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News in Brief

AZ : In early 1998, 16 DOC guards were fired or quit for sexually harassing other employees or engaging in sexual misconduct with other employees at the Florence prison complex. Eight other guards were disciplined. The misconduct included guards having sex with each other in towers; making obscene phone calls; putting shaving cream on phone receivers and throwing water on other staff members. No prisoners were victimized in these escapades.

AZ : On July 10, 1998, Gregory Stephens escaped from the Maricopa (Phoenix) county jail by climbing a razor wire fence, stealing a construction pick up truck and ramming it to freedom through two chain link fences. A long time drug addict, Stephens was awaiting trial on drug charges.

AZ : On July 9, 1998, former prison warden Thomas Raymond Sullivan was sentenced to 24 years in prison for molesting three girls ranging in age from 8 to 15. Sullivan was fired from his job as Perryville warden.

AZ : On June 20, 1998, former AZ DOC guard and Maricopa superior court security guard Joseph Parra was sentenced to 19 years in prison after pleading guilty to child molestation charges. Parra met the victim after having an affair with her mother, another AZ DOC guard.

CA : In July, 1998, 24 prisoners at the Sierra Conservation Center in Jamestown, the Deuel Vocational Institution and Folsom prison became ill with E.coli. Prison officials suspect contaminated vegetable and milk supplies as the source of the potentially fatal infection. E. coli is transmitted through fecal contamination of food.

CA : In May, 1998, Mark Bravo was awarded $4 million in damages by a Los Angeles judge. Bravo was wrongly convicted of raping a mental patient and spent four years in prison before being exonerated.

CA : On April 11, 1998, Bryan Hess, a pretrial detainee at the Los Angeles Twin Towers jail died of streptococcal pneumonia meningitis type A, a contagious form of meningitis spread by coughing and sneezing. Sixty prisoners were also tested for the disease.

CA: On June 30, 1998, Jeffrey Ford was killed at the California Medical Facility in Vacaville, allegedly by his cellmate James Diesso. Ford had been beaten, strangled and stabbed. On June 23, 1998, a melee between 110 Latino prisoners led to the prison being locked down.

CA : On the night of June 26, 1998, state parole officer Albert Martinez was arrested in a Los Angeles park and charged with committing unspecified "lewd conduct." The day before the arrest Martinez had narrowly lost a race for the Democratic party nomination for the 62nd state assembly seat. Martinez had received about $250,000 in campaign donations from the California Correctional Peace Officers Association (the union that represents prison guards and parole officers) for his election bid.

CT : On July 2, 1998, New Haven sheriff's deputy Shawn Fuller pleaded no contest to breaking into the local courthouse and stealing $5,273 from a safe where prisoners' money and belongings were stored. Fuller was captured when police found him dangling from an elevator shaft with 50 envelopes stuffed with prisoners' cash and jewelry.

Dubai: Prisoners convicted of fraud and other financial crimes can now run their businesses from behind bars. Abbas Ali, head of the Persian Gulf emirate's prison system, said: "Dubai prison will have a state of the art business center for inmates jailed for financial crimes. Jailed businessmen will soon be able to run their legal business from a center staffed with secretarial services and modern business machines." Ali said the purpose of the reforms was to allow businessmen to stay in touch with the outside world and to minimize the financial loss resulting from imprisonment.

FL : In June, 1998, William Hock, a guard at the BOP FCI Tallahassee was convicted of several charges related to having sex with female prisoners.

NM : On August 18, 1998, New Mexico State Penitentiary guard Edward Catanach pleaded guilty to smuggling drugs to prisoners for $20 a run. He faces a year in jail.

OH : In July, 1998, Richard Evans was fired from his job as a guard at the Allen Correctional Institution (ACI) in Lima, for having sex with a minor. He was convicted on misdemeanor charges for that offense. ACI guard Arthur Green was also fired after being charged with marijuana possession outside the prison.

OH : In June, 1998, Ohio prison guard Gregorio Mercado was indicted in Lorain county on 13 counts of molesting teenage girls who were friends of his family. Mercado is charged with four counts of felonious sexual penetration; six counts of gross sexual imposition and one count each of attempted felonious sexual penetration, public indecency and disseminating obscenity to juveniles.

TX : Wesley Wayne Miller was paroled on state murder charges in May, 1998. While on parole he is subjected to three different types of monitoring. At all times Miller must wear an electronic monitoring bracelet on his ankle; a pager that uses voice recognition technology and a satellite tracking device. ABS Technology, the company providing the satellite tracking, said a dozen parolees in NJ, KS and IA are also under satellite surveillance. Miller is the only parolee in Texas subjected to three types of monitoring.

UT : On July 1, 1998, the DOC announced it would place information about Utah sex offenders on its internet web site.

UT : On May 2, 1998, justice court judge Patricia Chavez was sentenced to 38 months of unsupervised probation for stealing $2,240 in bail money deposited with the court by defendants. Chavez pleaded guilty to one count of misusing public monies.

VA : Michael Morton, a former VA DOC nurse technician claims his role in the state execution of Frank Coppola caused him post traumatic stress syndrome and led to drug and alcohol addictions that eventually landed him in prison. Morton is now imprisoned at the Brunswick Correctional Center for forgery, burglary and grand larceny charges.

VA : On July 16, 1998, Lorton prison guard Derek Stanton Lamar was convicted of rape and a jury recommended a life sentence.

VA : On July 29, 1998, six prisoners returning from a work release landscaping assignment to the Greensville Correctional Center attempted to rescue motorist Carolyn Tipton from a burning car wreck. Tipton had died on impact but this wasn't known at the time. For their heroism the six prisoners received letters of commendation from the Prince George police. Despite extensive local publicity, only one prisoner, Richard Addair, was named in media accounts. VA DOC spokesman Larry Traylor said the other prisoners' names "weren't available."

VA : On June 4, 1998, Halifax county jail guard Jonathan Edward Majors was convicted of two counts of consensual sodomy for having sex with two female prisoners in the jail.

WA: In June, 1998, Michael Collier was acquitted by a jury of first degree murder charges and walked out of a King County (Seattle) courtroom a free man. Collier had represented himself at trial pro se. His co-defendant was represented by counsel and was convicted of second degree murder. One lawyer commented "If this catches on we'll be out of a job."

WI : The state DOC spent $11.1 million on guard overtime salary in the 1998 fiscal year. The DOC claims nearly 600 guard positions are vacant so other employees must work overtime to fill the gaps.

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