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News in Brief

CA: Effective September 1, 1998, smoking and tobacco possession by prisoners is banned at the California Rehabilitation Center in Norco and 12 state prison reception centers. The tobacco ban was ordered by Governor Pete Wilson as a first step towards ending smoking by prisoners throughout the prison system. Wilson claims the ban is to reduce prisoner health care expenses and arson.

CA: On August 11, 1998, prisoner Michael Benton was beaten to death at the California State Prison-Sacramento (AKA New Folsom). Prisoner Jiles Wallace has been placed in segregation as a suspect in the killing. Benton' murder was the fourth at New Folsom since December, 1997.

CA: On August 18, 1998, The Judicial Council of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reprimanded federal judge James Ware. For years Ware, who is black, had told audiences he was inspired to become a lawyer after his 13 year onl brother was killed by white youths in his native Alabama in 1963. This was a lie as the victim's brother was another James Ware. The fraud was exposed by Alabama federal judge U.W. Clemon who heard judge Ware describe the incident on television. Clemon knew the victim's family. Ware, a Bush appointee in San Diego, had been nominated to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals but withdrew his nomination when his lie was exposed. The unanimous reprimand means Ware will face no other punishment, such as impeachment.

CA: On May 9, 1998, Calipatria State Prisoner Edward Citte1 (44) suffocated when he attempted to swallow a drug filled balloon during a cell search.

IN: On July 21, 1998, Anthony Harris was killed when the large mowing tractor he was driving overturned on him. Harris was imprisoned at the Putnamville Correctional Facility when he died.

Iran: On August 23, 1998, Assadollah Lajevardi, the former chief prosecutor and head of the Iranian prison system, was shot and killed in his drapery shop. Two members of the communist Mujahedeen al-Khalq carried out the attack and one was killed in a shoot out with pollce afterwards. The shooting marked the tenth anniversary of the 1988 summary executions of thousands of communist prisoners in Tehran's Evin prison. Lajevardi had overseen the executions as well as the systematic torture and mistreatment of political prisoners. Before the 1979 revolution Lajevardi had been imprisoned for bombing the Tehran offices of El Al, the Israeli airline, and for the attempted murder of a former Iranian prime minister.

MN: In February, 1998, Bemidji police raided a methamphetimine lab and arrested several drug makers. The meth chemists were local jail prisoners on work release. They had been hired by a local contractor who diverted them to his drug business.

MT: On May 17, 1998, prisoner Gerrel Barnes stabbed guard Doris Taylor (60) to death at the Thumb Correctional Facility. Barnes used a prison kitchen knife and committed the murder in an employee locker room in the prison kitchen. After killing Taylor Barnes slashed his own throat. Barnes has been charged with the killing. Prison officials claim Barnes killed Taylor because she had announced her retirement earlier that day.

NJ: On August 17, 1998, a jury awarded $350,000 in damages to former deputy attorney general Barbara Davis. Davis claimed she had been sexually harassed by her boss, deputy, director of the Criminal Justice Division, Richard Carley.

NY: On August 14, 1998, Gary Evans, a federal detainee facing the death penalty on charges of killing five people, kicked out the window of a U.S. Marshall's van while being transported from a court hearing and escaped. Shackled hand and foot, Evans got out of the moving van as it passed over the Troy-Menand's bridge and leaped to his death in the Hudson river. Evans fell 65 feet to land in one foot of water.

OK: On July 24, 1998, Tulsa jail nurses Troy Desonia and Charlene Crawford were indicted in charges of second degree manslaughter. The charges arise from the October 14, 1997, death of jail prisoner Charles Guffey, who died of a perforated ulcer.

OR: On August 28, 1998, Tracey Poirer escaped from the Oregon Women's Correctional Center in Salem by crawling through a hole cut in the prison's fence. Prison officials speculated that Poirer had a staff accomplice because electronic sensors in the fence did not work and she had been in a maximum security cell when she escaped. Poirer wee serving a sentence or life without parole for killing a dwarf.

SC: In June, 1998, Alabama based Just Care Inc., a private prison company, announced it would spend $15 million to convert a former mental hospital into a 326 bed prison hospital. The company plans to open the nation's first private geriatric prison to house elderly and disabled prisoners from Georgia and the Carolinas.

TX: In August, 1998, Cesario Alvarez Cubillos was shot and killed by prison guards while escaping from an INS detention center in Big Spring. Alvarez was serving a seven month sentence for illegally entering the U.S. The prison is operated on contract to the federal government by Cornell Corrections, a private. prison company.

TX: On August 7, 1998, Bill Himstedt, A Texas state prison guard, was killed and 16 prisoners injured when the prison bus driven by Himstedt ran off the road in rainy weather. The crash occurred in Centerville. The bus was transporting prisoners from Gatesville to Huntsville.

TX: On August 7, 1998, Huntsville prisoner Mark Stallings attempted to escape by taking guard Thomas Dorman hostage. Stallings was armed with a loaded, two shot derringer pistol. After a forty minute standoff, Stallings surrendered. The prison, Holliday unit, was placed on lockdown for the weekend as prison officials investigated how Stallings got the gun.

VA: In August, 1998, the Virginia DOC signed a contract to house 1,267 Washington D.C. prisoners for 2 ? years at a rate of $62 a day per prisoner. The contract comes as part of the District of Columbia's plan to close its prison system and the Virginia DOC's plan to rent 3,290 excess prison beds to MI, DE and VT.

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