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News in Brief

WA: Dean Wilkins, a Kitsap county jail guard, resigned on January 20, 1995, after county detectives investigated a complaint that he had had consensual sex with a female prisoner at the jail. The complaint was made by another prisoner who witnessed the incident.

FL: In the March, 1995, NIB section we reported the five prisoners who tunneled out of the Glades Correctional institution. On January 10, 1995, more than 80 heavily armed police surrounded two of the escapees, Florencio Alvarez and Armando Junco, in a shack at a homeless area. Alvarez tried to hide while Junco attempted to flee out the back door. A Miami cop shot and killed the unarmed, 63 year old Junco. Police charged Alvarez with second degree felony murder in Junco's death. He faced another life sentence if convicted. Prosecutors later dismissed the charges.

VA: On February 5, 1995, prisoners at the Lorton prison's maximum security cell block left their cells after a power problem opened the cell doors of 88 prisoners at 1 AM. Two guards were stabbed and four others injured during the nocturnal cell release. Six prisoners suffered injuries as well. It took prison officials six hours to subdue the prisoners.

WA: On January 25, 1995, the state DOC announced that it had selected Grays Harbor as the site for another 1,936 bed state prison. Prison boss Chase Riveland said that a Stafford Creek site off Westport highway had been chosen as the site for the prison. Yakima and. Klickitat counties lobbied extensively to get the new prison. They should soon get prisons as well, according to DOC projections the state must build one 2,000 bed prison every 27 months just to keep up with a prison population at 140% of the system's rated capacity.

SC: On January 10, 1995, the state legislature started its new session with Republicans controlling the governor's office and legislature. However, Senate Corrections Committee Chairman Theo Mitchell wasn't present to celebrate. He was serving a. 90 day jail term for failing to report large cash transactions.

OH: Michael Wood, a prisoner at Lucasville, pleaded guilty to possessing dangerous ordnance and was given a sentence of three to five years, to be served concurrently with his sentence of aggravated murder. Wood was found to have a homemade gun and .22 caliber bullets in his cell. In 1993 prison guard Robbie Stringer was arrested smuggling 13 bullets into the prison [PLN, Vol. 4, No. 12] for Wood. On previous occasions Stringer had given Wood bullets. Shortly after Stringer's arrest, Wood began writing letters to the Ohio Attorney general, reports and the local county prosecutor vowing to kill warden Arthur Tate with the bullets from Stringer. The prosecutor stated: "If it hadn't been for his letters, he never would have been prosecuted."

CA: Bennie Powell spent 17 years in prison accused of killing a cop. The conviction was eventually overturned after it was shown that he was innocent and could not have killed the cop and was convicted on perjured testimony. Powell was awarded $3.5 million for the wrongful conviction. In February, 1995, he was sentenced to 52 years in prison after being convicted of two rapes, the first of which occurred some 13 months after his release from prison. His attorney unsuccessfully argued that he be given credit for the time served in the prior conviction of which he was innocent, arguing that the wrongful conviction had contributed to Powell's inability to relate well to women.

USA: In 1993 federal law enforcement agencies spent $97 million on informers, four times what they spent eight years earlier. An article in the February 13, 1995, National Law Journal quoted judges and attorneys who said that the use of informants had gotten out of hand. Former DEA agent Mike Levine stated that federal agents had allowed "15,000 wild, out of control informants" to take over investigations.

USA: Hardy Rauch, of the American Correctional Association states there is a national average of three prison employees for each prisoner. This includes doctors, case workers, administrators, support staff, etc. in addition to guards. With more than one million prisoners locked up in the US this translates into more than 3 million citizen employees.

WA: On February 7, 1995, Victor Calender, a King County (Seattle) jail guard was dismissed after the jail sustained nine counts of misconduct against him. Several of the counts included Calender having sex with female prisoners at the jail. The prosecutor's office has not yet determined if it will file charges against Calendar resulting from a separate investigation of sexual contact with three female prisoners.

VA: Janice Hubbard met her husband Alphonso Forte while working as a District of Columbia jail guard while Forte was doing time at the Lorton prison in Virginia. They married in 1993. Earlier this year Hubbard helped Forte escape from jail when he was sent to the jail for treatment for depression. Hubbard was dressed in her-uniform when she escorted Forte out of the jail and into a waiting car. The couple was arrested three days later when they were picking up a money wire at Western Union.

AZ: On February 12, 1995, prisoners at the state prison in Winslow barricaded themselves in a kitchen and set fires. A DOC spokesman Mike Arra stated that the rebellion invoked 30-40 prisoners and claimed not to know the reason for the uprising. After guards fired tear gas and stun grenades into the dining hall some prisoners surrendered, other retreated into the kitchen and barricaded themselves and set more fires. Arra stated no hostages were taken and only one guard suffered a minor injury. No other information is available to PLN as we go to press, but keep us posted.

Haiti: On February 18, 1995, more than 520 prisoners in the country's main prison in Port Au Prince rioted, angry at delays in the legal process. The prisoners threw rocks and set fires, injuring at least six, prisoners. Fifteen prisoners escaped during the melee. The prisoners were protesting the fact that most had been imprisoned for many months for minor offenses and have not been before judges. U. S. troops supporting the puppet regime of Jean Aristide cordoned off the prison area with barbed ware and did not participate in the prisoners' repression. One U. S. soldier was quoted saying "we just let them burn what they wanted to burn."

Australia: Prison officials have complained that people are filling tennis balls with drugs and then lobbing them over prison walls into the nations' jails and prisons. Other means of drug smuggling identified in a government report are smugglers firing drugs into prisons with crossbows and the time honored method of drug filled cakes. The government has announced plans to step up prison security and use drug sniffing dogs to patrol for people "with suspicious tennis balls."

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