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News in Brief

AZ : In July, 1998, a jury acquitted Bruce Howell, a Perryville prisoner, of murder and all charges but one related to the killing of prison guard Brent Lumley. Howell faces a second trial on a single charge of deadly assault by a prisoner.

AZ : On June 29, 1998, an unidentified transsexual prisoner filed charges alleging that Maricopa county jail guard George Back forced him to perform oral sex in a jail cell. Back resigned from the job as a guard, while the jail insisted the act was consensual.

CA : In early July, 1998, Ronnie Hawkins, a defendant in a three strikes case, was ordered shocked by Los Angeles Municipal court judge Joan Comparet-Cassanithe. Hawkins was wearing a "stun belt" which delivers a 50,000 volt electrical charge, because he had been in fights while in jail. The judge ordered a bailiff to administer the eight second shock because Hawkins repeatedly interrupted her. Several attorneys filed complaints over the incident. Hawkins, represented by lawyer Stephen Yagman, filed suit. He is the first defendant to have the device activated since Los Angeles began using it in 1996.

CA : On April 14, 1998, Jerry Bailey, a guard at the federal Metropolitan Correctional Center in San Diego, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor for engaging in oral sex with an unidentified prisoner. Bailey was supposed to be photographing the prisoner when the assault took place.

CA : On June 1, 1998, James Moore was in a Los Angeles superior court room when a jury returned its verdict finding him guilty of kidnapping for the purpose of sexual battery. Upon hearing the verdict Moore pulled a plastic knife from his clothes and stabbed two deputies. A third deputy shot and killed Moore in the courtroom. Moore had been free on bond pending his trial.

CA : On May 7, 1998, Octavio Orozco was shot and killed by a guard at the Pleasant Valley State Prison in Coalinga. Orozco was shot in the dining hall while he and two other prisoners attacked another prisoner. The prisoners were all unarmed.

CA : On April 20, 1998, former California Department of Corrections guard Diane Goodwin was sentenced to two months in jail after pleading guilty in Sacramento County superior court to three felony counts of false impersonation, one misdemeanor count of unauthorized communication with a prisoner and no contest to conspiracy to impersonate the wife of CDC prisoner Paul Thomas. Goodwin, a 17 year CDC guard, fell in love with Thomas while he was serving a 25 to life sentence at New Folsom for murder. After Thomas was transferred to Corcoran Goodwin obtained a driver's license stating she was Thomas' estranged wife. Using the fake license Goodwin participated in four Extended Family Visits with Thomas. In April, 1996, she was confronted by CDC officials about the relationship and resigned. Goodwin said the only regret she had was not quitting her job before beginning the affair with Thomas.

CT : On June 4, 1998, Lieutenants Philip LaFleur and Gerald Hines were fired from the MacDougal Correctional Institution for threatening to lynch, or hang, a black prisoner during a disciplinary hearing. Their conduct was characterized by the DOC as "unprofessional" and rejected their defense that they were "only joking." Guard Michael Glover received a written reprimand. All three guards are appealing the sanctions.

FL : On April 20, 1998, prisoners from a work crew at the Copeland Road Prison saved the life of Shonte Crawford. Crawford's car flipped over off the "Alligator Alley" road in South Florida and landed in a canal. Crawford was trapped in the submerged car which prisoners lifted and allowed Crawford to breathe until rescue units arrived. Rescuers credited the prisoners with saving Crawford's life. Ironically, despite extensive and congratulatory coverage in the local media, none of the prisoner rescuers were named.

GA : In June, 1998, Alabama state prisoner Ronald Sanders was sentenced to 15 years in a federal prison for mailing a crude matchhead letter bomb to the eleventh circuit court of appeals in Atlanta. Sanders said he mailed the device because he was desperate to be transferred from the Alabama prison system.

Italy: On June 22, 1998, Mafia bosses Ferdinando Cesarano and Giuseppe Autorini escaped from a packed courtroom in Rome while on trial for Mafia activities. The prisoners escaped through a hole cut into the floor of the defendants' box in the courtroom that led to a road near the courthouse. The prisoners were successful in getting away.

KS : On May 1, 1998, Kenneth Taylor and Jeremy Willis escaped from the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks in Ft. Leavanworth by hiding in a garbage truck. The truck driver reported the escape after the two jumped from the truck. After a search Taylor surrendered to police. Willis was shot and wounded while trying to steal a police cruiser. Both men are former airmen.

MS : On June 25, 1998, Mississippi state prisoners Mario Centobie and Jeremy Granberry escaped by overpowering a sheriff's deputy escorting them to a court hearing from prison. On June 27 they allegedly shot an Alabama policeman who tried to arrest them. Both were later caught.

NV : On April 2, 1998, Steven Schaaf, a prisoner at the Carson City Correctional Center, was shot and killed by prison guards after removing restraints and escaping from a prison van taking him to a doctor's office. Guards shot Schaaf after they were unable to catch up with him.

NY : Faced with severe overcrowding of its juvenile prisons, New York City officials announced that up to 100 children between the ages of 10-16 would be housed on a prison barge anchored in the East River.

OH : On May 21, 1998, anti crime crusaders Art McKoy and Abdul Rahim Ali Hasan, president and chairman, respectively, of Black on Black Crime, Inc., were sentenced to three years in state prison for fraud. The group was mistakenly sent several thousand dollars by the city of Cleveland, rather than do the honest thing and return it, the "anti crime" fighters pocketed the money and spent it on personal items.

TN : On June 10, 1998, Hamilton County (Chattanooga) jail guard Lonnie Hood was indicted for giving $400,000 to former New York policeman Vincent Bovino in exchange for illegal steroids destined to be sold in the jail. Hood has pleaded guilty to money laundering and is cooperating with prosecutors who expect to indict more jail guards.

TX : In June, 1998, the Ft. Stockton Independent School District's board of trustees announced that it would continue to use prison slave labor to perform janitorial and groundekeeping duties in its schools, but would try to limit the contact prisoners had with students.

TX: On April 5, 1998, state health officials traced a Rubella outbreak to an Immigration and Naturalization Service detention center in Bayview. Since November, 1997, twenty detainees have contracted Rubella which then spread to outside citizens through the facility's employees.

TX : On May 12, 1998, former Starr county sheriff Eugenio Falcon was sentenced to two years in federal prison for organizing a bail bond kickback scheme. Falcon, justice of the peace Adan Garcia and jailers Javier Garcia, Armando Saenz, Jose Venecia and Victor Gonzales all pleaded guilty to conspiring to refer detainees to bailbondsman Homero Longoria in exchange for kickbacks. Longoria was the prosecution's main witness against the defendants.

VA : On June 11, 1998, former Powhatan Correctional Center warden Patrick Gurney pleaded guilty to one count of assault and battery for biting his wife and stepson. He was sentenced to one year in jail, which was suspended for three years. Gurney remains employed by the Virginia DOC, working at the regional office in Charlottesville.

WY : On June 10, 1998, Brett West, a guard at the Wyoming Women's Center in Lusk, pleaded guilty in state court to one count of second degree sexual assault for raping two women prisoners on three occassions at the prison.

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