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News in Brief


AZ: On September 12, 2000, 20 Hawaiian prisoners at a Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) prison in Florence rioted and took a guard hostage. While complaining about the way their rice was cooked, prisoners took CCA guard Dean Goodwin hostage for 15 minutes. He was later treated for head injuries and a broken hand. Two other guards suffered minor injuries. During the hour and an half uprising, prisoners smashed windows, computers, TV sets and food carts. The private, for profit prison holds 650 prisoners.

CA: Kern county prosecutors recently convicted California state prisoners Joseph Dunn and Donald Peifer and non prisoner Ellen Powell. Powell mailed letters saturated with methamphetamine to prisoners in 11 state prisons. The letters were then cut and sold for $50 a strip. In 1999 Dunn was sentenced to 11 years in prison for conspiring to smuggle methamphetamine into prison; Powell was sentenced to two years in prison. On October 5, 2000, Peifer was sentenced to nine years in prison. All told prison officials confiscated three meth laced letters. References to drug use in the letters tipped them off.

CA: In September, 2000, Santa Clara county jail officials in San Jose hired a priest to exorcise the jail of evil spirits. Earlier in the summer, 29 Latino prisoners in a gang dorm purportedly summoned evil spirits with makeshift Ouija boards. After repeated complaints of demonic possession the jail hired a catholic priest to bless the prisoners and sprinkle holy water on them and their bunks. Jail spokesman, Bryan Peretti, pronounced the exorcism a success.

CA: In September, 2000, Los Angeles law firm Quinn, Emanuel, Urquhart, Oliver and Hedges attempted to drum up new clients for its business litigation practice by mailing potential clients a promotional package that included dummy hand grenades. The purpose of the dummy grenades was to imply that business is war and the firms lawyer-commandos are ready to fight for their clients. Instead, police bomb squads were called to dispose of some of the packages and the firm apologized for the packages. In the process, the firm reaped ample, free national publicity.

CA: On September 25, 2000, child molester Eduardo Mariscal escaped from the San Quentin State Prison by using a blanket and gloves to climb over a 14 razor wire fence next to the guard tower. Mariscal escaped from the medium security H unit at 2 a.m. PLN sources at San Quentin state that prison tower guards were asleep when Mariscal escaped a result of excessive overtime. At the time of escape, Mariscals unit was on lockdown due to a riot. On October 3, 2000, parole violator Ronnie Lee, walked away and escaped from the prisons minimum security camp while doing garden work.

CA: On July 29, 2000, some 120 Latino and white prisoners fought each other at the Lancaster prison. Ten prisoners were reported injured in the melee. This is part of an ongoing feud between members of the Mexican Mafia and the Nazi Low Riders.

CO: On September 29, 2000, Richard Abney, 31, a guard at the Rifle Correctional Center was arrested on charges of bribery, criminal extortion, official misconduct and introduction of contraband into a prison. Abney tried to extort money from prisoner Eddie Elmore, and then offered to change his parole release date in exchange for $15,000. Elmore promptly alert prison authorities who called in police to mount a sting operation against Abney.

CO: In September, 2000, the Ute Mountain council announced it was unable to open its new, $9 million, 78 bed jail in Towaoc due to a guard shortage. The jail is solely for Native American prisoners. Only three of 23 guard positions had been filled when the council dropped the requirement that all staff be of Indian descent, at which point six more applicants were hired.

FL: On August 31, 2000, Immigration and Naturalization Service guard Lemar Andre Smith, 33, was charged with raping Christina Madraza, a pre operative transsexual from Mexico seeking political asylum in the US. The rapes occurred on May 13, and 21, 2000, at the Krome Detention Center in Miami.

FL: On September 15, 2000, Zephyrhillis Correctional Institution guard Lee Russell Antonio was arrested and charged with possession with intent to sell 41.3 grams of ecstasy.

FL: In August, 2000, Correctional Services Corp., the nations third largest private prison company, withdrew plans to seek a buyer, stating that its declining stock prices made it impossible to make a deal. The scandal ridden CSC runs 35 juvenile and 14 adult prisons. At the time, CSC stock was trading at $3.91 a share. The company said it would boost its stock price by expanding its services.

FL: In July, 2000, Columbia Correctional Center prisoner Elton Ard was beaten to death. Prison officials claimed that prisoners Andrew Busby and Charles Globe are suspects in Ards death. On May 6, 2000, Raymond Wigley, another CCC prisoner, was killed by prisoner John Blackwelder. Blackwelder currently faces capital murder charges in the case.

FL: In August, 2000, 20 prisoners in the control unit of the Florida State Prison in Starke went on a hunger strike to protest the excessive use of pepper spray by prison guards. The protest began when guards beat and pepper sprayed prisoner Eric Green, 25 who had allegedly bit guard Jamie Whitaker.

GA: In early October, 2000, Antonio Dawson escaped from the medium security Rogers State Prison in Reidsville. While painting a prison building Dawson stole a white Honda belonging to Johnny Sikes, a Georgia DOC official who oversees the Georgia DOCs Southeast region, and escaped. Apparently Dawson took the cars keys from Sikes wife, Cindy, who is a secretary in the building being painted.

ID: On August 23, 2000, Benjamin Hatton, 20 assaulted two guards at the Idaho Maximum Security Institution with an unidentified weapon, leaving two guards hospitalized with cuts.

IN: On August 24, 2000, Indiana State Prison prisoner Harry Reuter, 61 coated himself with rubber cement and set himself on fire in the prisons hospital to protest the facilitys poor medical care.

IN: During the summer of 2000 prisoners at the Indiana State Prison in Michigan City boycotted the commissary to protest prices 2 and 3 times that charged outside prison. The prison commissary is operated by Keefe Commissary Network Sales of Missouri. Media accounts did not indicate how effective the boycott was.

LA: In May, 2000, former Louisiana State Penitentiary sergeants Harrison Daniels and John Swan and Lt. Patrick Hayes were convicted in federal court and sentenced for beating prisoner Rayfield Jackson to death. Daniels was sentenced to 8 years in prison; Hays and Swan to 7 years, 3 months. Daniels inflicted the beating with beating gloves. When Jackson finally received medical care he had a punctured lung, a ruptured kidney, a busted eardrum, broken ribs, several broken vertebrae, internal bleeding and multiple bruises. The attack occurred on December 22, 1997. Jackson died on May 16, 1998. This was the first time in 20 years that an Angola prison guard had been convicted of violating a prisoners civil rights.

OH: On September 22, 2000, Tamara Welton, 30 a former laundry room supervisor at the Warren Correctional Institution in Lebanon, pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual battery for having an affair with a prisoner under her supervision. In exchange for the guilty plea, Warren county prosecutors dropped three other sexual battery charges against Welton.

NC: On October 3, 12000, Melvin Daniels, Donnell Clayton, Jesse Montague, Robert Cozart and Jams Davis, employees at the C.A. Dillon Training School in Butner were charged with simple assault. The staff are accused of beating juvenile prisoners at the facility in retaliation for an attack on Davis.

NM: On September 20, 2000, a grand jury indicted Roy Martinez, Francisco Villalobos, Samuel Silva and Gerald Archuleta in the Bernalillo County Jail murder of informant Matthew Cavalier. The four accused are alleged members of the Syndicate Nuevo Mexico, the states biggest prison gang. Cavalier was a former gang member turned snitch. When booked into the jail on a parole violation Cavalier was allegedly killed by the defendants. Cavalier was found dead on August 27, 2000, with a broken neck and strangled. Ironically, Cavalier had testified against his former associates in a prison killing case and had a contract on his life stemming from that attack.

NM: On July 8, 2000, 50 prisoners attacked guards and seized part of the Rio Arriba county jail in Tierra Amarilla for 12 hours. The incident began as a fight between prisoners, when guards intervened to stop the fight they were attacked. More than 100 police responded to the uprising. No injuries were reported but the jail suffered extensive damage.

NY: On October 10, 2000, Court TV producer Maria Zone, 35, was taken hostage by prisoner Kenneth Kimes, 25, at the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora. Kimes held an ink pen to Zones throat for four hours before guards overpowered him. Kimes, convicted of killing a New York City millionaire, was demanding that his codefendant mother, Sante Kimes, not be extradited to California where they both face the death penalty in another murder case. The incident occurred during an interview in the prison visiting room. Kimes had previously complained about Court TVs coverage of his case.

VA: On August 9, 2000, DOC prison employee George H. Jones Jr., 30 was arrested and charged with possession of cocaine with intent to distribute after police seized 10 grams of crack cocaine from him. Jones works at the DOCs academy for staff development in Avonia.

WA: On May 9, 2000, Snohomish county jail guard Tracey Skinner, 27, was charged with criminal misconduct, misdemeanor, for ordering a female prisoner to undress and shower in front of him. The prisoner had taken off her pants when other staff intervened.

WA: On September 26, 2000, former King county (Seattle) deputy prosecutor Will Miller was sentenced to four years imprison after being convicted of selling methamphetamine to undercover police. Millers sentence was well below the 9-10 years mandated by state sentencing guidelines. Miller had previously been arrested, but not prosecuted, when a scale, drug pipe and meth residue were found in his briefcase during a routine security search at the county courthouse. Miller resigned as a deputy prosecutor after that arrest and apparently devoted himself fulltime to selling drugs.

WA: In October, 2000, Robert Lee Yates, 48, pleaded guilty to murdering 13 prostitutes in Spokane County. By pleading guilty Yates avoided the death penalty in Spokane County but faces capital charges in other parts of the state. Yates began his career as a serial killer in 1975. While he was employed as a guard at the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla, Yates murdered his first victims; Patrick Oliver and Susan Savage at a swimming hole hear the town. Yates later joined the army as a helicopter pilot and left the area.

Brazil: On September 5, 2000, Sidney Santos De Jesus, the warden of the Bangu I prison in Rio de Janeiro was shot in death upon arriving home from work. De Jesus had received death threats from prisoners upset with their recent policy of increasing cell searches to stop the flow of weapons, drugs and cell phones into the prison.

Brazil: On September 20, 2000, groups of armed men stormed and seized three different jails in the metropolitan Sao Paulo area and freed over 200 prisoners. No injuries were reported.

England: In September, 2000, the latest game show craze to sweep the country, Jailbreak where 10 contestants pose as inmates in a custom built jail staffed by a former prison warden and 30 prison guards. The contestants must escape in order to win a prize of $141,000. Any prisoner caught trying to escape three times has to spend 24 hours in solitary confinement.

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