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News in Brief

Greece: After a 12 day uprising at a 150-man maximum security prison in Corfu, 44 prisoners escaped by digging out of the prison on March 9, 1996. Sixteen were recaptured within a few hours of the escape. The uprising was part of a protest by Greek prisoners at five prisons protesting bad conditions and overcrowding.

England: The British prison system announced it would begin distributing condoms to prisoners to slow the spread of the HIV virus. Prison Medical Service Health Care Director Rosemary Wool determined "there may be a legal risk in not providing condoms." A doctor could be found in "breach of his/her duty of care if a prisoner-patient contracts HIV in prison," she said.

FL: Jail guard Bill Smith was fired from his job as a lieutenant at the Jacksonville city jail after being spotted off duty dressed as a woman in a French cut bikini and wearing make up. After a seven year legal battle Smith got his job back after the Florida Commission on Human Relations ruled that cross dressing wasn't a fair grounds for dismissal. Smith was also awarded $149,500 in back pay. When he returned to his job at the jail Smith had undergone sex change surgery and changed his name to Belinda.

CA: On March 4, 1996, former San Diego county superior court judge Michael Greer pleaded guilty in federal court to taking $75,000 in bribes from attorney Patrick Frega in exchange for providing "favorable treatment and assistance" in more than 40 of Frega's cases, worth millions of dollars. Two other San Diego judges, now retired, James Malkus and C. Dennis Adams, have also been indicted for taking bribes from Frega.

Honduras: The countries of El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama have signed an agreement to jointly build a prison to hold the region's most dangerous prisoners in La Paz, 30 miles north of the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa. The high security prison is intended for drug traffickers, guerrillas, and prisoners declared dangerous by the courts. This is the first multinational prison PLN is aware of.

NY: Duchess County jail guard Michael Wendell was sentenced to four months in the jail he used to work in after pleading guilty to second degree vehicular manslaughter. Wendell was drunk when his speeding car crashed into another vehicle. A passenger in Wendell's car was killed. At the sentencing Wendell's attorney pleaded for leniency noting that Wendell might have to serve his four month sentence in protective custody because he is a jail guard.

NY: On January 3, 1996, federal judge Robert Carter entered a judgment ordering the state of New York to pay female prisoners $1,000 for each time they were videotaped in the nude prior to being placed in segregation. The nude taping was done by female prison employees but were later viewed by the male head of security and left around for other guards to watch at their leisure.

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