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News in Brief

WA: On June 3, 1994, former King County (Seattle, WA) jail guard Andre Gantt, 35, was sentenced to 26 months imprisonment after pleading guilty to two counts of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver. The drugs in question were cocaine and marijuana which Gantt was smuggling into the jail to give to prisoners. About 100 of Gantt's former co-workers, guards at the jail, signed a petition asking the judge to give Gantt the maximum sentence allowed by law, claiming that his actions had endangered them.

CA: The California DOC earned approximately $6.2 million in telephone commission kickbacks from calls made by prisoners.

WA: On June 5, 1994, three prisoners in the Yakima county jail climbed through the ceiling of their unit shower and escaped through the roof by climbing down a braided sheet rope. Two of the prisoners were being held on first degree murder charges.

WV: On June 30, 1994, Robert Shepard used dental floss to braid a rope which he used to scale an 18 foot fence and escape from the recreation yard of the South Charleston, West Virginia jail. Shepard, awaiting a preliminary hearing on robbery and weapons charges, was the first to escape from the year old, 300 bed jail. Jail officials have taken dental floss off the commissary list.

MD: Kirk Bloodsworth, who spent 9 years on death row for a rape murder he was eventually acquitted of, has been awarded $300,000 by the state of Maryland as compensation for the prison time he served. Bloodsworth was convicted and sentenced to death in 1985 of raping and killing a 9 year old girl. His conviction was overturned in 1987 and he was again convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment. Prosecutors dismissed the case after newly discovered genetic evidence proved that Bloodsworth could not have committed the killing. The genetic testing was not available at the earlier trials.

WA: Before being hanged by the state, convicted triple murderer Charles Campbell was given the anti-depressant Elavil. After the autopsy revealed Elavil in his system, prison officials told local media that Campbell had been depressed about his pending execution.

USA: The General Accounting Office issued a report June 28, 1994, stating that white collar criminals, mainly those responsible for the collapse of the savings and loan industry, owe the federal government $3.6 billion in criminal fines that will likely never be collected. The Justice Department reports that half of the $3.6 billion is owed by people convicted of financial institution fraud and says many of these offenders now have no money to pay the fines.

OH: Thomas Rice has been appointed head of the Ohio DRC's "gang control unit. Rice recently retired as superintendent of the Ohio State Patrol after 33 years. In his new job Rice will develop strategies to deal with "gangs" and "security threat groups," i.e. prison organizers and activists. Arthur Tate, who as warden of the prison at Lucasville presided over the longest prison siege in U.S. history in April, 1993, has been appointed warden of a new medium security prison complex being built near St. Clairsville, OH. Tate is held responsible by many Lucasville prisoners for worsening conditions that led to the rebellion. Since December, 1993, Tate has been the Ohio DRC's chief inspector.

CT: On June 10, 1994, Connecticut governor Lowell Weicker suspended operation of the state's boot camp style school for troubled youth because of drugs, fighting and gangs. The first federally funded program of its type in the nation, it was troubled from its opening by fistfights, sex, drug use and gambling said state attorney John Bailey. The camp was run by the state national guard and purported to help high school drop outs earn GED's in a military style boot camp. The state had received $4 million to operate the camp for its first year and graduate 400 "students."

USA: Seeking new things to do with tax payer money, the Sandia National Laboratory has come up with the idea of sticky foam, a confetti like foam that envelopes people like a liquid strait jacket, immobilizing them. Sandia plans to market the foam to police and prison agencies. The Department of Energy announced plans to test the goo-like foam in federal prisons later this year.

GA: On July 12, 1994, 200 prisoners in Oglethorpe took over two buildings at the Macon Correctional Instittuion. The rebellion ended four hours later after guards in riot gear stormed the buildings.

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