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News in Brief:

Arkansas: On June 9, 2008, Rolanda Barron, 33, the director of nursing at the Tucker unit prison was arrested after a search disclosed she was smuggling tobacco into the prison as well as cell phones, cell phone chargers and batteries, all of which are prohibited in the maximum security prison. Barron is employed by Correctional Medical Services which is contracted to provide medical care at the prison.

Brazil: On June 2, 2008, police raided the Salvador prison cell of alleged drug kingpin Genilson Lino da Silva and confiscated: a plasma TV, a DVD player, two refrigerators, several guns, gym equipment, $172,000 in cash and his king sized bed. Paulo Gomes, a state prosecutor said: “We will investigate if the leaders of the prison were conniving in this.”

California: In the last week of May, 2008, prison officials halted transfers and extended family visits after numerous prisoners were diagnosed with syphilis. All the prisoners lived in the same living unit.

California: On June 17, 2008, 40 prisoners at the Pelican Bay State Prison were involved in a fight that left several prisoners stabbed and at least one shot by guards.

California: On June 3, 2008, over 300 prisoners were involved in three distinct riots over a five hour period hat left 13 prisoners stabbed or injured. The riots occurred at the Soledad prison.

Colorado: On April 21, 2008, jurors rejected the death penalty and sentenced David Bueno, 44, to life in prison after convicting him of the murder of Jeffrey Heird, 40, when both were prisoners at the Limon Correctional Facility in 2004. Prosecutors claim Heird was killed because he did not warn other prisoners of a drug search and because he was an informant.

Florida: On June 20, 2008, Patrick Rosemellia, 45, a frequent prisoner in the Collier county jail, was sentenced to two concurrent three year probation sentences for acting as an unlicensed bail bondsman and driving with a suspended license. Rosemellia and another frequent jail prisoner, Craig Richardson, 42, agreed to testify for the prosecution against local bail bondsman Joe Houston by claiming they steered business to Houston in exchange for hundreds of dollars of payments to their jail commissary accounts which they then used buy Honeybun pastries. Houston called the claims against him bogus and made only because he is black and successful. State law prohibits bondsmen from soliciting business in or around jails.

Florida: On June 24, 2008, Luis Camacho Mendoza escaped from the Crawford county jail by breaking open a lock on the jail’s kitchen door where he worked. He left behind a rose made out of toilet paper because he felt sorry for the jail captain for escaping. He was recaptured the next day, after police received a tip from an informant. He was hiding in the closet of a home in a pile of clothes with a pillowcase over his head.

Florida: On October 24, 2008, Jeffrey King, a guard at the Okeechobee County jail helped two female prisoners escape and went with them. King later called police, admitted to helping the prisoners escape and taking them to a home in Lauderhill. King took police to the home where the escapees were later arrested. Both the prisoners and King face numerous charges.

France: On October 24, 2008, Sghair Lamiri, a prisoner at the jail in Grenoble, was shot and killed by a sniper while in the jail exercise yard. Lamiri had been scheduled to be questioned about a murder case when he was shot. Police arrested the suspected sniper shortly afterwards with the rifle used in the killing. Another prisoner, who tried to help Lamiri, was wounded in the hand.

Idaho: On June 23, 2008, Twin Falls jail prisoner Robert Rackham was charged with trying to mail methamphetamine out of the jail to his father. Jail guards opened the letter and discovered the drug when it did not have the addressee’s name on the envelope. More drugs were discovered in Rackham’s cell.

Kansas: On June 19, 2008, Amber Goff, 24, a former state prison guard was sentenced to five years in prison for helping prisoners Steven Ford and Jesse Bell escape from the El Dorado Correctional Facility on October 28, 2007. The trio was arrested in Grants, New Mexico on October 31. Goff was sentenced for pleading guilty to federal firearms charges after she gave Ford, her paramour, a pistol.

Kentucky: On June 13, 2008, a federal grand jury indicted Fayette county jail guards: Sgt. John McQueen, Cpl. Clarence McCoy, Cpl. Scott Tyree, Sgt. Anthony Estep and Lt. Kristine Lafoe on charges that they beat prisoners without cause and then conspired to cover up the beatings. The brutality charges were laid out in the indictment which involved five different incidents and six prisoners being brutally beaten while handcuffed. All the beatings occurred in the jail intake area. At least one prisoner was beaten to death in the jail’s intake area but that was not part of the indictment.

Maine: The town of Skowhegan has announced that in December, 2008, its jail, built in 1897, will be put up for sale for $200,000 when the town’s new jail opens. The big selling point for the 14,000 square foot structure is it sits in the middle of downtown with no zoning restrictions on its use. The sales price includes razor wire.

Michigan: On June 12, 2008, Fred Topous Jr. 45, a registered sex offender, won the state’s Mega Millions lottery jackpot worth $57 million. He opted to take a $34 million lump sum payment. Topous said he planned to buy a house, send his children to college and have fun with the jackpot.

New York: On April 23, 2008, Kenneth Duncan, 40, a guard at the Rikers Island jail in New York City, was shot and killed outside his East Flatbush home.

Oklahoma: On June 19, 2008, Eugene Bond, 42, a prisoner at the Joseph Harp Correctional Institution was charged with molesting his 8 year old daughter in the prison visiting room during a visit. The child’s mother, Rebecca bond, 40, the child’s mother, was charged with enabling child abuse. The abuse was video taped by visiting room cameras. Eugene has several prior convictions for child molestation. The DOC stated this was the first known instance of child sexual abuse in a prison visiting room and it was reviewing its visiting policies as a result.

Oregon: On June 25, 2008, John Brown, 40, a prisoner at the Coffee Creek Correctional Facility took an unidentified prison employee hostage for 90 minutes. The prison was placed on lockdown until Brown released the hostage unharmed.

Oregon: On October 23, 2008, Multnomah county jail prisoner Shawn McGinnis, 45, was charged with running an identity theft ring from the jail. While all the calls were recorded, no one listened to the recordings and McGinnis was able to buy and sell personal information to associates outside the jail. He was later convicted of federal firearms charges and sent to federal prison before he was indicted in state court on the theft charges.

Russia: On June 19, 2008, four prisoners in the Chelyanbinsk region of the Urals Mountains were beaten to death by guards after they allegedly tried to stab a guard.

Virginia: On June 23, 2008, William Morva, 26, was sentenced to death for killing a hospital security guard and a sheriff’s deputy when he escaped from jail custody while being taken to a local hospital for treatment.

Washington: On May 29, 2008, Billy Aschenbrenner, a prisoner at the Civil Commitment Center on McNeil Island was charged with first degree arson and fourth degree assault for setting two fires at the sex offender prison. In one incident he set his t shirt alight, in another his blanket and bed sheet. Aschenbrenner is facing life in prison as a third striker if convicted on the arson charge. He said he wanted to return to the Department of Corrections rather than languish at the Civil Commitment Center for the rest of his life.

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