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News in Brief

Brazil: In early August four men armed with automatic weapons overpowered guards and broke into the Tremembe jail near Sao Paulo, and stole money that jail prisoners were planning to send home.

CA: In 1998 15 state prisoners were killed. Three were shot to death by guards, 12 were killed by other prisoners. Sixteen California prisoners were killed in 1997, the highest murder toll since 20 were killed in 1987. The 1998 deaths occurred at eight prisons: 3 each at Pelican Bay, High Desert in Susanville and New Folsom; 2 at Salinas Valley and one each at Corcoran, Vacaville, Calipatria and Pleasant Valley.

CA: On June 7, 1999, Orange county deputy district attorney Bryan Kazarian was charged in federal court on methamphetamine conspiracy charges. FBI agents claim Kazarian passed on secret information about ongoing investigations to local Hell's Angels drug traffickers. Prior to his arrest, Kazarian was a member of the district attorney's "gang prosecution" unit.

CA: On May 28, 1999, Bradley Gardner, 42, a vocational instructor at the California Youth Authority prison in Camarillo, was arraigned on four counts of having oral sex with two 17 year old female prisoners. Gardner was freed on $20,000 bond pending trial.

GA: Earlier this year the Atlanta Constitution Journal reported that James Doctor, the new DOC Director of Facilities, had spent ten months imprisoned at the military prison in Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas, in 1968-69 for being away without leave twice. Doctor, the number three person in the Georgia DOC, said he left the army because he disliked the treatment of black soldiers. Doctor has been a Georgia DOC employee for 23 years.

IL: In February, 1999, Pontiac Corrections Center guard Scott Cox was indicted by an Iroquois county grand jury on charges of predatory sexual assaults of a child and criminal sexual assault. The charges stem from attacks in 1998 involving 8 to 13 year old boys and girls.

IL: On July 28, 1999, escaped Oregon prisoner Marcia Glimpse was arrested in Galesburg. Glimpse was serving a sentence for armed robbery in Oregon when she failed to return from a weekend release program in 1986. Until her arrest she had remained a fugitive.

IN: Mark McCoy, a guard at the Pendleton Correctional Facility was arrested this summer on charges of bribery and trafficking with a prisoner. Police claim prisoner Dwight Jeffers paid McCoy about $4,200 for 20 cans of rolling tobacco. Indiana has banned smoking in its prisons.

Mexico: On July 23, 1999, hundreds of state and federal police agents stormed a Ciudad Juarez prison to quell a riot that left 79 people, including 20 guards, injured. Police used tear gas and exchanged gunfire with the prisoners in retaking the prison. Prisoners rioted when a new warden reduced family visiting from six to two hours per week.

NJ: In May, 1999, four prisoners at the New Jersey Training School for Boys in Jamesburg, a juvenile prison, were charged with attacking six high school students in a criminal justice class who were touring the prison as part of a class assignment. Prosecutors claim the prisoners forced the students into a cell, forced them to strip, punched, slapped and attempted to rob them. As a result, student tours of juvenile prisons in New Jersey have been halted and the juvenile prisoners are now facing charges as adults. No word on whether the assaulted students received extra credit for their realistic prison experience.

NJ: On September 7, 1999, death row prisoner Ambrose Harris beat fellow death row prisoner Roger "Mudman" Simon to death in a fenced recreation area at the New Jersey State Prison in Trenton. Simon is the first death row prisoner killed in New Jersey since the state re-established the death penalty in 1982. Simon had gained notoriety when weeks after being released from a Pennsylvania prison in 1995 in exchange for his testimony against prisoner rioters, he shot and killed a police sergeant in New Jersey where he had paroled to.

NV: On August 11, 1999, Timothy Blackburn escaped from the North Las Vegas jail after an accomplice drilled through glass separating prisoners from visitors in the jail's visiting area. Blackburn was being held after being charged in the $1.1 million robbery of an ATM repository at the local Bank of America. After his escape Blackburn shot and killed his wife and 4 and 5 year old daughters on August 29, 1999. A Las Vegas SWAT team killed Blackburn while he was in the process of killing his wife.

NY: On July 31, 1999, Timothy Weeden, a state prison guard in Rome, was charged with first degree sodomy and sexual abuse, third degree sodomy and endangering a child's welfare. The charges stem from Weeden's attack on a fifteen year old girl using a gas station bathroom during the Woodstock concert in Rome. Weeden allegedly forced the girl to perform oral sex.

OH: On June 11, 1999, former Mansfield Correctional Institution guard Richard Holda was indicted in state court on multiple charges of sexual battery stemming from at least eleven sexual contacts he had with a male prisoner at the prison. Ohio prohibits sexual activities between prisoners and staff even if consensual.

OH: On June 11, 1999, Mallory Peterson, a guard at the Franklin Pre-Release Center in Columbus, was indicted by a state grand jury on multiple counts of rape, kidnapping and sexual battery stemming from his attacks on three women prisoners. Peterson allegedly used force to coerce the prisoners to perform oral sex and have intercourse with him.

OH: On March 16, 1999, dereliction of duty charges against former Orient Correctional Institution sergeant Samuel Carter Jr. were dismissed because he was not brought to trial within 90 days and he had not waived his speedy trial rights. The charges stemmed from an argument Carter had with Lieutenant Janet Rice at the prison.

OH: On May 29, 1999, Roland Finney was ordered chained to another prisoner by Summit county common pleas court judge Patricia Cosgrove after Finney swore at her. When chained to the unidentified prisoner, Finney argued with him and then bit off part of his ear. Additional assault charges were filed against Finney as a result.

OH: On June 24, 1999, Cuyahoga county jail guard William Koson was charged in federal court in Cleveland with robbing a bank. FBI agents suspect Koson has robbed at least ten other banks in Ohio. Koson had worked as a jail guard for the sheriff's department for 21 years and earned $45,000 a year.

OR: In August, 1999, Snake River Correctional Institution prisoner Henry Villa, 24, was killed by a blow to the head by parties unknown. Police are investigating the murder.

PA: In May, 1999, attorney Christina Rainville filed suit claiming Philadelphia law firm Duane, Morris and Heckscher, reneged on its promise to hire her as a partner when Pennsylvania attorney general Michael Fisher objected. Fisher was angry because Rainville had successfully represented a prisoner accused of murder who was declared innocent. The law firm represents the state in its litigation against the tobacco industry and placed a "courtesy call" to Fisher to see if he objected to the hiring of Rainville.

Peru: On July 8, 1999, Peru withdrew from the Organization of American States Human Rights court after the tribunal ruled that four Chilean nationals could not be tried for treason in Peru. President Alberto Fujimori claimed the ruling violated Peru's sovereignty and his government would ignore the ruling. Peru has one of the worst human rights records in the world.

Philippines: On June 25, 1999, Eduardo Agbayani was executed for raping his daughter. Five minutes before the execution was scheduled to take place, president Joseph Estrada, swayed by appeals from a Catholic bishop and one of Agbayani's daughters, decided to commute the sentence. The execution took place because president Estrada received a busy signal when he called the prison to cancel the execution.

SC: On June 27, 1999, former Richland county jail guard Bobby Walker was sentenced to 15 years in prison after being convicted of sexually assaulting a female prisoner on suicide watch at the jail on five occasions.

SC: On March 26, 1999, 26 Spartanburg county jail prisoners were taken to a hospital emergency room with food poisoning after eating jail food.

South Korea: On August 12, 1999, the South Korean government announced it would celebrate the 54th anniversary of its liberation from Japan by pardoning or commuting the sentences of 2,864 prisoners, including 56 political prisoners. Under the amnesty, 1,742 prisoners were freed from prison on August 15, 1999 and seven had long prison sentences reduced, the remainder of those affected were already on parole. This is the third major prisoner amnesty in South Korea since president Kim Dae Jung took office in January, 1998.

TX: In September, 1999, Baylor county jail guard Scott Matus was charged with having consensual sex with a female jail prisoner the month before. Texas law bans all sexual relations between prisoners and staff.

TX: On April 30, 1999, Frederick Weir, 61, the head chaplain of the Harris county (Houston) jail was charged with official oppression and illegal sexual contact stemming from two incidents in which he fondled, digitally penetrated and performed oral sex on a female prisoner at the jail. Other allegations of sexual misconduct against Weir were not prosecuted because the statute of limitations had expired.

VA: In January, 1999, ten prisoners, six of their friends and relatives and four prison guards were charged in federal court with conspiring to smuggle marijuana into the Bland Corrections Center and sell it to prisoners. Michael Fulcher, 40, a Bland prisoner, is accused of being the ring leader during the July, 1995, to December 1998, period the smuggling operation was in effect.

WA: On July 7, 1999, Chelan County Regional Jail prisoner John McElhaney Jr. drowned while swimming in the Wenatchee River during a lunch break from the jail's litter pick up crew. McElhaney was serving a 90 day probation violation sentence and was scheduled for release the day after he drowned.

WA: During the first week of August, 1999, prisoners Nathan Schmidt, Shawn Smith, Jeremy Butts and Kevin Swenson escaped from the minimum security Olympic Corrections Center in Forks in separate incidents. Swenson was recaptured the same day

WA: In April, 1999, the Department of Corrections was fined $44,000 by the state Department of Ecology for allowing muddy water to run off a prison construction site in Aberdeen into nearby Stafford Creek. The muddy water can kill endangered salmon by depriving them of oxygen. In the preceding six months the DOC had voluntarily reported 61 storm water permit violations at the prison.

WA: In early August, 1999, Jerry Anderson, a rapist from Spokane, was killed at the Washington State Reformatory in Monroe. Anderson died after being beaten by other prisoners over a drug debt. Snohomish county police are investigating the murder, which has been ignored by the media.

WA: On August 28, 1999, Joel Santos escaped from the McNeil Island Corrections Center in Steilacoom. He was recaptured a week later while still on the island. Santos, serving a five year sentence for rape, was scheduled to be deported to his native Guatemala in February, 2001.

WA: On August 9, 1999, prison guards O'Donnell and Kirkpatrick engaged in fisticuffs with each other while assigned to work in the segregation unit of the Washington State Reformatory in Monroe. Kirkpatrick suffered a broken wrist during the altercation. Snohomish county prosecutors are investigating the incident.

WA: On July 13, 1999, prisoner Ronald Wagener was found strangled to death in a bathroom at the McNeil Island Corrections Center in Steilacoom. Wagener was serving a six year sentence on drug charges. Pierce county police are investigating the murder.

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