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News in Brief:
Florida: On June 20, 2006, Nelson Mompierre, 43, a park ranger at the Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park was arrested by FBI agents on claims that he solicited, and received, bribes from work release prisoners that he was supervising. This included demanding $80 from a prisoner to visit with his girlfriend at the park; threatening to expel a prisoner from work release unless he was paid $2,500. A female FBI agent posed as a prisoners? wife and gave Mompierre $500 to keep a prisoner in the work release program and gave him additional money as he demanded it. As part of his duties, every weekday Mompierre would pick up several prisoners from the South Florida Reception Center to work at the park.
Georgia: On May 13, 2006, Eric Horton, a guard at the Clayton county jail was charged with grabbing the genitals of three male prisoners at the jail during a search and allowing his hands to remain there ?for an uncomfortable period of time.?
Guinea: On February 14, 2007, at least 22 prisoners suffocated to death in a fire at the jail in Nzerekore. The fire was started by prisoners attempting to escape who forced a cell door open, tied up a guard and set fire to the roof. The escape attempt came in the midst of a crack down by President Lansana Conte who has responded to protests of his 23 years of corrupt and brutal rule by declaring martial law and gunning down street protesters.
Haiti: On May 15, 2006, Rene Preval was inaugurated as president of the puppet regime installed by the United States. The festivities were eclipsed by a rebellion by prisoners at the National Penitentiary 800 yards away from the inauguration ceremony. Prisoners paraded at least two corpses before news cameras and demanded amnesty for political prisoners and respect for the rule of law. The prison, designed to hold 800 prisoners, holds over 2,000, of whom less than 40 have even been charged with a crime.
Illinois: On March 9, 2007, Cook County sheriff Tom Dart demoted several jail officials after an audit disclosed at least $289,000 was missing from the Inmate Commissary account. So far, Dart said, the jail was unable to determine if the missing funds were due to sloppy accounting or theft by employees, but with inaccurate records who knows. Problems with the Inmate Commissary fund have been documented since at least 2002. The county commissioners have responded by slashing the auditor?s budget and not requesting any changes or accountability by jail officials.
Illinois: On September 26, 2006, Frederick Shead, 35, a guard at the Kane County jail pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of having sexual contact with a female jail prisoner, which is illegal in all states. He was sentenced to two years probation and a $500 fine.
Indiana: On May 1, 2007, Margaret Wiley, 28, a guard at the Northeast Juvenile Correctional Facility was sentenced to 18 months probation after pleading guilty to a felony charge of sexual misconduct for having sex with a male 16 year old prisoner at the facility.
New York: In April, 2007, Nassau County legislator Peter Schmitt and seven other legislators sent constituents post cards announcing a toll free number they could call to learn the whereabouts of sex offenders in their neighborhoods. However, the cards listed the wrong numbers and instead of a sex offender hotline, callers were sent to a sex chat line offering phone sex for a fee.
New York: On April 11, 2007, Michael Bradish, 43, a guard at the Bare Hill Correctional Facility in Malone for sixteen years was sentenced to 16 months to four years in prison after pleading guilty to smuggling heroin to prisoners in the jail after he was videotaped doing so.
New York: On November 10, 2006, David Rohmiller, 36, a former guard at the Rensselaer county jail was sentenced to 8 years in federal prison for lying to a federal grand jury when he denied raping female jail prisoners. He was sentenced to four years in state prison for actually raping the prisoners. He pleaded guilty to the rape to the state and federal charges and admitted he coerced one prisoner into having sex with him, fondled another one, made more than 30 phone calls to former female jail prisoners and then lied about it to investigators.
Pennsylvania: On April 18, 2007, Mark Densberger, 48, a Bureau of Prisons guard was sentenced in federal court to 206 months in federal prison for making home videos depicting him having sex with 9, 12 and 13 year old boys. The federal sentence will run concurrent to a state sentence he is serving after pleading guilty to incest charges. When he is paroled from the Pennsylvania sentence he will be placed in federal custody to serve the federal sentence.
Pennsylvania: On May 8, 2007, Heather Hull, a guard at the Berks County Prison in Reading was fired for appearing nude in the March, 2007, issue of Playboy wearing a mock prison guard uniform and a bustier. The Teamsters union, who represents Hull, has demanded she be reinstated.
Tennessee: On May 9, 2007, the state of Tennessee executed Phillip Workman, 53. For his last meal Workman had requested that a pizza be donated to the homeless of Nashville. The Department of Corrections refused, stating they do not ?donate to charities.? Upon hearing of the DOC?s response, a number of citizens around the city donated hundreds of pizzas to homeless shelters throughout Nashville in Workman?s name.
Workman had been convicted of killing a policeman in 1981 while robbing a Wendy?s to feed his cocaine addiction. He was homeless at the time.
Texas: On June 19, 2006, Augustin Amador, 34, a state prisoner at the Telford Unit in New Boston, was stabbed to death and at least three other prisoners were stabbed in a confrontation between the Texas Chicano Brotherhood and the Tri-City Bombers, of which Amador was a member. Prison guards used tear gas to stop the fight.
Texas: On May 14, 2007, Mary Christian, 44, a prisoner at the Hobby Unit in Marlin was found dead in her cell with her hands tied behind her back.
Utah: On April 26, 2007, Utah State University announced that it was ending its program of providing Bachelors and Masters Degrees to prisoners for a lack of funds. It had offered prisoners classes online and over satellite TV for the past 20 years, awarding 91 degrees in that period. Prisoners would pay $100 per semester, regardless of how many classes they take. Vince Lafferty, director of Utah State?s distance learning program noted that not a single one of the school?s prison graduates had returned to prison after release. About efforts of seeking state funding, he was told it would ?never be a priority? for the legislature.
Virginia: In March, 2007, the Portsmouth sheriff?s office announced no further action would be taken in an investigation that Portsmouth jail officials improperly exploited prisoner labor. In December, 2006, deputy sheriff Matthew Ejma was convicted of five misdemeanor counts of using prisoners in his personal landscaping business. He was sentenced to 200 hours community service and fined $2,500. Danny Self, another jail deputy was forced to resign but never charged in the incident.
Virginia: On May 15, 2007, Alice Foster, 43, a guard at the Red Onion state prison was charged with first degree murder for shooting and killing Roy Gary, 39, a former prisoner at Red Onion and current parolee, in her home. Foster told police she shot Gary after he broke into her home. Police were skeptical and noted the forensic evidence did not support her account and that it appeared they had known each other prior to the incident.
Washington: On April 12, 2007, an unidentified 48 year old man facing a ?three strikes? sentence of life without parole for attacking his girlfriend hanged himself in the Pierce County jail in Tacoma.
Washington: On May 4, 2007, Larry Corrigan, 54, an official with the King county prosecutor?s office in Seattle, was sentenced to 24 months in prison after pleading guilty to having an online sexual chat with two undercover police officers he believed were in fact 14 year old girls. The ?girls? agreed to meet with him to have sex when he was arrested. Corrigan had been the prosecution?s budget officer since 1979 and had worked on the political campaigns of a bevy of ?tough on crime? Washington Republican politicians including Congressman Dave Reichert, now deceased King county prosecutor Norm Maleng and at least one judge. Corrigan is also being investigated for embezzling $72,000 from Maleng?s election campaign.
Washington: On May 8, 2007, Jim Aguilar, a Department of Corrections guard at the Airway Heights Correction Center on assault charges for pulling his pistol on two supervisors who approached his guard post at the prison during a routine check. Aguilar had been a prison guard since 1984.
Washington: On October 26, 2006, Thurston county deputy prosecutor William Halstead was arrested by Seattle police during a game at Qwest field when they entered the women? restroom to investigate reports of two people having sex in a stall. While Halstead and his female companion, an administrative assistant at the Thurston county prosecutor?s office, were in a bathroom stall together they were not having sex. A drunken Halstead became belligerent with police and was expelled from the game.
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