California: On April 22, 2003, three youths escaped from the Camp Barrett Youth Correctional Facility near San Diego by attacking a guard with a rake and stealing a prison van. The guard suffered a severed ear, broken hand and wrist and deep cuts on his head during the attack. One youth surrendered after the escape, claiming he was in a port-a-potty towed behind the van and had not intended to escape. Police captured the other two youths the day after their escape.
Connecticut: In April, 2004, a civics class from the Lyman Hall Memorial High School visited the Osborn Correctional Institution on a field trip. Several girls in the class were forced to remove their bras in the presence of male classmates and prison guards when the underwire bras set off a prison metal detector. Prison policy requires that all visitors clear a metal detector before they can enter the prison. State Senator Edith Prague has proposed legislation that female guards be present at visitation metal detectors in state prisons. The DOC was purporting to investigate the complaint. However, this is a standard practice at most American prisons and an indignity to which prison visitors, usually the friends and family members of prisoners, are regularly subjected to. In that respect, the students cannot complain: they received an authentic taste of what it is like for people to visit an American prison. DOC spokesman Ed Ramsey announced that effective April 13, 2004, prison guards will no longer suggest or require that female visitors remove their bras to clear a metal detector.
Connecticut: PLN has previously reported on the three Connecticut Department of Corrections guards who were fired for being members of the Outlaws Motorcycle Club. In late April, 2004, local media reported that one of the fired guards, Gary Piscottano, 50, a DOC guard since 1986, is also a former Grand Dragon in the Ku Klux Klan. (Media observers did not make the connection that Piscottano seems to have a penchant for joining violent, racist organizations.) He quit the KKK post in 1981. As PLN reports on a regular basis, many prison employees around the country are current or former members of violent, racist organizations and in no state does it appear to be a disqualification for employment with the prison system.
Florida: On April 9, 2004, an unidentified Drug Enforcement Agency agent giving a gun safety presentation to 50 children accidentally shot himself in the leg.
Massachusetts: In April, 2004, Steven Silva, deputy superintendent of Massachusetts Correctional Institution-Cedar Junction, was demoted to sergeant after he called the prison on March 19, on his day off from home, and asked a subordinate to relieve a lieutenant at the prison so the prison could come to Silva's home and cut his hair. The captain who took the call and the lieutenant who performed the haircut were removed from their positions with pay pending further investigation. Silva's demotion was ordered by state prison commissioner Kathleen Dennehy who has promised to improve the Department of Corrections ethical standards.
Massachusetts: In November, 2003, Donald Delaney, 39, a prisoner at the House of Correction in South Bay was arrested on charges of facilitating prostitution from the jail's pay phones. The alleged prostitute then sent Delaney at least some of the proceeds of the prostitution. Jail officials became suspicious when Delaney exceeded the jail's weekly commissary spending limit of $500 by almost $2,000 in anonymous money orders.
Massachusetts: On February 17, 2004, Tina Cellucci, 33, overdosed when a condom filled with crack cocaine inside her vagina burst as she awaited processing in a holding cell at the Taunton police station. After seeking help from police, Cellucci was hospitalized and treated. Doctors recovered two intact condoms filled with cocaine from her vagina, in addition to the burst container. A total of 65 grams of crack were recovered. Sgt. Paul Roderick stated: "The two bags that we did retrieve, if you put them together they equal about a good sized fist. That's a lot to be storing up there." Cellucci recovered from the overdose and faces additional drug charges after her original arrest for possessing drug paraphernalia.
Massachusetts: On March 10, 2004, Toney Lopes, chief court officer for the Roxbury district court was transferred to a different job after he hid a razor blade in the court room's prisoner dock to see if his underlings would search the area and find it. Apparently they didn't and Lopes then forgot about it and left the razor blade in the dock. Lopes declined comment to the media about the incident.
Massachusetts: On March 31, 2004, Patrick Bonaventura, 55, a probation officer in Worcester, pleaded guilty in federal court to helping one of the probationers under his supervision run a counterfeit check operation.
Mexico: On April 14, 2004, five prisoners linked to drug trafficking cartels escaped from the La Mesa prison in Tijuana. Two armed prisoners working in the prison clinic forced their way to of the prison with three other prisoners and engaged in a shoot out with prison guards before fleeing in a waiting car. One guard was seriously wounded in the escape. All of the escapees had been convicted of drug trafficking related murders and kidnappings. Two days after the escape prison warden Adolfo Millan and guard commander Armando Flores Arreola were fired for suspected complicity in the escape. Baja California governor Eugenio Elorduy Walther told media: "This would not have taken place if there hadn't been internal corruption." The next day a total of nine prison employees, including Millan and Flores, were arrested on corruption charges relating to the escape.
Nebraska: On February 4, 2004, Michael McGuire, 54, a prisoner at the Tecumseh State Correctional Institution escaped from custody during a visit to the Johnson County Hospital. Claiming he had diarrhea, McGuire went to a hospital bathroom and emerged with a pistol. He freed himself from his restraints and took the guards at gunpoint to the prison van, where they drove him. McGuire handcuffed the guards to a tree where they were later found by a motorist. McGuire later called his attorney, James Davis, in Omaha, to inform him of the guards' location to ensure they were not injured. A second handgun was found in the hospital, apparently also for McGuire. McGuire was serving a life sentence for rape, kidnapping and robbery and had previously attempted to escape from prison in 2001 (also reported in News in Brief). He was eligible for parole when he is 82. On February 7, McGuire was captured at an Omaha coffee shop after exchanging gunfire with police. No one was injured in the recapture. Police were tipped to McGuire's presence after receiving a report from a man claiming McGuire had trapped him in his apartment for three days.
New York: In April, 2003, Darryl Harrison, the chief of staff for the New York City Correction Department was demoted to assistant deputy warden and suspended without pay for 30 days after a city owned snow blower was found in his home. News media had previously reported that Harrison and other jail associates of his had obtained free Club Med vacations intended for Ground Zero workers even though neither he nor his associates had ever worked at the World Trade Center site.
New York: On May 3, 2004, Mamdouh Mahmud Salim, 46, was sentenced to 32 years in prison for attacking Louis Pepe, a guard at the federal Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn in 2000. During the attack Salim ran a comb into Pepe's eye leaving him brain damaged and barely able to see. Salim is an alleged aide to Osama Bin Laden and awaits trial on charges that he conspired to blow up American embassies in Africa in 1998. Pepe was removed from the courtroom by the sentencing judge for waving a black pocket comb and shouting "I'm dead, I'm dead."
Slovenia: On April 14, 2004, Ahmed Mustafa Ibrahim Ali, a Jordanian policeman working for the United Nations in war torn Kosovo, opened fire on a group of UN prison workers as they left the prison in Kosovska Mitrovica. Ali was later killed. Two American women working as prison guards were killed and 10 other Americans were wounded in the attack. Seven American prison guards and an Austrian were wounded. The prison holds mostly pretrial detainees. Like in many occupied nations, Americans staff and supervise the prisons.
Wisconsin: On April 26, 2004, former Winnebago county district attorney Joe Paulus, 44, pleaded guilty in federal court in Green Bay to accepting bribes totaling $48,000 from criminal defense lawyer Milton Schierland, 47, in exchange for plea bargains and low sentences for the lawyers' clients in a total of 22 cases, six criminal and 16 traffic cases. Paulus was district attorney for 14 years before his arrest.
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