A federal court has dismissed an environmental activist's claims against the U.S. Bureau of Prisons over a restrictive prison wing he was housed in, but a lawsuit filed by other prisoners against the government over its restrictive communication management units continues.
Daniel McGowan, 39, served seven years in federal prison for arson connected with the Earth Liberation Front, four of them in the secretive communication management units, or CMUs, dubbed "Little Guantanamo" by critics.
Along with dozens of other mostly Muslim inmates, McGowan's phone calls with the outside world and physical contact with his family were severely limited. Even after he was released to a halfway house, McGowan was briefly tossed back into prison this year for writing a Huffington Post blog entry detailing his case.
McGowan's lawyers at the Center for Constitutional Rights had argued that his re-jailing proved he was still at risk for re-incarceration in the CMUs. But the judge overseeing the lawsuit disagreed, citing a 1990s-era law that severely restricts the rights of federal prisoners to challenge cruel and unusual punishment.
McGowan's lawyers at the Center for Constitutional Rights said in a statement that they were "deeply disappointed" by Senior Judge Barbara J. Rothstein's decision, but that they would push on with the larger lawsuit.