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News in Brief

News in Brief:

California: In February, 2005, police arrested Glen Westberg, 35, in Redwood City, for violating his parole conditions for his child molestation conviction. Westberg used the state's internet registry of sex offenders to contact other child molesters he found attractive and solicit them for sex. Apparently one of the sex offenders reported the advances to police who set Westberg up for a sting. His parole conditions include a ban on contact with convicted felons. Some would say it is better for public safety for child molesters to have sex with each other than with children. Apparently that view is not shared by local police.

California: On February 5, 2005, Anthony Gibson, 34, and Jose Manuel Vera, 24, guards at the Yolo County Monroe Detention Center were arrested on kidnapping, rape of a drugged victim and sexual penetration with a foreign object charges. The men are accused with another person of kidnapping, drugging, and raping a 21 year old woman in Gibson's SUV.

California: On January 31, 2005, two prisoners were seriously stabbed and six others suffered minor injuries in a scuffle between some two dozen prisoners at the Salinas Valley State Prison in Soledad. The incident occurred in the recreation yard of facility D.

California: On March 7, 2005, Jose Mendoza, 24, drove his Ford Mustang into a wall of the Vista Detention Facility in San Diego, ran into the jail's lobby and ignored orders to halt from jail guards. Mendoza then attempted to seize a guard's pistol and was then shot and killed by several guards. No motive is known for the incident.

Colorado: On January 3, 2005, Douglas Wilson, 45, pleaded guilty in Colorado Springs to possession of contraband and was sentenced to three years in prison for passing out cheese sandwiches to other prisoners in the jail, in violation of jail rules. A jail guard testified he told Wilson not to pass the sandwiches to other prisoners and when Wilson ignored him, he shocked Wilson with a stun gun, tackled and handcuffed him.

Congo: According to the United Nations, at least 50 prisoners starved to death in the nation's prisons and a majority suffers from severe malnutrition. The government is too poor to feed its prisoners, who must rely on food from relatives to survive. Civil war has displaced many people which make such feeding programs difficult. The United Nations has suggested allowing the prisoners, the majority of whom have not been formally charged with a crime, much less convicted of one, grow their own food rather than lie in the prisons and starve to death.

Delaware: On January 6, 2005, Wayne Lee, 40, a lieutenant at the Young Correctional Institution in Wilmington, was arrested and charged with assaulting prison guard Kristina Yeager, 21, on December 26, 2004, when she refused to work overtime. Yeager had finished working her 8 hour shift and Lee told her she had to work mandatory overtime, Yeager refused, saying she was sick when Lee confronted her and grabbed her arm, bruising her.

England: A report released in January, 2005, revealed that a 2002 uprising at the Lincoln Prison in October, 2002, that led to prisoners seizing control of the facility for 8 hours and causing about $5 million in damages was in response to the prison eliminating hot meals from the lunch menu. This was considered the most destructive prisoner uprising since the Strangeways uprising in 1990.

Florida: In January, 2005, Florida supreme court justice, Raoul Cantero, denounced the quality of lawyers handling death row appeals before the court stating that some have botched cases, omitted key arguments and generally performed the worst lawyering I've seen." Cantero, appointed to the court by Governor Jeb Bush, testified before the state legislature that Bush's efforts to close regional offices that represent condemned prisoners and replace them with poorly trained private lawyers would waste court resources as well as disserve the accused.

Florida: On December 31, 2004, Willis Hiers, 47, was sentenced to 30 months in prison for violating probation by trying to smuggle cigarettes into the Indian River County jail after a jail sergeant saw Hiers throw a pack of cigarettes into the bushes near the jail where prisoners were working. At the time of his arrest Hiers was on probation for DUI, driving with a suspended license and criminal mischief. He was also assessed court costs and fines.

Florida: On February 16, 2005, Damen Cody, 23, a guard at the Montgomery Corrections Facility, was arrested and charged with battery and official misconduct for beating and choking Timothy Burroughs, 22, a prisoner at the facility. In January, 2005, Edward Mincey, 28, another guard at the prison, was charged with kicking and beating another prisoner at the same facility to the point that the prisoner required between 30 and 40 stitches.

Florida: On February 28, 2005, federal prosecutors in Jacksonville indicted and arrested Florida Department of Corrections employees Sgt. Oscar Shipley, 41, Clayton Manning, 33, and former DOC employees Michael Chambliss, 36, and Marcus Hodges, 32, for illegal distribution of steroids.

Florida: On January 11, 2005, Richard Hirshfield, 57, a prominent lawyer and financier, hanged himself in the laundry room of the Federal Detention Center in Miami with Saran Wrap while awaiting transfer to Virginia to be tried on conspiracy and obstruction of justice charges. Imprisoned for securities fraud in 1991, Hirshfield was a fugitive from the FBI for 8 years before being captured hiding in the closet of his $4 million mansion in Ft. Lauderdale.

Florida: On January 27, 2005, Assistant Attorney General John Rimes, 54, was beaten and robbed in a Tampa motel room after he summoned two women from an escort service. He offered them $200 for sexual services and was told he needed $500. After retrieving the additional funds from an ATM a well dressed man knocked on Rimes' motel room door. Rimes opened it and was pepper sprayed, beaten and relieved of his money. The women left with the assailant.

Florida: On January 3, 2005, Victoria Lopo, 46, a food service contract employee at the Punta Gorda jail was arrested on charges she had sex with jail prisoner Sylvester Camon, 41. She admitted to having sex with Camon in a kitchen closet when questioned by police.

Gaza: On February 10, 2005, several dozen armed men burst into a jail run by the Palestinian Authority by blowing up a wall with rocket propelled grenades, entering a cellblock and shooting and killing two prisoners. A third prisoner was abducted, taken to a nearby refugee camp and killed. Several prisoners escaped in the commotion. Police claimed the incident was the result of score settling by feuding clans.

Kentucky: On October 15, 2004, Gregory Goins, 35, a guard at the federal Atwood Prison Camp, was convicted of 8 counts of raping two female prisoners at the facility.

Louisiana: In December, 2004, U.S. district court judge Jay Zainey sentenced former Orleans Parish public defender Glenda Spears, 35, and Angela Kirkland, who formerly ran the drug court program at the Orleans Parish Criminal District court, three years of probation, 200 hours of community service and six months of house arrest. The two women had pleaded guilty to charges of computer fraud for releasing probationers from court supervision programs in exchange for cash bribes ranging from $500 to $2,500. After being caught, Kirkland wore a wire for federal prosecutors to entrap Spears. Spears was also fined $10,000 and was facing disbarment.

New Jersey: On January 6, 2005, employees of the Gateway Foundation, a company that provides drug treatment services to state prisoners for $4.2 million a year, staged a skit that featured three prisoners dressed as members of the Ku Klux Klan being interviewed by another prisoner in a parody of the Jerry Springer Show. Five employees of the company were fired for the incident and remaining employees were required to undergo a new 40 hour training program.

New Jersey: On New Year's day, 2005, an incident between an unidentified number of prisoners (corrections commissioner Devon Brown claimed four, guard union spokesmen claimed dozens) and guards at the minimum security unit of the Bayside State Prison left 29 guards injured, including one lieutenant with a titanium plate inserted to repair a crushed cheekbone. Apparently the prisoners were members of the Bloods street gang. Six prisoners have been internally disciplined for assault and 20 for rioting which would belie Brown's claim that the incident was not a riot" but instead a skirmish.

Ohio: On January 31, 2005, Richard Keiser II, a former guard at the Belmont Correctional Institution, was sentenced to two years in state prison after being convicted of smuggling marijuana into the prison.

Ohio: On January 14, 2005, Warren county district judge Dallas Powers was indicted on 13 charges of sexual battery and retaliation stemming from his alleged sexual assault of two court employees. He was also charged with witness intimidation, theft in office and unauthorized use of government property. Prosecutors claim that Powers and court employee Libbie Gerondale had a sexual relationship in the courthouse during business hours and Powers allowed Gerondale to be paid for hours she did not work. Gerondale was also indicted on charges of public indecency, theft, perjury and unauthorized use of property.

Oklahoma: On January 29, 2005, prisoner Ronald Sites, 48, was strangled to death in his cell at the Lawton Correctional Facility, which is run by the for-profit Geo Group. Sites' cellmate, Robert Cooper, 32, is the primary suspect in the case.

Oregon: On January 29, 2005, Aaron Munoz, 21, was found hanged in his cell in the Intensive Management Unit at the Oregon State Penitentiary in Salem. He was due to be released from prison six days later after serving a two year sentence for assault. Munoz had recently testified before grand jury that he had been raped by Michael Boyles, 49, a former Oregon Youth Authority probation officer charged with 101 counts of raping minors under his supervision, Munoz among them. Munoz told his aunt that he did not want to leave prison with a reputation as a homosexual and a snitch.

Pennsylvania: On February 10, 2005, prisoners at Federal Correctional Institution-McKean staged a strike to protest a smoking ban at the prison. Faced with the strike, prison officials locked the prison down for a week, lifted the lockdown and reimposed it a week later.

Pennsylvania: On February 8, 2005, 13 prisoners at the Snyder county jail in Selinsgrove refused to return to their cells in protest of food cutbacks caused after the jail contracted its food services out to Aramark, a for profit company. After four hours of being confronted by riot gear clad jail guards and police the prisoners returned to their cells when jail warden George Nye agreed to give the men sandwiches. The prisoners were transferred to other facilities the next day. Nye admitted that prisoners had been fed relatively well prior to the Aramark contract.

Tennessee: In January, 2005, United Way announced that its 200 fundraising campaign in the Nashville area would be headed by John Ferguson, president and CEO of Corrections Corporation of America. CCA was also a big sponsor of President Bush's 2005 inaugural ball along with other corporations dependent on public money for their existence.

Texas: On February 1, 2005, Manuel Castillo, 19, a guard at the Geo Central Texas Detention Facility in San Antonio was arrested while trying to bring a bottle of vodka, cocaine and tobacco into the federal facility. He is the fourth guard arrested for smuggling contraband into the privately run facility in the past 30 months.

Texas: On January 4, 2005, prisoner James Porter, 33, was executed in Huntsville after dismissing his appeals. Porter had been sentenced to death for killing Rudy Delgado, a child molester, in 2000 while both were imprisoned at a state prison in Texarkana. Porter claimed Delgado had made a sexual advance towards him which caused him to pummel him to death with a rock wrapped in a pillow case.

Texas: On January 11, 2005, D'Andrae Chatman, 20, and Norman Minor, 27, guards at the Grimes County jail in Anderson, were arrested and charged with improper sexual activity with a person in custody after the two men admitted to police that they had had sex with two female prisoners in the jail chapel and a filing room. One of the women said she had had a relationship with Minor before being imprisoned.

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