Arizona: Approximately 300 prisoners at the Arizona State Prison in Kingman staged a peaceful walkout on June 23, 2012, citing objections to the DOC’s grooming requirements. A prison official at the privately-run facility, which is operated by Management and Training Corp., spoke with the protesting prisoners, who then returned to their dorm in the Hualapai unit.
Arizona: On August 14, 2012, Betty Smithey, 69, the longest-serving female prisoner in the nation, was granted parole and released. Smithey had served 49 years for the 1963 murder of a 15-month-old girl she was babysitting. Originally sentenced to life without parole, her sentence was reduced to 48 years to life by Governor Jan Brewer. “It’s wonderful driving down the road and not seeing any barbed wire,” said Smithey, who suffers from numerous medical problems and walks with a cane. “I am lucky, so very lucky.”
California: A controversial trailer to a movie called “Innocence of Muslims,” which portrays Islamic prophet Mohammed as a fraud, womanizer and child molester, began circulating on the Internet in July 2012. The video resulted in demonstrations in numerous predominantly-Muslim countries, including Libya, where U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and others were killed in an attack on the U.S. embassy on September 11, 2012. The man behind the movie trailer, who used the alias Sam Basile and falsely posed as an Israeli Jew, turned out to be 55-year-old Nakoula Basseley Nakoula (aka Mark Basseley Youseff) – a Christian and former federal prisoner on supervised release. Nakoula was arrested in Los Angeles on September 27, 2012 for violating the terms of his release, including using an alias without prior approval. He was ordered held without bond. Nakoula had previously served time in federal prison for check fraud.
California: Henry Marin, 27, a former Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy, was sentenced to two years on June 25, 2012. His downfall? A burrito stuffed with heroin, which he tried to deliver to a prisoner at the Airport Branch Courthouse in February 2010. Marin, who pleaded no contest to drug smuggling, said he was unaware that the burrito, which he obtained from an undercover investigator, contained heroin. As part of his plea agreement a conspiracy charge was dis-missed.
Columbia: Over 11,000 prisoners in 21 facilities went on a hunger strike in August 2012, demanding that the government declare a state of emergency in the nation’s prison system, form a National Board of Consultation that includes prisoner representation, end overcrowding and unsanitary prison conditions, and provide adequate medical care. At the La Picota prison in Bogota, prisoners refused to be counted or locked in their cells. An estimated 134,000 people are held in Columbia’s prison system, which has a capacity of only 78,000.
Connecticut: On July 5, 2012, Danbury police chief Alan Baker said a “clerical error” had resulted in the omission of an arrest report related to Maureen Baird, 51, the federal prison warden at FCI Danbury. Baird’s January 21, 2012 arrest report was not entered in the police arrest log; she was charged with DUI in April 2012 after several anonymous com-plaints to the police department. According to Baker, a police employee “simply forgot” to enter Baird’s arrest in the log. Baird’s DUI charge was related to a one-car rollover accident in which a responding police officer noticed a bottle of vodka in her vehicle. According to hospital records, she had a blood-alcohol content level of .252 – over three times the legal limit. Baird was admitted into an alcohol diversion program in October 2012; her DUI charge will be expunged upon completion of the program.
Connecticut: Retired Cheshire corrections officer Craig Cantin, 51, was arrested on August 6, 2012 for allegedly soliciting sex from a 15-year-old boy. According to the victim, Cantin claimed he was working undercover and offered $30 for a sexual act. He was charged with risk of injury to a child, patronizing a prostitute, impersonation of a police officer and breach of peace, and jailed under a $25,000 bond.
Florida: Due to flooding at the Escambia County Jail in June 2012, 177 prisoners were transferred or released. Fifty were released on time served, 48 who had already been convicted were sent to the state prison system, 35 bonded out, 18 were transferred to other agencies due to detainers, 15 federal prisoners were released to the U.S. Marshals Service and charges were dropped against six other prisoners. “At no time has an inmate been released who was serving a sentence. Releasing and transferring inmates happens on a daily basis,” stated Escambia County Sheriff’s Office public information officer Mike Ward.
Florida: Two federal prison guards employed at FCI Marianna, Steven M. Smith and Mary S. Summers, were indicted on June 26, 2012 on charges of bribery, conspiracy and smuggling contraband. Smith and Summers are accused of trying to deliver cell phones, tobacco, a lighter, a music player and synthetic marijuana to prisoners in exchange for cash and pre-paid money cards. They face up to 15 years if convicted.
France: According to an August 22, 2012 news report, prisoners at the Saint-Martin-de-Re prison who were allowed to plant flowers and vegetables in the exercise yard also planted marijuana. Prison officials said the cannabis plants had grown to about 2½ feet before they were discovered. “When you don’t know what you are looking for it is easy to confuse them with other plants,” said Christophe Beaulieu, with the prison guards’ union.
Georgia: On August 9, 2012, state prisoner Laderick Cornellius Chappel, 33, was murdered at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison in Jackson. He was stabbed and then thrown from the second floor of his unit, and died due to blunt force trauma from the fall. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation charged five prisoners with armed robbery and murder in connection with Chappel’s death: William Woodrow Wells, 21; Dante Ray Myles, 27; Niko Lamar Swann, 23; Demarcus D. Crew, 19; and Justin O’Neal Clinkscales, 27.
Indiana: Former Wabash Valley Correctional Facility guard Jon Dobbins, 27, was one of 40 people indicted on federal charges related to a prison-based drug ring that involved the sale of heroin, methamphetamine and other drugs. The August 15, 2012 indictments included several state prisoners, including Oscar Perez and Justin Addler; prosecutors allege that they coordinated the drug ring using smuggled cell phones. The drug ring reportedly operated at the Westville Correctional Facility and Pendleton Correctional Facility in addition to Wabash. Dobbins was charged in federal court with intent to distribute a schedule II non-narcotic controlled substance. He had been fired on July 15, 2012 following his arrest on two felony and three misdemeanor state charges, including drug-related offenses and resisting law enforcement and battery.
Maryland: Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) supervisor Susan A. Pratt, 46, was indicted on July 24, 2012 for receiving bribes from moving companies in exchange for giving them BOP business. Pratt, who worked in the BOP’s Relocation Services section, was responsible for handling moves and payments for moving expenses for BOP employees transferred to new locations. She allegedly received meals, spa services and free moves from four moving companies between 2007 and 2010. A superseding indictment in September 2012 charged her with six counts of unlawful payment to a public official and four counts of non-government
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