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News in Brief

Brazil: A riot involving 320 prisoners erupted at a facility in Florianopolis, Santa Catarina state, on May 7, 1999. One prisoner was killed and 4 injured during the disturbance, in which rioters chased away the guards and set fire to mattresses and tires.

Brazil: Three hundred and forty-five prisoners escaped from a maximum security facility in Sao Paulo over the weekend of June 5-6, 1999. It was the largest prison break in the country's history. One guard, Paulo Roberto da Silva, was arrested; he and other guards are suspected of leaving the prison's inner doors open.

CA: Former federal prison guard Donnell Hawthorne, 38, pleaded guilty in April 1999 to engaging in sex acts with three female prisoners at the Federal Correctional Institution in Dublin. He also admitted to lying to the FBI about the sexual encounters. Prosecutors said it was the fourth such case at the prison within the past two years.

CA: In May 1999, Gov. Gray Davis ordered the Department of Corrections to stop selling used guns to licensed firearm dealers, including assault weapons banned under federal law. The department had suspended the practice last year but some sales of Mini-14 and AR-15 rifles apparently had continued.

CA: Officials at Corcoran State Prison said a faulty sensor led to a Feb. 13, 1999 fight between three prisoners from a secure housing unit and prisoners in protective custody. The sensor indicated a door between two recreation yards was secure when it was actually open. Officials are investigating whether the door was deliberately left unlocked.

CA: San Francisco Criminal Court judge James McBride, a former police officer and prosecutor, was arrested May 2, 1999 on a felony charge of spousal abuse.

Canada: Former prisoner David Milgaard, who spent almost 23 years in prison for a rape and murder he didn't commit, was awarded $7 million on May 17, 1999. Milgaard was imprisoned in 1970; he twice tried to escape before being released in 1992 and exonerated by DNA tests in 1999.

GA: Hours before corrections director Wayne Garner resigned on April 19, 1999, he gave his top aide a new state car and arranged for him to work at another state agency while the DOC continues to pay his $94,000 salary. Garner transferred assistant corrections commissioner Paul Melvin to the State Properties Commission.

IA: Tourists who visit the Fort Dodge Recreational Facility, relying on a new state highway map, are in for a surprise -- the facility is actually a state prison. "I guess in spite of our best efforts, errors will occur," said Dept. of Transportation director Darrel Rensink. Warden John Thalacker noted that the prison offers basketball, volleyball and other recreational activities.

IL: U.S. District Judge Ann Williams ruled on May 21, 1999 that Aleatha Shaw, formerly incarcerated at the Metropolitan Corr. Center, a federal jail, should receive a sentence reduction for cooperating with an investigation into sexual misconduct at the facility. Williams found that two guards, whose names were not released, had pressured female prisoners to have sex.

Mexico: Nineteen prisoners used a 66-foot-long tunnel to escape from a prison in the gulf state of Tabasco on April 4, 1999. The day before, six prisoners escaped from a jail in the state of Sinaloa.

MS: On June 17, 1999, former Columbus police chief Donald Freshour was sentenced to 8 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to embezzling funds from a Crime Stoppers program. He admitted stealing $4,400 from the program to pay off a woman on probation with whom he was having an affair.

RI: Two former state prison guards were convicted in April 1999 of beating a prisoner and trying to arrange a cover-up. Kenneth Saritelli, 36, was convicted of felony assault; William Shina, 30, was found guilty of misdemeanor assault and battery. Both were fired after an investigation into the Feb. 23, 1996 beating of Jesse Souza in a maximum security unit.

TN: A former Davidson Co. jail guard, Bryan D. Brewster, 28, pleaded guilty on April 8, l999, to a misdemeanor federal civil rights charge related to the death of a mentally-ill prisoner. Two other former jail employees, Timothy Charles Anthony, 44, and Larry Craig Pearson, 30, have been indicted on charges of obstruction of justice and lying to FBI agents in connection with the Nov. 11, 1996 death of prisoner Calvin Wayne Shaw, who bled to death after an altercation with guards at the Criminal Justice Center in Nashville.

TN: A TransCor America, Inc. van transporting ten prisoners collided with a car in Kingston on May 4, 1999, seriously injuring a teen-age driver in the other vehicle. The prisoners were treated for minor injuries at a local hospital; police said fault in the accident had not been determined. TransCor, based in Nashville, is a subsidiary of CCA.

TN: Dept. of Correction Lt. William Foxx was charged with assault, official oppression and official misconduct in Dec. 1998 for using excessive force against prisoner Omawali Shabazz at the Riverbend Maximum Security Institution. The charges were dismissed in May 1999 after Shabazz refused to testify about his encounter with Foxx. Two months earlier the state agreed to pay Shabazz $9,000 to settle a lawsuit he had filed concerning the incident.

TN: The administrator of the Rhea County Jail was indicted June 7, 1999 on charges of official misconduct for using prisoner labor for his personal benefit. Kermit Travis, 67, is accused of allowing a jail trustee to work at several businesses in which Travis is a part owner.

TX: Clifford Jones, 33, escaped from the Estelle Unit, the state's most secure prison, and fled into the surrounding swamp on June 27, 1999. In making his escape he overpowered a guard, squeezed out of a recreation cage, scaled two razor wire-covered fences, and dodged tear gas rounds and gunfire. Jones eluded 300 law enforcement officers using dog teams, horses, boats and helicopters before being captured two days later.

TX: Former U.S. Marshals Service detention guard Richard Andrew Urrabazo, 43, was convicted on March 18, 1999 of groping and sexually assaulting female prisoners under his supervision at the federal courthouse in San Antonio.

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