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News in Brief

Alabama: On February 3, 2004, Phillip Brown, 23, a former state prisoner, boarded a work release bus transporting prisoners to work and abducted prisoner Okoni Lattimore, 28, at gunpoint. Lattimore later turned himself in to prison officials. He suffered a severe beating, including the loss of several teeth. Brown had been released from the same prison Lattimore is held at less than five weeks earlier. No motive was given for the attack.

Arizona: On February 25, 2004, Kathleen Liden, 33, a guard with the Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections was arrested charges of sexually abusing a minor for allegedly having sex with a male juvenile prisoner in her care.

California: On February 21, 2004, Miles Woodford, 44, a guard at the Solano State Prison in Vacaville was shot and killed by local police when he pointed a gun at a female deputy outside his home. Woodford had been drinking heavily at the time of the incident and when his children told him police were outside their home, he loaded a gun and went outside to point it at police. Police were at the home to investigate two 911 calls.

Canada: On February 7, 2004, twenty prisoners at the Edmonton Institution in Alberta, a maximum security prison, seized control of a section of the prison. Prison officials claim the take-over occurred when a prisoner assaulted a guard and the prisoners then refused to be locked down. Prison officials negotiated a retreat by the prisoners who agreed to return to their cells.

Colorado: On February 10, 2004, Daniel Gallegos, 30, a former guard at the state run Denver Women's Correctional Facility was sentenced to four years in prison and eight years probation after being convicted of raping two female prisoners at the facilty and forcing them to perform oral sex on him in prison closets, storerooms and stairwells. Despite pleading guilty to the rapes, Gallegos denied the assaults occurred. A fact that troubled judge Gloria Riva but apparently not enough to reject the deal.

Colorado: On February 12, 2004, federal prosecutors charged Rebecca Miller, 30, with two misdemeanor counts of having sex with a male prisoner in a treatment room at the Federal Correctional Complex in Florence. Miller was employed by the Bureau of Prisons as a nurse when the incidents occur. Prosecutors claim Miller performed fellatio and had intercourse with the prisoner.

Colorado: On February 3, 2004, Scott Glenn, a part time jail guard at the Chaffee county jail in Salida was suspended from work for shocking jail prisoner Thomas Montoya, 42, with a taser gun during weapons practice at the jail. Tasers use 50,000 volts of electricity to incapacitate people. Glenn claimed Montoya volunteered to be tasered as part of the class. Sheriff Tim Walker said "There's no way a detention officer should ever use an inmate in that capacity."

Colorado: On September 15, 2003, Rutendra Raghunandan, 32, a guard at the state run Denver Women's Correctional Facilty shot and killed himelf, his wife Lolita and their two sons, Akash, 10 and Rene, 5. Raghunandan had been released from jail after being arrested on domestic violence charges for previously attacking Lolita.

Florida: On August 6, 2003, Anthony Johnson, 39, was convicted of attempted murder for brutally stabbing Miriam Lopez, 30, a mental health nurse at the Everglades Correctional Facility on February 11, 2003. Johnson used an 8 inch shank to repeatedly stab Lopez, who suffered serious injuries from which she had physically recovered from at the time of trial. Johnson was already serving more than 400 years in prison on prior convictions.

Florida: On December 25, 2003, 170 prisoners at the Union Correctional Institution in Raiford became seriously ill from food poisoning after eating a spoiled Christmas dinner of roast turkey. The meal was prepared by Aramark, a private, for profit food company with a track record of unsanitary food practices. Two prisoners required hospitalization.

Kentucky: On January 30, 2004, water service was restored to the Kentucky State Penitentiary in Eddyville three days after a lighting strike ruptured the line leading to the prison from a 300,000 water tank that supplies the prison with water. In the meantime, prisoners and staff at the maximum security facility drank bottled water and prisoners formed bucket brigades for water to flush toilets.

Michigan: On March 25, 2004, Marcus Johnson, 34, a guard at the Federal Correctional Center in Milan was charged in federal court with accepting $2,015 in bribes in exchange for bringing unspecified contraband into the prison and allowing him to make unmonitored calls from a staff telephone.

Michigan: On March 25, 2004, Robert Nitz, 41, died of sepsis in the prison hospital in Jackson. Nitz stabbed himself in the stomach and ultimately died from the infection that resulted. Nitz was seriously mentally ill and had stabbed himself in the stomach more than 40 times in prisons and mental institutions. A story on his life by the Detroit Free Press in 2002 estimated that the multiple surgeries caused by his self inflicted wounds cost more than $1 million to treat. Nitz had been serving a 20 year sentence for arson. In a pathetic commentary on the treatment of the mentally ill in American prisons, news reports stated that Nitz had previously served 8 years of a two year sentence when he repeatedly had his sentence extended as a result of his self mutilation.

Mississippi: On February 20, 2004, an amended indictment filed in federal court in Jackson alleged that state supreme court justice Oliver Diaz Jr., was charged with trying to extort money from lawyers with cases pending before the court where their client had been awarded $9,000,000. Diaz allegedly used lawyer Paul Minor as an intermediary in soliticitng the bribes, which the lawyers refused. Minor and Diaz were charged in 2003 with fraud, bribery and racketeering charges along with two other judges and Diaz's ex wife.

Missouri: On January 29, 2004, Mark Brown, a prisoner who had escaped from police in Sullivan, broke into a home to elude police. To his misfortune, he was captured by Joshua Cary, 14, who went to investigate the noise of Brown's entry with a sword. As soon as Cary threatened to stab him, Brown surrendered and was handed over to police.

Nebraska: On Februry 2, 2004, Michael McGuire, escaped from the Tecumseh State Correctional Institution where he was serving time for rape, robbery and kidnapping convtictions, during a hospital visit. Two pistols were planted in the restroom of the hospital where McGuire retrieved them and used them to take the two escorting guards hostage, take the prison van, flee and then left the prison guards handcuffed to a tree. On February 7, McGuire was captured in downtown Omaha after exchanging gunfire with police. No one was injured.

New York: On Fberuary 3, 2004, Nicholas Zimmerman, 27, and Steven Finely, 26, prisoners at the Sing Sing Correctional Facility in Ossining, a prison guard and four outside confederates were charged with attempted escape. In a bizarre series of mishaps, Zimmerman plotted the escape with guard Quangtrice Wilson, with whom he had a romantic relationship. Wilson agreed to give Zimmerman's girlfriends outside the prison extensive information about security within the prison, including security procedures, layout of buildings, a digital copy of her prison identification card and a cellphone for Zimmerman to plan the escape. In exchamge, Wilson received several thousand dollars worth of bribes. Several attempts to walk into the prison disguised as guards and walk out with the prisoners failed for various reasons, including that the plotters arriving too late for shift change, one of Zimmerman's girlfriends hyperventilating upon entering the prison. The plot eventually unraveled on the third attempt when one of the conspirators attempted to enter the prison and a guard noticed the blue badge on his uniform was raised, not flat like that of most guards. When he told the inquiring guard he was a transfer from another prison the guard sent him to the warden's office. He then fled the prison, leaving his fake DOCS identification behind in the process. Ron Kuby, the attorney who represents Zimmerman in his post conviction appeals told the media "Mr. Zimmerman would not seek to escape from prison. That is why he has lawyers." Zimmerman, a rapper from Queens who records under the name Puzz Pacino, is serving a 15 year sentence for weapons possession.

North Carolina: On December 1, 2003, Brunswick county jail guards Shady Daniels III, 23, was charged with a felony for raping prisoner Pamela Jo Rinehart, 26, and Moraima Cortes, 31, was charged with a misdemeanor of willful failure to discharge her duties for opening the door to the dormitory, removing Rinehart from there and allowing her to have consensual sex with Daniels in the jail's nursing station which was not under camera surveillance.

Pennsylvania: On February 3, 2004, Delaware county jail lieutenant Victor Law was fired by the Geo Corporation, formerly known as the Wackenhut corporation, for beating a prisoner without provocation. This is the latest in a series of misconduct incidents at the jail since it was privatized in 1996.

Pennsylvania: On December 29, 2003, Shawn Gilmore, 34, shot and killed Vivian Figueroa, 34, at a North Philadelphia half way house operated on behalf of the state Department of Corrections by Liberty Management. Gilmore then shot and killed himself. Both Gilmore and Figueroa were employees of Liberty Management and worked at the halfway house.

Pennsylvania: On February 5, 2004, Bucks county prison investigator Joseph Schuck, 48, pleaded guilty to two counts of providing former prisoner Brian Flaherty with the powerful pain killer Oxycontin, one count of using a telephone for criminal activity and one count of using his position as a public official to break the law. Schuck, a retired Philadelphia police man had been hired by the prison as its lead investigator in 2002. The plea came in the midst of a trial.

Texas: On December 8, 2003, Joel Zamora, the chief jailer of the Cameron county jail, was convicted in state court by a jury on charges that he had inappropriate sexual contact with two female prisoners at the jail.

Vermont: On March 24, 2004, DOC Commisisoner Steve Gold announced the DOC was investigating reports that a Springfield fire department employee supervising a female prisoner work crew was giving the prisoners cigarettes in exchange for nude photographs of themselves. The women are minimum security prisoners housed in the Southeast Correctional Facility who work in the community during the day and return to prison in the evenings. The Vermont DOC recently banned all tobacco products.

West Viginia: On January 26, 2004, Robert Hill, 25, attempted to escape from the South Central Regional Jail in Charleston by greasing his 165 pound body with soap, breaking the window in his cell and trying to crawl through the 6 inch wide, 3 foot high window. Instead, Hill was trapped in the window for four hours before guards rescued him. He suffered minor injuries where his rib cage had become stuck in the window. He was later charged with felony escape.

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