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News in Brief

AR: The DOC announced plans to convert the Hiland Mountain Correctional Facility into a women's prisons as the legislature refuses to provide funds to build one. Hiland currently houses 230 male sex offenders undergoing treatment. During a 1-year transition, the prison will be co-ed, housing male sex offenders and female prisoners, the only prison in the U.S. to do so. Alaska has 200 women prisoners and only 66 beds in its current women's prison, the rest are housed in small numbers in male prisons.

CA: On June 10, 1997, Sacramento county paid jail detainee Willie Culp $30,000 to settle his federal lawsuit claiming Culp was beaten by sheriff's deputies after he protested the beating of another prisoner. Culp was being detained on traffic charges when beaten.

CA: On August 19, 1997, Merced county jail prisoners George Applegate and Richard Hernandez escaped from the jail by overpowering an unarmed guard and taking his keys.

Columbia: On July 19, 1997, 32 policemen were injured while doing a surprise search at Cali's Villa Hermosa prison. The police began the search acting on a tip that prisoners were planning an escape. During the search police were attacked with knives and other homemade weapons and forced to withdraw.

IA: Prisoners at the state's license plate factory in Anamosa dropped the "C" from Cass county license plates, leaving unamused Dept. of Transportation officials.

Jamaica: On August 28, 1997, army troops and police regained control of the country's two main prisons, the General Penitentiary in Kingston and the St. Catherine District prison, after four days of rioting left 16 prisoners dead. The rioting began on August 20th when the nation's prison director suggested distributing condoms to guards and prisoners to curb the spread of AIDS. The guards took the suggestion as an implication that they were homosexuals and simply walked off the job to protest the idea. The riots began shortly thereafter. No word on where this leaves the condom proposal.

LA: On August 19, 1997, more than 100 Cubans detained by the INS at the Avoyelles Detention Center in Marksville began a hungerstrike to protest their detention since 1980 and conditions of confinement. The detainees' demands include faster processing of their releases, investigation of guard brutality and repair of the center's air conditioning system.

Mexico: On July 30, 1997, fifteen guards at the Zacatecas prison were hospitalized after prisoners spiked their food with drugs in a failed escape attempt.

MI: On August 18, 1997, Mt. Pleasant jail detainee William Foster grabbed a gun from bailiff Wayne Van Dyke, shot and wounded Van Dyke before killing himself. Foster had been on suicide watch since arriving at the jail on bank robbery charges. He was in court to be arraigned.

OH: Former Hamilton county jail guard Carl McKibben filed suit under the Americans with Disabilities Act claiming he was wrongfully fired from his job because he is morbidly obese, an alcoholic, arthritic and suffers from hypertension and apnea.

TN: On September 2, 1997, Tennessee State Penitentiary prisoners James Bhy and Daniel Dye escaped from the prison in a golf cart.

TX: On August 11, 1997, a federal jury in San Antonio ruled that a prison guard and a librarian violated the civil rights of prisoner Timothy Volk by forcing him to pick up, kill and skin 300 rattlesnakes. Volk was bitten by a snake and filed suit. While ruling in his favor the jury awarded no damages, apparently feeling anyone with sense doesn't pick up snakes.

WA: On September 9, 1997, Kinnick Sanford and Vanna Rann escaped from a King County jail facility in Kent that had opened less than a month before. The escapees used a steel phone cord to cut through a fence covering a recreation yard, climbed out and then jumped off the jail's two story roof. Both were later recaptured.

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