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News in Brief

PA: On August 2, 1995, SCI Graterford prison guards Keith Robertson and Martin Williams were arrested for drug possession with intent to deliver. Both guards were seen, during an investigation, dumping drugs behind vending machines and trash bins within the prison.

FL: Israel Martinez was charged with breaking into the Glades Correctional Institution while intoxicated. He was arrested and charged.

OH: In August, 1995, the Hamilton County (Cincinnati) sheriff released 49 prisoners serving sentences for nonviolent offenses early in an effort to ease overcrowding at the jail. The jail was over its 1,240 capacity by 17 prisoners. The releases were made to make room for weekend arrests.

WA: On August 11, 1995, the Department of Justice announced it had awarded the DOC a $1.8 million grant to fund a 200 bed "work ethic" camp on McNeil Island. The camp is expected to take 2 years to finish. The grant will allow construction of separate facilities in which to house the work ethic prisoners. The grant requires the state to match the grant with 25% of funds.

Russia: On September 2, 1995, two prisoners suffocated and a third was hospitalized in critical condition at the pre trial detention facility in Perm, a Ural Mountains city 700 miles east of Moscow. Three other prisoners had to be revived with respirators the night before. The warden ordered windows and food hatches opened at the prison, which holds twice as many prisoners as it was designed for.

Denmark: On August 27, 1995, 12 prisoners escaped from the Vridsloeselille prison in a Copenhagen suburb after a bulldozer broke a large hole in the prison's 26 foot wall. The prison escape was timed to coincide with a soccer game at a nearby stadium. The escape was filmed by a local TV station and shown on the news. Several days later one of the prisoners returned to the prison and surrendered.

OK: On August 19, 1995, Robert Brecheen was found in his McAlester death row cell, groggy from a drug overdose. Prison guards administered first aid and rushed him to a local hospital where his stomach was pumped and he was successfully revived, at a cost of $5,000. Brecheen was then returned to McAlester where he was strapped into a gurney and administered a drug overdose by prison guards, killing him. Larry Fields, director of the Oklahoma DOC, said "Certainly there's irony, but we're bound by the law..." Newspaper accounts described Brecheen as "a favorite among guards because of his cooperative nature. Some corrections officers testified on his behalf on his behalf at his clemency hearing, describing how he makes their jobs easier."

VA: On September 5, 1995, Allen Wilhelm was found languishing in the Spotsylvania courthouse, where he had been imprisoned on a traffic offense for five days without food. His cell had running water and a toilet but no bedding. Wilhelm had been ordered to spend two days in jail but a bailiff forgot to transfer him to a regional jail. The bailiff was fired and Wilhelm suffered no visible lasting ill effects.

NY: On September 13, 1995, former Rockland County district attorney Kenneth Gribetz was sentenced to five years probation, fined $10,000 and ordered to perform 500 hours of community service after being convicted in federal court of tax evasion and misusing county funds. Gribetz received some $36,000 in kickbacks from law firms for steering civil cases their way and misused $23,000 in county funds for personal matters including trysts with his lover. Much media attention was focused on Gribetz's penchant for cross dressing. Federal investigators said they removed sex toys, whips, a gold lame mini-skirt, black high heels, pantyhose and a wig from Gribetz's home.

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