Blog of Rights

Margaret
Winter

Margaret Winter is Associate Director of the ACLU National Prison Project. She has litigated prison and jail reform cases in federal trial and appellate courts around the nation and has argued and won a prisoner’s rights case in the U.S. Supreme Court. She has won ground-breaking remedial decrees in class action cases challenging conditions of confinement on death row, prolonged solitary confinement, treatment of youth sentenced as adult and of prisoners with serious mental illness, HIV-based discrimination, and failure to protect prisoners from rape and violence. She has testified as an expert before the National Prison Rape Elimination Commission; the National Commission on Safety and Abuse in America’s Prisons; the Citizens’ Commission on Violence in the Los Angeles County Jails; and the California Senate and Assembly Public Safety Committees’ Joint Hearing on Segregation Policies in California’s Prisons. Her cases have been featured in the New York Times, the Washington Post, National Public Radio, and other national media.  She was a finalist for the Public Justice Trial Lawyer of the Year Award for 2013. She has served as an adjunct professor of law at Georgetown University Law Center, teaching courses on prisoners’ rights litigation and policy.

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The Reign of Terror Ends at LA County Jails

The Reign of Terror Ends at LA County Jails

By Margaret Winter, National Prison Project & Peter J. Eliasberg, ACLU of Southern California at 3:49pm
For many years there's been an entrenched culture of savage deputy-on-inmate violence Los Angeles County Jails – violence as extreme as anything we've seen in decades of investigating some of the most notorious jails and prisons in the nation.
Notorious Sheriff Baca Finally Retires

Notorious Sheriff Baca Finally Retires

By Margaret Winter, National Prison Project at 10:33am

Sheriff Lee Baca stunned the public this week by announcing that he will immediately retire as the head of Los Angeles County jails. His announcement marks another milestone in the ACLU's campaign to end the culture of rampant deputy-on-prisoner violence…

HIV Ghettos in U.S. Prisons Are Finally in the Past

HIV Ghettos in U.S. Prisons Are Finally in the Past

By Margaret Winter, National Prison Project at 10:12am

We are thirty years into the HIV epidemic. Surely, by now, stigmatization, isolation and discrimination against people living with HIV should be a relic of the past. Yet up until today, categorical HIV segregation – one of the ugliest remnants of…

The First Step to Fix a Broken Prison? Set the Record Straight

The First Step to Fix a Broken Prison? Set the Record Straight

By Gabriel Eber, ACLU National Prison Project & Margaret Winter, National Prison Project at 11:53am

Over the last couple weeks, we've been talking a lot about East Mississippi Correctional Facility, a violent and dangerously understaffed prison where patients with severe mental illnesses go without basic mental health care and many prisoners cut…

NEW LAWSUIT: Massive Human Rights Violations at Mississippi Prison

NEW LAWSUIT: Massive Human Rights Violations at Mississippi Prison

By Gabriel Eber, ACLU National Prison Project & Margaret Winter, National Prison Project at 10:34am

East Mississippi Correctional Facility is hyper-violent, grotesquely filthy and dangerous. Patients with severe psychiatric disabilities go without basic mental health care. Many prisoners attempt suicide. This video is the story of a young man who…

VICTORY! Henderson et al. v. Thomas et al.

VICTORY! Henderson et al. v. Thomas et al.

By Margaret Winter, National Prison Project at 3:01pm

Today a federal judge in Montgomery, Alabama entered a historic decision in the quarter-century-old fight for equality for prisoners living with HIV.   It’s the culmination of a month-long trial in a class-action lawsuit by the ACLU that…

A Policy of Shame: the Fight to End HIV Segregation in Prison Continues

A Policy of Shame: the Fight to End HIV Segregation in Prison Continues

By Margaret Winter, National Prison Project at 10:01am

Alabama segregates all prisoners with HIV, and houses them separately from all other prisoners – it’s an HIV ghetto.  As soon as you walk into Limestone Correctional Facility, the prison where Alabama houses all male prisoners with…

A Sheriff with his Head in the Sand

A Sheriff with his Head in the Sand

By Margaret Winter, National Prison Project & Peter J. Eliasberg, ACLU of Southern California at 9:30am

Gang-like cliques of sheriff's deputies operating with impunity inside L.A. County jails. Department top brass encouraging a culture of violence and brutality against inmates. And a sheriff with his head in the sand.

Private Prisons Are the Problem, Not the Solution

Private Prisons Are the Problem, Not the Solution

By Margaret Winter, National Prison Project & Gabriel Eber, ACLU National Prison Project at 4:38pm

For the past two years, the ACLU and the Southern Poverty Law Center have been investigating and exposing a horrifying pattern of abuse against juveniles and the mentally ill in two Mississippi prisons operated by the GEO Group, one of the biggest…

Los Angeles Sheriff Endorses Report Recommending Swift Closure of Infamous Jail

Los Angeles Sheriff Endorses Report Recommending Swift Closure of Infamous Jail

By Margaret Winter, National Prison Project at 1:41pm

A new report released today finds L.A. County's Men's Central Jail, the largest and most violence-plagued in the nation, can be shut down by the end of 2013.

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