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News in Brief:
Argentina: On October 15, 2005, dozens of prisoners in the prison in Magdalena burned their mattresses and rioted to protest the denial of longer visiting hours on mother's day. At least 32 prisoners died from carbon monoxide inhalation.
Arizona: The White County jail has a water leak that has left prisoners without hot water for weeks as of mid October and is costing the county at least $3,000 in water bills per month as the jail loses at least 8 gallons of water a minute. The water pipes are buried in concrete below the jail which has made repairs difficult and locating the leaks even harder.
Arkansas: On August 15, 2005, Brian Ricks, 28, a prisoner at the Brickeye East unit, was stabbed to death by fellow prisoner Ernest Green, 47. No motive was given for the attack. Ricks was serving a 180 month sentence on a 2003 conviction for incest and first degree sexual assault. Green is serving a life sentence for the murder of an 82 year old woman and attempted rape and sexual abuse convictions. Ricks was distributing toiletries to other prisoners when Green reached through the bars and stabbed him with a homemade shank.
Burma: In late September, 2005, over 41 prisoners died of diarrhea caused by infection in the Tharawaddy prison in a one week period. Among the dead was political prisoner Ko Aung Ye Khaing, a member of the Communist Party of Burma who had been imprisoned since 1986 by the military junta that runs the country.
Georgia: On August 3, 2005, Melvin Walker and David Ramsey were convicted in federal court on charges that they conspired to murder Dekalb County sheriff elect Derwin Brown in 2000 when Brown was shot to death in front of his home. Both men had been acquitted of state murder charges in 2002 where Sidney Dorsey, Dekalb county sheriff, was convicted of ordering Brown's murder. Prosecutors claimed that Walker was offered a job as a deputy sheriff and Ramsey as a jail guard for carrying out the murder.
Georgia: On September 2, 2005, Latrell Richardson, 36, a prisoner in the Gwinnett County jail, escaped from a local hospital by climbing through its air vents. Richardson was at the hospital to undergo a psychological evaluation. In June, 2005, he had escaped from the jail and remained free for a month.
Georgia: On September 22, 2005, Richard Dorsey, 22, a guard at the Telfair State Prison, was arrested for speeding and police found a half pound of marijuana in his car. Police claimed he tried to badge" his way out of the arrest by identifying himself as a prison guard.
Guatemala: On September 19, 2005, three members of the Mara Salvatrucha gang were shot and beaten to death by rival gang members in a Guatemala City prison.
Iowa: On September 21, 2005, Moses Bittok, a guard at the Iowa Correctional Institution for Women in Mitchellville became a US citizen. On the same day the Kenya native learned he had won the Hot Lotto Jackpot worth $1.8 million.
Kentucky: On October 2, 2005, Whitley County jailer Jerry Taylor, 67, resigned after being indicted on September 12 by a Whitley county grand jury on charges that he forged jail employee's names on checks to steal $2,500 and sold pain killers and prescription drugs to prisoners. Taylor's son, Jerry Allen Taylor, 40, was also indicted for selling drugs to prisoners. The Department of Corrections shut the jail down in July, 2005, saying it was filthy and out of control. Taylor was first elected chief jailer in 1998.
Michigan: On August 17, 2005, Lenawee county jail sergeant James Whiteman was charged in state court with assault and battery for attacking a jail prisoner in July, 2005.
Missouri: On September 30, 2005, Kansas City municipal judge Deborah Neal was sentenced to 28 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to mail fraud charges for accepting loans" from at least 17 lawyers who appeared in cases before her. In exchange for the money, Neal provided the attorneys with special favors ranging from favorable plea agreements to revising probation orders and granting extra access to her chambers. While Neal is headed to prison, the identities of the lawyers remain secret and none have been, or will be, charged criminally. Federal prosecutors have referred them to the Missouri state supreme court for disciplinary action.
New Guinea: On October 7, 2005, 33 prisoners in Baisu prison near Mt. Hagen overpowered the six guards on duty and escaped. Police shot and killed one of the escapees and recaptured 15 others and launched a manhunt for the remainder. Police Commander Wini Henao blamed the escape on incompetence and negligence by prison guards and complained it placed additional burdens on police to have to track down the escapees.
New Jersey: In September, 2005, defective steam line pipes installed at the South Woods State Prison in 1997 when it was first built, burst leaving the prison without hot water. Apparently the prison installed steam lines 20 feet underground when it was built but no access tunnels to repair them. The acidic soil has caused the pipes to corrode and fail much sooner than anticipated. Prison officials estimate it will cost millions to repair the pipes.
New Jersey: On September 30, 2005, Camden superior court judge Stephen Thompson, 59, was convicted in federal court on charges that he traveled to Russia to have sex with a young boy. However, the jury acquitted Thompson, by reason of insanity, on charges that he possessed thousands of pictures and videos of child pornography. Thompson's lawyer argued that Thompson, a Viet Nam veteran who lost a leg, his testicles and bladder in combat before returning to the US to attend law school and become a judge, was too traumatized to form the criminal intent necessary to be convicted of the crimes. Thompson oversaw New Jersey's first drug court and as a superior court judge sent hundreds of convicted sex offenders to prison.
New York: On October 18, 2005, Edward Mulroney, 54, a lieutenant at the federal Metropolitan Correctional Center was sentenced to 28 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to beating a handcuffed prisoner being held down by two other guards in 2003. The prisoner suffered multiple fractures to his left eye socket and cheekbone. The other guards were not charged.
New York: On October 7, 2005, John Geruso, 51, a 21 year guard at the Onondaga county jail was arrested and charged with having sex with two female jail prisoners.
Nigeria: On September 27, 2005, at least 120 prisoners escaped from the Auchi Prison in Edo state by attacking guards and fleeing the prison.
Ohio: In September, 2005, Allen Correctional Institution prisoners Jermain Lyons, 26; Antoinne Neal, 28; Harvey Townsend, 39; and Stephon Graves, 31, were indicted on charges that they received marijuana sent to them concealed in food packages and then sold it to other prisoners. Four non prisoners from Toledo were also indicted on charges of sending the drugs.
Ohio: On September 26, 2005, Rex Elam, 32, serving a 25 to year life sentence for raping and killing an 86 year old woman in 1991, was attacked and killed by another prisoner at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville. The first murder to occur at the prison since the uprising in 1993 left ten people dead.
Ohio: On September 26, 2005, Warren County judge Dallas Powers, 71, agreed to resign as a judge after he and his lover, Libbie Gerondale Sexton, 35, were sentenced to three years probation after pleading guilty to assorted misdemeanor charges, including intimidation, aiding and abetting the receipt of improper compensation and public indecency. Felony charges of sexual battery and gross sexual imposition were dropped. Prosecutors claim that Powers and Sexton engaged in sex in the courthouse during business hours and Powers paid Sexton to be paid for work she did not perform and then attempted to fire employees who cooperated in the state Attorney General's investigation. Powers has been sued by various courtroom employees claiming he sexually harassed and extorted them.
Oregon: On October 7, 2005, the State Professional Responsibility Board held a hearing as to whether Salem attorney Michael Mauro Pacheco, 52, should be disbarred or suspended from practicing law. Pacheco has been charged in Marion county court with felony unlawful sexual penetration, third degree sexual abuse and attempted sexual abuse stemming from making unwanted sexual advances to three of his law firm employees, one of whom was a 17 year old girl. Pacheco is a former member of the Oregon Board of Parole and Post Prison Supervision and a former Jackson County prosecutor. One of Pacheco's employees claims he sexually assaulted her by attempting to kiss her, grabbed her buttocks, forcefully pulled down her pants, touched her genitals and forced her to touch his. Pacheco has asserted his Fifth Amendment right to silence to the state bar charges against him while the criminal charges are pending.
Pennsylvania: On November 22, 2005, Matthew Sartin, 34, a guard at the Federal Detention Center in Philadelphia pleaded guilty in federal court to bribery charges and admitted he smuggled cell phones and liquor to five prisoners at a cost of $1,000 to $2,500 per prisoner. The smuggling ended when an unidentified prisoner reported it to the authorities.
Scotland: Two years ago prisoners in the Shotts Jail joined an amateur soccer league and regularly play other teams at a field in the jail. They also have yet to lose a match and competitors claim it is because they are too intimidated by the prisoner players and spectators to play as well as they otherwise would. League secretary Andrew Irvine said the League had yet to receive a formal complaint.
Tennessee: Faced with growing bad publicity over its murderous health care practices, Prison Health Services, Secure Pharmacy Plus and their parent company America Service Group in September, 2005 retained public relations and advertising firm Dye Van Mol & Lawrence to improve their public image.
Texas: On September 28, 2005, a van owned by the Tarrant County jail rear ended an 18 wheel semi truck in Arlington. A jail guard and an undisclosed number of the ten prisoners in the van suffered injuries.
Utah: On September 27, 2005, Lance Vanderstappen, 26, a member of the Soldiers of Aryan Culture, a prison gang, was sentenced to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to stabbing a Hispanic prisoner in a holding cell in the federal courthouse in Salt Lake City in July, 2005. The July attack occurred after Vanderstappen had been sentenced to five years in prison for stabbing a prisoner at the Utah State Prison in Draper in 2001 in order to join the SAC. The sentences are to be served consecutively.
Washington: On October 11, 2005, Monroe Correctional Complex prisoner Aaron Sloan, 25, was charged in federal court with sending hoax letters to the FBI and news organizations claiming they contained anthrax or ricin. Sloan continued to send threatening letters even after DOC employees intercepted several of them that had been returned by Time magazine who believed them to be a hoax. Asked why the letters were still mailed, DOC spokesman Gary Larson said difficult constitutional issues come into play regarding prisoners' right to send mail. Which is odd, since the DOC has had little trouble carrying out the massive censorship of prisoners' mail for at least the past decade. The indictment states that Sloan is a paranoid schizophrenic who suffered delusions and quit taking his medications in 2004, about when he started sending the letters. Larson said prisoners could be forcibly medicated but there's quite a process you have to go through." In Washington v. Harper the U.S. Supreme Court held that Washington prison officials could hold a hearing of prison doctors to order prisoners forcibly medicated.
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