by Christopher Zoukis The Los Angeles County Jail’s early release program began in the late 1980s as a result of an adverse finding by a federal judge that the jail’s overcrowding amounted to an 8th Amendment violation for cruel and unusual punishment. Since that time, several early release programs have been attempted, but many have…Read More
Arizona: The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office announced on May 28, 2014, that it would not seek criminal charges against state prison guard Jesse Dorantes for the death of his K9 service dog, Ike, who was left in an unattended vehicle in the summer heat for seven hours. The DA’s office cited a 2007 case in…Read More
Alabama: A March 2, 2014 fight at the Elmore Correctional Facility resulted in eight prisoners being transported to Jackson Hospital, where three were admitted for further treatment. Details on the extent of the prisoners’ injuries and the circumstances of the fight were not released. Argentina: Raunchy photos depicting female jail guards and superintendents in various…Read More
Kansas Prison News
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. These prisoners have collectively filed claims totaling over $20 million against Sedgwick County. Kendall posted $500,000 bond and was released from the Sedgwick County 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.
Michigan Prison News
Former Michigan Department of Corrections employee Michael Paul Salyers pleaded no contest on August 2, 2013 to a lesser charge of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct; he was originally charged with two counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct of a state prisoner. Police said that since 2006, Salyers had a sexual relationship with a female Michigan state prisoner who has since been released. At the time, Salyers was a mechanic at the now-closed Camp Brighton facility.
Minnesota Prison News
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 fifth-degree drug possession by fraud or deceit on August 9, 2013. An investigation into the wrongdoing at the Isanti County Jail remains ongoing.Read More
Florida Prison News
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 Allan 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 Pinellas County prisoners; he was charged with assaulting Koons, because Koons declined to cooperate with investigators. This was the third time in less than a year that a Pinellas County jail guard was fired for using excessive force.
Illinois Prison News
An August 8, 2013 road rage incident resulted in murder charges being filed against a Cook County jail guard. Police say 23-year-old 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 de-deputized and fired.
Indiana Prison News
A report filed by Marion County jailers stated that on August 1, 2013, an unidentified 24-year-old 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 Marion County 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 Marion County 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.Read More
We at Prison Education News are thrilled to announce our new Inmate Locator service. For much too long families and friends of state and federal prisoners have had a very challenging time locating their loved ones in prison. By not knowing where their loved ones and friends are incarcerated, they have been unable to visit,…Read More
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.Read More
By Prison Legal News
This installment of Prison News in Brief concerns news from Mississippi through New Hampshire and is brought to us by our friends at Prison Legal News.
Mississippi Prison News
In three separate incidents that occurred between July 14 and 19, 2013, two guards and the 65-year-old mother of a prisoner were arrested as a result of DOC investigations. Ciarra Harley, a 27-year-old guard at the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility (CMCF), is accused of having a sexual relationship with a probationer.
Patricia Bennett-Armstrong, also employed at CMCF, was arrested for possession of prohibited items after a large amount of tobacco was found in her vehicle.
Further, Gloria Edwards, the mother of a prisoner serving time at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman was arrested for allegedly planning to deliver contraband to a prisoner. Edwards was at the facility to see her son but was arrested before the visit; she had several pills concealed on her body and more drugs were found in her vehicle.
Mississippi Prison News
On June 11, 2013, Harrison County jailers Frederick Corso and Joseph Tuten were fired for their roles in the mistreatment of a prisoner and an attempted cover-up of the abuse. A review of surveillance video confirmed the mistreatment, which was witnessed by a third guard who alerted jail administrators. Although the prisoner did not suffer any injuries, Corso and Tuten were terminated when one participated in the abuse and the other falsified incident reports.Read More
This installment of Prison News in Brief concerns news from France through Mexico and is brought to us by our friends at Prison Legal News.
France Prison News
Members of the UFAP-UNSA prison guard union gathered to protest in front of more than 100 jails on June 18, 2013. The action by the union, whose members are banned from striking, was to bring attention to overcrowding and safety concerns in French prisons. Protestors set fire to wooden pallets, tires, and other objects, and blocked deliveries to the facilities. “This is a shot across the bows, to make the powers be aware of the urgency of the situation,” said Union Secretary General Ste’phane Barraut.
Hawaii Prison News
John Joseph Kalei Hall was sentenced to thirteen months in prison on June 27, 2013 after receiving an estimated $10,000 to $30,000 in one year for smuggling cartons of cigarettes into Halawa Correctional Facility. Federal prosecutors said Hall sold the tobacco to the United Samoan Organization, a prison gang, and tipped them off to contraband searches. U.S. District Court Judge Helen Gillmor said Hall deserved prison time because he promoted criminal activity he was hired to prevent.
Honduras Prison News
On August 2, 2013, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights issued a report stating that control at the nation’s 24 prisons had “been ceded into the hands of the prisoners themselves.” The next day, Honduras President Porfirio Lobo ordered military troops to take control over the National Penitentiary following a violent disturbance that resulted in three deaths and 15 injuries. Prisons in Honduras are extremely overcrowded and have been cited for poor conditions.
Illinois Prison News
Timothy Ware, a 20-year-old veteran guard at the Decatur Correctional Center, was suspended without pay in June 2013 and charged with eight felony counts of official misconduct. Ware allegedly solicited phone numbers from two female parolees, called them repeatedly to pursue personal or social relationships, and then lied to investigators about obtaining the women’s numbers and the nature of the calls. DOC regulations prohibit employees from socializing with parolees. Ware was released from custody after posting a $2,500 cash bond.Read More
This installment of Prison News in Brief concerns news from Alabama through Florida and is brought to us by our friends at Prison Legal News.
Alabama Prison News
On July 29, 2013 there was a break-in at the Draper Correctional Facility. According to the Department of Corrections, three sections of the prison were burglarized in the early morning hours, and laptop computers and multiple weapons were discovered missing when employees started arriving around 5:00 AM. The facility’s farm office, radio shop, and dog kennels, which are located apart from the prison population, were reportedly breached.
Arizona Prison News
Newly-hired Maricopa County jail guard Rachel Harris, 22, was attacked on June 24, 2013 by prisoner Bobby Ruiz as she entered his cell at the Lower Buckeye Jail, and during the assault Ruiz bit off part of one of her ears. Two other prisoners rushed in to help Harris, pulling Ruiz off her and restraining him until other guards arrived. Sheriff Joe Arpaio told reporters that the missing piece of Harris’ ear could not be found and that Ruiz had presumably swallowed it.
Arkansas Prison News
Steven Mitchell, 39, died in a crash on July 30, 2013 after leading police on a chase through the state of Missouri. He had escaped from the Jacksonville County Detention Center in Arkansas two days earlier with another prisoner. A Nissan Sentra driven by Mitchell’s wife, Jessica, with Mitchell as a passenger, was pulled over. When the officer asked Jessica to step out of the car, Mitchell jumped into the driver’s seat and sped away. Sheriff David Lucas told ABC News that “During the pursuit, Mitchell wrecked his vehicle and sustained fatal injuries.”Read More