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News in Brief:

Arizona: On May 1, 2006, Timothy Monk, 34, a prisoner at the Wilmot Prison, took prison guard Laurel Kennedy hostage while armed with a razor blade shank, demanding a transfer to the state of Montana in exchange for her release. Monk released Kennedy unharmed after six hours and then surrendered. He was then transferred to a control unit in Florence, Arizona.

California: On April 19, 2007, John Whittle, 47, a state prison guard, was sentenced to two years in state prison for conspiring to smuggle methamphetamine into the Mule Creek State Prison where he worked. But the sentence was suspended. Whittle had been a prison guard for 22 years before his arrest.

California: On December 12, 2006, Marilyn Windham, 59, a psychologist at the California State Prison-Sacramento in Folsom, pleaded guilty to a felony charge of having sex with a male prisoner at the facility. On June 9, 2005, a prison guard discovered Windham in a supply closet partially nude with the prisoner engaged in a sex act. The prisoner claimed the sex was consensual and he had merely gone to get cleaning supplies and "it just happened." On February 13, 2007, Windham was sentenced by Sacramento superior court judge Gary Ransom to three years probation, 90 days in jail which could be served in work release and prohibited her from working in any detention facilities.

California: On March 20, 2007, Steven Langley, 55, a prisoner at the Pelican Bay State Prison was found murdered in the cell he shared with Richard Miles. Langley had been serving a sentence of life without parole for a 1985 double murder.

California: On March 8, 2007, Timothy Calnan, 41, a prisoner at the Kern valley State Prison in Delano died after he was shot three days earlier by prison guards when he refused orders to stop fighting with another prisoner. Calnan had been serving a sentence of 496 years for receiving stolen property, second degree burglary, first degree burglary, possession of a firearm by an ex felon, marijuana and controlled substance possession. Guards fired foam bullets first before going on to real ones.

California: On May 1, 2006, Joseph Azter, 39, was released from the California Institute for Men in Chino. On May 2 he was arrested on a street corner wearing a prison issued wind breaker with bright yellow letters on the back spelling out: "CDC Prisoner." Alarmed residents had called police to report an escaped prisoner. Azter claimed prison officials gave him a jacket upon his release; prison officials denied it and claimed it was state property. Azter was arrested on stolen property charges and for violating his parole.

Colorado: On April 8, 2007, Dustin Elbert, 34, a prisoner at the El Paso county jail died after swallowing a baggie of methamphetamine that ruptured inside him.

Florida: On March 23, 2007, Duval county circuit court judge John Merrett pulled his pistol in his courtroom when an unidentified man jumped the courtroom railing and attacked Derrick McNiel, 21, accusing him of having molested his son. McNiel was being charged with said child rape when the attack occurred. Bailiffs eventually subdued the attacker. Florida is among the states which allow judges to be armed on the bench.

Florida: On May 2, 2006, Federico Perdomo, 32, a guard at the Monroe county jail was arrested and charged with pepper spraying two prisoners without justification and then lying about it in jail reports.

Georgia: On October 30, 2006, Keawanna Perdue Henderson, a guard at the Fulton county jail, was arrested and charged with murder and aggravated assault for her off duty shooting of Isaac Jolly, 21, during a fight.

Illinois: On June 21, 2006, Kenneth Scott, 34, a prisoner at the Big Muddy Correctional Center was indicted on murder charges for allegedly injuring Gerald Donaldson, 64, another prisoner at the facility, during an altercation on the sidewalk in front of the commissary. On March 20, 2007, the state dropped all criminal charges against Scott, now 35, claiming serious factual errors tainted the grand jury indictment. Scott maintained he acted in self defense when Donaldson attacked him wielding a sharpened pencil.

Illinois: On March 21, 2007, Cook county jail prisoner Willis Reese, 25, attempted to escape from the John Stroger Hospital by stabbing a guard and three others who tried to stop him from escaping. Reese was recaptured by the stabbed guard, local police and two Chicago police detectives at the hospital on unrelated business. None of the stabbed victims were seriously injured by the five inch long shank which a police spokesman noted was rather dull. Reese had been convicted of first degree murder and was awaiting sentencing to natural life when he attempted to escape.

Kansas: On December 8, 2006, Joseph Delancy, a food preparation employee of Aramark Services, a for profit company that cooks food for prisons and jails, was sentenced to 15 months in state prison after pleading guilty to smuggling methamphetamine into the Hutchinson Correctional Facility where he was employed.

Kentucky: On May 11, 2006, four prisoners at the Kentucky Correctional Institution for Women were hospitalized after going into seizures caused by an overdose of an unidentified drug.

Maryland: In March, 2007, the Garrett County Detention Center announced it was switching the color of jail uniforms for prisoners from orange to black and white stripes after residents would see hunters wearing orange and think they were escaped prisoners.

Massachusetts: On April 26, 2006, T.J. Roginski and Michael Trance, both guards at the Dukes County House of Corrections pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit assault and battery for arranging the beating of two jail prisoners by other jail prisoners in June, 2003. The assault on prisoner Paul Garcia actually took place. Joseph Labbe, the prisoner who carried out the assault also pleaded guilty to assault, for which he received a two year suspended sentence, and conspiracy for which he received a six month jail sentence. Roginski was sentenced probation for one year; Trance to two years probation.

Montana: On October 29, 2006, 16 high security prisoners at the Montana State Prison in Deer Lodge smashed windows and set fires for two hours before riot teams suppressed the uprising. Media accounts gave no reason for the uprising.

Ohio: On April 18, 2006, Toby Kerr, 39, a guard at the Lebanon Correctional Institution was arrested on various drug charges related to his crack use.

Philippines: In March, 2007, the warden of the Samar Provincial Jail announced he would allow prisoners to beg for food money from passersby because the jail lacked the money to feed them and at least three prisoners had starved to death so far. The warden, Dominico Betanzor, blamed the lack of funds on governor Mila Tan who, he claimed, ?borrowed? jail funds for her reelection campaign and she has not paid it back. Tan denied the allegation and blamed it on the provincial council not appropriating the necessary funds to run the jail.

Poland: On March 26, 2007, an unidentified guard at the prison in Sieradz went on a shooting rampage inside the prison, shooting and killing two policeman and wounding a third, who had arrived at the prison to pick up a prisoner. The guard then barricaded himself in a guard tower which anti terror police units eventually stormed and captured him without incident.

Russia: On May 11, 2006, 14,000 convicted criminals, including 3,000 serving prison sentences, were granted amnesty to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Russian Duma, or parliament.

South Carolina: On November 3, 2006, Lloyd Isaac, 35, a suicidal prisoner at the Ridgeland Correctional Institution took a female prison hostage at knifepoint for 13 hours before peacefully surrendering to guards. Isaac repeatedly asked guards to kill him. Isaac had been serving a sentence for two counts of first degree criminal sexual conduct.

Tennessee: In April, 2006, Knox County Criminal Court judge Mary Beth Leibowitz sentenced Aaron K. Lawless, 18, to six months in jail for his role in a drive by shooting that killed Alisha Quillen, 19, after he agreed to testify against two other men who allegedly set up the shooting. They were sentenced to 8 years in prison. Judge Leibowitz changed her mind and sentenced Lawless to the full 8 years after jail officials intercepted a letter Lawless had sent a friend from jail asking him to take care of his marijuana dealing business for him when he was released on probation.

Texas: On March 23, 2007, Galveston county constable Earl Tottenham was sentenced to four years probation for tampering with government records after he tried to cover up the fact that his peace officer certification had lapsed in 2001.

Texas: On September 26, 2006, Gary Sharron, 52, was arrested in Waco and charged with capital murder for shooting and killing Sammie Hawkins, 59. A fingerprint check by police revealed that Sharron had escaped from an Alabama prison road gang in 1977 while serving the fourth year of a 25 year sentence for murder for killing a Ft. Benning soldier during a bar fight.

Virginia: On December 14, 2006, William Higdon, a former sheriff''s deputy at the Danville jail was sentenced to 78 months in federal prison for conspiring with jail prisoners to have prisoner Charles Bennett beaten in 2002. Bennett was duly beaten and suffered permanent scars as a result. Testifying at his sentencing hearing Higdon, known as "six nine" on account of his height, could offer no reason as to why he ordered Bennett beaten except that Bennett had arrived in jail drunk and was a "loudmouth." Higdon pleaded guilty to the conspiracy charge. Bennett filed suit over the beating and in August, 2005, the county settled the suit for $50,000.00.

Washington: On November 22, 2006, Tremayne Francis, 34, a prisoner at the Monroe Correctional Complex was acquitted by a Snohomish county jury on charges that he raped his cellmate in 2005. Francis was serving a nine year sentence for the 1998 rapes of two young Pierce county men. Two other prisoners testified at the trial that Francis had raped them. Francis claimed the sex was consensual and that he had multiple personality disorder.

Washington: On November 3, 2006, King County jail guard Cedric McGrew, 41, pleaded guilty to second degree sexual misconduct and third degree assault stemming from his rape of two female jail prisoners. One of the same prisoners, a 27 year old female, was also raped by jail guard Louis Laurencio, who was also convicted.

West Virginia: On November 3, 2006, Stanley Pierson, 35, a state prison guard, was indicted in Kanawha county court on charges that he killed his wife Lisa, 39, and step daughter Casey, 20, with a knife and pick ax on October 22, 2006, in their home. Pierson tried to kill himself by jumping off a bridge shortly after the bodies were discovered but he survived.

Wyoming: On May 2, 2006, a Teton county jury convicted Floyd Dewayne Grady, 30, of first degree murder and attempted sexual assault for murdering Tammy Sue Watts, 39, a nurse at the Wyoming Honor Farm, on April 15, 2004. Watts bludgeoned, naked body was found in the prison dental room. The jury rejected the death penalty which had been sought by the state and he was sentenced to life in prison without parole. Grady had been serving a sentence for race when this crime occurred.

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