- Associated Press - Saturday, February 14, 2015

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - An Alaska Office of the Ombudsman report criticized how a Palmer Correctional Center inmate was punished.

The report by Ombudsman Linda Lord-Jenkins said the state Department of Corrections should not have put an inmate in segregation for two months for allegedly having heroin.

Lord-Jenkins concluded corrections officials violated the inmate’s constitutional right to due process by punishing him without proper evidence handling and hearing records, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner (https://ow.ly/J42lL) reported Friday.

There should be a high standard of proof for putting an inmate in solitary confinement, known among inmates as the “hole,” Lord-Jenkins wrote.

The Department of Corrections didn’t immediately respond to a phone message from The Associated Press Saturday seeking comment.

The evidence cited in the report involves a bag of heroin that a prison sergeant accidentally took home.

The inmate, whose identity and conviction is not revealed in the report, pleaded not guilty at a hearing and made a statement.

“Well, from what I read here in the write-up, she took it home,” he said, according to the report. “We don’t know what it was that was in my property. I don’t know what it was that was in my property. Where is the chain of evidence at?”

The disciplinary committee found him guilty, sentenced him to 60 days of punitive segregation, 60 days lost of possible commissary sales and 90 days lost from time he would have received off his sentence for good behavior.

The state Division of Personnel and Labor Relations determined that the sergeant who took the evidence home when she put it in her pocket was a “one-time mistake” and there was no misconduct on her part, the report said.


Information from: Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner, https://www.newsminer.com

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