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News in Brief

Canada: On July 16, 2001, at least 31 prisoners at the maximum security Atlantic Institution rioted. After ransacking the canteen, breaking through walls and refusing to return to their cells, the protest ended July 19, 2001. Media accounts did not state the cause of the uprising. The prison riot is the second one in a month. There were also two riots in January, 2000.

FL: In May, 2001, the Florida Department of Corrections announced it would eliminate typewriters and word processors from all prison law libraries. Prison officials claimed eliminating the devices would save $50,000 a year in repair and upkeep costs. Prisoner advocates see the move as one more step to restrict court access for prisoners, noting that handwritten pleadings tend to be taken less seriously than typed pleadings.

Greece: On August 1, 2001, Yannis Georgakapoulis, the nation's police chief, resigned after Constantine Passaris, the nation's most wanted fugitive, got away from dozens of police who had surrounded Passaris' apartment in Athens. Passaris has been the subject of a huge manhunt after he escaped from jail in February, 2001, by killing two policemen who had taken him to a hospital.

Iran: On May 20, 2001, an unidentified woman, 35, was executed for acting in "obscene sex films." After her conviction was upheld by the supreme court she was partially buried in Tehran's Evin prison and stoned to death.

LA: On June 26, 2001, Assumption Parish jail guards Norwood Williams, 46, and Raymond Williams, 20, (who are unrelated) were charged with malfeasance for allegedly allowing male and female jail prisoners to have sex with each other.

Mexico: On July 17, 2001, the California based Violence Research Foundation announced it would begin providing special food, rich in iron and calcium, to prisoners in Mexican prisons and jails. "Manganese decreases dopamine ... and that causes violent behavior. Something we've been seeing since 1970 when the soy-based baby milks, which contained fifty times more manganese than mother's milk, were introduced," said Joaquin Senderos, the Foundation's Mexican representative. Foundation president Everett Hodges claimed prison violence fell 38 percent in a six month period in a dietary trial involving 133 U.S. prisoners. The Mexican prisoners receiving the special diets are supposedly "volunteers." Typically, Latin American prisons do not feed prisoners. Prisoners are responsible for arranging their own meals, usually from family members or friends.

MN: On July 27, 2001, arrest warrants were issued by Minneapolis prosecutors for former Stillwater prison guard Tina Deann Leja, 26, and Darnell Smith,25, a former Stillwater prisoner. Prosecutors claim that Smith shot and killed Bobbie Holder, 20, while robbing him and then dismembered the body. So far only Holder's torso has been found, in Wisconsin. Leja was fired for having an "inappropriate relationship" with Smith while he was serving time for raping a 12-year-old girl. Guards found nude photos of Leja in Smith's cell and claim she smuggled drugs into the prison for him. At least two informants witnessed Holder's killing and are duly cooperating with authorities.

MS: On June 16, 2001, Mississippi state prisoners Jerry Braswell, 28, and Jason Swords, 21, escaped from the Harrison County Work Center in Gulfport by stealing an undercover police van. The escapees were captured in Waelder, Texas, after a chase by police when they left a service station without paying for gas.

NC: On June 28, 2001, three employees at the North Carolina Institution for Women were arrested on charges of having sex with female prisoners. Wendell Borom, 35, a prison cook, was charged with three felony counts of sexual activity by a custodian. Gregory Thomas, 37, a food manager, and Stacey Hester, 32, a guard at the prison, were each charged with one count of sexual activity by a custodian. The arrests are part of an ongoing sex abuse investigation at the prison by the State Bureau of Investigation.

OH: On July 25, 2001, Rodney Snyder, 32, was arrested and charged with one count of gross sexual imposition after he admitted having sexual contact with a 73-year-old female relative.

OH: On July 27, 2001, federal prisoners Rafael Herrera, 53, and Juan Gonzales Valencia, 30, escaped from the Federal Correctional Institution in Elkton by breaching a fence. The men were serving sentences of 20 years and 10 years, respectively, on drug charges.

Philippines: On May 22, 2001, Romeo Jalosjos won reelection to a third term in office as a national congressman. Jalosjos is serving two life sentences for raping an 11-year-old girl, and 8 to15 years for six additional counts of child molestation. Jalosjos has been in prison since 1997. He campaigned for office from prison and won a second term in 1998. Prison officials at the National Penitentiary in Manila allow him to have an office in a visiting area where he meets with a secretary, aides and constituents during office hours. Jalasjos won the election overwhelmingly. "My constituents couldn't see me in person, but they could feel the results of my decisions," Jalasjos said.

TX: On June 1, 2001, Brian Moore, 30, escaped from the Travis county jail in Austin. Jailers discovered Moore's escape when they tried to bring him to court for attempting to escape from the jail in November 2000. On June 12, 2001, prosecutors charged jail guard Christopher Troutman with accepting a bribe from Moore in exchange for letting him through three locked doors and into a stairwell where Moore left his jail uniform and departed out the back door. Troutman denies the charges. Moore's escape is the third successful one from the jail in five years.

TX: On June 4, 2001, Anderson county parole officer Kennith Ratliff, 39, was arrested in the Palestine offices of the Board of Prisons and Paroles. Prosecutors charged Ratliff with four counts of indecency with a child.

TX: On July 20, 2001, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Board unanimously voted to change the name of the state's new death row in Livingston from the Terrell Unit to the Allan B. Polunsky Unit. The name change came at the request of Charles Terrell, a Dallas insurance executive and former chairman of the TDCJ board who said he was tired of being associated with death row. A lifelong "anti-crime crusader," Terrell said he is ambivalent about the manner the death penalty is administered and questions its effectiveness as a deterrent. Polunsky is also a former TDCJ Board chairman.

VA: On June 25, 2001, Robert Cheeseman, 23, a Vermont prisoner housed in the protective custody unit of the Greensville Corrections Center in Jarratt, hanged himself and died. Cheeseman is the second out-of-state prisoner to kill himself in a Virginia prison in the past year.

WA: Beginning July 21, 2001, people booked into the Snohomish county jail in Everett will be charged a $10 "booking fee." People who are acquitted, not charged, or whose charges are dismissed are entitled to refunds.

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