% | $
Quotes you view appear here for quick access.

The GEO Group, Inc. Message Board

  • mcprison mcprison Jun 22, 2001 9:10 AM Flag

    inmates, 2

    Public defenders from Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties, who are
    representing the inmates seeking to attach their claims to Charles, say their
    goal is to restrict what they call Wackenhut's indiscriminate use of solitary
    confinement at South Bay. Palm Beach County Public Defender Ken Johnson says
    that solitary confinement is used at South Bay "whenever, wherever and

    The Charles case remains active even though Charles was released from
    solitary in April of last year, after Judge Blanc issued a "show cause" order on
    his behalf. In May 2000, the state moved to dismiss the suit, arguing that
    Charles' release from solitary rendered the case moot.

    But in July, Blanc denied the state's motion to dismiss on the grounds that
    the Wackenhut practices were "capable of repetition," in a manner "not subject
    to judicial review." In December, Blanc granted Charles' original habeas
    petition, thus retroactively confirming that the solitary confinement was a due
    process violation. And he denied a new state motion to dismiss, again continuing
    the case on the "capable of repetition" grounds.

    In a hearing before Judge Blanc this month, Miami-Dade assistant public
    defender John Morrison said that no state-approved regulations for the holding
    facility are in place, and that Wackenhut has improvised rules from its own
    detainee handbook. Morrison called those rules "clearly inadequate" and said
    they left prison guards "without constraint." At the hearing, Morrison said that
    "Wackenhut's attitude is, 'These aren't prisoners. We can throw away the rules.'
    No hearing. No notice. One guy was in solitary for six months."

    The Florida attorney general's office, representing Kearney, has challenged
    the standing of the public defenders in the Charles case, arguing that it
    constitutes a class-action suit and that public defenders are prohibited by
    state law from participating. But Johnson and Morrison insist that they
    represent a collection of individual clients, not a class.

    Johnson says that news of the challenges to the Ryce Act's weaknesses has
    spread throughout the South Bay inmate population, and that all 130 Ryce Act
    detainees may file habeas corpus claims.

    Wackenhut spokeswoman Margaret Pearson told the Daily Business Review that
    her company had established an "internal local procedures handbook" for South
    Bay operations that was "tailor-made" to the facility population and to "
    Wackenhut's contractual obligations." She cited no statutory basis for the
    handbook, saying it had been reviewed by the Department of Children and

    But Greg Venz, director of the Sexually Violent Predator Program, said he has
    "no idea where [Wackenhut] pulled [their guidebook] from." He added that "it
    didn't seem inappropriate." Venz said that there's 50 years of case law to draw
    on in crafting detention rules for correctional facilities.

    Venz said his agency is still learning how to administer the Jimmy Ryce
    program because it's a "new approach, part detention, part rehabilitation." But
    he cautions that "not every decision that's made for behavior management implies
    a right to due process."

29.79-0.49(-1.62%)Nov 25 4:02 PMEST