California: On July 26, 2007, governor Arnold Schwarzenegger issued a pardon for former San Quentin prison guard Kevin Martino, 47, who was convicted in 2004 of assaulting a man he thought had attacked his girlfriend. He had been sentenced to 90 days in jail and barred from possessing a firearm for ten years which prevented him from working as a prison guard. The pardon allows Martino to resume work as a prison guard. This was Schwarzenegger’s fourth pardon since he took office.
California: On September 19, 2008, Michael Megill, 35, a cook at the Federal Correctional Institution in Herlong, and his brother Jeremy, 32, were each sentenced to one year in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to bring tobacco products into the prison in exchange for bribes. Prosecutors claim the brothers charged prisoners $500 for each tobacco delivery.
Colorado: On January 15, 2008, Jessica Duran filed a claim against the Mesa County jail after jail guards took nude photos of herself which she had sent her husband who was imprisoned in the jail. Jail guards took the photos and passed them around amongst themselves. The jail admitted the mail and pictures were handled inappropriately and that some staff were disciplined but declined to say how they were disciplined. Duran’s claim sought $100,000 in damages for emotional and mental distress.
Delaware: On September 12, 2008, Taariq Ali (AKA Wendell Husser), 43, a state prisoner, escaped from the privately owned Prisoner Transportation Services of America, while being returned to Delaware after being housed for 13 years in a California prison. The escape occurred in Philadelphia International Airport while he was handcuffed and shackled and was not reported to police for an hour. He was recaptured on September 19 by US Marshalls at a residence in Elkton, Maryland.
Florida: In July, 2008, Lee County jail guard Jonathan Smith was fired from his job for accepting bribes, in the form of Jolly Ranchers candy, from prisoners David Moise and Sean Kesler, in exchange for not issuing disciplinary infractions against the prisoners for offenses such as having an extra towel and not wearing their jail uniforms. The bribery scheme fell apart when Smith refused to deal with Moise who became upset and duly complained about the lack of corruption.
Florida: On June 26, 2008, Enoch Hall, 39, a prisoner at the Tomoka Correctional Institute was charged with stabbing and killing prison guard Donna Fitzgerald. Hall was already serving two life sentences for sexual battery and kidnapping. Hall was hiding in a prison industries work shed when he killed Fitzgerald using a homemade knife. Fitzgerald is the 13th Florida prison guard to die on the job since 1928. Hall reportedly confessed the murder to investigators and was noticeably beaten and bruised at his initial court appearance.
Indiana: On January 15, 2008, Marion county jail officials fired guard Tucker Parker after he “forgot” about prisoner James Logan in a courtroom holding cell after Logan was arraigned on cocaine charges on January 11, a Friday. Logan then spent the next 50 hours in the holding cell, which had a toilet and water but no food. Guards discovered Logan in the cell that Sunday and transported him back to the jail. Guard Richard Edgemont and Lt. James Wampler were suspended and demoted for failing to check the area before leaving their posts on Friday.
Indiana: On June 26, 2008, Thomas Fly, 25, a cook employed by Aramark at the Indiana State Prison in Michigan City was arrested after marijuana wrapped in plastic fell out of his pants leg while he was reporting to work. He was charged with attempting to traffic with a prisoner and possession of marijuana.
Italy: On August 23, 2008, justice minister Angelino Alfano announced new rules against the nation’s 570 organized crime prisoners which include a ban on singing. Prisoner informants claimed that imprisoned mafia members communicated and gave orders to each other by singing in their native dialects, such as Sicilian and Neapolitan, which are not understood by most prison guards. Other measures include a 23 hour a day cell lockdown and restrictions on visits by family and lawyers. However, these prisoners can still attend ice cream making classes offered at the prison in Milan.
Morocco: On December 7, 2007, an unidentified prisoner member of the radical Salafia Jihadia being held on “terrorism” offenses at the maximum security jail in Casablanca smuggled a female visitor out of the visiting room and into his cell in a large plastic bag where they spent six hours together before being discovered by guards. The prisoner apparently convinced guards he had clothes in the bag. Prison officials are investigating how the event occurred.
New Jersey: On September 19, 2008, the New Jersey Department of Corrections announced it had accepted a bid of $806 for 2,000 Tilapia fish raised by prisoners employed by prison industries at the Bayside State Prison. The sale came after the prison’s partner in the fish program, Cumberland County College, discontinued its program. Prison officials did not state the loss in tax dollars in raising and selling the fish or why they were not fed to prisoners. The winning bidder was required to pick the fish up in a truck capable of transporting live fish and forbidden to release them in state waterways.
New York: On September 19, 2008, Joseph Frangiosa, 41, a plumbing supervisor at the federal Metropolitan Detention Center in Manhattan was charged with bribery for accepting a $2,000 from an undercover FBI agent in exchange for setting up unmonitored phone calls and smuggling painkillers for a prisoner. The set up occurred after Frangiosa allegedly told a prisoner informant he would provide favors in exchange for bribes.
Ohio: On November 10, 2007, Fairfield county jail guard William Skeen, 34, was rehired as a jail guard. He had been fired in January, 2007, after being convicted of dereliction of duty and disorderly conduct for beating and choking Lee McKitterick, a handcuffed jail prisoner. As a result of the conviction he was fined $200 and ordered to pay court costs. Arbitrator Gerald Chattman held that the firing was excessive and Skeen was entitled to back pay.
Oklahoma: On April 23, 2008, Jarred Yates, a former guard at the Sequoyah county jail was indicted by a federal grand jury on civil rights charges stemming from his 2006 beating of a jail prisoner.
Tennessee: On December 2, 2007, Bedford county jail guards Steven Qualls, Jason Carden and Alma Cantu were fired, and another Jamie Farris suspended, for encouraging female jail prisoners to have a mock fashion show which included a bikini contest with the bikini fashioned from a sweat shirt.The guards made led remarks over jail intercoms while observing the event on jail security cameras and took cell phone pictures. The ten prisoners who participated were disciplined by the jail as well.
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