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News in Brief

AZ : On July 30, 1998, Tempe Jailer Chris Perry was suspended for 16 hours after an internal investigation found he had punched prisoner Jon M. Harding on the head three times after Harding bit him. Perry was cleared of excessive force charges arising from two other incidents. Perry was also being investigated for allegedly sexually harassing a female jailer.

CA : On August 9, 1998, Astarte Rice-Davis, a prisoner at the women's federal prison in Dublin, escaped by walking away from the minimum security prison.

CA : On July 12, 1998, John Udy, a Division of Youth Corrections counselor, was fined $1,000 and sentenced to 18 months probation after pleading guilty to paying a 15 year-old female prostitute for sex. Udy claimed he did not know the girl's age.

CO : On September 23, 1998, former Bureau of Prisons guard Stephen Mills, 43, was sentenced to 33 months in prison for beating Florence prisoner Fred Davis. Mills claimed he didn't know Davis was handcuffed and restrained when he beat him. A federal jury convicted Mills on July 2, 1998. The sentence was the lowest one available under federal sentencing guidelines.

CO : On September 24, 1998, Michael Garcia, 23, a Colorado State Penitentiary prisoner in Canon City, was stabbed to death by two other prisoners armed with sharpened toothbrushes. No reason was given by the media for the killing.

CT : On September 4, 1998, New Haven sheriff's deputy Shawn Fuller was sentenced to 15 months in state prison after pleading guilty to stealing $5,273 from prisoners. Fuller was found dangling in a courthouse elevator shaft with envelopes full of money, jewelry and other valuables belonging to jail prisoners stuffed in his pants.

GA : On October 1, 1998, James Fletcher, a Department of Corrections parole officer, was sentenced to four years in federal prison and ordered to pay $7.36 million in restitution for his role in a Medicaid fraud scheme.

Gaza : On August 30, 1998, a firing squad of the Palestinian Authority carried out its first execution since being granted limited autonomy by Israel in 1994. Brothers Raed and Mohammed Abu-Sultan were convicted of killing two brothers three days before their execution. The executed men were members of a Palestinian police organization who allegedly used official weapons in the killings. More than 20 Palestinians have been sentenced to death by the Palestinian Authority since 1994.

Greece : On August 16, 1998, 40 prisoners escaped from the Avlona prison in Athens by jumping over a prison courtyard wall.

KY : On August 21, 1998, Melissa Walters, 29, a guard at the Luther Luckett Correctional Complex, was arrested in a police sting operation. Walters was accused of trying to buy marijuana to give to a prisoner. She resigned her prison job later that day.

LA : On July 31, 1998, former St. Helena Parish sheriff Chaney Phillips was sentenced to 8 years, 1 month in federal prison for illegally putting businessman Emerson Newman on the payroll of the Parish assessors office when Phillips was the assessor. Newman received pay and benefits but didn't show up for work. Phillips had campaigned for the office of sheriff on an anti-corruption platform. His predecessor, sheriff Eugene Holland, was convicted and sentenced to federal prison for stealing money from the sheriff's office.

Lebanon : On September 3, 1998, Antoine Lahd, the head of the Israeli puppet South Lebanon Army, released Soha Bishara, 31, from the group's notorious Rhiam jail. Bishara is considered a national heroine in Lebanon. On orders of the Lebanese Communist Party she befriended Lahd's wife to gain access to his household in order to assassinate him. Bishara shot and wounded Lahd in 1988 and has spent the last ten years in Lahd's private prison without trial.

Mexico : On September 16, 1998, dozens of prisoners at the Reclusorio del Norte prison in Mexico City rioted. The prisoners looted stores inside the prison and burned two dormitories. The prisoners rioted when prison officials cancelled visiting that day. By law, Mexican prisoners are entitled to visits on national holidays. September 16 is Mexico's independence day.

MO : On August 20, 1998, a prison guard was killed and one guard and 12 prisoners injured when a car crossed an I-70 median and struck the prison bus they were in. The bus was taking St. Louis county prisoners to a state prison. After being hit, the bus rolled over several times. The accident occurred near Lake St. Louis.

NY : On August 2, 1998, Clinton county jail deputies Jeffrey Lozier and Bryan Van Tilburg were fired and suspended, respectively, for rigging Jail surveillance monitors to watch the final episode of "Seinfeld" on May 12, 1998. Van Tilburg later quit.

OH : On August 17, 1998, David A. Baker, chief of the Office of Equal Employment and Opportunity of the Ohio Department of Correction and Rehabilitation (DORC), pleaded guilty in Franklin county municipal court to one count of soliciting prostitution. Baker, a former warden at the Mansfield Correctional Institution, was arrested July 17, 1998, in a prostitution sting operation by Columbus police. Baker was sentenced to 60 days in jail, with 59 days suspended, and a $360 day fine. The DORC demoted Baker to reception coordinator after his conviction.

OK : On August 9, 1998, Glen Brummett, 46, a counselor at the Bureau of Prison's E1 Reno Correctional Institution, was arrested by federal agents when he reported to work at the prison. Grummett faces federal charges of conspiring to manufacture, possess and distribute methamphetamine. He is also charged with smuggling drugs into the prison.

TX : In July, 1998, Benicio Hoyos, a former cook at the Bureau of Prisons Federal Medical Center in Ft. Worth, was sentenced to 46 months in prison after pleading guilty in April to one count of possessing and providing drugs to prisoners. Hoyos, who had earned $19.17 an hour as a BOP cook, smuggled liquor, cocaine, heroin and marijuana to prisoners. Hoyos received the minimum sentence allowed by federal sentencing guidelines.

TX : On July 1, 1998, William Williams escaped from Tarrant County detective Celeste Rogers by hitting and biting her. Williams was handcuffed and in leg restraints when he managed to overpower Rogers while in an unmarked police vehicle. Williams stole the car, with keys to the restraints and two guns. Within 90 minutes he had robbed a business. Williams was arrested in a bar later that evening and faces federal escape charges. Williams was serving a 12 year bank robbery sentence at the federal penitentiary in Florence, CO. He had been brought to Tarrant county to help police with "numerous ongoing cases."

TX : On July 27, 1998, Saofaigg Loa, 24, a Hawaiian state prisoner convicted of rape, escaped from the maximum security Newton County Correctional Center by cutting through two fences. Loa then hitched a ride out of town. He was shot and wounded later that day when recaptured by police. Loa is an out of state prisoner held at the privately operated prison to relieve crowding in the Hawaiian prison system. The Newton facility is operated by Sarasota, FL, based Correctional Services Corporation.

WA : On September 21, 1998, Wahkiakum county sheriff's chaplain David Wayne Gerlach, 58, was sentenced to 5 years in prison after pleading guilty to using threats to intimidate a 13 year old girl into a sexual relationship that lasted fourteen years. As jail chaplain Gerlach led bible study groups for prisoners.

WY : Citing low pay and a jury's decision not to impose the death penalty on prisoner Richard Dowdell, earlier convicted of killing prison guard Wayne Martinez during an escape, over a dozen guards at the Wyoming State Penitentiary have announced their intention of seeking new jobs.

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