S. criminal justice system safer, fairer, and more cost effective.” As the New York Times reports, the announcement has been touted as evidence of a rare show of unity amongst Republicans and Democrats.
For groups traditionally considered opponents, working together has required something of a leap of faith. But they say that they see an opening and are giving the new coalition three years to demonstrate results.
“A lot of people throw a lot of things around, and then you try to get things done,” said Mark Holden, general counsel for Koch Industries, which has been the subject of fierce attacks from the left and has responded in kind. “We are just going to put it to the side and hopefully they will as well. We have said all along that we are willing to work with anyone and this shows it.”
Officials at the Center for American Progress said that they did not make the decision to join the partnership lightly given the organization’s clashes and deep differences with both Koch Industries and many of the conservative groups.
“We have in the past and will in the future have criticism of the policy agenda of the Koch brother companies, but where we can find common ground on issues, we will go forward,” said Neera Tanden, the president of the center. “I think it speaks to the importance of the issue.” Continue reading…
Even the staff of the new organization come from backgrounds working for both political parties. Executive Director Christine Leonard previously worked for both the Obama administration and for Democratic Senator Edward Kennedy, while Deputy Director Sekemia Mwonyonyi has worked for Republican Senators Tom Coburn and Mike DeWine.
Much has been made of the apparent cross-party consensus on criminal justice reform that has seen Republicans come out in favor of reforms that would reduce prison sentences for certain crimes.
Among Republicans, Senator Rand Paul in particular won praise for co-authoring bills with Democrats aimed at decreasing the use of mandatory minimums. Senator Paul, who himself received $17,000 from Koch Industries in his successful 2010 election campaign, has said reform is "part of the sort of libertarianish message that I’ve always had – that the war on drugs has been unfair and it just turns out that it’s had a real racial component to it."
The Koch’s backing for the new group is not as out-of-place as it may first seem; the company has previously leant its financial support to other criminal justice reform efforts. But a look at the brothers’ recent political donations shows continued financial support for some of the most prominent opponents of such reform efforts.
Take the Smarter Sentencing Act, which a Vera Justice Institute report last year called a “criminal justice Rorschach test.” According to the Institute’s report, “people see different things in it. Some see it as a vital and moderate step away from unfair federal drug sentencing provisions … [o]thers see it as a major retreat in the fight against serious drug crime.”
Of the three most prominent Senate Republican opponents of the Smarter Sentencing Act, two are listed by OpenSecrets.org as recipients of Koch Industries money. In the past election alone, the company has contributed $17,900 to Texas Senator John Cornyn’s reelection campaign and $10,000 to Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions. To put that in context, Senator Cornyn received the third largest total donation from Kochs Industries to a Senate campaign.
Senators Cornyn and Sessions, along with Senator Chuck Grassley, last year wrote an open letter to their Senate colleagues to express ‘concerns’ with the Smarter Sentencing Act. The Senators expressed concern that the Act would benefit “some of the most serious and dangerous offenders in the federal system.”
Sunday, Feb 22, 2015, 11:00 am · By George Lavender
An uprising by prisoners at a much-criticized private prison in Texas has left the facility “uninhabitable.” Thousands of federal prisoners from the Willacy County Correctional Center in Raymondville, Texas, will be moved to other facilities according to Reuters
The disturbance began early on Friday at the Willacy county correctional center in Raymondville, Texas, which primarily holds individuals who have entered the United States illegally. The prison, which is run by the private company Management & Training Corp, is located about 40 miles (64 km) from the Mexican border.
The unrest began when prisoners refused to come to breakfast or report for work in a bid to protest problems with medical services at the facility, the Express-News newspaper and local broadcaster KGBT-TV reported.
The inmates broke out of their housing structures and converged in the recreation yard, setting fire to several kevlar domes, or tents, that serve as prison housing, the paper said.
By Saturday evening, the disturbance was largely under control, but the prison had suffered sufficient damage to require the transfer of as many as 2,800 inmates, according to a statement from US bureau of prisons published by KGBT. The process of moving the inmates is expected to continue into next week, the statement said. Continue reading…
The prison is one of 13 “Criminal Alien Requirement” (CAR) prisons in the United States. Managed by private companies on behalf of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, the facilities are mostly used to hold low-security non-U.S. citizens convicted of immigration offenses or drug-related crimes.
As reported here at The Prison Complex, the ACLU last year released a damning report describing Willacy as “a physical symbol of everything that is wrong with enriching the private prison industry and criminalizing immigration.”
“Believe it or not I care” is a Management & Training Corporation (MTC) company slogan on display at Willacy County Correctional Center in Raymondville, Texas. But a new report by the ACLU is calling that slogan into question. Last summer, 30 prisoners at the facility were placed in isolation units “for refusing to leave the recreation yard and return to their dormitories after prison officials ignored their complaints of toilets overflowing with raw sewage,” according to the report. Continue reading…
Management & Training Corporation, the company that runs the facility, was subject to a lawsuit filed two years ago by prisoners at its East Mississippi Correctional Facility. Photos taken as part of a tour of the prison, showed charred door frames, exposed electrical wires, and blood soaked cell floors. According to the ACLU "many of the mentally ill prisoners are undertreated, leading to extreme behavior like throwing excrement, swallowing shards of glass and cutting their flesh with sharp objects."
Thursday, Feb 19, 2015, 8:00 am · By George Lavender
One in seven people living with HIV passes through a correctional facility each year, according to the CDC. In California alone more than 1,000 prisoners are known to be HIV positive. People in prison are also disproportionately at risk of contracting other sexually transmitted infections including HIV/AIDS, gonorrhea, chlamydia and syphilis.
For years, health organizations have recommended providing condoms to prisoners to help slow the spread of these diseases. While several foreign prisons do make them available, here in the US only two states and a handful of jails currently provide condoms to prisoners. That’s in part because sex between prisoners is against prison rules in every state, and actually a crime in some.
In this report for Al Jazeera America, I visited one of the few locked settings that does provide condoms to prisoners: Men’s Central Jail in Los Angeles.
“Do you guys want condoms?” Deputy Javier Machado, of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, asks a dormitory full of prisoners in the Men’s Central Jail. “If you want condoms you need to get in line. If not, I need you on your bunk.”
A worker with the county’s Public Health Department places a box full of brightly colored condoms on a table and begins to hand them out, three at a time. Waiting in line, one prisoner loudly declares that he’s getting the condoms “for someone else,” drawing laughter from the others. The distribution takes only a matter of minutes, but the weekly act is hardly typical.
While Los Angeles has been handing out condoms in the county jail for more than a decade, it remains one of just a handful of jail and prison systems that do so. In September, Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown took a step toward making condoms more widely available, signing a bill that will introduce them at the state’s 34 adult prisons. As in most states, the jails in California are short-term facilities run by county sheriffs, while the prison system, which holds prisoners after they've been sentenced, is managed by the state government. Continue reading...
It was third time lucky for a bill to make condoms available in California prisons. Two previous versions of the legislation had been vetoed by Governor Schwarzenegger and Governor Brown. While some states provide condoms for conjugal visits, California is only the second state in the country to officially provide inmates with condoms specifically for sex with other prisoners.
In 1987, Vermont’s Department of Corrections gave notice that it would allow condom distribution in its prisons, a shift in policy that was “directly related to concern regarding transmission of AIDS,” according to the memo announcing the change. Under that policy, which remains in effect, Vermont prisoners can request a condom from a nurse in a one-on-one meeting. Delores Burroughs-Biron, who directs health services for the Vermont corrections department, says she welcomes the California act: “Good for them. If we really want to take care of people not just in the short term but the long term, then one of the things that we do is to make sure their health is protected.”
The World Health Organization recommends that condoms be provided in prison and jails, something several other countries already do, but prisons in the United States have been slow to follow suit. With the signing of the Prisoner Protections for Family and Community Health Act, California’s prison system becomes the largest in the United States to allow condoms to be distributed in its facilities. The act requires the state’s Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to develop a five-year plan to expand the availability of condoms in all California prisons. Continue reading...
During a pilot study on providing condoms in one California state prison, officials looked to San Francisco’s decades old program as a model. In this KQED report staff and prisoners at the jail talk about how they feel about condoms being available, as well as some of the more unusual uses prisoners have found for condoms.
Thursday, Feb 19, 2015, 12:00 am · By George Lavender
“Members should uphold human rights in all their professional endeavors.” That’s Ethical Standard 1.4 of the American Institute of Architects. For many years Architects/Designers/Planners for Social Responsibility has campaigned for the AIA to censure architects who design isolation units and execution chambers. As Zachary Edelson reports for the Architectural Record, in December the AIA rejected a proposed amendment on the issue.
The amendment would have stipulated that AIA members “shall not design spaces intended for execution or for torture or other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment, including prolonged solitary confinement.” In effect, this would have prohibited members from designing facilities such as execution chambers, interrogation suites meant for torture, and super-maximum-security prisons that enable long-term solitary confinement. The proposed amendment would add “enforceable language” to an existing AIA ethics rule that states, “Members should uphold human rights in all their professional endeavors.” The ADPSR submitted the proposal along with a set of endorsement letters and two petitions (one was worded for architects, the other for educators—they have accrued more than 2,100 signatures on Change.org). Continue reading...
“Questions of scope and enforceability” were the primary reasons the AIA ultimately rejected the amendment as Michael Kimmelman reports for the New York Times
“It’s just not something we want to determine as a collective,” Helene Combs Dreiling, the institute’s former president, told me. She said she put together a special panel that reviewed the plea. “Members with deeply embedded beliefs will avoid designing those building types and leave it to their colleagues,” Ms. Dreiling elaborated. “Architects self-select, depending on where they feel they can contribute best.”
What are the ethical boundaries for architecture? Architecture is one of the learned professions, like medicine or law. It requires a license, giving architects a monopoly over their practices, in return for a minimal promise that buildings won’t fall down. Raphael Sperry, the Bay Area architect who spearheaded the petition to the institute, thinks the public deserves more in return for that monopoly. Continue reading…
Raphael Sperry and his colleagues argue that architects should be expected to maintain ethical standards in much the same way that professional medical associations require doctors not to take part in executions. He points out that the United Nations and other international human rights organizations specifically prohibit the death penalty and the use of long-term solitary confinement and so architects should not participate in the construction of facilities for those purposes. As the New York Times notes, New York City voted to ban the use of solitary confinement for inmates aged 21 and under just weeks after the AIA decision.
“Is there nothing so odious that the A.I.A. wouldn’t step in?” he asked. “What about concentration camps? The A.I.A. is basically saying business is more important than human rights. Yes, this is a tough profession. But you don’t gain respect by hunkering down in a position of fear. You just dig yourself deeper into a hole.”
If architects want more respect, he argued, they need to take a stand. This is an interesting moment, with echoes in the past. A century ago, movements like the Bauhaus, looking to improve design for the masses, emerged from a culture in which the widening gulf between rich and poor was sundering civil society. Continue reading…http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/17/arts/design/prison-architecture-and-the-question-of-ethics.html?_r=1
Sperry was also featured in this episode of 99% Invisible “An Architects Code”
Wednesday, Feb 18, 2015, 1:00 pm · By George Lavender
The Guardian has an exclusive report on allegations of torture carried out by a former Chicago detective.
Richard Zuley is accused of torturing detainees in Chicago’s north side and later as a lieutenant in Guantánamo. Journalist Spencer Ackerman writes that Zuley’s conduct is under investigation in several cases. The report comes a week after another disgraced former Chicago police commander, Jon Burge, was released from home monitoring.
Zuley’s record suggests a continuum between police abuses in urban America and the wartime detention scandals that continue to do persistent damage to the reputation of the United States. Zuley’s tactics, which would be supercharged at Guantánamo when he took over the interrogation of a high-profile detainee as a US Navy reserve lieutenant, included:
• Shackling suspects to police-precinct walls through eyebolts for hours on end.
• Accusations of planting evidence when there was pressure for a high-profile murder conviction.
• Threats of harm to family members of those under interrogation used as leverage.
• Pressure on suspects to implicate themselves and others.
• Threats of being subject to the death penalty if suspects did not confess. Continue reading…
Details of Zuley’s record in Chicago, where he worked from 1977 to 2007, began to emerge after Lathierial Boyd’s wrongful conviction for murder was overturned in 2013. Spencer Ackerman reports that in a federal civil-rights lawsuit Boyd accuses Zuley of “planting evidence and withholding crucial details.” At the time of his release Boyd had spent 23 years in prison, as the Chicago Tribune reported at the time.
Boyd was ordered released after having been convicted for a 1990 shooting that killed one man and seriously wounded another outside a bar in Wrigleyville. He was sentenced to 82 years in prison.
Boyd's lawyers had argued that the conviction rested primarily on the testimony of the wounded man, Ricky Warner. They contended Warner initially told police he did not know who shot him, but during the trial Warner testified that Boyd has shot him and the other man over a drug debt.
The attorneys also noted that nine witnesses viewed a line-up that included Boyd and none of them identified Boyd as the shooter.
Boyd’s alibi was that he was at his sister’s home some 20 miles from the crime scene eating pizza and watching a Chicago Bulls game. His sister testified to that, as did a veteran Cook County sheriff’s deputy who was there as well.
Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez, told reporters the decision to vacate the convictions followed investigations by the office's Conviction Integrity Unit, which was launched in an effort to root out wrongful convictions. Continue reading…
Former deputy commander of Guantánamo’s investigative task force for the military commissions, Mark Fallon, told the Guardian that based on Zuley’s interrogations at the military prison “if that’s any reflection of what he did in Chicago, it would not surprise me that he’s got a few issues going on right now.”
Saturday, Feb 14, 2015, 4:00 pm · By George Lavender
"Pennsylvania's system is riddled with flaws, making it error prone, expensive and anything but infallible." That’s according to Tom Wolf, the state’s governor who, as CNN reported, on Friday announced a moratorium on all executions.
"Numerous recent studies have called into question the accuracy and fundamental fairness of Pennsylvania's capital sentencing system," he said. "These studies suggest that inherent biases affect the makeup of death row. While data is incomplete, there are strong indications that a person is more likely to be charged with a capital offense and sentenced to death if he is poor or of a minority racial group, and particularly where the victim of the crime was Caucasian."
The governor stressed that the impetus was to re-examine a flawed system of justice, and in no way a sentence commutation for the 186 individuals on Pennsylvania's death row. Continue reading…
Pennsylvania has the fifth largest death row population in the United States, according to the Death Penalty Information Center but like several states has faced difficulty obtaining the drugs used in lethal injections in recent years. An execution last year was postponed because Pennsylvania officials were unable to obtain the necessary drugs. The prisoner, Hubert L Michael Jr., is still on death row at State Correctional Institution Greene.
Thursday, Feb 5, 2015, 2:51 pm · By George Lavender
Back in November 2013, 18-year-old Sasha Fleischman, fell asleep on the number 57 bus home from school in Berkeley, California. Fleischman who identifies as agender, wore “a t-shirt, a black fleece jacket, a gray newsboy cap and a gauzy white skirt” according to an article by Dashka Slater in the New York Times.
As the AC Transit bus made its way through Oakland another teenager on the bus flicked a lighter, setting fire to Fleischman’s skirt. “Sasha’s legs were left charred and peeling. Taken by ambulance to a San Francisco burn unit, Sasha would spend the next three and a half weeks undergoing multiple operations to treat the second- and third-degree burns that ran from thigh to calf.”
Richard Thomas, the 16-year-old who set Fleischman’s skirt on fire would later be charged as an adult with two felonies, each with a hate crime clause.
In a 2013 article in The Nation magazine Michael Bronski, Ann Pellegrini and Michael Amico explain how hate crime legislation is used.
The term “hate crime laws” is commonplace, but people often do not understand the intent or ramifications of such laws. It is important to understand why they were written in order to understand what they do and don’t do. While hate crime laws proliferated in the early 1980s, their legal roots are deeper. Throughout US history, violent, discriminatory acts against certain groups of people were not taken seriously. One solution was to enact new laws to make sure the laws already on the books were enforced. In the 1930s, when the lynching of African-Americans was pervasive throughout the country—3,446 black Americans were lynched between 1882 and 1968, one every ten days—activists lobbied Congress to pass anti-lynching laws. These would allow the federal government to legally intercede when states would not. A federal law was never passed. Only in 1968 did the Civil Rights Act make it a federal crime to “by force or by threat of force, injure, intimidate, or interfere with anyone … by reason of their race, color, religion, or national origin.” Soon states began passing their own legislation, based, to a large degree, on a model drafted by the ADL, to which “gender” and “sexual orientation” were later added.
Although all of these laws are worded differently, they usually contain three similar provisions. First, animus against the victim must be explicitly articulated. That is, the perpetrator must actively indicate that the crime is being committed because of a “hate” for the victim’s race, religion, ethnicity or sexual orientation. Second, state or federal authorities will officially keep track of the number of incidents by recording them as hate crimes. Third, hate crimes carry with them “penalty enhancement,” usually meaning stiffer sentencing, because they are understood as injuring not only an individual but a community. In the New York State penal code, for instance, if you are convicted of assault in the second degree, a D felony, you could be sentenced to up to seven years in prison. If your second-degree assault is recorded as a hate crime, the prosecutor can bump the charge up to a third-degree assault, a C felony, which carries a sentence of up to fifteen years. Continue reading…
As The Nation article describes, while some liberal groups have argued hate crime laws protect people, others have criticized such legislation as being selectively enforced, with poor people and people of color disproportionately charged and imprisoned.
As Slater writes “a majority of those charged with bias crimes do not fit the stereotype of the squinting, bristle-headed loner sporting a swastika tattoo.” Thomas too does not fit that description. He was on the bus on his way back home to “Deep East” Oakland. Later, he would write to Fleischman, apologizing for his actions. “I am not a thug, gangster, hoodlum, nor monster. Im a young african american male who’s made a terrible mistake” he wrote “i’ve also been hurt alot for no reason, not like i hurt you but ive been hurt physically and metally so i know how it feels, the pain and confusion of why me i’ve felt it before plenty of times.”
Saturday, Jan 24, 2015, 1:08 am · By Maya Schenwar
On January 27th, domestic violence survivor Marissa Alexander will walk out of Florida's Duval County jail -- but she won't be free.
Alexander, whose case has gained some notoriety, endured three years of jail time and a year of house arrest while fighting off a prison sentence that would have seen her incarcerated for the rest of her life -- all for firing a warning shot that injured no one to fend off her abusive husband. Like many black women before her, Alexander was framed as a perpetrator in a clear case of self-defense. In November, as her trial date drew close, Alexander accepted a plea deal that will likely give her credit for time served, requiring her to spend "just" 65 more days in jail. Media coverage of the development suggested that Alexander would soon have her "freedom," that she would be "coming home."
Many accounts of the plea deal, however, missed what Alexander will be coming home to: she'll return to "home detention" -- house arrest -- for two years.
In other words, an electronic monitor, secured around her ankle at all times, will track her every movement. Alexander will also be paying $105 per week to the state in monitoring fees, as is the custom in Florida and more than a dozen other states.
Such a situation is certainly preferable to being caged in a prison cell. However, does Alexander's release -- and that of others in her shoes -- mean freedom? In reality, an ever-growing number of cages are proliferating around us, even if they assume forms that look nothing like our standard idea of a cage.
As mass incarceration is falling out of fashion -- it's been denounced by figures across the political spectrum from Eric Holder to Newt Gingrich -- a whole slate of "alternatives to incarceration" has arisen. From electronic monitoring and debilitating forms of probation to mandatory drug testing and the sort of "predictive policing" that turns communities of color into open-air prisons, these alternatives are regularly presented as necessary "reforms" for a broken system.
Sunday, Jan 11, 2015, 2:45 am · By George Lavender
A controversial Pennsylvania law which could limit the ability of Mumia Abu-Jamal and other prisoners to write or speak publicly is being challenged in court. On Thursday, lawyers filed a motion for a preliminary injunction to prevent SB508 being enforced.
The “Revictimization Relief Act” was passed in October last year, sixteen days after Abu-Jamal delivered this prerecorded commencement speech at his former college.
Imprisoned for the 1981 murder of a Philadelphia police officer, Daniel Faulkner, Abu-Jamal's writing and commentaries have gained him a worldwide following. In passing the new law, outgoing Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett was quoted by The Washington Times described Abu-Jamal as an “unrepentant cop killer” who had “tested the limits of decency.”
The new law reads, in part, “a victim of a personal injury crime may bring a civil action against an offender in any court of competent jurisdiction to obtain injunctive and other appropriate relief, including reasonable attorney fees and other costs associated with the litigation, for conduct which perpetuates the continuing effect of the crime on the victim.”
To find out more about the law and the legal challenge to it The Prison Complex spoke with David Shapiro, a lawyer and professor at the MacArthur Justice Center at Northwestern Law School.