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News In Brief:

California: Tonya Henderson, a former guard at the California Institution for Men in Chino, resigned in May 2010 after she was arrested for stealing $3,000 worth of merchandise from a Target store, including a steam cleaner and a big-screen TV. She was in her prison uniform and had her 6-year-old son with her at the time. Henderson pleaded no contest to a charge of grand theft on February 23, 2011 and was sentenced to 120 days in jail.

California: On March 3, 2011, James Arroyo, 54, employed as a cook at the Orange County jail, was charged with six misdemeanor counts for sexually assaulting several female prisoners who worked in the kitchen with him. He was placed on administrative leave following his arrest in February. According to the district attorney’s office, Arroyo was also “accused of having inappropriate relationships with other female inmates and providing them with favors including snacks and jail account funds. He is accused of maintaining contact with multiple female inmates and possessing nude photographs of them sent to him on his cell phone after their release from jail.”

Florida: Polk County jail prisoner Lynn Ludlow Pierson, 71, died on March 7, 2011, four days after choking on a hot dog at the jail. He had been housed at the facility since November 2010 and was scheduled for a competency hearing in connection with attempted murder charges for trying to kill his granddaughter, mother-in-law and son.

Illinois: When Kendall County jail prisoner Ryan Cleary, 20, decided to escape on February 7, 2011 by crawling through a ventilation duct, he probably didn’t expect to get stuck – but he did. He was found in the jail’s suspended ceiling, unable to get out due to the reinforced ventilation system. Cleary now faces charges of attempted escape and criminal damage to state-supported property.

Illinois: Phillip S. Santefort, 41, a former Ford County jail guard, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court on February 10, 2011 to a felony charge of engaging in a sexual act with a female prisoner. He remains free on a $10,000 unsecured bond pending his sentencing hearing, which is scheduled for May 20. Santefort was charged after a civil suit was filed by a female prisoner who alleged he had forced her to perform oral sex on him three times. Prior to being hired as a jail guard, Santefort had a criminal record for theft.

Illinois: In March 2011, Logan Correctional Center prisoner Mark Seranella, 22, serving a four-year sentence, was charged with five counts of indecent solicitation of a child for having graphic sexual conversations with a 13-year-old girl, using the prison’s phone system. Police officials had learned that Seranella may have been involved with the girl, and were monitoring and recording his phone calls.

Montana: A felony charge has been dropped against former Cascade County Detention Center guard Steven Patrick, who was arrested in January 2011 for punching prisoner William Anderson, who had spit on him. [See: PLN, March 2011, p.50]. “While Detention Officer Patrick may have violated numerous protocols and rules that are set forth for the handling of inmates by detention center officers, those possible violations, which might result in a suspension or termination, should be handled by the Cascade County Sheriff and the Cascade County Human Resource Office,” said Assistant Attorney General Brant Light, when dismissing the criminal charge on February 23, 2011.

New Jersey: Joy Black, 33, a former teacher’s aide at East Jersey State Prison, received a four-year sentence on February 14, 2011 for smuggling marijuana and cocaine into the facility and having a sexual relationship with a prisoner. Black was also fined $2,500 and will lose her driver’s license for six months after completing her prison time; she lost her job and can no longer serve as a public employee. She had worked at the East Jersey facility since 2004.

New Mexico: Curry County jail guard Jaime de la Cruz, 21, was investigated for delivering marijuana and tobacco to a prisoner in exchange for hamburgers. He was accused of meeting an accomplice in the jail’s parking lot, who gave him the contraband to smuggle into the facility and paid him with two burgers. The type of hamburgers (e.g., regular burgers, cheeseburgers or bacon cheeseburgers) was not reported. De la Cruz was charged with felony distribution of marijuana and conspiracy to distribute marijuana on March 2, 2011. Also charged were three jail prisoners and two of the prisoners’ girlfriends.

New York: Rikers Island prisoner Shaheed Bilal, 28, didn’t let his incarceration slow down his identity theft racket. While behind bars, Bilal used a contraband cell phone to coordinate a credit card fraud scheme in which he purchased over $1 million of Apple products, such as iPads. The Apple products were then sold on the black market; the operation was run by Bilal’s three younger brothers and his girlfriend. Bilal and his girlfriend were charged with conspiracy and grand larceny in February 2011 following an investigation that involved the U.S. Secret Service.

New York: Warren County jail prisoner James J. Chapman, released on January 18, 2011, was back in custody mere minutes later. Chapman saw a jail guard warming up his car outside the facility and clearing snow off the vehicle. When the guard walked inside, Chapman entered the car and tried to steal it. He was discovered when the guard returned; jail staff then took him into custody. He was charged with third-degree attempted grand larceny.

North Carolina: Burke County Sheriff’s Office sergeant Thomas Edward Pearson, 58, was arrested on March 4, 2011 for having sex multiples times with a prisoner. Pearson, who resigned the same day of his arrest, is accused of engaging in sex with prisoner Alicia Camille Goode, 32, in exchange for giving her “more freedoms.” He was held on $50,000 bond.

Ohio: A former Trumble County jail guard, George Palmer, was sentenced to 30 days in jail on January 26, 2011 after pleading guilty to charges of obstructing official business and public indecency. Palmer, accused of having sex with a female prisoner, was fired in September 2009 and later charged with the misdemeanor offences.

Oklahoma: Former Creek County district judge Donald D. Thompson made national headlines in 2006 for using a penis pump while on the bench, which resulted in the loss of his judgeship plus a four-year sentence for indecent exposure and a $40,000 fine. [See: PLN, Oct. 2006, p.42]. Thompson was arrested again, on March 3, 2011, for stalking his former girlfriend. He is accused of using binoculars to observe his ex-girlfriend, Angela McClanahan-Fernandez, when she was being assisted by an officer when she had a flat tire. When questioned by the police, Thompson said he “just wanted to see what was going on.” The police report noted that when he exited his vehicle his pants were “unzipped and gaping open.”

Oklahoma: On February 16, 2011, the Tulsa World reported that up to 350 prisoners at the David L. Moss Criminal Justice Center had become sick with stomach cramps and diarrhea. Prisoners in 17 of the jail’s 22 housing units reported falling ill. Food and water at the facility were sent out for testing. The jail has been using mobile kitchen equipment to prepare meals; the facility’s kitchen is being renovated, following a 2008 state health department inspection that reported several problems. The most recent health department report, in December 2010, found that food at the jail was not being property thawed, among other issues.

Tennessee: According to a February 5, 2011 news report, state prisoner Courtney Means, serving an 18-year sentence, was disciplined by prison officials for creating a Facebook page while incarcerated. Means had posted his mugshot and photos of his cell on Facebook, raising questions about how he managed to access the Internet and take the photos. Before his profile was removed he reportedly had 275 Facebook friends, and boasted that after his release he would do “da same thing I was doing b4 I got locked up” – armed robberies, apparently. His Facebook posts may end up delaying his release once they are reviewed by the parole board. [Also see: PLN, April 2011, p.42].

Tennessee: On March 2, 2011, state prison guard Chastain Montgomery, Sr., 47, was fired from his job at the Lois Deberry Special Needs Facility in Nashville. Montgomery is being held in federal custody on charges that he was involved in the murders of two U.S. Postal workers during a robbery in Henning, Tennessee on October 18, 2010. According to the indictment, postal workers Judy Spray and Paula Robinson were killed by Montgomery and his son, Chastain Jr. Montgomery’s son was later killed in a shootout with police. Montgomery was initially arrested in connection with the shootout, then later charged with the postal robbery and murders in February 2011.

Washington: Prisoners at the Monroe County Jail rioted over the weekend of February 19-20, 2011 because they were served sandwiches. Eight prisoners were reportedly charged in connection with the hour-long riot, which involved yelling and throwing food trays. “They weren’t happy because they didn’t get a hot meal,” said Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Allison Selman-Willis. Sandwiches were served after food being transported to the jail in a truck spilled due to a broken strap. The riot did not result in any serious injuries.

Washington: Washington State Penitentiary guard Adam D. Snyder, 23, was charged in Walla Walla County Superior Court on February 23, 2011 with threatening to kill his estranged wife and his wife’s new boyfriend. Snyder was placed on administrative leave after threatening his wife, Stephanie, and her friend, Grant G. Goddard, in letters and notes. The Snyders are in the process of obtaining a divorce.

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