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News in Brief

California: On December 12, 2001, Don Lanier Jr., 34, a guard at the Wasco State Prison and a karate instructor, was sentenced to nine months in the Kern county jail after pleading guilty to unlawful intercourse with a minor. The charges stem from Lanier having consensual sex with a 15-year-old female karate student. Lanier received the light sentence after successfully arguing to judge Stephen Gildner that he had lost his job and the respect of the community.

California: On February 14, 2002, a Los Angeles federal grand jury capped a three year investigation into the Nazi Low Riders prison gang by indicting 12 members of the group on charges of murder, robbery, extortion, drug trafficking, witness intimidation, racketeering and attempted murder. Those indicted include: Joseph Hayes, 38; Joseph Lowery, 28; Michael Bridge, 34; Brian Roberg, 30; Jeffrey Langenhorst, 39; Ty Fowles, 34; William Richie, 29; James Mowatt, 39; Robert Baltimore, 32; James Prescott, 28; Brian Johnston, 25 and Jennifer D'Anna, 28. Bridge and Baltimore were also charged with murdering prisoner Karl Hennings, Sr. at the Devore State Prison in 1996 and could receive the death penalty if convicted.

California: On February 3, 2002, 50 prisoners at the Riverside County jail brawled in an argument over the Super Bowl. Five prisoners suffered minor injuries. According to jail officials, half the prisoners were Patriots fans and the rest were Rams fans.

California: On February 5, 2002, an unidentified prisoner died after being stabbed twice by two other prisoners at the High Desert State Prison in Susanville. Guards attempted to halt the attack with tear gas and baton rounds.

California: On November 28, 2001, Annette Eichorn, a former guard at the Salinas Valley State Prison in Soledad, filed a sexual harassment suit against prison guard Ezechiel Bañales, who she claims grabbed her "around her body in a sexual manner against her will." Eichorn also filed criminal charges against Bañales and he was charged with misdemeanor sexual battery and false imprisonment. Bañales, a prison guard at the prison since 1996, has also been a Greenfield councilman since 1998.

District of Columbia: On February 4, 2002, conservative Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia criticized the Catholic Church's opposition to the death penalty, saying Catholic judges who believe the death penalty is wrong should resign. Scalia, who purports to be a devout Catholic, said he disagrees with the church's position. During a student address at Catholic Georgetown University law school, Scalia said: "No authority that I know of denies the 2,000 year old tradition of the church approving capital punishment. I don't see why there's been a change." While the Catholic Church currently opposes the death penalty and abortion, Scalia supports the death penalty but by contrast does not call for the resignation of judges who support the church's position on abortion.

Ecuador: To protest overcrowding and a lack of food rations, women prisoners in Guayaquil on February 3, 2002, sewed their lips shut. Prison spokesperson Reina Valle admitted prison conditions were "far from perfect" but that with a daily budget of $1.40 US per prisoner it was the best they could do.

El Salvador: On December 9, 2001, two prisoners escaped from a prison in Chalaltenango when six prisoners took a guard's M-2 carbine while emptying garbage near the prison's entrance. They took the guard hostage and made their way through two gates before getting into a 20-minute shoot out with guards. In the firefight, the prison's deputy warden and a guard and one of the escapees were killed. Four guards and two escapees were wounded. Of the two prisoners who managed to escape, one was promptly recaptured outside the prison with a gunshot wound to the back. The prisoner with the M-2 carbine got away. Prison officials said they would tighten security as a result.

Indiana: On October 1, 2001, Dayon Miller, 22, a prisoner at the Wabash Valley Correctional Facility in Carlisle was charged with attempted murder and battery for stabbing prison guard Paul Clark II five times with a shank. Clark was not seriously injured.

Iowa: On December 10, 2001, Damon Willis, a prisoner at the Mt. Pleasant Correctional Facility was convicted of third degree sexual assault stemming from his rape of another prisoner on Super Bowl Sunday in 1997.

Iowa: On November 12, 2001, Thomas Ness, 33, a prisoner at the Polk County jail in Des Moines was charged with third degree sexual abuse for trying to rape another prisoner. Both Ness and the alleged victim were in jail awaiting trial on sexual assault charges.

Iowa: On November 8, 2001, Stephen Korb, 53, was charged with trafficking child pornography on the Internet. Between 1973 and 2000, Korb was employed at the Iowa State Penitentiary in Ft. Madison. He later went to work as a counselor at Orchard Place in Des Moines, a home for troubled teens.

Kansas: In November 2001, the Kansas DOC announced it would send 100 medium security male prisoners to the CCA run Kit Carson Correctional Facility in Burlington, Colorado to reduce overcrowding.

Louisiana: On July 6, 2001, Kevin Coleman, 27, was found dead during a routine check in a restraint chair at the Wade Correctional Center. Coleman had been confined to the restraint chair since July 3, 2001. An autopsy did not reveal a cause of death. DOC spokeswoman Melissa Cook said the DOC did not investigate prisoner deaths and no changes in policy or procedure would result from the death.

Maine: On December 21, 2001, York County jail guard Kristy Cameron, 26, was charged with smuggling marijuana, tobacco, and prescription drugs to prisoners at the jail. A guard for only 33 days at the time of her arrest, Cameron was turned into police by her fiancée Heath Graffam, himself a prisoner at the jail on domestic violence charges stemming from an argument with Cameron. Police said they had ample evidence of Cameron's smuggling activities, including other prisoner informants, marijuana, letters from prisoners and 32 phone calls from prisoners to Cameron in a 3-week period.

Mexico: On November 23, 2001, two prisoners at a prison in Ensenada, Baja California, climbed a guard tower, took the guard's rifles and exchanged gunfire with guards for three hours before being killed.

Montana: In January 2002, Jefferson county jail guard David McElroy was charged with raping two female jail prisoners. In addition to challenging the state law that makes sex between guards and prisoners illegal, McElroy claims the prisoners seduced him and because he is a body builder taking human growth hormones he was less able to resist their advances. Apparently this defense is a variation of the "steroid rage" defense used in violent crimes. Until now the "raging hormones" defense was used mostly by teen-age boys chastised for unwanted advances.

New Jersey: On February 2, 2002, Michael Evans, 31, escaped from the Minimum Security Unit of the South Woods Prison. He was recaptured on February 5, 2002. Evans was due to have been released from prison on April 1, 2002; he now faces an additional five years in prison for the escape.

New Jersey: On January 5, 2002, Joe Clark announced he was resigning as director of the Essex County Juvenile Detention Center after he condoned the brutal and abusive treatment of juvenile prisoners. Clark had been criticized by the state's Juvenile Justice Commission for routinely violating state standards on the treatment of juveniles. Clark is best known as the baseball bat wielding authoritarian high school principal whose "hands on" approach to children was glorified in the film "Lean on me." Clark defended his management style of chaining children, turning a blind eye to beatings and confining them to isolation cells for weeks on end by saying it was a necessary response to youth violence.

New Mexico: On January 7, 2002, Marcos Mazzini, Vincent Najar and Jason Delatorre, pleaded guilty in federal court to charges that they incited a riot at the privately run Torrance county Detention Facility in Estancia in 1999 to cover up an escape attempt. Several prisoners and guards were injured in the riot. The three men were awaiting sentencing after being convicted of racketeering charges stemming from a drug operation they ran in Albuquerque as part of a California Sureño gang operation. Another defendant, Paul Segura, had his sentence reduced after agreeing to testify against his co-defendants. Mazzini was sentenced to eight years on the rioting charge; consecutive to the 25 years he received on racketeering charges. Najar was sentenced to 4 years on the riot charges; with three of them consecutive to his 30 year racketeering sentence and Delatorre received a two-year sentence concurrent with his 22-year sentence.

New York: On January 29, 2002, Randy Denjen, 38, a lieutenant at the federal Metropolitan Corrections Center in Brooklyn was charged by federal prosecutors with raping a 23-year-old female prisoner at the jail on November 25, 2001. Prosecutors said another jail employee witnessed the attack and that they had DNA evidence implicating Denjen. Denjen denies the charges.

North Carolina: In July 2001, Durham county attorney Allen Mason III, a former assistant prosecutor, was charged with sexually assaulting two women on four occasions, one of the victims was 16 at the time of the assault. Mason is also charged with soliciting prostitution for offering one of the women legal services in exchange for sex.

North Carolina: On January 11, 2002, Benjamin Gray, 28, a Gaston county sheriffs deputy, pleaded guilty to twice having sex with jail prisoner Billie Cooper in November 2000, on a desk in the jail. Cooper believes that Gray fathered her son as a result of the trysts. Gray was sentenced to 90 days of house arrest and 18 months probation.

Ohio: On November 28, 2001, David Dearing was released from the Lima Correctional Institution and picked up from prison by his grandmother. Within two hours of his release, Dearing had stolen his grandmother's car, robbed a Toledo bank and was arrested shortly thereafter stuck in a muddy field in his grandmother's car while smoking crack. He was back in prison 29 hours after being released. Dearing faces charges of aggravated robbery, driving under suspension and failure to stop after an accident.

Oklahoma: On January 23, 2002, Frank Rodriguez killed himself by jumping headfirst off a second story tier at the Texas county Detention Center in Guymon. Rodriguez had just pled guilty to sexual molestation charges.

Oregon: In February, 2002, Deana Adam, 32, and Charles Dunkin Jr., 40, guards at the Oregon State Penitentiary in Salem, were charged in Marion county circuit court with giving prisoners alcohol, tobacco and a watch. They face charges of official misconduct, receiving a bribe and supplying contraband. A third guard, William Brooks, 37, was scheduled to be charged but did not appear in court. An arrest warrant was issued for him.

Oregon: In January 2002, Douglas Harison, 48, attempted to rob a Salem bank and asked the teller to call police. Harrison told the teller he didn't want any trouble, he just wanted to go back to prison. Harrison had been on parole for 16 months after spending 8 years in prison for strangling a girlfriend. He told police he couldn't find a job and was running out of money.

Oregon: On February 14, 2002, Kari Turner, 40, a guard at the Oregon State Penitentiary in Salem was charged with official misconduct, a misdemeanor, in Marion county circuit court, for allegedly giving a prisoner a pair of sunglasses. Her arrest is part of a 16-month investigation into contraband smuggling at
the prison.

Russia: On January 25, 2002, president Vladimir Putin ordered the release of all women prisoners with children under the age of three, regardless of their crimes. Currently, small children of women prisoners are kept in day care centers within the prisons to be with their mothers. At the time of the amnesty, some 493 children were housed in such centers. Nadezhda Mikhailova, head of the Kremlin's pardons department, did not know how many women would be freed.

South Africa: On February 1, 2002, privately owned South African Custodial Services, a consortium of U.S. based Wackenhut Corrections and their local partner, Kensani Corrections, a "women's empowerment company," opened the 3,024 bed Kutama Sinthumule Maximum Prison in the town of Louis Trichardt. This is the second privately owned South African prison.

South Dakota: On October 15, 2001, prisoner Heather Muston, 28, was sentenced to three years in prison for partying in the governor's mansion. While working unsupervised at the mansion with another female prisoner in 2000, two male friends showed up with drugs to share with the women before engaging in sex with them. The sentencing judge said Muston had "defiled" the mansion.

Tennessee: On January 19, 2002, another prisoner at the Corrections Corporation of America run South Central Correctional Center stabbed prisoner Develae Paige, 32. Paige suffered minor injuries. That same day, prisoner Thomas Prater struck Billy Riley, the food services manager there, on the head with a food-stirring paddle. Riley was not injured.

Texas: On November 6, 2001, Courtney Bourda, 23, a prisoner in the Denton county jail, tried to grab a jail deputy's gun in a courthouse holding area where he was undergoing trial on kidnapping charges related to a bank robbery. Bourda, who was not handcuffed at the time, was shot in the head by another jail guard and died at the scene.

Virginia: In January 2002, the Bureau of Prisons announced it would not renew its contract to continue housing 1,200 prisoners at the Sussex I State Prison in Waverly. The decision will cost the Virginia DOC about $5.26 million annually. Since being housed at the prison in 1999, the prisoners, all from the D.C. prison system that has passed over to federal control, have complained of brutality and ill treatment by guards. The D.C. prisoners will be moved to other BOP prisons in Virginia and West Virginia.

Washington: In January 2002, the Washington DOC began lobbying state judges to sentence prisoners to the Work Ethic Camp (AKA boot camp), at the Pine Lodge Pre Release Center in Medical Lake. The program, started by legislators in 1993 to "get tough on crime," has less than 30 prisoners in it, and the DOC wants to expand it to 300. Only nonviolent drug and property offenders are eligible for it. A skeptical Spokane superior court judge, Tari Eitzen, noted that 75% of criminal defendants have chemical dependency problems, yet the WEC does not offer drug or alcohol treatment, just exercise and paramilitary discipline.

Washington: On December 4, 2001, an unidentified Thurston county jail guard was found dead in his Lacey home after committing suicide. He had also killed an unidentified woman found with him. The guard was being investigated for having sex with a female jail prisoner, which is illegal in Washington.

Washington: On February 20, 2002, prisoners at the Washington State Reformatory in Monroe staged a three-day food strike by not going to meals to protest diminishing portions of crappy food. The protest had a high degree of participation when only 68 out of 800 prisoners showed up for meals. The prison previously had a food strike in July 2000, over the same issue. Over the past decade the WA DOC has steadily decreased the quality and quantity of prison meals in the name of cost cutting. As with previous protests, prison officials agreed to "look into" the problem but not to actually do anything to resolve it. The WSR, with its high concentration of for profit businesses and correctional industries is uniquely vulnerable to work strikes, which would have a greater impact than prisoners not going to eat crappy food. Moreover, prisoner workers pay 20% of their wages for "room and board," supposedly paying for the privilege of eating smaller portions of crappy food.

Washington: On January 21, 2002, Robert Burt and James Rogers briefly escaped from the Monroe Correctional Complex's minimum-security work camp in Monroe by cutting through ties that bind the wire mesh fence and crawling under it to short-lived freedom. They then stole a car in town and were arrested minutes later. It was the first escape from within the camp compound since the facility opened in 1995. Prosecutors charged both prisoners with escape and theft. One of the escapees had been due to be released on March 7, 2002.

Washington: On November 28, 2001, Michael Hoover, 52, a former state Patrol crime lab chemist, was sentenced to 11 months in jail after pleading guilty to official misconduct and tampering with physical evidence. The charges stemmed from his theft of heroin sent to the lab for testing in criminal cases. Several dozen cases in NW Washington were dismissed as a result of his tampering. No explanation was given as to why Hoover was not charged with drug possession, which is a felony and carries a heavier sentence.

Wisconsin: On December 6, 2001, DeCarlos Young, 24, escaped from the Milwaukee County jail's visiting booth by removing the screws from the window, climbing through the window, changing clothes, donning a wig and walking out of the jail with his girlfriend Albertina Jackson, who was visiting him and helped him escape. Young had been convicted of first degree reckless homicide. Jail officials have since changed the window screws in the jail.

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