Alaska: Prisoners in the segregation unit at Spring Creek Correctional Center were not happy with an inspection order that required them to make their beds and clean their cells. On August 5, 2013, around 14 prisoners showed their displeasure by yelling, breaking porcelain sinks and toilets, and flooding cells. Only one guard was on duty in the 32man unit at the time. The Alaska Correctional Officers Association blamed the disturbance on chronic understaffing at the facility.
Arkansas: Glenda Estell, the mother of a prisoner who escaped from the Garland County Detention Center, was accused of assisting in the jailbreak and arrested on August 2, 2013. Police listened to 40 recorded phone calls to connect Estell to her son’s July 28 escape. She was one of a network of several friends and family members who orchestrated the escape of jail prisoner Derrick Estell; a girlfriend, Tamara Upshaw, and her stepfather, William Harding, helped with a getaway car and a diversion to distract deputies. Derrick Estell and Upshaw were captured in Florida on August 23, 2013.
Australia: A guard who worked at the Dame Phyllis Frost Center, a maximumsecurity women’s prison in Melborne, told a prisoner’s husband that he would “stash” something for his wife. As a result of that transaction, on August 30, 2013, Victorian County Court Judge Bill Stuart sentenced guard Ayhan Soylemez, 42, to two years and three months in prison for misconduct in public office. Judge Stuart said Soylemez had committed a gross breach of his duties, and noted that as a former prison guard his incarceration would be harsher. Two drug possession charges against Soylemez were dismissed.
Bolivia: A child was among 29 people killed in a violent clash among prisoners at the maximumsecurity Palmasola Penitentiary Complex outside Santa Cruz. On August 23, 2013, an explosion and the sound of gunfire were heard inside the facility as rival cell blocks fought for control of part of the prison; 35 people reportedly suffered injuries and were evacuated to local hospitals. Children routinely live with incarcerated family members in Bolivian prisons.
California: David John Calmere died at the scene of a July 18, 2013 accident after he led police on a highspeed chase through San Benito County. The 41yearold prison guard employed at the Correctional Training Facility in Soledad lost control of his Toyota Tundra, hit both the right and left guard rails, then rolled the vehicle and was ejected. Calmere had fled from police when he was pulled over for speeding.
Connecticut: On July 25, 2013, the Associated Press reported that a routine state audit of benefits uncovered troubling information about Kevin Hornak, 50, a guard at the Bridgeport Correctional Center. Two women presented investigators with valid marriage certificates, and Hornak was charged with bigamy. Police reported that both wives knew each other but each believed she was the only one who was legally married. Hornak wed his first wife in 1984 in Philadelphia, and had assured his second wife that he was divorced when he married her in 2005 in Vermont.
Florida: A bet on a basketball game between two groups of juvenile offenders at the Avon Park Youth Academy devolved into a fullblown riot on August 18, 2013. The two groups of boys, from Orlando and St. Petersburg, had made a bet on the game for three packages of Cup O’Noodles. “The Orlando team won and the St. Pete team didn’t pay up, so the original 10 started fighting,” Sheriff Grady Judd said. Other teens joined in the brawl, which resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage to the facility. Approximately 150 law enforcement officers were needed to quell the disturbance.
Florida: On July 29, 2013, Richard Stotts, 48, was fired from his job as a Pinellas County detention deputy. Stotts was working in the booking area of the jail on May 8 when he abruptly smacked prisoner David Alan Koons on the head and neck, eventually pinning him to the ground. The incident was recorded on surveillance video. Stotts had been the subject of previous investigations into improper conduct involving prisoners; he was not charged with assaulting Koons, because Koons declined to cooperate with investigators. This was the third time in a less than a year that a Pinellas County jail guard was fired for using excessive force.
Georgia: A former prison guard who pleaded guilty to smuggling phones and cigarettes into the Augusta State Medical Prison received probation and a harsh lecture from Richmond County Superior Court Judge Daniel Craig. Melissa L. Brown, 34, was charged with trading with inmates after a dog alerted to her vehicle during a search of prison employees. Judge Craig called Brown’s misconduct a “treasonous deed” before sentencing her on August 29, 2013 to five years’ probation under the First Offender Act. She also must perform 300 hours of community service and pay a $3,000 fine.
Illinois: An August 8, 2013 road rage incident resulted in murder charges being filed against a Cook County jail guard. Police say 23yearold Montrel Moss threw a cup of water that hit a van being driven by jail guard Edgar Singleton, Jr. Singleton retaliated by shooting Moss in the neck with a 9mm handgun; Moss was pronounced dead a short time later. According to a statement from the Cook County Sheriff’s Office, Singleton was subsequently dedeputized and fired.
Indiana: A report filed by Marion County jailers stated that on August 1, 2013, an unidentified 24yearold Indiana Department of Child Services (DCS) worker flashed her official ID to gain access to the Marion County Arrestee Processing Center in order to get some “alone time” with a prisoner. The female DCS employee was escorted to a meeting room where jail staff said they saw her and the prisoner engage in unauthorized physical contact, including touching and holding hands. Upon questioning, the DCS worker admitted she had no official business at the jail; her badge was confiscated and she was ordered to leave. No criminal charges were filed, but she was fired in connection with the incident.
Indonesia: About 300 soldiers and 500 policemen were deployed around the Tanjung Gusta prison in Medan, the capital of North Sumatra, after a riot broke out on July 12, 2013. The facility, with a normal capacity of 1,054, was holding nearly 2,600 prisoners at the time. Five people were killed and hundreds of prisoners, including convicted terrorists, escaped during the riot. The disturbance was apparently triggered by a power outage that disabled the facility’s water pumps and left prisoners without water. Akbar Hadi, a spokesman for prison officials, estimated that about 500 prisoners had resisted orders to stop rioting before security forces retook the facility.
Iowa: Rodney Eugene Long, 38, escaped from the Clarinda Correctional Facility on August 19, 2013 and shot a Taylor County deputy after stealing a gun in a residential burglary. The wounded deputy’s survival was credited to his protective vest. After leading police on a 40minute chase, Long broke into the home of a retired prison guard and his wife, Jerome and Carolyn Mauderly, ages 71 and 66. Long held the Mauderlys hostage for several hours before Jerome Mauderly killed him using a shotgun.
Kansas: An unidentified guard at the El Dorado Correctional Facility fell from a watch tower at the prison on July 12, 2013. According to Kansas DOC Communications Director Jeremy Barclay, the state’s Workers Compensation Law prohibits the release of the guard’s name. The guard was alert and talking when taken to a Wichita hospital, and was treated and released less than four hours after the accident. According to Barclay, the tower was secured with proper railings.
Kansas: Former Sedgwick County jail guard David Kendall, 23, was charged with crimes ranging from aggravated sodomy to misdemeanor sexual battery for raping two prisoners and sexually propositioning four others. The prisoners have collectively filed claims totaling over $20 million against the county. Kendall posted $500,000 bond and was released from jail with a GPS monitoring system. At an August 30, 2013 hearing, testimony was presented that one of the prisoners accusing Kendall of rape had had consensual sex with him, then fabricated the rape claim to cash in on a civil suit.
Kazakhstan: On August 29, 2013, a military court sentenced a group of prison guards, including a high ranking official, who had been convicted of torturing a prisoner to death at a labor camp in the city of Zhezkazgan. The court found that the guards had beaten a prisoner for hours, then crucified the dying man on a metal fence in October 2012. Ten guards received fiveyear prison terms, some of which were suspended, while three received sentences of six years each. Human rights activists have long protested prisoners’ rights abuses in Kazakhstan.
Maine: Shane Thomas, an Androscoggin County jail guard, filed suit against the county and Sheriff Guy Desjardins on August 15, 2013 after being cleared in a useofforce incident. According to the lawsuit, Thomas was suspended for three days and as a result of the suspension suffered damage to his professional reputation and continues to suffer professional and personal injuries. A prisoner had filed a complaint after being involved in a physical confrontation with Thomas, but the district attorney decided that Thomas’ use of force was justified. Sheriff Desjardins said he stood by the suspension because Thomas struck the prisoner in the head in violation of jail rules.
Michigan: Former Michigan DOC employee Michael Paul Salyers pleaded no contest on August 2, 2013 to a lesser charge of fourthdegree criminal sexual conduct; he was originally charged with two counts of seconddegree criminal sexual conduct of a state prisoner. Police said that since 2006, Salyers had a sexual relationship with a female prisoner who has since been released. At the time, Salyers was a mechanic at the nowclosed Camp Brighton facility.
Michigan: On August 6, 2013, a jury returned a not guilty verdict in the trial of Lansing jail guard David Gladstone, who was charged with misdemeanor assault and battery of a prisoner. Although Gladstone was found not guilty, an internal investigation is pending to determine whether he violated any departmental policies or procedures. He had been suspended pending the outcome of the criminal charge. [See: PLN, Dec. 2013, p.56].
Minnesota: A nurse working for a private medical contractor, Advanced Correctional Healthcare/Diamond Pharmacy Services, was charged with illegally obtaining prescriptions for oxycodone for personal use by using the names of prisoners in her care at the Isanti County Jail. Cara Sue Lindgren was charged with felony fifthdegree drug possession and felony fifthdegree drug possession by fraud or deceit on August 9, 2013. An investigation into wrongdoing at the jail remains ongoing.
New York: “I want you to knock his fucking teeth in.” According to a June 26, 2013 report by the New York Daily News, that was what supervising warden Eliseo Parez allegedly told a team of Rikers Island guards. The team, which had been tasked with reducing violence at the jail, viciously attacked prisoner Jahmal Lightfoot after he looked at one of them “funny.” Prosecutors said the brutal beatdown – which knocked out some of Lightfoot’s teeth and broke his eye sockets and nose – led the guards to try to cover up the assault. Sanford Rubenstein, Lightfoot’s family lawyer, said prisoners at Rikers Island are not safe and that the incident was part of a “systemic problem” at the facility. The guards involved in Lightfoot’s beating have pleaded not guilty.
New York: A violent, bloody brawl broke out among rival gangs – the Trinitarians and the Crips – at Rikers Island on August 22, 2013. As many as 50 prisoners were involved in the melee, which was reportedly triggered over the use of a hot plate to cook a grilled cheese sandwich. The fight lasted nearly an hour and eleven prisoners and a guard were injured. In surveillance video, prisoners were seen attacking each other with mop handles and hurling chairs; one prisoner also threw hot water, and several suffered serious stab wounds.
New Zealand: For 13 years, Roger Brooking had entered New Zealand prisons to conduct drug and alcohol assessments. In July 2013, however, he was banned from visiting Rimutaka Prison after he criticized the DOC for a multimillion dollar cell phone call blocking system that he deemed a “failed strategy.” The DOC alleged that he had “breach[ed] prison security” by using his personal cell phone in the parking lot of the facility.
Ohio: August 14, 2013 marked the grand opening of a new rainbow trout farm at the Southeastern Correctional Complex in Lancaster. The fish are destined for the Columbus Zoo, where about 300 pounds a month will be used to feed the zoo’s penguins. Another 100 pounds will be fed to polar bears, brown bears and otters. The trout will replace fish the zoo currently purchases from another state, and the project is funded by the prison’s recycling program.
Oregon: Joseph Akins, Jr., 45, serving time for kidnapping, rape and murder, was killed in his cell at the Oregon State Penitentiary on August 17, 2013. Prison officials said Akins was found dead in Cblock and the facility was immediately placed on lockdown. A medical examiner ruled that Akins died due to “inflicted trauma,” and state police said the suspect in his death is his cellmate, Craig Dennis Bjork, 53, who had been convicted of 5 previous murders, including killing another prisoner in 1997.
Rhode Island: On July 18, 2013, Gaulter Botas, a former guard at the Rhode Island Adult Correctional Institute, received an 18month prison sentence. Botas had assaulted prisoners by hitting one with a telephone book and another with a plastic clipboard, a package of paper, a bag of food and his closed fist. Four prisoners said they were assaulted by Botas and another guard, Kenneth Viveiros. Botas’ conviction was upheld in April 2013 by the Rhode Island Supreme Court, and a superior court judge rejected his motion for a reduced sentence. In 2006, Botas and Viveiros were among a number of guards named in a lawsuit alleging that they had made a prisoner eat his own feces; that suit settled for $120,000. [See: PLN, Aug. 2007, p.28].
Romania: On July 30, 2013, a committee requested that the general prosecutor file charges against 87yearold former prison commander Alexandru Visinescu for the deaths of six prisoners. Romania had communist governments from 1945 until 1989, and from 1956 to 1963 Visinescu ran the Ramnicu Sarat prison, notorious for its incarceration of Romania’s precommunist political leaders and intellectuals. The committee alleged the six prisoners had died from beatings, hunger, lack of medical treatment and exposure to cold. Visinescu rejected the accusations and entered a plea of innocence at a closed hearing in January 2014.
Switzerland: The consumption of cannabis is strictly prohibited in Switzerland, but is treated as less of a criminal priority than in the U.S. According to a study published on June 17, 2013 by the International Journal of Drug Policy, as many as 80% of Swiss prisoners use cannabis with the full awareness of prison staff. Prisoners and staff reported that it has a positive effect and named several benefits of cannabis consumption. Prison officials believe that cracking down on marijuana use would lead to an increase in violence, and said it is a relatively safe and peaceful drug.
Tennessee: According to officials at the West Tennessee State Penitentiary, transport guard Lonnie B. Rogers was arrested for bringing 40 cell phones and chargers, 22 ounces of marijuana and tobacco into the facility. Rogers reportedly received $700 from a woman to smuggle marijuana to prisoner Ronnie Henry. In an August 1, 2013 statement, TDOC Commissioner Derrick Schofield said, “This case demonstrates our commitment to zero tolerance of illegal contraband that threatens the security of our prisons.”
Texas: One victim of former 404th State District Judge Abel Corral Limas presented impact testimony saying there was “outrage and shock at the magnitude of the corruption” committed by the disgraced judge, who entered a guilty plea to racketeering charges. In exchange for his plea, Limas was sentenced on August 21, 2013 to 72 months in federal prison, restitution of $6,777,270.50, three years of supervised release following his prison term and forfeiture of an additional $257,300 from proceeds from his criminal enterprise. Limas admitted that he routinely used his position as judge to enrich himself and others through extortion, and that his conduct was “not a mistake, it was intentional.”
Texas: Two former state prison guards at the Giles W. Dalby Unit face bribery charges, according to court documents filed in federal court in Lubbock. In separate incidents, Philip Andrew Tyler was accused of providing cocaine to a prisoner in exchange for money, while Cesar Ceja was charged with giving tobacco to a prisoner in exchange for a candy bar. Tyler and Ceja were charged on July 2, 2013.
Texas: In August 2013, a Texas billionaire under house arrest in his south Florida mansion awaiting retrial on a drunk driving manslaughter charge was allowed to fly by private jet to visit his dying mother at a Texas hospital. John Goodman’s original conviction was overturned because a juror had not revealed that his wife had once been arrested on a DUI charge. Goodman was initially approved to make the trip to Texas on a commercial flight escorted by four deputies, but was later allowed to travel via chartered plane. County officials said Goodman was responsible for all travel costs, meals and lodging related to the trip.
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