News in Brief
Arizona: In November 2012, eight prisoners at ASPC-Eyman in Florence were hospitalized, apparently after drinking contaminated prison-made wine. Seven received an anti-toxin, provided by the Centers for Disease Control, used to treat botulism. Three months earlier, in August 2012, four prisoners at the same unit in the same facility were hospitalized in a similar incident. Last month, PLN reported a case of botulism at a Utah prison caused by a bad batch of pruno. [See: PLN, Feb. 2013, p.50].
Arizona: A Good Samaritan who volunteered at a Maricopa County jail and helped obtain a prisoner’s release was subsequently victimized by the same prisoner. Jay Connolly, 29, and an accomplice, Candy Dean, 42, attacked the unnamed female victim and tied her up; they then stole her cell phone, purse and a handgun, and fled in her car. Connolly and Dean were arrested the day after the October 25, 2012 incident on charges of kidnapping, aggravated robbery and theft. The victim had paid Connolly’s bond to get him out of jail and had allowed him to stay at her home.
California: State prisoner Raymond Johnston, 51, was found dead in his cell at CSP Sacramento on October 17, 2012. He had served around 11 years of a 25-years-to-life sentence for a sex offense; his death is being investigated as a homicide due to “obvious signs of trauma,” and the main suspect is his 46-year-old cellmate, who was not identified.
California: Three detainees died at the Santa Cruz County Jail within a four-month period last year. On August 25, 2012, Christy Sanders, 27, reportedly experienced breathing difficulties before dying; an autopsy revealed she had hepatitis C and liver and lung problems related to heroin use. She was serving a 60-day sentence for a probation violation. On October 6, 2012, Rick Prichard, 59, suffered a medical emergency and died while being booked into the jail. He had been arrested for suspicion of DUI, and according to the medical examiner his death was caused by cardiovascular problems. Finally, on November 20, 2012, jail detainee Brant Monnett, 47, died after he reportedly experienced withdrawal symptoms. Arrested on suspicion of a probation violation, he had been placed on a “detox protocol” by jail staff.
Florida: On October 17, 2012, state prison guard Christopher J. Garland, 43, employed at the Lake Correctional Institution, was charged with making written threats to kill or do bodily injury, a second-degree felony. Garland was accused of sending threatening text messages to a woman with whom he had a previous relationship; he was arrested at his prison job and held at the Lake County jail on a $5,000 bond.
Greece: Justice Minister Antonis Roupakiotis announced in November 2012 that prisoners in the nation’s overcrowd-ed corrections system would be allowed supervised access to computers with Internet connections, as well as private family visits. Additional prison reforms include a detention hostel program where selected prisoners and pre-trial detainees can spend nights at the hostels instead of being incarcerated full-time.
Italy: On November 20, 2012, Father Alberto Barin, the chaplain at one of Italy’s largest prisons, was arrested on sexual misconduct charges. Barin, 51, is accused of soliciting sex acts from six male prisoners in exchange for cigarettes and hygiene items such as soap and shampoo. According to the arrest warrant, Father Barin used his power and influence as a chaplain to “almost obsessively satisfy his sexual urges.” After being alerted by a prisoner, officials set up surveillance cameras in the facility, including in Barin’s office, which resulted in his arrest.
Kentucky: Jeffrey Downs, 40, incarcerated at the Christian County Detention Center, had been transported to the Jennie Stuart Medical Center on November 2, 2012, where he grabbed a gun from a deputy jailer and fatally shot himself. Downs was being held on parole violations at the time.
Libya: Approximately 120 prisoners escaped from the Jdeida prison in Tripoli on October 15, 2012 after they reportedly bribed guards to let them go. “This incident shows how weak the police system is in western Libya where we haven’t been able to gauge the loyalties of all the security officials working for the government,” said Abdel-Moneim al-Hurr, a spokesman for Libya’s Supreme Security Committee.
Louisiana: On October 7, 2012, Leonard Lewis, 28, incarcerated at the Templeman V jail in New Orleans, received a visit from a female friend. During the visit his friend allegedly opened her blouse while Lewis exposed himself and masturbated, according to a jailer who witnessed the episode of self-gratification. Lewis, who was awaiting sentencing on a manslaughter conviction, was charged with obscenity under a state law that prohibits “exposure of the genitals ... in any prison or jail with the intent of arousing sexual desire or which ... is patently offensive.” His visitor was not charged.
Maine: Former state prosecutor James Cameron, 50, facing child porn charges, cut off his electronic monitor on No-vember 15, 2012 and fled after learning his appeal was unsuccessful. Cameron had been convicted of 13 federal child pornography charges in August 2010; he was released pending an appeal, which was decided by the First Circuit the same day that he absconded. The appellate court upheld 7 of the convictions and indicated that prosecutors could re-try him on six convictions that were overturned.
Cameron still had 15 years left to serve on his original 16-year sentence; prior to his arrest he was the chief prosecutor for drug offenses in the Maine Office of the Attorney General. He was caught in New Mexico on December 2, 2012, returned to prison, and later pleaded guilty to a criminal contempt charge related to his attempt to flee.
Maine: On November 1, 2012, Episcopal priest Stephen Foote, 70, was arrested on a class C charge of trafficking in contraband for smuggling drugs to a prisoner at the Two Bridges Regional Jail. He allegedly smuggled suboxone strips in a letter sent to prisoner Joshua Theriault-Patten, 25. Rev. Foote was released on unsecured bail and placed on leave by the Episcopal Diocese of Maine following his arrest. Theriault and another prisoner, Adam Shawley, 27, were charged with attempted trafficking in contraband in connection with the smuggling incident.
Massachusetts: State prison employee Donald Packard, 36, was indicted on October 12, 2012 on charges of larceny and breaking and entering, for stealing over $8,000 from vending machines. Before Packard was employed as a guard at the Bay State Correctional Center, he worked for a vending machine company. He is accused of using a special key to steal from machines in the Boston area from September 2011 to July 2012. He was arrested by the State Police; prison officials assisted in the investigation.
Mississippi: Three guards at the East Mississippi Correctional Facility, operated by private prison firm MTC, were arrested on October 18, 2012 and charged with embezzlement for lying about their work hours. Markiezth Tillman, 22; William David Smith, 27; and Derrick Brown, 24, are accused of tampering with a time-keeping system; as a result, the system indicated they were working at the facility when they were not.
MTC reportedly discovered the scheme and alerted law enforcement authorities.
New Mexico: While being released from a Santa Fe jail in October 2012, Frank Rodriquez-Tapia, 20, managed to steal $80 in cash from another prisoner who was being booked into the facility. He used the funds to buy lunch, but later confessed to the theft after being questioned. He was charged with larceny and booked back into the jail.
Pennsylvania: Forty-nine female prisoners and two employees at the York County Prison were sent to local hospitals on November 22, 2012 due to a carbon monoxide leak at the facility that was traced to an HVAC system. No serious injuries were reported, and the affected unit was ventilated with fans. York County Commissioner Doug Hoke called the incident an “unfortunate situation.”