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News in Brief:

Argentina: On December 13, 2007, Prefect Febres, a member of government death squads during the US backed military dictatorship that ruled Argentina from 1976-1983 was found murdered in his prison cell by cyanide poisoning a few days after being convicted of torturing political prisoners, murdering them and stealing their children. He was due to be sentenced on December 17 and was expected to tell the court who had given the orders for the torture and killings he participated in and the possible whereabouts of some of the stolen children. He was one of the first members of the military to be tried for crimes against humanity and the first who was willing to speak publicly as well.

Arizona: On June 7, 2007, Ciriam Montante, 26, a state prison guard, was sentenced to seven months in federal prison after pleading guilty to delivering 30 kilos of cocaine in exchange for $3,000.00 as part of an FBI undercover operation that resulted in 67 prison guards, policemen and soldiers being arrested for transporting illegal drugs for FBI agents posing as drug traffickers.

California: On October 27, 2007, over 1,000 prisoners were evacuated from the Orange county jail in Irvine due to nearby wildfires that threatened to engulf the jail.

Colorado: The Department of Corrections is investigating how a video showing Canon Minimum Centers warden Ron Leyba walking around a prison office and finding prison employees sleeping, dancing and painting their fingernails wound up on YouTube. Leyba said the video was a spoof of a Nextel commercial aimed at recruiting and retaining DOC employees. YouTube removed the video after the DOC complained and claimed the video was state property.

Dubai: On June 3, 2007, Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of the kingdom, granted amnesty to 352 prisoners as a gesture of kindness and said the act of mercy reflected the kingdom?s ?sublime religious and social values.?

Florida: On December 16, 2007, a tornado demolished one of two buildings constituting the minimum security annex at the Pasco County jail in Land O?Lakes. The destroyed building was a temporary structure housing 125 female prisoners to relieve overcrowding in the main jail. The main jail building sustained roof damage. No one was injured by the tornado.

Florida: On October 25, 2007, eight prison guards at the Lowell Correctional Institution were disciplined by prison officials for allowing two female prisoners to participate in a ?gay wedding ceremony? (as prison officials put it) at the maximum security prison. Prison officials claimed that allowing prisoners to gather for the event placed staff at risk. One guard was fired, another resigned and six were suspended. One of the prisoners who was married was transferred to a different prison.

India: On December 16, 2007, over 300 prisoners escaped from the Chhattisgarh state jail. The escape began when 40 Maoist political prisoners overpowered guards and seized their rifles, opening fire on other guards while helping other prisoners escape. Several Maoist groups are currently waging armed struggles in India to seize state power.

Kentucky: On June 8, 2007, Alice Stapleton, 30, a guard at the US Penitentiary in Big Sandy, was sentenced to 78 months in prison on charges she was paid $1,000 bribes on three occasions to smuggle heroin, marijuana and cell phones to Personne McGhee, a prisoner at the facility, after receiving them from his mother Clady McGhee. The McGhees were not charged.

Louisiana: On February 14, 2008, Tamara Lee, 22, a guard at the Jefferson parish jail was shot and killed by her husband, Shawn Davis, 29.

New York: On February 21, 2008, Larry Davis, 41, a prisoner at the Shawangunk Correctional Facility was stabbed to death. Davis made headlines in 1986 when he was acquitted of shooting and wounding six New York City policemen who tried to kill him because he knew about police corruption. He was convicted of weapons charges in that case and an unrelated murder charge and had been in prison since 1986. Another prisoner has been charged in Davis?s murder.

New York: On June 4, 2007, Daniel Shanahan, 43, a guard at the Lakeview Shock Facility died after his SUV collided head on with a car driven by John Mackowiak, 55, a guard at the Chautauqua County Jail. Mackowiack was seriously injured.

Nigeria: on September 30, 2007, hundreds of prisoners at the Agodi prison in Oyo state rioted to protest inadequate medical care in the prison system. Guards responded by opening fire, killing 8 prisoners and wounding 18. Prisoners also attempted a mass escape as well. Despite only holding 45,000 prisoners (in a nation with 130 million), Nigerian prisons are overcrowded, violent and poorly run and most prisoners have never been convicted of an offense.

Ohio: On February 19, 2008, James Campain, 58, a guard at the Richland County jail, was sentenced to nine years in prison after a jury convicted him of sexually assaulting female prisoners at the jail. A jury rejected his defense that he was unable to rape the four victims in the case due to erectile dysfunction.

Ohio: On February 22, 2008, Jorge Ruiz, 36, a guard at the Grafton Correctional Institution, pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of dereliction of duty for failing to perform prisoner checks as required by prison policy and then falsifying log books to cover up his failure to do so when prisoner Earl Elswick, 37, committed suicide. Ruiz had claimed he checked on Elswick regularly. Ruiz remained employed by the prison after the plea and the prison was still conducting its own investigation.

Pennsylvania: On December 14, 2007, Tina Martinez, 42, a drug and alcohol counselor employed by Civigenics at the State Correctional Institution in Greensburg was sentenced to six months probation and required to register as a sex offender after being convicted of performing oral sex on a male prisoner convicted of murder at the facility. Sex between prisoners and staff is illegal in all states.

Saudi Arabia: On May 29, 2007, the government released 12,334 prisoners in an act of royal amnesty.

Texas: On August 27, 2007, an Anderson County jury convicted Robert Turner, 48, of aggravated assault on a public servant, for slashing the throat of prison guard April Colburn, 24, in 2005, while he was imprisoned at the Coffield Unit. Turner was sentenced to life in prison for the attack. Several days prior to the incident Colburn had infracted Turner for masturbating in his cell.

Texas: On August 27, 2007, an Anderson county jury found Coffield Unit prison guard Blake Jones, 24, guilty of violating the civil rights of a person in custody, a misdemeanor, and sentenced him to six months probation. In 2005, Jones and guard Dax Wizenreid, handcuffed and severely beat prisoner Leroy Ellis in a prison shower area. Ellis suffered bruises to his chest and body, an orbital fracture to his skull, lacerations on the back of his head; both eyes were swollen shut and injuries to his forehead requiring multiple staples to close. Jones was fired from his prison job. Ellis could not defend himself as he was handcuffed.

Texas: On February 15, 2008, a bus chartered from Greyhound Bus Lines was transporting 40 released prisoners and parolees from Huntsville to Dallas when the driver decided her allotted driving time was up and another driver was on the way. She stopped at a convenience store 60 miles from Dallas and left the bus and its passengers. The store clerk called police when he saw the passengers milling about the bus.

Texas: On February 7, 2008, Robert Davis, 54, was sentenced to 144 months in federal prison for filing a $500 million false lien under the Uniform Commercial Code against federal judge Sam Lake and Assistant US Attorney Glen Cook who oversaw his conviction on drug trafficking charges in 2005. Davis was serving that prison sentence when he filed the fraudulent liens.

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