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News in Brief
Australia: An infection and immunity study by researchers from the Kirby Institute at the University of New South Wales examined a practice performed by prisoners that involves the placement of foreign objects under the skin of their penises. A survey revealed that almost 6% of male prisoners in Queensland and New South Wales correctional facilities had penile implants – made of melted toothpaste caps, buttons, dice and even deodorant roller balls. The study, published in January 2013, concluded that "Penile implants appear to be fairly common among prisoners and are associated with risky sexual and drug use practices. As most of these penile implants are inserted in prison, these men are at risk of blood borne viruses and wound infection."
California: Tickets to an LA Kings hockey game, gift certificates for spas and restaurants, introductions to women and VIP treatment at local cafés were just some of the bribes that led to the February 7, 2013 arrest of Orange County Sheriff's Deputy David Lloyd Cass. Cass, 38, is accused of developing a relationship with prisoner Stephenson Choi Kim, a violent offender sentenced to life plus 255 years, and accepting bribes to allow Kim's wife to enter the Orange County Jail without being searched in order to smuggle contraband and engage in sex acts.
California: On February 19, 2013, attorney Erubey Lopez spent four hours in a San Diego-area jail after being locked in a holding cell and forgotten by jail staff while trying to visit a client. Lopez attempted to use an intercom to call for help, but later learned that it had been broken for eight months. He then began screaming and pounding on the cell door. "[What] if I was unhealthy ... had a heart attack? What if I had diabetes and had a sugar issue?" Lopez asked. "If they hadn't heard me with the screaming and banging ... there was no other way they were going to hear me."
Colorado: Former police officer Josh Carrier was sentenced on February 22, 2013 to 70 years to life after being convicted of more than 100 counts involving child sex crimes. He had pleaded guilty in October 2012 to sexual assault on a child, enticement of a child and unlawful sexual contact. Additionally, he was found guilty in an earlier trial of more than 20 counts of child exploitation and pornography. Carrier was a resource officer and volunteer wrestling coach at a Colorado Springs middle school.
Colorado: Suzette Parsons was sentenced in March 2013 to a year and a day in federal prison plus three years of supervised release after pleading guilty to bribery of a public official. Investigators said that over a three-month period, Parsons received more than $14,000 in bribes for smuggling tobacco and synthetic marijuana to prisoners at the Federal Correctional Institution in Florence, where she had worked as a library technician before resigning in August 2011.
Florida: Sgt. Angeleatha L. Chestnut, 47, a Miami-Dade corrections officer, was arrested in February 2013 and charged with attempted second-degree murder and aggravated battery after shooting her husband, Daryle, during a heated argument. The couple was reportedly arguing about Daryle staying out late at night when Chestnut fired a handgun, striking him in the left-upper shoulder and leaving him in critical but stable condition. Chestnut, employed in the Miami-Dade Corrections Department's internal affairs unit, was released on $20,000 bond.
Florida: A former Charlotte County Jail guard, Janeene Lea Jones, 49, was dubbed the "Black Widow" after she tried to hire an undercover detective to kill her current husband and a tenant for $8,000. She was arrested on February 25, 2013 and charged with two counts of solicitation to commit murder. Sarasota police received tips that Janeene's third husband, Max Jones, had died under mysterious circumstances in 2011, and are now investigating that death. Her previous husbands, Albert Campbell and Phillip Wallace, could not be reached for comment. Janeene had been employed at the Charlotte County Jail in the late 1990s before resigning amid allegations that she was having an inappropriate relationship with a prisoner.
Florida: Robin Pagoria, a former Polk County jail guard, had a "deep dark secret." In February 2013, a judge sentenced her to 20 years in prison followed by 20 years of probation for her role in sexually abusing children. "She was into the dominant, submissive fetish, and the spanking fetish," stated Sheriff Grady Judd. Investigators said she stripped two children naked, tied them up and spanked them on camera. Pagoria was allegedly acting on the orders of her online Australian boyfriend, Christopher Lobban, who has been arrested and is currently fighting extradition to the U.S.
Georgia: On February 12, 2013, Atlanta area police sergeants Victor Middlebrook and Andrew Monroe were arrested as part of a group of officers that served as bodyguards during staged drug deals, according to federal agents. ATF investigators said the dirty cops used their uniforms and patrol cars to ensure the drug dealers would not be robbed by other criminals or come under police scrutiny. Five civilians were also arrested in the sting operation.
Georgia: Jeshon Burden, 33, was released on $2,613.50 bond after being charged with battery and violation of oath of office. The Spalding County deputy, an 11-year veteran with the Sheriff's Office, is accused of assaulting a prisoner in the booking area of the Spalding County Detention Center on February 11, 2013.
Haiti: The latest project by U.S. narcotics agents at the American Embassy in Haiti is prison-building. According to a February 20, 2013 article by Black Agenda Report, the U.S. is constructing two prisons for the island nation – one for men and another for women – at a cost of $5-10 million. Although government officials said the project is a humanitarian response to violence, overcrowding and disease in Haiti's prisons, the U.S. has never paid much attention to international standards and the American criminal justice system is a poor model to export to other countries.
Illinois: A rumor concerning a stolen telephone personal identification number (PIN) led to Shamikia L. Massie, 29, facing charges for assaulting another female prisoner at the Racine County Jail. Massie told police she was "so mad she wasn't able to control herself" when she threw a cup of hot coffee into the other woman's face on February 17, 2013. The other prisoner had accused Massie of making phone calls using a third prisoner's PIN.
Illinois: Walter Unbehaun, 73, had spent most of his adult life behind bars and "felt more comfortable in prison than out," so on February 9, 2013, he walked into a suburban Chicago bank, lifted his coat to reveal a silver revolver and left with $4,178. A post-arrest interrogation found that Unbehaun wanted to spend the rest of his life in prison and committed the robbery in hopes of getting caught. If convicted he faces up to 20 years – which, given his age, would likely amount to a life sentence.
Maine: The NAACP of Portland has met with prisoner Renardo Williams, who was assaulted by a guard at the Maine State Prison after questioning why black prisoners were treated differently than other prisoners. NAACP chapter president Rachel Talbot Ross said that Williams, who was handcuffed at the time of the incident, did nothing to provoke the beating by Capt. David Cutler, who was arrested on February 20, 2013 and faces misdemeanor assault charges.
Massachusetts: A former Suffolk County Sheriff's Department corrections officer, Paul Mahan, 42, has been charged with workers' compensation fraud and larceny by false pretenses. Mahan collected tens of thousands of dollars in retirement, workers' compensation and disability benefits for an on-the-job injury while earning unreported income by operating car dealerships and other businesses. Attorney General Martha Coakley announced the charges on February 20, 2013.
Minnesota: Federal prisoners Ira L. Goodwin, Michael S. Luedtke and Edward M. Robinson have been indicted for a February 8, 2013 ambush attack on two guards at the Sherburne County Jail, which rents the majority of its bed space to the federal government. A chair was used during the assault on guards Jesse P. Kipka and Jesse J. Overlie, and Kipka suffered a concussion when he was hit on the head with his own can of pepper spray. Both guards were "extensively bruised," said U.S. Attorney's Office spokeswoman Jeanne Cooney.
Mississippi: Robert Kale Johnson, 38, was sentenced to 15 months in prison and 3 years of supervised release on February 26, 2013 after pleading guilty to accepting a $5,000 bribe while employed as a guard at the Yazoo City Federal Correctional Complex. "The integrity of our federal prison system depends upon the honesty and commitment to duty of correctional personnel," noted Special Agent in Charge T.M. Gulotta-Powers with the Department of Justice's Office of the Inspector General.
New Jersey: Former Trenton State Prison guard Sterling Duckett, 46, received a 5-year sentence on February 15, 2013 as part of a plea deal with the Mercer County prosecutor's office; he was initially charged with official misconduct, bribery and contraband smuggling. Duckett's attorney said the 14-year corrections veteran was "manipulated" by prisoners and had a lapse of judgment when he smuggled cell phones, drugs and escape tools into the prison. Duckett, who had no prior criminal record, is immediately eligible to seek parole.
New Mexico: An investigation is being conducted into possible wrongdoing related to the association between Santa Fe jail employee Dennis Roybal and the co-owner of a local bonding company, Miguel Lucero, who happens to be his brother-in-law. Roybal was placed on paid administrative leave on February 19, 2013 following complaints from two other bonding firms that accused him of steering jail detainees to Lucero's business, A-Bonding Company. Lucero said he didn't believe his brother-in-law "would ever do something like that," and claimed his company had "never solicited aid from any public employees."
New Mexico: A tip led to a lockdown at the New Mexico State Penitentiary and an internal investigation after state officials found guards sleeping and in possession of banned items such as electronics, cooking equipment, DVDs and cell phones. Corrections Secretary Gregg Marcantel told reporters in February 2013 that the guards will likely be disciplined and there will be more frequent, random checks of prison staff.
New York: In March 2013, Chad Seegars sued the city of New York, the NYC Department of Corrections and an unnamed Riker's Island jail guard after the guard posted a photo of Seegars on Facebook. While Seegars was in the Riker's Island visitors' area, a stranger slashed his face and the resulting eight-inch wound required 90 stitches. His lawsuit claims that the photo posted by the guard, which showed Seegars' facial injury, was distressing and humiliating.
Ohio: Theresa L. Daniel, 60, a guard at the Allen Oakwood Correctional Institution in Lima, was placed on administrative leave without pay one day after a January 18, 2013 incident in which she allegedly failed to follow prison policies. Daniel, who has worked in the prison system for 17 years, is accused of placing a handcuffed prisoner in a segregation cell with another prisoner who raped and beat him. "There is both an internal investigation as well as one being conducted by the state Highway Patrol," said Ohio prison system spokeswoman JoEllen Smith.
Ohio: At least four incidents involving staff sexual misconduct have plagued the Lebanon Correctional Institution since 2009, and last year yet another scandal led to the demotion of warden Tim Brunsman and the firing of health care administrator Amy Weiss. The pattern continued with the resignation of a third shift nurse, Karen Hall, on February 8, 2013 after evidence surfaced that she had an inappropriate relationship with a prisoner. Hall resigned before officials could question her about the allegations.
Ohio: Aramark kitchen worker Mildred Hensley, 59, was arrested on February 6, 2013 on charges of bringing contraband into the Erie County Jail. According to Erie County Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Jared Oliver, Hensley admitted bringing alcohol, tobacco and a pair of scissors meant to cut a prisoner's hair into the jail to give to trustee kitchen workers. Oliver said Hensley had carried the items in her purse, and jail security screening policies are being reviewed.
Oklahoma: Christie Dawn Harris, 28, reluctantly submitted to a strip search after being arrested on drug charges on March 4, 2013. During the search a female officer discovered the handle of a five-shot Freedom Arms revolver protruding from Harris' vagina. When the weapon was retrieved, jail officials found it was loaded with three live rounds and one spent shell. Investigators also discovered plastic baggies containing methamphetamine secreted between Harris' buttocks.
Pennsylvania: On February 21, 2013, a former federal prison guard pleaded guilty to theft of government property. Fred Hagenbuch, 52, was employed as a Senior Office Specialist at USP Lewisburg when he illegally removed property from FCC Allenwood, including electrical conduit, mesh fencing and fence posts. Hagenbuch was sentenced on June 11, 2013 to one year of probation and ordered to pay $1545.76 in restitution.
Pennsylvania: On April 29, 2013, Craig Lewis, Jr., a former prisoner, was sentenced to 7½ to 15 years for shooting an off-duty prison guard who had worked in the same York County Prison cell block where Lewis had previously served time. The two happened to meet at a bar and a fight ensued, which spilled outside. It was then that Lewis, 21, shot the guard, David Whitcomb, in the abdomen. Lewis was convicted of aggravated assault but acquitted of attempted murder in the shooting.
Pennsylvania: Federal prison guard Eric Williams was murdered at USP Canaan on February 25, 2013. Williams was working in a housing unit at the high-security facility near Scranton when prisoner Jessie Con-Ui, 36, attacked him with a homemade weapon. Williams was stabbed multiple times and hit on the head; he was rushed to a hospital where he was pronounced dead. On June 25, 2013, Con-Ui was charged with first-degree murder and possession of contraband. He has since been transferred to the ADX supermax facility in Florence, Colorado.
South Carolina: On February 25, 2013, Robin E. Smith, 38, charged with assault and battery, was released on a $20,000 personal recognizance bond and immediately fired from his job as a guard at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center. Smith is accused of stomping a 52-year-old homeless prisoner who had been arrested on trespassing charges. The prisoner, who was not identified, suffered a fractured vertebrae, collapsed lung, two broken ribs and internal injuries as a result of the February 11, 2013 incident, and was hospitalized in critical condition. Prosecutors are seeking a higher bond for Smith.
Tennessee: A search warrant for the home of Dexter Lavon Mason and his wife Mary, both 66, revealed computers that contained more than 100 images of prepubescent children engaged in sexual or simulated sexual activities. Mason was charged with 21 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, one count of tampering with evidence and four counts of aggravated sexual battery; his wife was charged with one count of tampering with evidence. Both were indicted in February 2013. Dexter Mason had recently retired as a state probation and parole manager.
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