Skip navigation
× You have 2 more free articles available this month. Subscribe today.

News in Brief

AR : On October 13, 1999, Mark Lucas escaped from the Miller County jail in Texarkana by sawing through a cell lock and running through open fire escape doors. Lucas, awaiting trial on murder charges, was later recaptured.

CA : In December, 1998, Sacramento sheriff's deputy Sandy Larson was killed and deputy Susan Rosenberg and Soledad prisoners James Columbus and Robert Fowler were injured when the jail van they were in crashed into a stalled big rig truck on a highway. The prisoners were being taken to a court hearing in Sacramento. Two other motorists were also injured.

CA : On December 12, 1998, Corcoran prison guard Francisco "Paco" Gavaldon was arrested on felony charges of conspiracy and solicitation of murder after authorities videotaped him arranging to pay another man $1,000 and a car to murder his estranged wife. Prison sources identified Gavaldon as a violent guard who frequently assaults prisoners. He was hauled before a state legislative committee in the summer of 1998 where he refused to answer questions about his role in a June 1995 beating of Corcoran prisoners. A week after his arrest, prison officials said Gavaldon was still employed as a guard, but presumably on leave while sitting in the Tulare County jail on $1 million bail.

CO : On March 1, 1999, the state DOC banned smoking in all of its prison facilities. Tobacco sales were halted in December.

CT : The town of Plainfield recently enacted a law which requires strip clubs to interrogate their patrons and bar sex offenders from entry. Town leaders claim the law protects residents by keeping sex offenders from going to strip clubs, becoming aroused and then committing crimes. Club owner Joseph Quinn says the law is unfair because it is not applied to other businesses where sex offenders can become aroused, such as swimming pools and libraries. Apparently town leaders aren't concerned about kinky sex offenders or shoe stores, pet shops and police supply stores would be on the list. Playgrounds are apparently not included either.

FL : On November 10, 1998, former DOC prison guard Barry Rayl was sentenced to 27 years imprisonment for the second degree murder shooting death of Bill Ingram. Rayl shot the unarmed Ingram twice after Ingram attacked him in a lingerie shop he owned. Ingram was upset because Rayl would not fire his wife from the escort service Rayl owned. Rayl had been a prison guard for 17 years at the time of his 1997 arrest.

GA : On February 17, 1999, prisoners Danny Pierce, Donnie Fisher and Roy Sanford escaped from the Georgia State Prison in Reidsville. They escaped in a food service van by forcing the driver into a container and then driving out of the prison. Three prison employees were suspended with pay for failing to search the van before it left the prison.

IL : On March 8, 1999, the Illinois House Judiciary Committee voted for a measure halting executions for one year and requiring a study of why, since 1977, Illinois has executed 11 prisoners while another 11 were removed from death row after they were proved innocent or evidence against them was ruled improper.

Japan: In a rare event, on December 3, 1998, a court ordered the Japanese federal government to pay $1,260 to prisoner Keith Dickerson of Santa Barbara, CA. Dickerson proved he was pushed to the floor and beaten by five guards while imprisoned at the Tokyo House of Detention. The beating occurred when Dickerson attempted to talk to another foreign prisoner while en route to a court hearing.

Kazakstan: On March 4, 1999, 26 prisoners at the Atyrau prison stabbed themselves in the stomach in an attempted mass suicide to protest overcrowding, a lack of food and inhumane prison conditions in this former Soviet republic. All survived but five were In critical condition.

NH : On February 4, 1999, a federal jury awarded $49,000 to former state prison guard Sherri White after finding she had been subjected to sexual harassment by prison employees and then retaliated against when she complained.

NM : On March 4, 1999, Grants sheriffs deputy Kelly Clark was overpowered and killed by Michael Archuleta. Archuleta had been convicted in Grants and was being transported to a state prison by Clark. Archuleta was arrested and recaptured soon afterwards, still handcuffed and still armed with Clark's pistol.

NM : The December 31, 1998, issue of USA Today reports that Wackenhut (private prison) corporation officials at the company's Lea County Correctional Facility in Hobbs, New Mexico, are seeking ways to stop prisoners from making weapons out of chain-link fence. One Wackenhut prisoner was stabbed more than 90 times -- the eighth stabbing at the 1,200-bed prison in a six month period.

OH : On December 18, 1998, Edward Heyward, a guard at the Northeast Prerelease Center in Cleveland was fired for having a sexual affair with a prisoner. Heyward had risen from guard to captain despite having what one investigator called "a pattern of becoming involved in unusual incidents and inappropriate behavior involving both staff and inmates." Heyward had been promoted twice and was selected as employee of the month three times despite being disciplined for, among other things: carrying marijuana in his pocket at the prison; giving jewelry, money orders and marijuana to a prisoner; exposing his genitals to prisoners; and acting as a lookout while another prison employee had sex with a prisoner. Heyward may face criminal charges for the latest incident.

OH : On October 7, 1998, accused bank robber William Burress died while escaping from the Hamilton county jail in Cincinnati. Burress had tied bedsheets into a rope and fell 20 feet to the ground. He collapsed and died a few blocks from the jail.

OK : In October, 1998, Jesse Baker, a former Corrections Corp. of America (CCA) guard at the company's Cimarron Correctional Facility in Oklahoma, pled guilty to accepting a $140 bribe from a prisoner in exchange for providing cash loans, hiding contraband and ignoring misconduct by prisoners. Baker received a five-year suspended sentence and is cooperating with an on-going investigation of the prison.

TN : On January 30, 1999, convicted murderer David Britt, 25, escaped from the South Central Correctional Center. The prison is operated by the for profit Corrections Corporation of America. Britt was assisted in his escape by CCA guard Christine McClain, 41, who brought in an extra uniform and accompanied Britt, dressed as a guard, out of the prison during shift change. McClain was charged with facilitating the escape. Britt was recaptured three days later.

TX : On November 22, 1998, prisoner Gary Davis walked away from a jail work crew painting the jail. Davis later called the jail to inform its staff that he had no bad feelings against them or his treatment while at the jail. Davis said he was unhappy at how his lawyer was representing him on felony burglary charges.

Uganda: In November, 1998, the nation's Commissioner of Corrections denied allegations by the Uganda Prisoners' Aid Foundation that thousands of prisoners die each year in Ugandan prisons due to bad conditions. The commissioner said that only 480 prisoners a year, on average, die due to poor prison conditions.

UT : In February, 1999, Charles Farnsworth was awarded $500 in damages in a federal lawsuit stemming from a night he spent in an unheated Salt Lake County jail cell. Farnsworth was imprisoned in the jail in January, 1994, while the heating system was broken. Jail officials refused to provide Farnsworth with a blanket. In awarding Farnsworth damages, federal magistrate Ron Boyce observed that prisoners have a constitutional right to adequate heating or an alternative means of warmth.

VA : On December 31, 1998, eight prisoners at the Hampton Roads Regional Jail surrendered after a three-hour stand-off in a failed escape attempt. Shortly before 4 a.m., a guard responded to a prisoner's request for toiletry items. Control booth monitors apparently indicated that all cell doors were locked, but at least one wasn't. A prisoner overpowered the guard, took his keys, gained access to the control booth and opened other cells. The would-be escapees, with the guard hostage, were at the bottom of an adjoining stairwell before they realized they didn't have a key to the door leading outside. Nor could they open the door that had locked behind them.

WA : In March, 1999, the state paid $390,000 to settle a claim by the family of Mildred Klaus. Klaus, 89, was killed by Vy Thang. Thang was a prisoner at the Maple Lane juvenile prison who escaped during a supervised trip to a Seattle Seahawks football game with Simeon Terry. Terry and Thang then went to Spokane where they robbed, beat and killed Klaus in a robbery that netted them $62. In settling the claim, the state admitted it was negligent in supervising Thang and Terry. Thang was sentenced to life in prison, without parole, for killing Klaus. Terry was sentenced to 100 days in detention for his role in the murder after pleading guilty to possessing stolen property.

WA : On January 8, 1999, the family of a seven year old girl who was repeatedly raped by Ben Querldo, a sex offender on parole, settled a lawsuit for $300,000. The girl was raped at a Seattle day care center where Querido was employed as a janitor. The family sued Querido's employer, Red Carpet Janitorial Service for negligence and the state Department of Corrections for not notifying Red Carpet of Querido's background as a convicted sex offender on parole. The state DOC paid $100,000 of the settlement and Red Carpet paid the remaining $200,000.

WA : On March 5, 1999, Pierce County (Tacoma) jail guards Phylis Bailey and Janis Vicente were fined $250 each and ordered to perform 100 hours of community service. The two guards pleaded guilty to charges of fourth degree assault stemming from their attack on a handcuffed woman prisoner at the jail.

WY : On November 11, 1998, a jury sentenced James Harlow to death for his role in the stabbing death of Wyoming State Penitentiary guard Wayne Martinez during an escape attempt.

As a digital subscriber to Prison Legal News, you can access full text and downloads for this and other premium content.

Subscribe today

Already a subscriber? Login