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News in Brief

Costa Rica : On December 3, 1998, 500 prisoners at La Reforma prison in San Jose rioted to protest the shooting death of one prisoner and wounding of six others who had attempted to escape. The escapees had dug a tunnel outside the prison. Waiting guards gunned them down as they emerged from the tunnel and tried to run. No figures were given on the number of dead or injured in the riot, which was quickly suppressed by riot police using tear gas and clubs.

FL: In the last six months of 1998 the Border Patrol in Miami began Operation Child Care, targetting immigrants convicted of sex offenses for deportation. Under a 1996 law, non citizens convicted of any felony can be deported. In 1998 the Border Patrol deported 200 immigrant sex offenders and plans to deport at least 500 in 1999. South Florida is, so far, the only location the Border Patrol has launched this type of operation. The Patrol is relying on Florida's Internet listing of sex offenders to target those who are also immigrants.

FL : On November 19, 1998, the state announced it was exchanging 30 prisoners convicted of state crimes, mainly murder, who came to the U.S. from Cuba in the 1980 Mariel boatlift. The Cubans are going to the federal prison system and Florida will receive 30 minimum security U.S. citizen prisoners who are serving relatively short federal sentences for drug and financial crimes. Florida claims the federal government has a duty to reduce the burden of illegal immigration on the states by deporting immigrant felons or taking them into its custody. Florida has argued, and lost, this position in court.

GA : On September 19, 1998, Kenny Dukes, 40, won the state lottery jackpot of $31 million. Dukes took a lump sum payment of $10.65 million. Dukes was on parole for burglarizing his mother's home in 1997. Parole officials said Dukes would have to maintain gainful employment and pay his $10 a month parole supervision fee until his parole ends in 2001. Dukes described himself as a simple and happy man.

Mexico: On December 25, 1998, four prisoners at the Reclusorio Sur prison in Mexico City attempted to escape by starting a riot. When that failed, they took 11 prisoners, four visitors and four medical workers hostage in the prison infirmary. The siege ended peacefully 20 hours later when the hostages were released. The hostage takers were armed with three pistols, a rifle and a grenade. Prison officlais were investigating the source of the weapons.

NC : On November 18, 1998, Leroy Howard was arrested by Creedmore police for stealing a $500 space heater. After fleeing the scene of the alleged theft, Howard was eventually captured and arrested by: the Creedmore chief of police, 3 police officers, two wildlife officers with a tracking dog and 80 members of the North Carolina Prison Emergency Response Team with two more dogs, backed up by a state police helicopter. No explanation was given as to why 80 prison guards were tracking petty thieves.

NY : A Westchester county task force reported on December 2, 1998, that the claims system for jail guards is "out of control." Guards who claim injury are placed on paid leave while the claim is investigated. Richard Girgenti, the task force chairman, said that on any given day 15% of jail guards are on injury leave. Since 1993, 35% of the jail's 750 guards have filed injury claims, costing taxpayers $15 million. One "injured" guard missed 83 days of his regularly scheduled shifts at the jail, but made $87,000 working other shifts.

NY : On December 1, 1998, Levi Watts (27), a guard at the women's prison in Bedford Hills, was shot to death during a robbery. Watts was killed in a brothel in Queens. Detectives speculate he was killed while trying to escape.

NY : On December 8, 1998, Erie County jail guard Juan Roman pleaded guilty to second degree murder and first degree assault charges stemming from shooting his wife to death at their children's elementary school. Roman also shot a school aide. Roman had a restraining order against him at the time of the killing and stole a .357 revolver from the jail to carry out the killing.

OH: On December 28, 1998, Lt. Richard Forrest was charged in state court with first degree misdemeanor assault. Police claim Forrest struck prisoner Allen Jefferson's head against a wall. Captain Dana Rolfe was criminally charged with dereliction of duty for failing to stop the October 25, 1998, assault; failing to get medical attention for Jefferson and failing to complete use of force reports. The attack occured at the Southeastern Correctional Institution in Lancaster. State police investigated the attack after receiving a complaint from the family member of a prisoner. Jefferson was attacked while handcuffed for allegedly refusing to report to work. Forrest was put on paid leave while awaiting trial. Rolfe resigned and guards John Newsome and James Eving lost a day's pay for their role in the attack.

OH : On October 22, 1998, the Ohio court of claims held that the state had to pay the Sherman R. Smoot Co. $749,042 for breach of contract for work performed in 1994 on the Belmont Correctional Institution. Smoot, a masonry contractor, successfully argued it was entitled to compensation for costs associated with delays by other contractors, miscellaneous charges and $64,000 the state withheld for late completion of the work.

PA : On October 21, 1998, a grand jury refused to indict two unnamed parole officers who shot parolee Kenneth Griffin 11 times as he hid under a basement mattress. Griffin was unarmed.

TX : On October 30, 1998, Michael Jones, 29, hanged himself in the Brazoria county jail in Angleton, 30 minutes before he was due to be released. Jones was serving a brief sentence for public intoxication. Jail officials claim Jones began to behave erratically when asked to sign his release papers.

UT : On December 2, 1998, Davis county jail guard, Michael Carnahan was fired for allegedly soliciting oral sex from three women prisoners.

UT : On October 27, 1998, the U.S. Air Force announced it was going to court martial former Utah Department of Corrections (DOC) deputy director Nicholas Morgan. According to military prosecutors, Morgan falsified travel related documents and expense accounts while on duty with the Utah Air Force Reserve. The Air Force investigation came after the Utah Attorney General's office investigated Morgan for falsifying his travel expenses while be was deputy director of the prison system. Morgan was fired by the DOC as a result of that investigation.

VA: In December, 1998, Virginia joined nine other states in posting the names and addresses of 4,631 "violent sex offenders" on the Internet. The site, www.vsp-, gives the offender's name, photo, age, home address and criminal history. The site is also organized by town, county and zip code.

WI : On December 4, 1998, Oshkosh Correctional Institution prisoner Paul Malmstrom (39) was charged in Winnebago county circuit court with two counts of theft by fraud. Prosecutors claim Malmstrom defrauded another prisoner by telling him he could obtain an earlier release from prison. Malmstrom told the other prisoner that his parents had posted two $5,000 surety bonds with local courts to ensure the prisoner's release. The prisoner duly sent $10,000 to Malmstrom's parents and later discovered there was no bond and no order for early release. The money was recovered from a bank account held by Malmstrom's parents.

WV: In November, 1998, Frank Bertrand and Timothy Nottingham escaped from the Pruntytoen Correctional Center and went to a convenience store to buy beer. Unable to produce identification to show they were of legal drinking age the men dejectedly returned to jail. Jail officials did not learn of the escape until they returned.

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