Timely access to prison records is critical to PLS’s ability to provide effective representation to our clients. Our primary means of obtaining records for initial investigations and advocacy is New York’s Freedom of Information Law (FOIL). We recently argued an appeal before the Appellate Division, Third Department challenging DOCCS’ withholding of videos and narrative incident reports requested through FOIL.
PLS prevails in challenge to a DOCCS’ decision to remove our client from the work release program following his filing of a worker’s compensation program claim for a prior occupational injury as one that violates Americans with Disabilities Act.
Today the nonprofit organizations Disability Rights Advocates (DRA) and Prisoners’ Legal Services of New York (PLS) filed a class action lawsuit against the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) on behalf of people with disabilities who are incarcerated at Five Points Correctional Facility and have been denied mobility-related accommodations they need to get around.
A civilly detained individual is not a “prisoner” as defined by the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA).
On July 1, 2021, the Second Circuit issued a landmark decision in Brathwaite v. Garland, finding that the imposition of a presumption of finality to state criminal convictions under appellate review was arbitrary and unreasonable.
PLS prevails in challenge to a prison disciplinary proceeding alleging guilty finding was not supported by substantial evidence and violated state regulations and DOCCS’ directives
Between April 2020 and March 2021, PLS’ advocacy in the areas of disciplinary hearings, jail time, sentencing computations and parole has resulted in decades of time being removed from people’s sentences.
The Second Circuit adopts a bright-line rule regarding exhaustion under the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA).
Citing Gustus v. Fischer, 64 A.D.3d 1034 (2009) the court held that “where two misbehavior reports charge violations concerning a single incident and all of the information necessary to support the charges was available before commencement of first hearing, a hearing on second misbehavior report is barred by doctrine of res judicata.”
The court stated: “Although the form includes instructions to inform an inmate about the nature of the hearing, the charges against him or her and the fact that the hearing will be conducted in the refusing inmate’s absence, the record reflects no information regarding the steps taken to ascertain the legitimacy of petitioner’s refusal or to inform him of his right to attend the hearing and the consequences of his failure to do so.” Wilson v. Annucci, #523541 (3d Dep’t) (March 2, 2017).