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News in Brief

CO: On April 26, 2000, Bobby Fowler, 24, a captain at the Kit Carson Correctional Center in Burlington, was arrested and charged with felony criminal mischief for punching walls and knocking over a metal detector at the prison. The prison, operated by for profit Corrections Corporation of America, is chronically understaffed. Fowler was reprimanded when a surprise inspection by the Colorado Dept. of Corrections found nine guards, instead of 11, guarding 400 prisoners. Fowler claimed his outburst was the result of working 15 days in a row, which caused him to miss taking the medication he uses to control his bipolar disorder.

CA: On April 27, 2000, an unknown person fired a large caliber weapon into the Santa Clara probation department's work release facility in Mountain View. An unidentified 20 year old male prisoner was killed by the gunshot and an unidentified female counselor was cut by flying glass from the shot. The prisoner was serving a sentence for a non violent offense and was due to be released within a week of his death. Police are investigating the shooting.

CA: On April 6, 2000, Viola Cisneros, a medical worker at the California Medical Facility in Vacaville was taken hostage in the prison print shop by John Cantazarite, 50. Cantazarite had threatened to set Cisneros on fire if he was not allowed to place three phone calls outside the prison. Two hours later a Special Emergency Response Team broke down the print shop door and subdued Cantazarite. No injuries were reported. Cantazarite is serving time for rape and robbery.

CA: On March 1, 2000, six prisoners were injured in a fight between black and Hispanic prisoners at the Victor Valley Community Correctional Facility. The minimum security prison is operated by Marantha Private Corrections, a private, for profit prison company, on behalf of the California Department of Corrections. Ten to fifteen prisoners were involved in the brawl.

CA: On March 2, 2000, Kedrin Kizzee, 26, escaped from the West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga by impersonating another prisoner scheduled for release. Kizzee was awaiting trial on charges of possessing marijuana, 20 kilos of cocaine, hundreds of false credit cards and machines with which to make them. Police said this was the third escape from the jail involving switched identities. Kizzee was caught two days later in Buena Park. Police later arrested Lya Manuela Bernard, 33, a jail custody specialist, and charged her with allowing Kizzee to be released from the jail.

CA: On March 25, 2000, Nevada prisoners James Prestridge, 39, and John Doran, 26, escaped in Chula Vista while being transported to other state prisons by private, for profit, transport company Extraditions International. The men escaped by overpowering and disarming one guard while they used the bathroom, then returning to the van and disarming the other guard. The men then put the guards into the back of the van with the other prisoners and drove around before abandoning it. Prestridge, serving a sentence of life without parole for murder, was being transferred to a North Dakota prison. Doran, serving a six year robbery sentence, was being extradited to face additional criminal charges in Colorado. Extraditions International planned to pick up additional prisoners in San Diego before returning East.

Colombia: On April 28, 2000, rioting by right-wing paramilitary prisoners at the E1 Modelo federal prison in Bogota left 26 dead. The rioting started on April 26 when guards found the body of a missing paramilitary prisoner chopped up in a garbage bag in a sewer pipe. In retaliation for the murder, paramilitary prisoners attacked the cell block housing the presumed attackers, mainly social prisoners convicted of murder and robbery. Using guns and grenades the paramilitary prisoners killed 26 and wounded 18 social prisoners before negotiating with police to return to their cells.

Colombia: On March 1, 2000, James Springette, 39, an American awaiting extradition to the United States on drug smuggling and murder charges, escaped from la Picota prison in Bogota. Springette requested a new mattress, wrapped himself in the old one and was carried past seven checkpoints out of the prison. Fifteen prison guards were suspended after his escape, which purportedly could not have happened without guard collusion. Springette is described by police as an expert in mapping drug smuggling routes in the Caribbean. Apparently he can map escape routes as well.

DC: On April 17, 2000, Hilton Coleman, 48, a U.S. Marshal supervisor, pleaded guilty to stealing $6,500 intended for people in the Witness Protection Program. Coleman would forge the witnesses signature on voucher receipts and give them less money than he was supposed to, pocketing the difference.

IL: In 1999 the Illinois DOC collected $57,818 from Illinois prisoners under a statute authorizing the collection of money from prisoners to pay for the cost of their captivity. The money collected was from prisoners working for prison industries. In 1999 Illinois spent $856 million on its prison system.

IL: In March, 2000, James P. Struensee, 30, was sentenced to 16 months in federal prison and 3 years of supervised release after pleading guilty to federal charges of possessing child pornography. At the time of his arrest, Struensee was an internal affairs investigator at the Stateville Correctional Center in Joliet.

Mexico: On April 26, 2000, hundreds of prisoners at the La Loma jail in Nuevo Laredo rioted to protest plans to replace the jail's director, Jose Luis Pompa Guerrero. The rioters demanded that Pompa remain at the jail.

NY: On March 29, 2000, Timothy Weeden, 27, was sentenced to six years in prison after pleading guilty to forcing a 15 year old girl to perform oral sex on him during the Woodstock concert. Weeden was employed as a guard at the Marcy Correctional Facility at the time of the attack.

OH: On April 4, 2000, Jeffrey Corbett, 52, was sentenced to 4 years in prison after being convicted in Williams County Common Pleas Court of sexually assaulting three female prisoners at the Corrections Center of Northwest Ohio. Corbett was a supervisor at the jail. According to the victims, Corbett forced them to perform sexual acts while purporting to "counsel" them on disciplinary charges. Corbett was convicted of four counts of sexual battery stemming from the attacks.

OH: On March 27, 2000, Roy Williams, 40, was charged with stealing lighting fixtures and painting equipment while ostensibly supervising prisoners working on a Habitat for Humanity housing project. Williams is a prison guard at the Grafton Correctional Institution. He is charged in state court with receiving stolen property and theft in office. Habitat for Humanity is a non profit group that builds homes for poor people.

OH: On March 31, 2000, Cleveland House of Corrections guards Steven Dlugon, Samuel Young and Terrell Pruitt severely beat jail prisoner Robert Wade, 30. The jail investigated the attack and on May 2, 2000, fired Young and Dlugon. The local prosecutor has recommended that police arrest the three guards on felony charges.

PA: On April 13, 2000, Hasn Dempsey, 20, was charged with manslaughter in the death of Carl Harden, 50, while both men were prisoners in the Philadelphia House of Corrections. Dempsey had told Harden not to stand behind him while they were watching television, Harden did not move. The men then scuffled and Dempsey lifted Harden upside down and drove his head into the concrete floor in the jail dayroom. Harden later died of head injuries.

NY: Responding to complaints by Jail Ministries, the State Commission on correction has ordered the Onondaga County Justice Center to provide jail prisoners with more underwear. The group claimed jail prisoners were forced to wear the same underwear for days on end due to shortages. Jail officials agreed to spend $38,000 from money they receive as kickbacks from the prisoner's phone calls to buy the additional underwear.

TX: On April 7, 2000, a Tyler jury sentenced Kenneth payee, 29, to 16 years in prison for stealing a Snickers bar from a local grocery store. Defending the sentence, Smith county assistant district attorney Jodi Brown told media "It [the Snickers bar] was a king size." The theft was charged as a felony because Payne has prior criminal. convictions, including one for stealing a bag of Oreo cookies.

VA: On April 17, 2000, Calvin Clarke, 30, a Hanover County Jail prisoner, freed himself from his handcuffs and took a .45 caliber pistol from an unidentified jail guard. Clarke then took the guard hostage, forced him to drive away from the jail and later held police at bay for 32 hours before surrendering. No one was injured during the incident. Clarke was being taken to court for sentencing when he freed himself. He faces additional charges stemming from the escape attempt.

Vietnam: To celebrate the 25th anniversary of liberating South Vietnam and unifying their nation, the government announced on April 30, 2000, that it would free 12,000 prisoners.

WA: In April, 2000, King county (Seattle) jail guard Alvin Walker, 49, was charged with bigamy.

WA: In April, 2000, Ryan Wade Mackey, 24, was sentenced to 12 months of community supervision after pleading guilty to disorderly conduct and obstructing a law enforcement officer. Mackey, a white guard at the Clallam Bay Corrections Center (CBCC) in Clallam Bay, was originally charged with felony malicious harassment after confronting three blacks and an Indian in a Port Angeles restaurant. According to police, Mackey cursed and pushed them "asking what they were doing there and stating that their kind did not belong there, so they should leave." As previously reported in the May, 1999, issue of PLN, CBCC has a long history of racist prison employees.

WA: On March 28, 2000, officials at the Snohomish County Jail in Everett announced they would no longer force women prisoners to strip naked in an outdoor recreation area, in full view of male guards, in order to exchange clothing and linen. The prisoners were required to remove their clothes outdoors in freezing temperatures and in view of male guards to get clean clothing. Jail spokesman George Hughes said the outdoor stripping program was devised to allegedly stop prisoners from flushing clothes down toilets. "That was a solution that was developed by a few of our staff, and it worked. Our staff is constantly trying to find ways to improve things."

WA: On May 8, 2000, James Harris, Jr. 42, was charged in King County (Seattle) superior court with abuse of power, assault and custodial sexual misconduct. Harris, a former Renton City Jail guard, is charged with raping at least 1 female prisoner at the jail in 1998 as well as having sexual contact with other female prisoners.

WI: On April 26, 2000, police arrested Sandra Peterson, 50, and charged her with. smuggling marijuana into the Jackson Correctional Institute in Black River Falls on 8 occasions. Peterson teaches basic math, science and reading to prisoners at the facility. Peterson was investigated, after informants identified her as smuggling drugs into the prison.

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