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News in Brief:

Australia: In 2007 a law was passed making it illegal for anyone to provide erectile dysfunction drugs to prisoners or for prisoners to sell their artwork. The law was enacted after media disclosed that Bevan Spencer von Einem, a prisoner serving a life sentence for the 1983 rape and murder of a 15 year old boy, was selling his artwork outside the prison and that a prison doctor had prescribed the ED drug Viagra while he is serving his sentence in the maximum security Yatala prison in Adelaide.

California: On February 8, 2008, the state prison in Tehachapi was locked down and quarantined for five days after an outbreak of Norovirus, a gastrointestinal illness, infected at least 10 prisoners.

California: On January 24, 2008, Linda Sherrow, 49, a guard at the state prison in Chino, pleaded guilty in federal court to perjury charges for lying to a grand jury investigating the racketeering conduct of fellow Chino guard Shayne Ziska.

Florida: On December 7, 2007, Clara Adkins, a captain at the Women’s Detention Center in Miami-Dade County was arrested and charged with biting and beating her boyfriend of seven years and holding him captive.
She also smashed his cell phone to prevent him from calling police for help. He eventually escaped and was able to summon assistance.

Illinois: On December 30, 2007, a fight in the maximum security section of the Cook County jail left six prisoners stabbed with four in serious condition and two in critical condition. No jail staff were injured in the gang fight.

Japan: In August, 2007, officials at the Abashiri prison in Hokkaido announced their futile, year long efforts to eradicate marijuana that grows naturally in the prison yard. Officials have removed over 300 marijuana plants and sprayed herbicide on prison grounds, to no avail.
The prison houses 1,080 prisoners. Officials speculate the marijuana seeds were brought into the prison in truckloads of soil that were dumped into the recreation yard.

Michigan: on December 15, 2007, Jody Nunn, 38, was convicted by a jury for having raped a female prisoner at the Huron Valley Women’s Prison in York twice on March 10, 2005. The jury deliberated less than an hour, rejected Nunn’s defense that he did not have sex with the prisoner and that he was being set up by the victim, her civil rights lawyer and another female guard. The victim was able to smuggle an item of clothing with Nunn’s semen on it outside the prison where DNA testing confirmed it belonged to Nunn. On January 30, 2008, Nunn was sentenced to 4-15 years in state prison for the rapes. The victim is suing him and the Michigan DOC for damages stemming from the rapes.

Minnesota: On February 6, 2008, prison employees at the Minnesota Correctional Facility-Stillwater found a 60 foot tunnel leading from the prison’s welding and metal fabrication building.

New Jersey: On February 20, 2008, Timothy Petties, 20, a prisoner at the Middlesex jail attempted to escape the jail and was found two days later hiding in ductwork in the jail’s ceiling. Petties had been awaiting trial at the jail on Aggravated assault and resisting arrest charges.

New York: On September 29, 2007, Marcy Brodhead, 30, a guard at the Downstate Correctional Facility was arrested and charged with rape for sexually assaulting a male prisoner at the facility and giving him marijuana.

New York: On September 3 and 14, 2007, gang fights erupted in the yard of the Great Meadow Correctional Facility in Comstock. The second fight involved two dozen prisoners who were subdued with tear gas. No staff were injured.

New York: On September 5, 2007, the reverend Teresa Clapp, the chaplain at the Rockland County jail in New City was ordered suspended without pay for 30 days and to undergo retraining by an arbitrator. Jail officials had charged her with misconduct for distributing cartoon booklets by Chick Publications that were anti Muslim and had derogatory references to Islam. Clapp claimed she did not know the content of the booklets she distributed even though she brought them to the jail herself.

Ohio: On March 20, 2008, Wesley Vinson, 38, deputy superintendent of the Marion Juvenile Correctional Facility resigned after prison guard Christine Tate, 29, reported that he had restrained and raped her in his office on March 17. The Ohio State Police are investigating the charges.
Vinson had been employed by the adult prison system for 11 years before transferring to the juvenile system.

Ohio: On March 25, 2008, Karen Brown, 46, a guard at the Pickaway County jail in Circleville, was charged with stealing $1,120 from prisoners. She was the booking guard in the jail and simply stole cash money taken from prisoners as they entered the jail.

Oklahoma: On April 24, 2008, Nicole Nipper, 27, a guard at the Tulsa jail, was arrested on drug trafficking charges after police recorded her offering cocaine for sale to potential customers over the telephone.

Oregon: On February 14, 2008, 2-300 prisoners at the Santiam Correctional Institution were evacuated to the prison yard at the minimum security prison in Salem after chemical fumes from cleaning agents contaminated the prison.

Philippines: On December 26, 2007, Ricardo Dapat, the head of the Bureau of Corrections was fired by president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for the unauthorized release from prison of former congressman Romeo Jalosjos. In 1997 Jalosjos was convicted of raping an 11 year old girl and sentenced to two life terms in prison, which Macapagal commuted to 16 years in prison in April, 2007. On December 22 Jalosjos was released from prison despite the fact he still had six more years to serve. He is back in custody. Government officials said Jalosjos could not have been released from prison without collusion from Dapat.

Thailand: On December 29, 2007, to mark his 80th birthday King Bhumibol Adulyadej granted royal pardons to 25,000 prisoners, including 85 on death row.

Virginia: On September 16, 2007, H. Frank Cassell, former sheriff of Henry County, was sentenced to 8 months in prison, two years of supervised released and fined $15,000 for lying to a federal agent.
Cassell lied to FBI agents investigating corruption within his office. In exchange for his guilty plea, other charges were dropped.

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