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News in Brief

Bermuda: On December 22, 1999, the British territory abolished the death penalty and corporal punishment.

CA: In December, 1999, Charles Scott was arrested by Kern county sheriff's deputies after they found 34 rifles and pistols, tear gas, stingball and flash bang grenades in his home. Police claim the items were all stolen from the California Department of Corrections. Scott claims he bought the items at a yard sale.

CA: On October 31, 1999, the state prison in Tracy was locked down after some 110 Latino prisoners engaged in a mass fist fight in the prison yard. Guards ended the incident with teargas and pepper spray. No serious injuries were reported.

CO: On December 7, 1999, Alfredo Serra, Gonzalo Martinez and Allan Lucero escaped from the Arkansas Valley Correctional Facility in Crowley by cutting and scaling prison fences. All three men were serving lengthy sentences for murder or attempted murder. Parolee Stacey Torres and Serra's mother, Diana Martinez, were arrested by police and charged with aiding the escape.

Columbia: On December 8, 1999, at least 11 prisoners were shot to death and eleven wounded in a shoot out between rival prison gangs at El Modelo prison in Bogota. Media accounts did not disclose the reason for the incident.

CT: On November 18, 1999, prison guard Raymond Portalatin reported to work at the Hartford Correctional Center. Supervisors claimed he was drunk and ordered him to go home. Portalatin was so keen to work that day that he fought three other guards to stay. He was arrested on charges of assaulting a public safety officer, interfering with an officer and threatening. Portalatin was hired by the state DOC in 1996 despite a 1989 conviction for felony drug possession.

DC: In November, 1999, the Justice Department announced it would give all 50 states and the District of Columbia $1.8 billion in grants to build new prisons and expand old ones.

FL: In December, 1999, Duval county jail guards Katura Jennings, Hubert Hensley and Joseph Hardeman were reprimanded for allowing prisoner Gary Neil to escape. Neil switched identification bracelets with Toriano Alexander after plying him with candy for several days before Alexander's release. Neil was released, then robbed three Hardee's restaurants, shot a policeman in the hand and killed a police dog. The guards were charged with incompetence.

HI: In November, 1999, former prison guard Steven McGuire, pleaded guilty to assisting an unidentified prisoner escape from the Oahu Community Corrections Center in exchange for money and drugs. McGuire pled guilty to being an accomplice to escape, promoting a dangerous drug, and hindering prosecution.

Honduras: On November 13, 1999, 11 prisoners were killed and 31 injured in fights between gangs at a federal prison in San Pedro Sula. The victims were all killed with knives and machetes. Press accounts gave no reason for the dispute.

IA: On December 31, 1999, two un-identified guards at the Ft. Dodge Correctional Facility were fired for handcuffing and spanking a prisoner on his birthday. The prisoner suffered minor bruises.

IN: In late 1999, John Barro, 48, a counselor at the Wabash Valley Correctional Facility in Carlisle, was arrested after he accepted three pounds of marijuana and $1,000 in cash from an undercover police officer. The Indiana DOC assisted in Barro's investigation. Press accounts did not state if the drugs were intended for distribution within the prison.

LA: In July, 1999, state prisoner trustees at the St. John the Baptist parish broke into the jail's evidence room when the guard supervising them left to make a phone call. The trustees stole a dozen guns, marijuana and crack cocaine from the evidence room. When discovered, the trustees returned the guns but the drugs had been consumed. Responding to concerns by defense attorneys, prosecutors claimed the stolen drugs had only been from closed cases.

Mexico: On December 9, 1999, Protestant evangelical Indians stormed a Chiapas state prison in San Cristobal de las Casas with automatic weapons and freed 44 of the prison's 239 prisoners. A five month old child visiting its father was killed and two guards injured in the assault.

Mexico: On October 22, 1999, 800 prisoners at the Center for Social Readaptation prison in Villahermosa, Tabasco, rioted. The riot left eight prisoners dead and two seriously wounded. The prisoners were protesting massive flooding that left the prison seven feet underwater, with no food and the prospect of the building collapsing. Authorities had previously evacuated 600 prisoners when the remainder rioted.

MI: In December, 1999, Michael Scott, a Correctional Industries shoe factory supervisor at the Parnall Correctional Facility was charged with six felony counts of giving drugs and pliers to prisoners Chris Sloan and Ronald Douglas in 1998. The prisoners used the pliers to cut through a prison fence and escape. Now testifying for prosecutors, Sloan and Douglas claim Scott was supposed to provide them with a get away car after the escape but didn't. Sloan has been suspended from his job with pay and remains free on bail awaiting trial.

MN: Cottonwood county assistant prosecutor Brian Pierce, 33, is unique in that he is one of the few prosecutors in the country who is a convicted felon that has served prison time. Pierce was convicted on three different occasions on various drug, burglary and fraud offenses and spent about 4 years in prison. Upon release, Pierce overcame his drug addiction, went to college and obtained a law degree.

MS: On September 8, 1999, Shannon Truelove was stabbed to death in Unit 32, the segregation unit, of the Mississippi State Penitentiary in Parchman. Truelove's father is a policeman. Truelove was killed while being escorted to recreation. His murder was the second in Unit 32 in a nine month period.

NC: In August, 1999, Pamela Robinson, a former secretary in the DOC, settled a sexual harassment Lawsuit for $217,000; Robinson claimed Parole Division supervisor Robert Terry had fondled and propositioned her on numerous occasions. Then Robinson complained of the harassment, DOC equal opportunity officer Alphonza Fullwood destroyed documents relating to the complaint and lied under oath about it. An unidentified assistant attorney general also helped conceal evidence in the case. The AAG was fired by the DOC and censured by the state Bar association. Fullwood's investigation claimed that Terry's conduct did not amount to sexual harassment.

OH: In November, 1999, Grafton Correctional Institution employees, John Chambers and John Williams, the prison's activities and food services directors, respectively, were indicted by a Lorain county grand jury on charges of theft in office. No other details were disclosed.

OH: On November 2, 1999, former Franklin Pre-Release Center guard Mallory Peterson, 33, was sentenced to five years in state prison after pleading guilty to five counts of sexual battery. Peterson admitted having sexual intercourse with three women prisoners and oral sex with two of them. Judge Patrick McGrath called Peterson a "sexual predator." As part of his plea deal, rape and kidnapping charges were dropped. While on bail awaiting trial for raping the prisoners, Peterson allegedly raped a 13 year old girl. He has been indicted on fourteen counts of rape and awaits trial on those charges.

OH: On November 3, 1999, Richard Hill, a guard at the Belmont Correctional Institution, was arrested and charged with luring high school boys to perform sex acts for display on internet web sites. During a police investigation into his activities, Hill also solicited an undercover policeman to perform sex acts for display on the internet.

SC: In November, 1999, prisoner Kenny Lambert, 36, was stabbed to death in the Lieber Correctional Facility. Prisoner Sammy Cowans, 28, is a suspect in the killing.

SC: On September 7, 1999, prisoners Wesley Floyd and John New took a secretary and teacher hostage at the Lee Correctional Institution. The hostages were released unharmed eight hours later in exchange for pizza.

Switzerland: On November 25, 1999, three small explosions damaged buildings owned by U.S. companies in Zurich. A group calling itself Freedom for Mumia Abu-Jamal claimed responsibility for the explosions in a communique delivered to the U.S. embassy in Bern.

Turkmenistan: On December 27, 1999, the former Soviet republic abolished capital punishment, banned smoking and announced the release of 7,000 prisoners to celebrate the Muslim festival of Ramadan.

TX: On December 16, 1999, prisoner Darryl Brown was stabbed to death in the high security unit of the Federal Correctional Complex in Beaumont. In separate incidents in the medium security unit of the same prison that day, five other prisoners were injured in "skirmishes." Press accounts were sketchy and gave no reason for the incidents nor the identity of the wounded prisoners.

VA: On November 24, 1999, a federal jury in Richmond convicted DOC captain Jerry Givens, 46, of money laundering for a drug dealer. The jury found that Givens had put two vehicles in his name to conceal the fact that they belonged to cocaine trafficker Sylvester Booker, a longtime friend of Givens. Booker testified against Givens to reduce his own 27 year prison sentence. Givens had been employed at the Greensville Correctional Center in Jarratt where he was responsible for executing prisoners.

WA: On December 29, 1999, Daniel Jolliffee, 27, and Steven Henderson, 25, escaped from the Clallam Bay Corrections Center by scaling razor wire fences and leaving stuffed dummies in their bunks. Henderson was recaptured soon afterward outside the prison perimeter. Jolliffee, a former army ranger, was recaptured about 12 hours later when a guard found him hiding beneath a truck near the prison.

WI: On November 1, 1999, former Oshkosh Correctional Institution guard Derek Fuller, 28, pleaded guilty to delivering liquor, protein supplements and other items to prisoner Scott Seal. Prosecutors claim Fuller received at least one $700 check from Seal at his home. It was not known if the money was to buy goods or pay Fuller for his services. Prosecutors were recommended a 5 month jail sentence and probation.

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