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  1. #1
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    Question Inmate Expelled from Educational Program Due to Time Spent in Law Library

    My question involves an injury that occurred in the state of: Ohio

    As a brief summation, let's say you were incarcerated. You were enrolled in an educational program which was the equivalent to a trade/certification for office administrative technologies, and the cost of tuition would range from $3,000 to $10,000, possibly more.

    The class instructor and head of the education department actively and knowingly participated in the wrongful termination of the inmate's enrollment in said educational program, which was based soley upon his participation in the law library to meet deadlines and pursue active litigation--i.e., protected acts. The law library hours were in direct conflict with the hours of the educational program, therefore the inmate had to request "passes" to go to the law library. The inmate was also entitled to such passes per administrative regulation and at the directive of numerous supervisory prison staff. The inmate maintained the minimum class attendance requirements despite his infrequent, excused passes to go to the law library, and he maintained an "A" average in grades on all class assignments.

    The inmate now seeks to recover damages distinctly for the cost of the educational program which he was wrongfully terminated from. He is otherwise pursuing action for damages under Section 1983 for retaliation, but so far as he has researched, it does not appear would be able to recover damages for the educational aspect because he has no constitutional right to engage in that during incarceration. The basis of this inquiry would be for the proper means to recover damages at the state level, presumably, but I would welcome any and all insight into this complicated matter.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: A Unique Inquiry Concerning Education and Damages for Wrongful Removal from Schoo

    I'd like to see where participation in the law library would be a protected act in the legal sense of the phrase.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Inmate Expelled from Educational Program Due to Time Spent in Law Library

    Quote Quoting VisionaryLegal
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    You were enrolled in an educational program which was the equivalent to a trade/certification for office administrative technologies, and the cost of tuition would range from $3,000 to $10,000, possibly more.
    If you're speaking of what the program would theoretically cost, if it weren't free to the inmate, that won't change the fact that the inmate paid no tuition. If the inmate paid tuition, it's not "$3,000 to $10,000, possibly more" - there's a dollar figure involved.

    What was the nature of the program, and the exact stated ground for the inmate's termination from the program?

    Also, it seems unlikely that the classes were offered by the Department of Corrections, as opposed to by a company that contracted with the ODRC to provide classes in the prison or that the classes were provided by the Ohio Central School System. Even if somebody associated with the ODRC was mad because this prisoner kept filing lawsuits, you would need to explain for us how they managed to trigger an expulsion decision by a third party.

    Also, there would be protocols to pursue within the prison for prison discipline issues, and within the educational organization for educational issues. Did the prisoner shrug his shoulders and not pursue any remedies, or did he attempt to pursue his administrative remedies? If the latter, please elaborate.

  4. #4
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    May 2011
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    Illinois
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    Default Re: A Unique Inquiry Concerning Education and Damages for Wrongful Removal from Schoo

    So, the inmate enrolled in a program, knowing what hours of opertation the law library held. The inmate took said classes for free, knowing how much theses particular classes cost on the outside. The inmate wants to sue for financial compensation for something that he did not have to pay for in the first place.

    And is attempting to use outside law in order to bolster his case against his penal institution. Most universities would have done the same thing despite his A average is. That would not be the only criteria that he would have to satisfy.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Inmate Expelled from Educational Program Due to Time Spent in Law Library

    Ah, many fail to see the premise of the claim it appears, or are siding with the penal system (in my opinion).

    Foremost, this reply is not in direct response to your post but more so to the totality of responses, so take no offense at inapplicable references to your post. The inmate was not "filing lawsuits" by participating in the law library, but was actually pursuing his active habeas corpus petition. Regardless, meaningful access to the courts is a First Amendment right, and retaliation for exercising the right to seek redress from the courts is likewise a First Amendment violation.

    The inmate at issue fully exhausted his administrative remedies in accordance with the PLRA, to answer your question. The staff liable for the wrongful and retaliatory termination falsified the facts, actually, and later refused to provide the records of the inmate's attendance and GPA--which would be the only grounds for termination. In fact, the records showing the hours completed towards the educational course--which would be transferable to an outside school for credit and accreditation--were destroyed by the prison staff. In essence, at the very least, the inmate should be able to retain the records of his attendance and GPA in the program for credit in the real world; after all, why else would an inmate seek to complete a course other than to increase his chances for employability upon release?

    The educational program is administered by the Ohio Central School System, for clarity to that aspect of the issue, and the educational staff were employees of the ODRC.

    Hopefully this will clarify some misgivings, but I appreciate the input nonetheless.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Inmate Expelled from Educational Program Due to Time Spent in Law Library

    If you choose not to share relevant facts, quite obviously we will not know those facts. We should not have to explain that to you. It's not clear why the inmate believes that the prison would care that he was trying to file a petition for habeas corpus, let alone why they would "retaliate" against him for doing so. Lots of prisoners spend their time filing habeas petitions. You have not indicated that the prisoner was impaired in any way in relation to his access to the prison library. To the contrary, you indicate that he received passes whenever he requested them.

    "The staff" is not a helpful reference. We're no speaking of a single entity. What staff are you talking about? How do you propose that prison staff could destroy records held by the Ohio Central School System?

    Frankly, even if we were to assume that there was a legal issue to be found, we're not going to be able to provide any sort of meaningful analysis based upon the tiny amount of information available to us.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Inmate Expelled from Educational Program Due to Time Spent in Law Library

    I don't remember where in the first amendment free and easy access to a law library was listed. Please quote the appropriate reference.

    Second, exactly how much did YOU pay for the course? I am trying to determine your damages.

    Oh, and if you are saying, "some of these people seem pretty down on prisoners", you have to realize that many of us would like to have access to free secondary education and are a bit upset that it is only available to those that have committed crimes against person or property.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Inmate Expelled from Educational Program Due to Time Spent in Law Library

    Quote Quoting cyjeff
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    I don't remember where in the first amendment free and easy access to a law library was listed. Please quote the appropriate reference.
    Since the Sixth Circuit would be the controlling authority on this issue, notwithstanding the Supreme Court, "First, . . . in order to assure that incarcerated persons have meaningful access to the courts, states are required to provide affirmative assistance in the preparation of legal papers in cases involving constitutional rights and other civil rights actions related to their incarceration. . . . Second, in all other types of civil actions, states may not erect barriers that impede the right of access of incarcerated persons." John L. v. Adams, 969 F.2d 228, 235 (6th Cir. 1992). Prison officials may not retaliate against prisoners for using the courts or trying to do so (see, e.g., Siggers-El v. Barlow, 412 F.3d 693 (6th Cir. 1992)), no matter the form of the retaliation. DeTomaso v. McGinnis, 970 F.2d 211, 214 (7th Cir. 1992) ("whether the retaliation takes the form of property or privileges does not matter") (dictum).

    I'd say that's a start, but to expand on your notion of incarcerated persons having access to free secondary education, I'd like to learn your thoughts on that after you yourself would spend years incarcerated for a wrongful conviction that becomes later reversed, albeit years after the time was served and thus becomes irreversible. And while you were in you simply tried to pursue your remedies while simultaneously attempting to take advantage of whatever educational opportunities were available.

    I'd say the inmate paid an amount no free person could calculate for his educational endeavors while incarcerated, but in this instance would merely be seeking to recover the approximate amount it would cost to do same in the free world.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Inmate Expelled from Educational Program Due to Time Spent in Law Library

    Oh, so now it was a wrongful conviction that was reversed? Funny, you hadn't mentioned that before. What other items are you going to throw into the mix when you don't get the answer you want?

    No court is going to reimburse him for the cost of an education he didn't pay for in the first place.

  10. #10
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    Ohio
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    Default Re: Inmate Expelled from Educational Program Due to Time Spent in Law Library

    I'm sorry it appears you didn't get to see a response that suits your agenda. Actually, I responded to the poster's question with an answer that clearly didn't get rebutted (I notice you offered nothing to the contrary in the way of the cases that supported my initial conjecture either); second, the wrongful conviction is not what's at issue and is thus not material to the inquiry in the thread. This is why it would appear that my analytical skills are just as honed as I've been told and as what my demonstrated work would support, therefore, to think I could come to a forum consisting of pompous douchebags to get an informed, unbiased response was clearly a mistake. What's wrong with the legal system? Look in the mirror.

    I apologize for being a better litigant and throwing out some bait, but the results were equally informative.

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