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News in Brief

News in Brief:

Australia: On November 15, 2000, Russell Briggs, the administration and finance officer at the Fulham private prison in Sale was fired for sexually harassing, intimidating and bullying four female prison employees. The prison is operated by Australasian Correctional Management; a subsidiary of U.S. based Wackenhut Correctional Corporation. Jim Stanley, the prison's intelligence and investigations manager is also accused of assaulting and sexually harassing a female guard and prison manager Andrew Senior is being investigated for sexually harassing a female employee at the prison.

AR: On October 24, 2000, Marcus King, 26, a prison guard employed by the private, for profit, Wackenhut Corrections Corporation at the McPherson prison in Newport, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of sexually assaulting prisoner Vera Arnold, 29. King was guarding female prisoners at a local hospital when he raped Arnold in a bathroom. Arnold said she tried to resist but couldn't because she was handcuffed and shackled. King was fined $500, plus $75 in court costs for the rape. The judge then suspended the fine because King had been in jail awaiting disposition of the charges.

Bolivia: In November 2000, a group of 36 prisoners in the Arocaqua prison gave $18,750 U.S. dollars to prisoner Rolando Tarqui. The money was supposed to pay for the construction of new cells in the prison. The building contractor stopped work on the project claiming he had only been paid $13,700. The prisoners have since filed a criminal complaint against Tarqui, claiming he stole the money intended for the contractor. Tarqui, who has since been released on parole, had been serving time for fraud, unlawful appropriation of funds and abuse of trust.

CA: On November 8, 2000, Ironwood State Prison sergeant Curtis Landa was stabbed once in the back and once in the chest while taking out the garbage at his Blythe home before going to work. Landa, who was hospitalized in fair condition, believes he was attacked by his prison co-workers in retaliation for having reported hazing incidents at the Ironwood State Prison. Landa was tied up and gagged by his fellow guards in one hazing incident. Prison officials declined comment and no arrests have been made as PLN goes to press.

FL: On December 13, 2000, Frank Lee Smith, 52, was cleared by DNA evidence of having raped, beaten and killed Shandra Whitehead, eight, in her Ft. Lauderdale bedroom. The exoneration came too late for Smith, who died in January 2000, while on death row awaiting execution for Whitehead's murder. Smith spent 14 years on death row before dying of cancer. Police have reopened the investigation into Whitehead's death.

GA: On October 4, 2000, former state representative and Georgia Pardons and Parole Board chairman Wayne Snow Jr., 64, was charged with one count of child molestation involving the sexual assault of a 14-year-old boy. Walker county prosecutors charged Snow with fondling the boy's genitals after bringing the boy to his home and offering him a soda. Snow pleaded guilty and was sentenced to probation for the child rape. Snow was chairman of the Georgia parole board from 1985 to the mid nineties. He served in the Georgia general assembly from "1963-1983.

Mozambique: On November 23, 2000, 83 prisoners suffocated to death in the jail in Montepuez. Most of the dead were members of RENAMO, a CIA backed terrorist group that had agreed to participate in elections after surrendering in 1992. The RENAMO members had been arrested after rioting to protest recent election results. An international commission is investigating the cause of the prisoners' deaths.

New York: On November 14, 2000, a city DOC bus carrying 45 prisoners released from the Rikers Island jail to a drop off point in Queens flipped over after being cut off in traffic. Forty people were injured in the accident and treated for cuts and broken bones. No one was seriously injured.

OH: On November 3, 2000, Brian E. Jones, an HIV positive prisoner at the Southeastern Correctional Institution in Lancaster, was charged with 3 counts of felonious assault for having sex with three other prisoners and not telling them he had HIV. Ohio law prohibits people with HIV from having sex without informing their partner(s) that they carry the HIV virus, which is believed to cause AIDS. Jones is currently serving a 3-15 year sentence on drug charges.

OH: In early November, 2000, Robert J. Fry, 45, quit his job of 22 years as a lieutenant at the Orient Correctional Institution, left his wife of two years, sold his boat and moved to Rhode Island to be with Rebecca Mandes, 34, a woman he met on the internet. Two days after arriving in Rhode Island, Rickie Mandes, 40, Rebecca's husband, shot and killed Fry at his new job in a local mail order store, and then killed himself.

OH: On November 16, 2000, Tamara Welton, 30, was sentenced to six months in jail after being convicted of having sex with prisoner Rommell Knox. Welton was the clothing room supervisor at the Warren Correctional Institution in Lebanon when the incidents occured. Ohio bans consensual sex between prisoners and prison employees. Welton was also designated a sex offender and will have to register with police when she is released from jail.

OH: On November 15, 2000, Jason Wagner, a convicted child rapist, was killed in his protective custody cell at the Warren Correctional Institution near Lebanon. Wagner was in PC due to the notoriety of his crime: abducting and raping a 3-year-old girl for 4 days. Wagner's cellmate, Timothy Hancock, has been charged with murder in Wagner's death. Hancock and Wagner were the only people in the cell and both were alive at 9:30 PM when counted by guards. By midnight, Wagner was dead.

OH: On October 26, 2000, a Madison county sheriff's van with 12 handcuffed female prisoners crashed into a TruGreen-Chemlawn truck. Thick fog caused the accident. The prisoners were being transported to the Ohio State Reformatory for Women in Marysville. Two Madison county deputies, the 12 prisoners and the TruGreen-Chemlawn driver suffered injuries. One prisoner, Lois Hamilton, 60, was listed in serious condition with head, chest and abdominal injuries.

OK: On August 8, 2000, Donald M. Porter, a guard at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, was charged with one count of bringing contraband into a state penal institution. Porter's indictment claims he brought a Star 9 mm pistol, an FIE .25 caliber pistol, a bottle of Seagram's gin and a bag of marijuana into the prison. News accounts did not indicate why Porter brought the items into the prison.

PA: Scott Blystone, 44, a death row prisoner convicted of murder in 1983 is getting divorced from his wife, Sharon Flora, 50, a police dispatcher. Blystone claims he invested $150,000 of Flora's money, which has since grown to more than $1.9 million. Flora claims that capital gains taxes have madeBlystone's transactions less lucrative than they appear. Flora argues that Blystone is not entitled to any of their money because "I do not feel I'm married to him. It's a piece of paper I signed. I've never even touched him," Flora said. The two met through a pen pal program and married on death row in 1988. Blystone said he learned about financial investing by reading publications on the topic in his cell.

South Korea: On September 2, 2000, 63 former political prisoners left South Korea for North Korea. The 63 men had spent up to 43 years in prison (45 had spent more tan 30 years in prison), usually in isolation. They had been imprisoned on charges of espionage and being communists under South Korea's harsh national security laws. Most of the prisoners would have been released from prison at any time had they renounced communism. The release was part of an amnesty program designed to improve relations with North Korea.

Spain: On October 22, 2000, the Basque independence group ETA (Basque Homeland and Liberty) assisinated prison guard Maximo Casado Carrera, 44, by exploding a bomb in his car as he was going to work at the prison in Vitoria. Spain holds hundreds of Basque political prisoners who are routinely tortured and treated badly because of their political views. ETA is seeking independence from Spain and has waged an armed struggle with that goal since 1968.

Turkey: On October 27, 2000, political prisoners who are members of Hezbollah, a Muslim fundamentalist group, took 17 guards hostage at the Elazig prison. The prisoners were demanding to be allowed visits with their relatives.

WA: On November 19, 2000, prisoners in B unit, in the close custody section of the Clallam Bay Corrections Center (CBCC) in Clallam Bay ripped out the phones, shattered glass, tore up ventilating ducts and tore out the ceiling in the unit. Two guards suffered minor injuries. News accounts claimed no prisoners were injured and that the causes of incident were "unclear". CBCC spokeswoman Sue Gibbs told media that 14 of the 99 prisoners in B unit were placed in the prison's Intensive Management Unit.

WA: County jails in Chelan and Yakima counties are competing to rent out jail cells. Yakima County currently makes $4 million a year renting jail cells for $48-52 a day per prisoner, mainly to cities in Western Washington. Chelan county is trying to rent its jail beds for $56 a day and is counting on the money to offset the costs of building its new jail. So far, Chelan county has only been able to rent 20 beds to the city of Federal Way.

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