Delaware Complies with Prison Reforms

Jan. 1st 2013, From: WBOC:

DOVER, Del. – The U.S. Justice Department says the state of Delaware has instituted reforms at its state prisons and the U.S. is terminating an amended memorandum of agreement.
The DOJ said Monday that reforms at the three state prisons include improvements in mental health care, medical care and suicide prevention. Delaware established the Bureau of Correctional Healthcare Services, which designed and implemented a continuous quality improvement program which is used as a model by other states and municipalities.
The department and Delaware entered into the original agreement in 2006 to resolve the department’s findings of unlawful conditions at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center, the Howard R. Young Correctional Institution and the Sussex Correctional Institution.

How to Request a CRIPA Investigation.

Wrote this letter to the section head at the DOJ in their Civil Rights Division in response to concerns about Jamie Scott, a dialysis patient in Mississippi whose health is deteriorating quickly. I have evidence that not only is she not receiving adequate medical care, such as the case with other Mississippi prisoners – which makes it a pattern of possible civil rights violations, not just an incident. That means the DOJ has to investigate. 

Am posting his letter here because we all need to know how to do this when confronted with evidence of a pattern of abuse/medical neglect resulting in the denial of civil rights for institutionalized persons. I also need your back-up: even a post-card to the DOJ echoing the request for a CRIPA investigation of Mississippi’s DOC could help.

Access to health care is a constitutionally guaranteed right for prisoners; the problem is that the health care they end up getting, if any at all, is always on the cheap, “saving” the state money (profiting legislators who invest in private prisons) or profiting private industry directly. So, the standards are what we will really end up fighting for.

Anyway, in response to the SOS from Jamie’s mom, I called the warden’s and governor’s offices in Mississippi this weekend, then yesterday put together a packet of current reports from Jamie’s prison to send off with this to the Department of Justice, requesting a CRIPA (Civil Rights for Institutionalized Persons) investigation complaining about health care, using both Jamie’s and a few other documented examples of neglect/extreme indifference to prisoner health and welfare. It seems I did that once already, but may not have done so quite so officially. 

So, here’s how to request a CRIPA investigation, as far as I know. The more people who do this and the more sources of information we have about conditions, the more likely it is that the DOJ will follow up and clean house at the MDOC.

Send the Free The Scott Sisters campaign emails with copies of letters you write on Jamie’s behalf for their records. Following the CRIPA request letter is the info from Jamie’s mom that went into my packet, regarding prison conditions and retaliation.


Margaret J. Plews
Arizona Prison Watch
1809 East Willetta Street
Phoenix, AZ  850o6
April 20, 2010
Judy Preston, Chief
US Department of Justice
Special Litigation Section
950 Pennsylvania Ave NW  PHB
Washington, DC 20530
Dear Chief Preston;
Enclosed is some documentation regarding health care in Mississippi’s state prison system. The dramatic change in inmate mortality alone should have alerted your office and triggered an investigation – please don’t delay starting one any longer. The conditions are horrendous, people are dying for lack of adequate medical care, and patients seem to be completely left in the dark about their own illnesses, treatment, prognosis, etc. I believe their civil rights are being violated routinely with grave consequence. The enclosed account of retaliatory behavior on the part of the prison for Mrs. Rasco’s activism troubles me, too. We need you folks in there ASAP or her daughter, Jamie, is going to die before she’s exonerated.
A wealth of additional documentation about the medical services in the CMCF can be found at , or . The welfare of Mississippi’s most vulnerable population – their prisoners, including Mrs. Rasco’s girls – is in your hands. Please at least read up on the blogs and see what we’re seeing; I don’t know how you all could not know what’s going on there. I’m getting mail from other women complaining about medical services in that particular facility, too, and expect more within the next couple of weeks. They are resisting their shoddy treatment, and writing and talking about it – there’s no better time than now to go in there…
Please let me know if your office will be following up on this complaint with a CRIPA investigation, or referring it to a more appropriate department for follow-up. Without question, though, we need some kind of federal intervention in Mississippi now. I may be asking for help in Arizona, next, but first things first.
Thank you for your time and attention.
Margaret J. Plews
Prison Abolitionist

Free Lynne Stewart!

The Friends of Marcia Powell heard from Lynne Stewart today, in response to a postcard we sent her from the First Amendment / Anti-Arpaio Rally at the Cronkite School of Broadcasting a month or so ago.

As an attorney Lynne represented many political prisoners from our great liberation movements pro bono, in many cases, over the past few decades. That’s the real reason why the federal government wants to kill her, regardless of what party is in power. Hit her site to see why this beautiful, courageous woman is fighting cancer and the Justice Department from behind bars now herself.

If you want to write to a political prisoner and have already done your project (mail your art to the White House and DOJ the week of April 24), drop a note of support to Lynne at:

Lynne Stewart (53504-054)

150 Park Row

New York, New York 10007

You can also do some artwork similar to the campaign for Mumia ( or steal mine and make postcards out of it – I just messed with the color from and ordinary chalked sidewalk). We’ll hit the White House, Justice Department, US Congress members, the Washington Post, and everyone else we can think of with “Free Lynne Stewart”. She’s the one of all the political prisoners who they themselves are probably rooting for the most right now – like Mumia, her life is in danger.

DOJ Civil Righs Division: CRIPA News Links

From the DOJ’s Special Litigation Section Website (Where CRIPA Investigations are covered). We may be sending them to USP-Lewisburg, next…

If anyone has any tips on connecting with Warden Bledsoe, I’m open. Reach me at


DOJ Civil Rights Division: Special Litigation Section Home Page

The Special Litigation Section is an office within the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice, charged with enforcing federal civil rights statutes in four major areas; Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons, Conduct of Law Enforcement Agencies, Access to Reproductive Health Clinics and places of Religious Worship, and Religious Exercise of Institutionalized Persons. The Section undertakes investigations and litigation through the United States and its territories. Overview of the work of the Section.