Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter and Director of Corrections Joe Allbaugh on March 14 jointly announced the state plans to adopt an execution method never before used in the United States: asphyxiation by nitrogen gas. In 1977, Oklahoma’s medical examiner devised a multi-drug lethal injection protocol, as an alternative to electrocution or hanging. The state…

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By Christopher Zoukis In a brief, unsigned opinion handed down October 11, the U.S. Supreme Court has thrown out the death sentence an Oklahoma jury gave Shaun Michael Bosse after convicting him in 2010 of the first-degree murders of his former girlfriend and her two young children. Bosse fatally stabbed 25-year-old Katrina Griffin and her…

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by Christopher Zoukis Only two of the nearly 1,500 prisoners granted early release by the Oklahoma Department of Corrections (DOC) from March to October 2014 have returned to prison, notwithstanding news reports indicating that lawmakers and “several” corrections officials have not been supportive of the releases. The approximately 1,500 prisoners were granted early release due…

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A shortage of skilled laborers in the craft of welding is poised to seriously hinder America’s production capacity in the coming years. With education policies emphasizing that all students should pursue “traditional” college upon high school graduation, there’s been a serious drop in the number of individuals pursuing vocational training in the last decade or…

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For several minutes on Wednesday afternoon, the world slowed down for those of us who act as advocates of prisoners’ rights. As each second crawled by, we waited with bated breath to hear the news as to whether Richard Glossip, convicted of the killing of Barry Van Treese in 1997, would take his final breaths…

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Oklahoma teachers would receive a $2,500 across-the-board pay raise under a budget proposal approved Thursday by the State Board of Education, but they shouldn’t plan to spend the money any time soon. “It is time we as a state offer better compensation to these dedicated and talented individuals who give so much of themselves in…

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By Prison Legal News

This installment of Prison News in Brief concerns news from Oklahoma through Tennessee and is brought to us by our friends at Prison Legal News.

Oklahoma Prison News

Darren “Veneno” Padron, 22, is one of six prisoners accused of planning and carrying out the June 13, 2012 stabbing death of fellow prisoner Sonny J. Limpy, 25, at the GEO Group-operated Lawton Correctional Facility.  On July 18, 2013, Padron pleaded guilty to his role in the murder and was sentenced to an additional 10 years in prison with five suspended.  Also charged were Alonzo “Coon” Florez, Gerardo “Guito” Sanduval, Jose Garcia, Ryan “Frankie” Garcia, and Armando Luna.  Testimony indicated that the killing was ordered after Limpy refused to join “The 13 Movement,” an initiative to unify all Hispanic gangs under one leadership.

Oklahoma Prison News

On July 10, 2013, a prisoner at the Tulsa County Jail was found unresponsive during security checks.  A nurse who rushed to treat him experienced a sudden cardiac medical emergency and had to be taken to a local hospital.  Despite resuscitation efforts by jail staff and the Tulsa Fire Department, prisoner Brian Keith Perry, 41, was pronounced dead.  Investigators from the Sheriff’s Department ruled out foul play and Perry’s death is believed to be a suicide.  The nurse was admitted to the hospital for treatment.

Pakistan Prison News

On July 29, 2013, militants attacked a prison in northwest Pakistan and reportedly freed more than 250 prisoners.  Pakistan Taliban spokesman Shahidullah Shahid claimed responsibility for the assault and said 150 militants took part.  Officials had received a letter threatening an attack on the facility, but did not expect one so soon.  The militants arrived by car and motorcycles, then began a 41/2 hour assault on the prison using bombs, grenades, and guns.  Some of the attackers, wearing police uniforms, used megaphones to call out the names of specific prisoners.  Six police officers, six prisoners, and two civilians were killed, including one prisoner who was beheaded.

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By Prison Legal News

This installment of Prison News in Brief concerns news from New York through Oklahoma and is brought to us by our friends at Prison Legal News.

  • New York Prison News

The wife of a Rikers Island mental health worker was arrested on May 8, 2013 for making death threats to her husband’s alleged mistress, another Rikers Island employee.  Victoria Beltran, a transsexual actress, suspected an affair after finding unusual credit card charges made by her husband, Brett Bergmann.  Furious, Beltran began to pepper the suspected mistress, Katarzyna Sakowicz, with voicemails and text messages, which Sakowicz reported to authorities.  The two women also argued about whether Bergmann knew that Beltran was born a man.  Beltran, who was charged with aggravated harassment, said her husband was aware of her sex change operation from the beginning of their relationship.  Bergmann is reportedly filing for divorce.

  • New York Prison News

Former Erie County sheriff’s deputy Cutolo Buffalo, 54, was charged with pepper spraying a prisoner who was handcuffed and being escorted by two other deputies.  The August 2012 incident led to an FBI investigation and Cutolo’s termination from the sheriff’s department.  Cutolo pleaded guilty and was sentenced on August 2, 2013 to six months’ home confinement on electronic monitoring plus one year of probation.

  • New York Prison News

Nancy Gonzalez, 29, a former guard at the Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) in Brooklyn, was impregnated by a prisoner at the jail.  Gonzalez was arrested in March 2013 and pleaded guilty on July 3, 2013 to having sex with MDC prisoner Ronell Wilson, resulting in the birth of her son, Justus Liam Gonzalez.  Defense attorney Anthony Ricco compared the pair’s relationship to that of Romeo and Juliet — although unlike the Shakespearean play, Wilson was facing the death penalty for killing NYPD undercover officers Rodney Andrews and James Nemorin during a gun purchase sting in 2003.  Gonzalez refused to testify at Wilson’s death penalty hearing and he was sentenced to death on July 24, 2013.  She lost her parental rights to Justus on November 15, 2013 after drinking alcohol during meetings with Wilson’s relatives, which violated a condition of her bail.

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Dianne Frazee-Walker

Oklahoma has a women problem, but not the kind of problem one may contemplate. The problem is more women in Oklahoma are incarcerated than any other state in the country. In fact, the number of women incarcerated in Oklahoma is almost double the national average. For a state that as an overflowing correctional system, 2,700 women is quite an exorbitant figure, especially when 67% of these Oklahoma women are locked-up for nonviolent crimes. Only about 16% of these women committed violent crimes. Regardless of the offenses for which Oklahoma women are spending time in prison, these dire statistics are costing the state $26,000,000 a year.

Oklahoma also has a children problem. Three percent of Oklahoma children have at least one parent incarcerated. The problem with that is children with at least one parent in prison are five times more likely to be arrested as a juvenile and end up in prison as an adult.

Even though most of Oklahoma’s incarcerated women are serving excessive sentences for non-violet crimes, they are branded into one group of degenerates by society. Local community members are ignorant about the circumstances that led up to these women ending up in prison and believe they should be locked away from the rest of civilization. Regarded as a different species. Isolate them. They did the crime, so we don’t care about them. The attitude of local Oklahomans concerning the reason for the high rate of female incarceration is: “Oklahoma has mean women.” 

The goal is to get people to view them as real people with feelings. They want to see their families. 

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