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News in Brief

Bolivia: On April 27, 1999, more than 1,500 prisoners in seven prisons went on hunger-strike to protest overcrowding, delays in case processing and the denial of good time credits. At least five prisoners sewed their lips shut, 19 tied themselves to prison bars in a mock crucifixion and four submerged themselves in a cold water tank. On April 29 male prisoners ended the protest. Women prisoners continued the strike and criticized the male prisoners for capitulating with no real gains.

Brazil: On February 15, 1999, 48 women prisoners set bonfires and took six hostages at a Sao Paulo jail to protest severe overcrowding. The rebellion ended when the prisoners released the hostages and police fired warning shots. On the same day, at another Sao Paulo jail, 106 male prisoners set mattresses on fire to protest crowding. Police stormed the jail to regain control. No injuries were reported in either incident. Both jails were designed to hold 16 prisoners.

CA: In early April, 1999, San Mateo county jail guard Willard Kelley, 56, was charged with two felonies and a misdemeanor stemming from bringing alcohol into the jail and "having sex" with a 32-yearold female prisoner.

CA: On March 29, 1999, 650 Immigration and Naturalization Detainees at the Mira Loma Detention Center in Lancaster staged a six hour protest to demand release on bond and accelerated court proceedings. The detainees threw clothes and property on the prisons razor wire and unfurled banners demanding deportation or release on bond. The protest ended when the INS, California DOC and local sheriff's office agreed to accelerate bogged down deportation hearings and allow the detainees to meet with corporate media representatives.

CO: In early March, 1999, Troy Anderson grabbed a deputy's gun at the Adams County Justice Center while being transported from court and attempted to escape. The escape attempt was unsuccessful even though Anderson fired 16 shots from the deputy's pistol. No one was injured but Anderson faces numerous charges from the incident.

CT: In March, 1999, former state probation officer Richard Straub, 63, pleaded no contest to 31 criminal charges, including sexual assault, racketeering, kidnapping and unlawful restraint. Straub was originally charged with 224 counts of sexual misconduct stemming from the rape of 15 men and young boys who were on his probation caseload. Straub threatened to have the victims imprisoned if they did not submit to his attacks. Straub's activities came to light when a victim filed a civil rights suit against him after being raped.

FL: In April, 1999, Okeechobeee county jail guard Louis Alberto Maisonet, 35, was arrested and charged with repeatedly sexually assaulting a female prisoner in the jail over a 12 day period. The prisoner was in jail on minor traffic charges. Prosecutors claim Maisonet has already confessed to forcing the woman to perform oral sex and raping her on various occasions. The prisoner was raped at least once while the sheriff's office investigated her complaints.

KS: In February, 1999, Joshua Williams was released from the Olathe jail after he sent the jail a fax saying the charges against him had been dismissed. The fax had numerous spelling errors in it that failed to alert jailers.

KS: On December 18,1998, Gordon Brown, 60, a former DOC internal affairs investigator at toe Hutchinson Correctional Facility was sentenced to 4 years, 2 months imprisonment. Brown was convicted of two counts of aggravated indecent liberties stemming from his molestation of three girls, ages 9, 12 and 14 years.

MI: In February, 1999, Waukeen Spraggins escaped from the Detroit jail by impersonating a police official and calling jailers and ordering them to take him to his girlfriends house. Police chief Benny Napoleon said: "His request was so bizarre that people thought it had to be true."

MO: In August, 1998, circuit judge John Clark was disciplined by the state's Judicial Conduct Commission. Clark was using probationers he had sentenced to "community service" to perform unpaid labor at his home and businesses. The work included landscaping and painting. Clark did not keep time sheets or any other record of the probationers' labor.

NC: Two 15 year old boys doing community service at the Winston-Salem courthouse for vandalizing a phone booth were caught on videotape urinating into a coffee pot used by lawyers in an attorney break room. The coffee pot was left on overnight, creating a pungent aroma of cooked urine the next morning. Said one defense lawyer who uses the breakroom: "The boys are going to have to get someone from out of state to defend them on this one."

NE: In March, 1999, Douglas county jail sergeant Kirk Richardson was fired for throwing a prisoner to the floor and kicking him. The county's civil service commission upheld the firing, finding Richardson was guilty of prisoner abuse and had violated jail policies. Richardson also faces misdemeanor assault charges for the attack. Richardson had been fired from the jail in 1997 but was reinstated after appealing.

NM: In April, 1999, John P Bruner, was acquitted on charges of aggravated battery by a jury in Las Cruces district court. Bruner had been charged with stabbing James Ruppert three times while in the dining room of the Southern New Mexico Correctional Center where both were confined. Bruner represented himself pro se at trial. Deputy district attorney Sylvia Cano-Garcia called the acquittal "extremely embarrassing".

NV: A Carson City jury awarded former Ely state prison guard David Rowell $165,881 in damages. Rowell was convicted in state court on criminal charges of battery for beating, slapping and choking two prisoners. The prisoners sued Rowell for violating their civil rights. The Nevada attorney general's office refused to represent Rowell in the suit, saying his actions were "outside the course and scope of his job and not performed in good faith." Rowell hired a private attorney and won the suit against him. Rowell then sued the state to recover his legal costs. The jury agreed with Rowell that the AG's office should have represented him in the prisoners' suit.

NV: In April, 1999. the state settled a lawsuit with former prison guard Terry Selbach for $180,000. Selbach sued the state claiming she contracted Hepatitis C at the Nevada State Prison in 1994 when an infected prisoner vomited on a cut on her hand. Selbach claimed in the suit that she was not properly trained on how to avoid blood borne pathogens.

OH: In April, 1999. Southern Ohio Correctional Facility (SOCF) prisoner Keith Watkins, pleaded guilty in Scioto county common pleas court to a charge of felonious assault. Watkins admitted he repeatedly stabbed SOCF guard Rhonda Riley in the head and face with an ink pen. The pen was eventually imbedded four inches into Riley's face and had to be surgically removed. Watkins was sentenced to six years in prison.

OK: In April, 1999, a federal grand jury indicted James Madden, Tommy Pugh and Guadalupe Gonzalez on charges of smuggling more than 50 pounds of heroin, cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamine, between 1997-99, into the Oklahoma state Penitentiary at McAlester. Gonzalez, a drug dealer, sold the drugs to Pugh, who is the son of Tom Pugh, a prisoner serving a life sentence at the prison. Pugh Jr. would then give the drugs to Madden, a prison kitchen worker who would then smuggle the drugs into the prison. Madden was allegedly paid $400 for each pound of drugs that he delivered.

TX: In 1997 the Texas legislature enacted laws allowing repeat child molesters to be surgically castrated. To date, with 1,500 child molesters eligible for the procedure, 4 have volunteered for the surgery. To qualify, volunteers must be over 21, serving time for a sex crime against children and be a repeat offender.

TX: In February, 1999, Jerry Diaz, a former guard at the Coke county juvenile justice facility, pleaded guilty to sexual assault charges in state court for having a "consensual sexual relationship" with a juvenile female prisoner at the facility. Diaz was fined and sentenced to 180 days in jail as part of a ten year probation sentence. Diaz's victim has filed suit, claiming Diaz sexually and emotionally abused her. Wackenhut Corrections Corporation, which runs the facility, is also named as a defendant.

TX: In March, 1999, Harry Landry, a guard at the Ramsey II unit in Rosharon, was indicted by a Brazoria county grand jury on bribery charges. The indictment alleges that Landry was paid $400 to deliver four ounces of marijuana to a Ramsey lI prisoner.

WA: In May, 1999, J.D. Edson, a sergeant at the Washington State Reformatory in Monroe, went on paid leave while Snohomish county police investigated a report that Edson was found performing oral sex on a mentally disabled male patient in a group home. The patient, who has an IQ of 77, a history of sexual exploitation and has been diagnosed with depression and schizophrenia, told police the relationship was "consensual." Edson worked at the group home as well as the prison. News media reported that Edson's child was in the room when the sex act took place. Edson was also the WSR staff instructor on the topic of sexual assault.

WA: On March 16, 1999, Raymond Meier, 36, was found hanging dead in his Washington State Penitentiary cell. Meier was serving a sentence of life without parole under the state's three strikes law for child rape, kidnapping and burglary.

WA: On May 26, 1999, King County (Seattle) juvenile detention center guard Charles Parrish was charged in state court with drug possession. During a search of Parrish's apartment, police found drug residue in a crack pipe, a glass pipe and a small plastic bag.

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