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Prison inmate mail taken seriously

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Record

Corrections Officer Deborah Roberts sits at a metal desk facing a cinder-block wall. Her job this morning is to help open every piece of mail entering Northern State Prison in Newark, one of New Jersey's most secure facilities.

Inside one envelope is a colorful Halloween card with pumpkins on the front. When she opens it, a tiny speaker embedded in the card plays a muffled song. Roberts takes a letter opener the size of a screwdriver and pries the device from the card. Then the mailroom supervisor disconnects the battery, and the tinny music dies.

Roberts runs her hands over the card, checking for drugs in the seams. Finding none, she places it back in the envelope and seals it with a single piece of tape.

The inmate got his cheerful card, without musical accompaniment.

"You've got the batteries, you've got the wiring." said Sgt. Scott Holliday, the mailroom supervisor. "It's not authorized. Some of these guys are extremely smart. They can figure out how to make other things. They have a lot of time on their hands."

On the average day, 3,000 pieces of mail arrive at Northern State Prison. That number approaches 5,000 during the holiday season.

For the Department of Corrections, it's both a logistical and security issue. Mail is one of several ways contraband enters a prison, and officials said they have made screening mail a priority. Recently officers have started sending all mail through X-ray machines and inspecting it with dogs trained to detect drugs and cellphones.

"The mailroom is a huge avenue for contraband," said Martin Horn, a lecturer at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice who previously ran New York City's prison system. "It's very costly and time consuming to go through the incoming mail."

"A substantial percentage" of New Jersey's intercepted contraband is found in the mailroom, Corrections spokesman Matt Schuman said. Still, officials said, it's hard to know exactly where the chinks in the prison's armor are.

"If you knew where it's coming from, it wouldn't be coming in," Corrections Commissioner Gary Lanigan said.

Northern State Prison's mailroom is a long room near the prison's entrance, and it's a way station for almost everything inmates receive from the outside world. On the wall is a list of banned magazines, including Stuff and Maxim.

Every day a Corrections officer drives to a nearby post office to drop off outgoing correspondence and pick up incoming mail.

Except correspondence from lawyers, every letter is opened in the mailroom. Officers quickly unfold the paper, look for contraband and place it back in the envelope without reading it. The mail is sorted in brown paper bags and distributed in the prison's cell blocks. Holliday said they try to cycle through every piece of mail in less than 30 hours.

In addition to drugs and weapons, officials look for cellphones, considered a serious threat because they allow inmates to coordinate illegal activity from behind bars.

Scott Russo, a principal investigator with the Special Investigations Division, said he has seen plenty of inventive ways to hide cellphones. One inmate tried to sneak in two Blackberries in his rectum. In the first nine months of this year, 259 phones were confiscated in the state's 13 prisons.


Thank You!  I asked you to squeeze my head if I ever thought about growing up to be a Jail Sergeant.
Jail Captain booked into his own Jail
November 16, 2010

A Jail Captain was booked into his own jail after the sheriff says he was arrested for misappropriation of funds.

Washburn County Sheriff Terry Dryden says they arrested 37-year-old Jail Captain Bruk Sweeney of Comstock Tuesday for 6 counts of misconduct in office and 1 count of felony theft. The sheriff says it's been an ongoing investigation and he was put on administrative leave November 1st. Sweeney posted bond Tuesday.

The sheriff says he has been jail administrator for four years. The district attorney asked Chippewa County's DA to serve as special prosecutor.

No charges have been filed.

Inmate wants TV in Jail

Shannon Butler
Fox 35 News
November 16, 2010

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - It’s no fun at the Brevard County jail, and James Poulin says it’s brutal. “I am being subjected to metal torture...watching day in and day out watching the same thing over and over again. Its like Chinese water torture, drop, drop, drop, drop,” said Poulin.

Poulin says the jail plays the same movies over and over again: Black Hawk Down. Pearl Harbor and Apollo 13, and it’s driving him crazy. He’s demanding that the jail bring back regular television or give them other things to watch. He'll take Jersey Shore, Desperate Housewives, something. “We have no access to the outside world.”

When asked if he understands the whole point of being in jail is too keeping you from the outside world he replied, “I haven’t done anything.”

Poulin is in the Brevard County jail charged with DUI manslaughter and has been there since 2007.

The jail doesn’t show TV. There are only several monitors where educational or the occasional movies are played. Poulin, nor any of the other inmates, are forced to watch any of the programs.

Shannon Butler: “I think people are going to have a tough time with you. You understand you are in jail, right? Your here because you are accused of a crime, a serious crime, so I am not sure you not getting to watch TV that anybody feels bad for you? Do you want them to feel bad for what is going on in here?

James Poulin: “I would appreciate some sympathy of course.

Poulin wrote a letter to the sheriff signed by 63 other inmates trying to get some more movie choices and to get TV. He also filed a lawsuit trying to get access to publications. It was dismissed.

Inmate James Poulin

He's also filed six lawsuits against the jail. All the previous lawsuits have been dismissed except one in which he demands access to newspapers and publications.

"We're not preventing him from receiving any material," said Commander Susan Jeter of the Brevard County jail.

"He just has to get a subscription and pay for it," she told CNN.

"We have a right to the media in jail," Poulin  said.

Jail officials say that in the time that live TV access has been gone from the jail, inmate-on-inmate violence is way down.

"There are families that don't even have cable TV . We can't bring it in for his (Poulin's) benefit, at the taxpayers' expense," said Jeter.

"He doesn't have to watch it," Commander Jeter said of the movies programming. "He can go in his room and close the door. He can read a book. No one forces him to watch."

"When you have someone here as long as him, he is going to see a rerun."




I nearly shedded a tear for poor Mr. Poulin....I can't believe they're treating him that way.

                                              Sergeant Sandvig
Prison Guard sentenced for sex with inmate

November 17, 2010

MEADVILLE, Pa. -- A since-fired prison guard was sentenced to four months in jail after pleading guilty to having sex with an inmate at a northwestern Pennsylvania prison.

Thirty-one-year-old William Gorton III, of Cambridge Springs, was sentenced Tuesday by an Erie County judge. He had pleaded guilty in August to institutional sexual assault at the State Correctional Institution-Cambridge Springs, a minimum-security prison for women about 100 miles north of Pittsburgh.

Sex with inmates is deemed an assault, because inmates are not considered to be free to consent to sex with their captors.

A state Department of Corrections investigator charged Mr. Gorton in March after investigating information that he had a sexual relationship with a female inmate in August 2009. Mr. Gorton was fired earlier this year.

Can we say another....."Bad Decision" ?

                                               Sergeant Sandvig

Man who killed self after chase was a Corrections Officer

By: Magdalena Sharpe,

Albuquerque police have identified the man who took his own life after robbing a bank Wednesday was a State Corrections Officer at the prison in Los Lunas.

Eric Soto, 25, robbed the New Mexico Bank and Trust in Northeast Albuquerque Wednesday afternoon before committing suicide later that day.

Police are investigating the events of that day-- specifically those that led up to him taking his own life.

The warden at the Los Lunas jail told KOB Eyewitness News 4 Soto worked in the maximum security portion of the jail and was quiet, and had no disciplinary issues.

No one answered the door at Soto's Los Lunas home Thursday.

Rochester Jail Captain charged with raping inmate

The Monroe County Sheriff's Office says sheriff's Capt. Catherine McLaughlin was arraigned Thursday on rape and official misconduct charges after being indicted by a grand jury. Prosecutors say she pleaded not guilty and was released on her own recognizance.

Authorities say the 53-year-old McLaughlin had sex with a male inmate at least three times at the county jail in Rochester between February and March. She has been suspended without pay since September when an investigation into the allegations began.

McLaughlin is a 23-year veteran of the sheriff's office, having spent her career working at the jail.

Okay....this is one of those "WTF" stories!  Flush 23 years down the toilet for what?

                                        I don't understand.........Sergeant Sandvig

Correctional Officer: Interpersonal Skills

Correctional officers, also known as prison officers, oversee individuals who are awaiting trial after arrest or those who have already been convicted. Correctional officers work in detention centers, penitentiaries, reformatories and jails. They typically need a high school diploma before they can begin academy training, and previous experience in the military may also be beneficial. The average salary of a correctional officer as of May 2009 was $39,050, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In addition to the educational background, correctional officers need strong interpersonal skills to deal with the complexities of the job.


  • Prison officers work with people from a range of cultural, religious and ethical backgrounds. They also work with inmates who have committed crimes. A correctional officer should be nondiscriminatory and fair in his working practice and treat inmates equally, regardless of his personal opinions.
  • Arbitration

  • Correctional officers should also be excellent arbitrators, because they will have to intervene in disputes between inmates to pacify both parties, as stated on the O*Net website. A correctional officer who maintains a good working rapport with inmates stands a better chance of successfully intervening in disputes or fights.
  • Self-Restraint

  • A correctional officer should exercise a high degree of self-restraint when communicating with others and should be totally focused when interacting with prisoners. Prison guards may be provoked through verbal or physical attacks and must be sure that any anger they feel toward inmates does not result in violence. Nor can they deny inmates essentials such as food and water.
  • Clarity

  • Correctional officers need to be clearly understood and be able to convey rules and regulations in a concise manner.
  • Teamwork

  • Correctional officers should be good team members, because they are required to work with other officers to efficiently schedule activities such as checking cells and identifying unsanitary conditions, as stated on the Bureau of Labor Statistics website. A correctional officer should be friendly and pleasant to fellow officers and cooperative about any necessary changes to work shifts.
  • Enforcement Skills

  • Correctional officers should be strong but fair-minded when interacting with inmates. They must not tolerate noncompliance with prison rules and ensure that inmates who consistently disobey the rules receive punishment. A correctional officer must not abuse his power by insulting inmates or denying them privileges. This is likely to cause a deterioration in interpersonal relationships and result in rebellious behavior.
  • Social Perception

  • Correctional officers should be attentive to the needs and concerns of fellow officers and prison detainees. They should be vigilant in identifying any health issues that could affect inmates and resolving any ongoing bad feeling between inmates that could result in violence.

  • Bursting at the Seams

    The United States imprisons significantly more people than any other nation in the world. In fact, the Pew Center on the States reported in 2008 that an astounding one in every 100 adults in the U.S. now lives behind bars!

    Because we’ve been trying to “incarcerate our way” out of crime for so long, federal and state prisons and county jails are experiencing near-crisis levels of overcrowding. At the same time, operating budgets have been severely cut, as has funding to build new facilities. And over the next two years, researchers predict the situation will get even worse.

    Based on current projections, by 2011 the U.S. prison population will increase by 13% – which is triple the growth of the entire population as a whole – to more than 1.7 million . Supporting that increase in incarcerated people will cost American taxpayers and local/state budgets an estimated $27.5 billion. At that time, another 4 million people will also be on probation or parole.


    Report: Corrections Officer Allowed Inmates Marijuana, Girlfriend Visits

    Eric Miller Charged With Violation Of Oath Of Office, Bribery, Sale Of Marijuana

    November 22, 2010

    HALL COUNTY, Ga. -- The Hall County Sheriff's Office said a corrections officer was terminated after an internal investigation revealed that he had failed to properly supervise inmates in his custody and engaged in illegal activity.

    Eric Miller, 33, had been assigned to supervise inmates at the Hall County Recycling Center on Chestnut Street. He was employed with the county for three years.

    The investigation began as a result of a small bag of marijuana being found in Miller's uniform jacket last Monday, according to police.

    Investigators said that Miller had allowed inmates to possess marijuana, use cell phones and visit their girlfriends while under Miller's supervision. Miller had received small payments from inmates to allow this activity, police said.

    Miller was arrested Monday and was charged with violation of oath of office, bribery, and sale of marijuana.

    Miller is currently being held without bond in the Hall County Jail.
    Another dumb-ass making us professionals in Corrections LOOK BAD!

                                                                                   Sergeant Sandvig

    The Average Cost to House Inmates in Prison

    By Pamela Gardapee, eHow Contributor

    Most people have little idea what the average cost is to house inmates in prison. An average bill per day to house an inmate in state prisons is about $129. The bill at some prisons is a little less depending on the cost of living in the particular state, but these figures will likely increase every year.

      Security and Administration

    1. To have someone on duty for security, it costs $19,663 per inmate per year. That amounts to $53.87 a day. Administration costs are $3,493 per inmate per year. That amounts to $9.56 a day. That amounts to $23,156 per year for security and administration.
    2. Health Care

    3. The cost for inmate health care can be high. Because every inmate is entitled to health care, the cost per inmate for health care per year is $12,442. Broken down, that is $8,768 for medical care, $1,928 for psychiatric services, $998 for pharmaceuticals and $748 for dental care. That amounts to $38.04 per day per year.
    4. Operations

    5. The operations costs per inmate per year are $7,214. Broken down, that is $4,503 for facility operations, classification services is $1,773, maintenance of records is $660, assignment, testing and reception costs $261 and transportation costs $18. That amounts to $19.76 per day per year.
    6. Rehabilitation

    7. The cost per year for rehabilitation programs per inmate are $1,612. Broken down, that is $944 for academic education, $354 for vocational training and $313 for substance abuse programs. That amounts to $4.41 per day per year.
    8. Inmate Support

    9. To house an inmate and provide inmate support, it costs $2,562 per year. That is $1,475 for food, $439 for activities, $407 for canteen and employment, $171 for clothing and $70 for religious activities. That amounts to $7.02 per day per year.
    10. Final Count

    11. All told, it costs an average of $129.04 a day to house an inmate in the prison system. Although these figures come from California corrections, it is slightly lower in other parts of the country, but not by much.

    Washburn County Jail Administrator charged over forgery scheme

    The Washburn County Jail administrator is accused of turning a profit through the actions of jail inmates.

    By Chris Vetter, The Leader-Telegram, Eau Claire, Wis.,
    November 23, 2010

    CHIPPEWA FALLS -- The Washburn County Jail administrator is accused of turning a profit through the actions of jail inmates.

    According to the criminal complaint:

    Bruk L. Sweeney, 37, of rural Cumberland is accused of issuing refund checks to inmates that were larger than what they were due, and then had inmates cash those checks and return most of the extra money to him.

    Sweeney was charged Monday in Washburn County Court with three counts of misconduct in office and two counts of forgery. However, Chippewa County District Attorney Jon Theisen is handling the case because of concerns about a conflict of interest in Washburn County.

    Each of the misconduct charges carries a maximum penalty of 3 1/2 years in prison and a $10,000 fine, while each forgery charge carries a maximum penalty of six years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

    When inmates are released, they are issued checks for any money owed to them from the jail.

    According to the criminal complaint:

    An inmate named Bryce McKinley was given two checks by Sweeney: one for $173.30 and the other for $420. Sweeney told McKinley that "a glitch occurred in the accounting system," and he instructed McKinley to cash both checks and return the one with $420 to Sweeney.

    McKinley told investigators he had concerns about cashing both checks but did so because he was concerned about the consequences of upsetting Sweeney. After cashing the check, McKinley met Sweeney outside the jail and gave him an envelope with the $420. That money never was deposited in the jail bank account.

    Investigators searched Sweeney's property and found the $420.

    McKinley's story led to an investigation to see if there were similar cases. Investigators found two other situations in which Sweeney instructed inmates to cash checks and give him money. One inmate was owed $145, and Sweeney gave the inmate a check for $460. Another former inmate told investigators that Sweeney picked him up at his home and gave him a $500 check to cash. The inmate kept $100 while Sweeney kept the other $400.

    Sweeney was released on a $4,000 signature bond. No future court dates had been set Monday.

              Just when I've seen it all.....another black eye for Corrections.

                                                                     Sergeant Sandvig

    Correctional Officer Statistics

    2007 Correctional Statistics

    Who Are Correctional Officers?

    77.7% male, 22.3% female

    69.5% white, 20.8% black, 5.7% Hispanic

    80.5% are between the ages of 30 – 44

    63.9% have some college experience,25% have a college degree, 19%
    Bachelors, 4.5% Masters, 1.5% Ph.D.

    Correctional Officers (CO’s) have the second highest mortality rate of
    any occupation.

    33.5% of all assaults in Prisons and Jails are committed by inmates
    against staff.

    A CO’s 58th birthday, on average, is their last.

    A CO will be seriously assaulted at least twice in a 20 year career.

    On average a CO will live only 18 months after retirement.

    CO’s have a 39% higher suicide rate than any other occupation,

    And have a higher divorce and substance abuse rates then the general

    Saginaw County Jail is a 'small community,' guard says

    December 06, 2010
    The Saginaw News
    Kathryn Lynch-Morin

    SAGINAW, Michigan — Dungeon-like keys dangle from rings on tired hips, swinging and swaying as they’re carried down a stuffy hallway inside “the rock.”
    No one can see who’s coming — the Saginaw County Jail is designed that way — but the sound of footsteps is a harbinger of approaching authority.

    Corrections Officers at the jail know the sound of their boots is just as telling as the sound of their voices. Inmates know who is coming long before they set their sights on a uniform.
    This is certainly true!!    Sergeant Sandvig

    “I had to stop wearing perfume. They could smell me coming,” said Sergeant Marsha Austin, a Corrections Officer at the Jail for the past 10 years.

    Austin’s pixie haircut, big green eyes and long eyelashes are deceptive. She’s fearless and unflinching. Her heart doesn’t race when the inmates throw things or yell obscenities at her, and unlike some of us on today’s rounds, she’s often first to jump in and break up a scuffle.

    Austin’s “office building” is an inconspicuous concrete box on Cass Street, between South Harrison and Michigan, and is home to more than 500 men and women awaiting trial, under arrest or serving sentences for crimes.

                                               (Carl L. Gulacsik, a Corrections Officer at the Saginaw County Jail
                                            tosses a dirty inmate uniform onto a pile for the laundry. Twice a week,
                                                            officers supervise inmates as they change uniforms.)

    “People think of it as a concrete structure, but it’s a small community in here,” explains Corrections Officer Dave Bohl as a dentist’s drill buzzes down the hall.

    Although it’s nearly 10 a.m., most of the jail’s inmates are just waking up. Twelve hours later, their yelling will drown out the background noise.

    A hand-cuffed and shackled man in orange passes by in the hall, calling to Bohl.

    They're offbeat occupations —?? the things that folks across the Great Lakes Bay Region do for a living —?? to pay the bills, to reap job satisfaction, and in some cases, both.

    “Thanks for putting me in population,” the man yells. He knows Bohl has the task of inmate classification, weeding out the ones who don’t play well with others.

    The inmate was recently reclassified and taken out of solitary. No one, Bohl says, wants to be there.

    For many people, jail is not a destination of choice. But for a few, as the months get colder, it’s an oasis with a warm bed and three meals a day.

    “People will commit a 90-day misdemeanor so they can stay for the winter,” said Kevin Fent, a corrections officer at the jail.

    Austin, Bohl and Fent lead the way down a narrow hall: white bars caked with unknown substances to the left, televisions to the right. The inmates pay about $10 a week for cable, usually splitting the bill.

          (Corrections Officers at the Saginaw County Jail, inspect one of the 
          facility's cells. Each week, Officers perform a full shakedown of every cell).

    Scraps of paper are fashioned into long tubes for changing the channel, and the 3-foot sticks might be considered contraband but they’re also proof of the inmates’ ingenuity. The people behind bars have nothing but time on their hands.

    Monitors in the jail control center show every space in the building, including three guys horsing around in a laundry room. One inmate climbs into the industrial-sized dryer, and it starts spinning. Anything to pass the time.

    Other inmates pass notes in the hallway, or kites as they’re called here, to the officers. Some ask for the special privilege to be put on kitchen or laundry duty, while another suggests Sheriff William L. Federspiel promote Bohl.

    It’s the jail version of a text message.

    The officers don’t get tough with the inmates unless they have to be. They, too, are locked inside with them 12 hours a day. Austin, Fent and Bohl might be tired, but they are not hardened like the jail guards in the movies.

    “People don’t see us, so they don’t realize or think about us,” Austin said. “But it’s a job that never ever stops.”














































    Jail Guard Faces Permanent Brain Damage After Pepper Spray Training

    Joann Haney fell ill during a training exercise at the Washington County Jail, her brother, Greg Ross, told Channel 11 News reporter Alan Jennings.

    The exercise required Haney, who was already on high blood pressure medication, to be showered with pepper spray.

    "The doctor in Washington County explained to me that when she was sprayed with Mace, it caused her blood pressure to shoot off the scale and burst veins in her brain and made a massive brain bleed," Ross said.

    Haney’s daughter, Tess Lynn Buckels suspects her mother was hit with an overdose of pepper spray, more than the usual dose required for training.

    “I kissed her on her cheek yesterday, and the day before, and it was still on her face,” said Buckels. “My lips were on fire.”

    Buckels also said her mother showed signs of improvement.

    “She opened her eyes, she saw me wide-eyed and she smiled,” said Buckels. “She held her right arm out and grabbed me and pulled me down and gave me a hug.”

    The woman is currently in critical condition at Allegheny General Hospital.

    Haney was hired at the Washington County Jail only two weeks ago, but spent 10 years working at the Cambria County Jail.

    Ross told Channel 11 it was there his sister earned lifetime certification from the state in pepper spray techniques.

    "I don't believe that if you're certified you should be sprayed again," Ross said.

    Washington County officials point to policy that requires every new guard to get sprayed and claim Haney had clearance from her family doctor for the training.

    Doctors at AGH were able to stop the bleeding and stabilize Haney. According to her brother, without a miracle, his sister faces permanent brain damage.

    Jail warden Joe Pelzer did not return Channel 11's calls on Wednesday.

    Washington County Commissioner Larry Maggi promised an investigation.

    “Tragic event and we’re trying to figure out what happened,” said Maggi.

          **UPDATE**    December 8, 2010

    Jail Guard Severely Injured By Pepper Spray Talks To Channel 11

    WASHINGTON COUNTY, Pa. -- A jail guard that was in a coma after going through training that included being pepper sprayed at the Cambria County Prison talked to Channel 11 News on Wednesday.


    In February, 42-year-old Joann Haney had to undergo brain surgery and was in coma following the exercise. While she is recovering, Haney said her life will never be the same.


    "I had three or four brain aneurisms and I lost the use of my left arm and leg. I can't walk. I can't use my left leg," said Haney.


    Haney said she was previously employed by the Washington County Jail and had undergone the training before, but jail officials insisted she do it again if she wanted to work for the Cambria County Prison.


    "Washington County Jail sprayed me with oil and capsicum. It's pepper spray," Haney said.


    Haney said since the incident, she has been through intense physical therapy, but she is not making the kind of progress she had hoped for.


    "My daughter is crying everyday because she wants me back. I can't go home until I can walk. I can't I can't I can't," said Haney. "All I want is to be with my family for Christmas, but I don't think I'm going to make it for Christmas."


    Haney's therapists said they are hopeful they can get her walking again.

    Chickasaw County Jailer Arrested

    December 9, 2010

    A Jailer with the Chickasaw County Correctional Facility in Mississippi has been arrested on suspicion of transporting narcotics into the Jail located in the north Mississippi town of Houston, according to a Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics official.

        MBN Director Marshall Fisher said officers, acting on a tip, initiated an investigation earlier this week that led to today's arrest of 21-year-old Charles E. Verell-Shelton.
        Verell-Shelton, of 227 CR 86 in Houston, faces a charge of conspiracy to transfer a controlled substance into a correctional facility in connection with the seizure of a half-pound of marijuana.

         He is being held in the Calhoun County Jail under a $100,000 bond.

         The North Mississippi Narcotics Task Force, the Chickasaw County sheriff's office and the district attorney's office for the third circuit court assisted the MBN in the three-day investigation that led to the suspect's arrest.

    A half-pound of weed?....really?     Sergeant Sandvig


     For sworn LEO's, corrections, and other criminal justice persons who want to share or learn gang knowledge. LE status will be confirmed.

    Jailer fired for slapping inmate

    According to a press release from the Hernando County Sheriff's Office, David Dixon, 41, was working at the jail on Tuesday morning when he approached inmate Brian McCormack and slapped him across the face.

    McCormack was preparing to be transferred to the housing unit following his arrest earlier that morning on charges of obstruction without violence, one report showed. A video camera in the booking area showed McCormack was standing still holding his bed roll when Dixon struck him.

    On Thursday, Pasco County deputies arrested Dixon on a charge of battery and transported him to the Pasco County Jail. He has since bonded out.

    Dixon was also served a termination letter from the HCSO at the time of his arrest.

    Any cop will tell you that they have a difficult time believing the person testifying in court was the same dirt bag that they arrested. The haircut, suit, behavior and the willingness to lie is incredible. The family and or witnesses are just as willing to lie for the perp if they are against the police, or simply for the perp. They have convinced many a jury of their innocense by the performance they put on. Courtroom Deputy Sheriff's get to see both performances, the one in the holding cell of the real person, and then the courtroom display. Unfortunately they are not allowed to testify in the matter.


     Really.....and it was the medication
    These videos were taken during the arrest of the suspects without their knowledge.
    They are not the usual ones you see, of a guy getting Tasered. The video is part of the Taser itself and it records what happens leading up to zapping the suspect.
    Hard to dispute video evidence.  Shave, haircut, shower, short tie and new suit is what the public sees, the media reports, and the lawyers thrive on.
    ...sometimes it doesn’t work.

    "Toughest Sheriff" holding caroling contest for pre-trial prisoners

    (Hands down.....he is definately my FAVORITE Sheriff!)
                                                 'Sergeant Sandvig'

    December 20, 2010
    The Washington Times

    The self-proclaimed "Toughest Sheriff" in America, Phoenix's Joe Arpaio, who cranked up his Christmas music machine for inmates last month, has scheduled a caroling contest for interested pre-trial prisoners - with the winner to receive a "real Christmas dinner for himself and his cell mates."

    In a move Sheriff Arpaio said "is likely to make Ebenezer Scrooge smile," the eligible inmates are those being held at the Maricopa County jails on charges ranging from burglary and driving under the influence to murder.

    Besides Santa Claus and the sheriff, the judges will include Elfis the singing detention officer, who also will perform "I'll Have a Blue Christmas Without You."

    The contest's final round begins Tuesday and, according to spokesman Lt. Brian Lee, 50 pre-trial detainees have signed up for the sing off. Ten finalists were chosen by the sheriff's detention staff; four women and six men. Each must sing a well-known Christmas carol,   either "a capella" or with musical tracks.

    Lt. Lee said the winner will receive a full turkey dinner with all the trimmings for himself or herself and their entire housing unit, which will be served on Christmas Eve. The other 8,000 inmates, he said, will receive the regular holiday meal, which utilizes donated food and usually costs the sheriff's office about 14-cents each.

    And in the true holiday spirit, Sheriff Arpaio has asked that the top three inmate winners. who will be awarded a Christmas stocking full of canteen goodies, donate their winnings to a charity of the choice.   

    He said all finalists agreed.

    The singoff will be videotaped and shown to the whole inmate population of Christmas Day, Lt. Lee said.

    Last month, the sheriff started his annual Christmas program of music with the playing of "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer", "Frosty the Snowman" and "Feliz Navidad."  The inmates hear, among others, "A Christmas Kwanzaa Solstice," "Over the Skies of Israel," "Ramadan," "Llego a La Ciudad," "Let it Snow" and "Rodolpho El Reno de la Nariz Rojita."

    "Maybe the holiday music can help lift the spirits of the men and women who are away from friends and family during the holidays, not just the inmates, but the dedicated men and women who work in the Maricopa County Jails," the sheriff said in an announcement.

    The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, to which Sheriff Arpaio was first elected in 1992 after a 25-year career at the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), has played the holiday songs all day, every day, during previous seasons despite six separate inmate lawsuits trying to stop them. The latest inmate lawsuit was dismissed in federal court in December 2009.

    Sheriff Arpaio has long expressed his fondness for Christmas music, especially "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" and anything by Alvin and the Chipmunks, so it was with some glee last year that he announced in a red-and-green press release that the lawsuit had been dismissed and the music would begin.

    "We keep winning these lawsuits. Inmates should stop acting like the Grinch who stole Christmas and give up wasting the court's time with such frivolous assertions," the press release read.

    Inmates have sued six times claiming that being forced to listen to the Christmas songs 12 hours a day was in violation of their civil and religious rights and a cruel and unusual punishment, but U.S. District Judge Roz Silver disagreed, dismissing the case and denying claims for $250,000 in damages.

    The court issued a summary judgment saying it found no evidence of fact, so Sheriff Arpaio was entitled to the judgment as a matter of law.

    In upholding the decision, the court said the sheriff was free to "inject the holiday spirit into the lives of those incarcerated over the holiday season in the third-largest jail system in the U.S."

    Sheriff Arpaio has noted that his music selections have been multiethnic and culturally diverse, from all religions and ethnicities. He told The Washington Times that in addition to tunes by Alvin and the Chipmunks, the music included the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Bing Crosby and Doctor Demento.

    "All people everywhere deserve a little Christmas cheer," he said.


    "Average Christmas Day for Correction Officers and Inmates"   Sergeant Sandvig 

    Blue Christmas looms at Somerset County Jail

    December 25th a tough day for Corrections Officers, inmates alike

    December 24, 2010
    By Erin Rhoda 

    MADISON -- While you relax Christmas Day with your family, a small number of people will wake before dawn and drive to the Somerset County Jail. For the next 12 hours, they will watch over people who have killed others, beaten cops and sexually assaulted children.

    The Corrections Officers will clean cells when inmates throw their feces; they'll calm inmates when they try to harm themselves; and they'll oversee prisoners who don't speak English or are blind, deaf or in wheelchairs.

    All the while, a thought will continue to surface: Will they return to see their families?

    "I guess the thought is always in the back of your mind," Assistant Shift Leader Sgt. Dawn Pullin, of Embden, said. "You're working in a scary environment. You don't know if you're going to ... make it back home to your family that night."

    Still, jail staff members try to make the jail as festive as possible for Christmas. Inmates receive more time to eat a special meal, consisting of roast beef, baked potato, corn on the cob, yeast rolls, strawberry shortcake and chocolate milk.

    In addition to having visitors, they watch a Christmas-themed movie and each receive a package with soup, crackers, hot chocolate, cookies and candy, Assistant Jail Administrator Cory Swope said.

    Like hospitals, police departments and dispatch centers, the jail on East Madison Road never closes and is continuously staffed. Christmas is just another work day for the officers, many of whom have children.

    "I like the overtime money, but I miss my kids," Pullin said. She will work the 6 a.m.-to-6 p.m. shift Saturday, while her four children -- ages 18, 12, 4 and 2 -- wait for her to come home. She's worked Christmas many times, she said, and lets her children open one gift while she's away. They usually call during the day and ask if they can open another. And then another call: just one more.

    "That is a long day," she said.

    Officer Eligah Munn, of Hartland, has four children, ages 7, 5, 4 and 1, and will work Saturday. "Christmas is the one day they don't come running to the door when you come home," he said with a smile. "They're running to the tree."

    Home will be a contrast to the quiet atmosphere at the jail where inmates are "generally depressed," he said.

    Inmates are more sensitive on Christmas, and it takes less for them to become upset. When that happens, "we remind them we want to be home, too," Pullin said.

    For one inmate, Suzanne Bowring, 32, of Canaan, it will be difficult to be away from her two children, ages 12 and 9 months, on Christmas. A registered nurse, she's in jail for eight months on her fourth conviction of driving a vehicle after her license was suspended.

    "I'm not mad at anybody. I'm mad at myself," she said. "It's no one's fault but my own."

    She knew she'd be in jail over Christmas, so she purchased presents for her family before she was imprisoned. If she could say anything to her children, "I'd say I love them, and I'll be home soon. I pray for them every day," she said.

    While it's "a little depressing" being in jail during the holidays, "it's not bad here," she said. "This is a good place; it's a good facility."

    That's largely because of the staff, she said.

    The public does not "realize how many hats a corrections officer actually wears," Pullin said. They act as mental health counselors, crisis intervenors and disciplinarians. They fill the roles of parents, teachers, librarians and laundry workers. Officers also write reports and document every movement of every prisoner and officer.

    They also save lives. On Monday, Dec. 20, Munn performed the Heimlich Maneuver on a male inmate who was choking on his spaghetti and meatballs and "dislodged the item and saved his life," Jail Administrator Maj. David Allen said.

    Steve Giggey, program manager, has worked at the jail -- in all its locations -- for the past 30 years. When he first started at what he referred to as the "old, old jail" in 1981, there were few resources, he said. That jail was located in the Skowhegan municipal parking lot before it was renovated in 1984. Since the new jail in Madison opened in 2008, the old building is being turned into the Somerset Gristmill.

    At the "old, old jail," there were bars on the cells and no control room or cameras. "All we had was us. No radios. One person for two floors," Giggey said. On Christmas there, the special treat for inmates was soda.










    Warden says respect for inmates is key at Jail

    Originally published August 09, 2009

    By Nicholas C. Stern
    News-Post Staff

    When Steven Rau joined the Frederick County Sheriff's Office Corrections Bureau in 1984 as a line officer, he had no real expectations about the work.

    Rau wanted a steady job with benefits and a retirement plan.

    "It's a whole different world on the inside of a correctional facility than on the outside," he said. "It changes you as a person."

    After working his way up through the ranks, Rau became corrections bureau chief and warden of the jail in March 2006.

    He said with time, corrections officers learn to be more observant of the dangers inherent in any given situation, inside the jail or out.

    Starting corrections officers often encounter inmates who try to play games to get under their skin, said Rau, now a lieutenant colonel.

    But once officers adapt to the atmosphere of working in the jail, their job becomes easier, he said.

    "The big thing about being a corrections officer is trying to gain the respect of inmates," Rau said.

    Officers do this by being fair and impartial in carrying out their duties, he said.

    Over the course of Rau's career, a memorable occasion was a hot, muggy day in the late spring of 1994 when Darren Witmer escaped. Witmer had been charged with murder.

    Outside during a recreation break, Witmer scaled a section of the fence without concertina wire.

    Rau was among a group of officers who began a search for Witmer, which started in the fields behind the prison.

    Officers found Witmer several hours later on I-270 near the Monocacy Bridge.

    Witmer had cut himself badly, and Rau remembered officers had to provide first aid.

    Rau received two commendations for outstanding performance for his role in capturing Witmer.

    Daily routine

    Rau starts a typical day as warden at 7:30 a.m. He meets with the night supervisors to discuss what's happened during the previous night.

    He said that even when he's on vacation, he likes to know what's happening at the jail and will call in for brief updates.

    Part of his job requires he review incident and use-of-force reports, as well as appeals to return to work-release detention, he said.

    Rau watches his budget, and said he likes to run the jail like a business.

    In the three years he's been warden, the jail has returned to the county about $2.6 million in federal funds collected from a program that houses federal immigration detainees, work-release and home detention fees, and several other programs, he said.

    He's also reduced the pharmaceutical fees the jail pays for inmate treatment from $30,000 per month to $5,000, he said. He did this by switching to generic medications where possible.

    Other accomplishments include ongoing collaboration with volunteers and agencies including Goodwill Industries and Alcoholics Anonymous, among others, to build life skills for inmates, he said.

    Rau is most proud of a reduction in the jail's recidivism rate since he started, from 71 percent to 51 percent.

    "We work to alter the bad behavior of inmates," he said.

    Madison Jail "A small community within a community"


    Embattled Jail Sergeant Suspended

    This is certainly a WTF story.....unbelievable!
                                         Sergeant Sandvig

    December 30, 2010

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- The Bernalillo County Metropolitan Detention Center sergeant accused of raping two female inmates and allowing a convicted rapist to rape one of those inmates is on summary suspension.

    Deputy County Manger Tom Swisstack said Chambers is on summary suspension so the county can perform an administrative investigation.

    Summary suspension is similar to unpaid leave.

    Chambers was arrested last week, but has already bonded out of jail.

    The district attorney has 60 days from Dec. 21 to file charges on him.

    Jailer charged in inmate’s death; four others fired as investigation continues

    Whoooah!...MAKE SURE you do your job with NO shortcuts!!
                                                                           Sergeant Sandvig
    January 4, 2011

    A Gregg County (Texas) Jailer was arrested, four others were fired and one resigned in connection with the death of a Gilmer woman who died last week while in jail custody.

    Tomeka Cross, 34, was charged with tampering with a government document for allegedly falsifying a jail observation log. According to a Gregg County statement, she was fired at 11 a.m. Friday and booked into jail at 11:05 a.m. She had been a jail employee since August.

    Also fired were Cpl. Kashena Davis, jailers Jacqueline Smiddy, Gary Lewis and Brian West. Jailer Darrell McClenton resigned.

    More firings could be in the offing, Sheriff Maxey Cerliano said.

    “Know that the investigation is not complete,” he said in an interview Monday night. “It’s ongoing. I’m not telling you that we’re done yet.”

    The arrest and firings stem from the death of Amy Lynn Cowling, 33. She died early Wednesday at Good Shepherd Medical Center after jail personnel found her unresponsive in her cell just before midnight Tuesday.

    The alleged falsification of the observation log is related to the fact jailers were to be regularly checking in on Cowling, who had a history of drug abuse and mental problems.

    Last week, Robert Davis, an attorney representing Cerliano, said Cowling was put in a so-called separation cell, medicated and “put on watch every 15 to 30 minutes.” Determining whether the watch order was carried out was among the goals of an investigation by the Texas Rangers and Gregg County Sheriff’s Office, he said.

    Monday night, Cerliano declined to speculate about whether Cowling, a single mother of three children, would still be alive if the order were followed.

    “What we know is that the log that was put into place was falsified,” he said. “There’s policy and procedure in place, general orders, code of conduct, general operation guidelines. These employees receive training before they’re put out on the floor, so there’s no excuse for this.”

    Because of the findings of the investigation, Cerliano said, the jail was found to be in non-compliance by the Texas Commission on Jail Standards. Because of that finding, 21 Smith County inmates being held in Gregg County on a contract basis were transferred Thursday to the Upshur County Jail.

    Though the Gregg County Jail holds inmates for other counties and the U.S. Marshals Service, only the Smith County inmates had to be moved. That’s because the Smith County Jail is under a remedial order for overcrowding, so cannot contract inmates to a jail that is in non compliance.

    On Monday, Cerliano said, the Gregg County Jail held 709 inmates. Of those, 85 were on contract from Cass and Harrison counties. Another 115 were being housed for the Marshals Service.

    Cowling was arrested Dec. 24 on Interstate 20 near Texas 135. During a traffic stop, troopers discovered she had outstanding warrants dating to 2007 from Henderson and Smith counties. She was being held in North Jail on bonds totaling $27,500.

    After she died, Cowling’s family raised questions about why the jail denied Cowling her prescribed medications for mental illness while she was in custody.

    “We feel that she was given a life sentence over a speeding ticket,” her mother, Vicki Bankhead, said Sunday.

    Davis has said Cowling was denied the medication because it was on the jail’s non-approved drug list, but that she was prescribed substitute medications after a county medical assessment.

    Cowling had been on medications for more than 10 years, including methadone, a synthetic opiate; Seroquel, used to treat symptoms of schizophrenia; and Xanax, used to treat anxiety disorders panic attacks. They were not on the jail’s approved list.

    Cowling’s body was sent to Southeast Texas Forensic Center in Tyler for an autopsy ordered by Justice of the Peace B.H. Jameson. Davis said Monday he expected autopsy results by Wednesday.

    Cerliano said results of the the autopsy and continuing investigation by Texas Rangers, sheriff’s investigators and the Gregg County District Attorney’s Office would dictate his next moves.

    “If anyone has done anything improper regarding the incarceration of Cowling or has failed to follow medical standards established to safeguard the health of all inmates, that employee will be dealt with quickly and severely,” he said.

    2nd Jailer arrested after death of Gregg Co. inmate

    January 4, 2011

    GREGG COUNTY (KLTV) - A second East Texas jailer has been booked into the Gregg County Jail, connected to the death of an inmate.

    30-year-old Brian West of White Oak was arrested and charged with tampering with government documents. He has been released on $1,000 bond.

    Just yesterday 34-year-old, Tomeka Cross, was arrested on charges of tampering with government documents concerning the death of 33-year-old Amy Cowling.

    Cowling was pronounced dead last Wednesday after she was found unresponsive in a Gregg County Jail cell.
    Family members told us that Cowling was arrested Christmas Eve after she was pulled over for speeding and authorities discovered an outstanding theft charge.

    They said Cowling suffered from a medical condition.

    Gregg County Sheriff's officials say their investigation into Cowling's death showed that Cross and some additional jail employees were in violation of jail guidelines.

    Sheriff's officials say those employees, identified as Corporal Kasheena Davis, jailer Jaqueline Smiddy, jailer Gary Lewis.

    A fifth jailer, Darrell McClendon resigned.

    The family of Amy Cowling says they are looking into legal action against the jail.

    Their attorney released a statement Monday night, in it he said, "This supports what Amy's family has been telling us all along. People are quick to judge and accept what officials say as the truth. We now know that the victim was telling the truth. It's just sad."


    Broward Jail nurse accused of sending nude photos to inmate

    (Really?....I mean really?)        Sergeant Sandvig

    January 5, 2011

    A nurse at a Broward County Jail has been arrested after allegedly supplying a contraband cell phone to an inmate and sending him nude pictures of herself, a Broward judge said Wednesday.
      The Tuesday afternoon arrest of Carline Jean, 34, of Margate, is the latest in a monthslong effort by the Broward Sheriff's Office to arrest jail personnel supplying inmates with contraband at Broward's Main Jail.

    Three detention deputies were arrested in mid-December, accused of dishing out contraband items in exchange for money or to promote sexual relationships. Whether anyone else broke the law or violated departmental policies is still under investigation.

    Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Dani Moschella noted the agency was responsible for initiating the inquiry. "And the fact that we're making arrests shows that we're making progress in that investigation," Moschella said Wednesday.

    Jean worked for Armor Correctional Health Services, a company that contracts with the Sheriff's Office, Moschella said.

    She was charged with one count of introducing contraband into a jail facility and use of a cell phone to facilitate a felony. She was being held on $75,000 bond Wednesday at Paul Rein Detention Facility in Pompano Beach.

    Referring to an arrest report, Broward Judge John "Jay" Hurley said Jean admitted to electronically sending an inmate nude photos of herself. The cell phone she provided an inmate was recovered, the report said, and it held eight photos depicting her private parts.

    "The man approached me. I responded back," Jean told investigators, according to an arrest report. "It led to something else. It shouldn't have happened."

    "Do I somewhat know that maybe I shouldn't be in contact with him? Yes, I know that, but I did it anyway."

    Jean told Hurley she has lived in Broward for about eight years and has a 9-year-old son.

    Also facing a contraband-related charge in Broward bond court Wednesday was Norman Terrelonge, 32, an inmate jailed since 2008 on trafficking charges. His recently added charge was one count of introducing contraband into the jail.

    Whether Terrelonge's contraband charge was related to Jean's case was unclear Wednesday. 


    Firearm in Sarasota Jail prompts review

    Gun is third smuggled into county lockup in five years

    By Anthony Cormier
    January 9, 2011

    SARASOTA COUNTY - A sheriff's deputy has been suspended after a prisoner brought a loaded revolver into the county jail, the third time a gun has been smuggled into the downtown facility in five years.

    Officials are reviewing how an arrested person once again managed to sneak a gun -- this time a loaded .32-caliber revolver -- past the arresting deputy and jail guards despite an upgraded system designed to strengthen searches of incoming inmates. According to an internal affairs report, patrolman Adam Shaw missed the gun when he arrested and patted down a burglary suspect in early December.

    Shaw told internal affairs investigators that he did two separate pat-downs of the suspect, Gregory Pedigo, before driving to the jail.

    Somehow, though, Pedigo reportedly stashed the gun in a bathroom garbage can, where a trustee found it on Dec. 10, authorities said.

    Shaw was suspended eight hours, or about $150 in pay.

    Meanwhile, a jail guard is under internal investigation for failing to discover the weapon during the intake process when a prisoner first comes into the jail.

    It is unclear how Pedigo snuck the weapon past the booking area and into a bathroom, or if jail guards used a required metal-detecting wand to search him once inside the facility.

    During intake, commonly known as "booking," prisoners remove their belt, shoes and other belongings, such as a watch or jewelry. They are then searched by hand and with the metal detector before guards assign them to a cell.

    Guards were required to use the wand to look for contraband starting in 2006 after two other guns were smuggled inside the jail in late 2005 and early 2006.

    Sheriff's officials would not comment on the current inquiry or whether they intend to institute new policies to prevent similar security breaches. None of the guns was ever fired and no one was injured as a result of the failed security checks.

    In September 2005, an inmate sneaked in a loaded .32-caliber pistol and had it for three weeks in his cell -- even bringing it with him when he was transported to a court hearing.

    The man, George Dupree, said he hid the weapon near his groin because he felt that "male deputies tend to shy away from the area when performing their pat down searches," he told an investigator.

    He held onto the gun, telling investigators that it was an "albatross" that he badly wanted to get rid of, before deputies found it while he was being taken into court.

    A sergeant and a guard were both suspended for failing to find the gun during the arrest and intake.

    A few months later, another weapon turned up in a jail trash can. That time, an arrestee was brought to the jail with a pistol hidden in his waistband.

    When a guard turned his head, the man pulled the gun out of his pants and tossed it in a trash can.

    The guard took "full responsibility" and was suspended for 12 hours, according to sheriff's office records.

    The incident led administrators to retrain guards and require that they use a wand to search for metal objects during booking.

    Flagler Jail to limit inmate mail

       Official: Policy change to boost security

            (I'm thumbs up for this policy change!!)
                          Sergeant Sandvig 

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    Report: Corrections Officer smuggled
    dope-filled sub sandwich into Jail

    The Officer, two jail inmates and their two girlfriends were charged in the case.

    Seriously?....I mean SERIOUSLY dude??  WTF were you thinking of???        Sergeant Sandvig

    January 13, 2011

    Smuggle marijuana into the County Jail and you'll get a tasty roast beef
    sub and an expensive bottle of tequila. Get a cell phone into the lockup
    and you'll be introduced to a stripper.

    These offers sound like something heard on a TV crime show. But
    authorities say a Marion County corrections officer actually received and accepted — the bargains.

    The result: The officer and four other people — two jail inmates and their girlfriends — were arrested.

    Joseph Jones, 31, a master corrections officer, was charged with principle to introducing contraband into a detention facility, introduction of contraband into a detention facility, and possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana.  Jones was booked into the jail at 9:55 p.m. Wednesday and was released at 11:31 p.m. He is suspended without pay, and an Internal Affairs investigation has been launched.

    According to law enforcement officials, jail inmate Travis Cottrell, 28, told them that the scheme worked like this: Two women would go to a sandwich shop not far from the jail and order two sandwiches. They would remove the meat and other contents from one sub and place the marijuana inside the bread.

    They would then meet Jones and give him both sandwiches, which he would bring to the jail.

    Officials said the activity occurred within the past week, but did not say with what frequency. On Wednesday, with this information in mind, drug agents were keeping an eye on the sandwich shop. They say they saw the two women — identified as Teresa Myers, 29, and Ashley Kiser, 24 — enter the business and pick up two sandwiches.

    The agents said Jones, the corrections officer, pulled into the parking lot and took the sandwiches chicken teriyaki and roast beef from the women.

    Jones drove away and went to the jail. There, he was met by deputies and other agents and was escorted

    Officials said they looked inside the sandwiches and found 8 grams of marijuana inside one. Jones claimed he did not know about the marijuana.

    Later, he told officials that inmate Cottrell had offered to give him a free sandwich — especially roast beef — if Jones would meet his girlfriend, Myers, at a certain time. Jones said he also was promised a bottle of Patron tequila.

    Officials also were told that Jones had been asked to bring a cell phone into the jail to take a picture of Cottrell so he could give it to Myers.

    For doing that favor, Jones said, Myers was supposed to introduce him to a stripper or exotic dancer.

    The two women were stopped by officials and transported to the Sheriff's Office for interviews.

    While searching Kiser's jeans, officials said they found marijuana, according to a report. They also said they found marijuana in Myers' purse.

    The two women admitted their involvement in the scheme, authorities said.

    Officials said a second inmate allegedly involved, Anthony Carter, 25, declined to talk with them. Officials say he and Kiser are a couple.

    Carter and Cottrell were charged with principle to introducing contraband into a detention facility.

    Myers was charged with introduction of contraband into a detention facility and possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana.

    Kiser was charged with introducing contraband into a detention facility.

    Participating in the investigation were officials from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Unified Drug Enforcement Strike Team, the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, the Multi-Agency Drug Enforcement Team and the Marion County Sheriff's Office.

    Jones was hired by the Sheriff's Office on April 8, 2005, according to agency records. He worked as a road deputy before transferring to the jail in September of that year. The former U.S. Marine was promoted over time to his current rank of master corrections officer, with an annual salary of $34,147.44.

    He could not be reached Thursday for comment. 


    Officer In Smuggling Case Out Of Jail

    Man Arrested In San Joaquin County

                   Yep!!....ANOTHER one!!  Unbelievable man!! 
                                                                             Sergeant Sandvig

    January 11, 2011

    FRENCH CAMP, Calif. -- A Correctional Officer arrested on suspicion of smuggling contraband into San Joaquin County Jail has been released from custody, the Sheriff's Office said Tuesday.

    Officer Michael McCann was arrested last week while at work inside the jail.

    McCann has been an employee of the Sheriff's Office since January 2002. He has been placed on administrative leave.

    He is expected to be in court Jan. 25 at 8:30 a.m.

    Corrections Officer indicted, charged after allegedly taking money from inmates

    January 14, 2011
    Renee Murphy

    "Hey we all have financial problems etc.  It doesn't
    make me want to steal money from INMATES inside a JAIL!!"

                                                   Sergeant Sandvig

    (WHAS11) -- A Louisville Metro Corrections officer has been indicted and charged with taking thousands of dollars from inmates he was booking at the jail. 

    Ronnie Vincent was indicted on nine counts. He faces five counts of theft by unlawful taking, three counts of illegal possession of a controlled substance and one count of illegal possession of drug paraphernalia. 

    Vincent is accused of taking dozens of pills off inmates and roughly $7,000. When inmates come into Metro Corrections whatever they have one them is bagged at the jail.  Authorities say instead of putting that property away Vincent took money and drugs for himself. 

    “I can tell you that Mr. Vincent is very remorseful over what has happened, that he has taken steps to better himself and I think as this case unfolds the way it happened it will be made very clear.  And I think people will sympathize to a degree,” Keith Kamenish, Vincent’s attorney, said. “It’s not a misunderstanding.  I think Mr. Vincent had certain things going on in his life to have him make these choices and he is trying to accept responsibility.”

    Vincent is on unpaid administrative leave from Metro Corrections right now.  The administrative investigation continues. Vincent will be arraigned on Tuesday afternoon.

    Akron: Pizza, Burgers keeping Jail inmates in line

    January 14, 2011

    Akron, Ohio -- The gateway to compliance for Summit County's 600 Jail inmates seems to be through their stomachs.

    Inmates now have the option of ordering an additional daily meal that includes fast food items like pizza, cheeseburgers, chicken nuggets and calzones.

    The FreshFavorites meal program has not only raised needed money for jail operations but has also created an incentive for inmates to behave.

    Fights and other discipline problems have decreased significantly since inmates who act up know they won't get their specialty snacks, said Sheriff Drew Alexander.

    Family members can pay for the additional meals via the program's website.

    When Prisoners Are Patients

    -Jail Provides Last-Resort Mental Health Services-

       We can ALL relate to this!        
                   Sergeant Sandvig

    January 20, 2011
    Chris Meager
    Santa Barbara Independent

    Asystemic problem has made it difficult to get the mentally ill the care they need, leading to more sick people ending up in the wrong place —?the Santa Barbara County Jail. The facility, supposed to be home to the county’s worst offenders, is instead a “de facto institution for the mentally ill,” Sheriff Bill Brown said Tuesday.

    But until something changes, that’s the way it will be. County resources are extremely limited, and there are no plans for increasing the number of dedicated psychiatric beds in the county, a number that is already dismally tiny. “I cannot see any realistic alternative at this point,” said Mental Health Commissioner Ann Eldridge.

    So the jail must accommodate the mentally ill accused of committing crimes, and for the last two years it has been using Prison Health Services (PHS)?—?the country’s largest for-profit provider of prisoner medical care?—?for the job. And it’s done a good one, according to Brown, given the limited resources available. “The PHS staff is doing an outstanding job with the resources we’re giving them,” Brown said.

    PHS has a team of two licensed master’s-level mental health professionals, as well as a registered nurse, working full-time at the jail, and a half-time, on-call psychiatrist, all of whom evaluate 70 to 90 new cases per month. The company has begun quarterly training for all deputies working in the jails and is essentially establishing a 24/7 service for the mentally ill.

    But all is not hunky-dory for PHS, which has also garnered some notoriety for problems with the populations it oversees. Some of those issues, it seems, extend to Santa Barbara County’s jail. The Grand Jury has been responding to complaints about the handling of cases in the jail, while there have been several stories of mentally ill people in jail not receiving their medication in a timely manner, if at all. In Santa Barbara County alone, PHS has been the defendant in at least six lawsuits.

    And there have been stories, like that of one woman who was taking multiple medications for various ailments but was denied her meds when taken to jail. She warned of her need for the medications but wasn’t given any. She wound up blacking out and hitting her head. In another instance, reportedly, one man who was dually diagnosed (he had a drug problem and mental illness) was on medication for anxiety but didn’t get his medication for at least seven days. His brain function was practically gone at the end of the ordeal, and his mother was completely distraught, said Suzanne Riordan, the coordinator of Families ACT!, which has been working throughout the county on behalf of the mentally ill. “Our experience has been different,” Riordan said, contrasting these and other examples she’s heard with Brown’s rosy characterization of PHS’s efforts.

    As the program works, when a person is brought to the jail, they are asked a series of medical questions, including questions about medications. If the officer recognizes the person’s mental health to be an issue, a nurse is called.

    Mental health evaluations are supposed to be made within seven to 10 days, but the timeliness of care can be a problem. It is usually in that period that inmates are making their most frequent visits to court, and because of the jail’s overcrowding, many of the inmates are released before they can be evaluated. The average population of the jail these days is about 940 people, hundreds more than its capacity. Additionally, mental health services are only available in the South County, meaning inmates in the Santa Maria Jail must either wait to be shipped down to Goleta or make a special trip if it is an emergency.

    But all the issues at the jail regarding the mentally ill simply underscore the greater issue at hand: “The jails are not good for the mentally ill, and the mentally ill are not good for the jails,” Brown said.

    JavaScript Free Code

    New techniques (Shotguns) helping to keep Jail in order

    "We're thinking outside the box compared to how Jails are typically operated in the U.S."

    February 3, 2011

    CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- It's been tough love at the Charleston County Jail for the last calendar year. Officials are now seeing that tough love pay off as new techniques used to keep inmates in line are yielding results.

    In 2009 a special outside group came in and trained Charleston's officers to use shotguns -- special shotguns with lights, lasers and ammunition designed to inflict pain without penetrating the body.

    Officials call it pain compliance and say that fear of pain is helping keep order.

    Members of the special operations group (SOG) walk the hallways of the jail suited with the shotguns, being sure to check all areas and keep things in order.

    "We'll search a few of them at random," said SOG team officer Curtis Hood. "Just to keep them on their toes, make sure the fear of us coming is greater than the chance of us coming in."

    Since last year the jail has seen a 32 percent drop on assaults on officers and a 24 percent drop of inmate on inmate assaults.

                               Watch the video!

    Cook County Jail Unveils New Body Scanners for Processing Prisoners

    March 15, 2011
    Joanie Lum
    FOX Chicago News

    Chicago - Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart showed off new body scanners at the Cook County Jail Tuesday. The scanners will be used when authorities process prisoners and are expected to provide a new level of security.

    There have been a number of lawsuits filed against the Cook County Sheriff over its methods of searching inmates at the jail. The new scanners eliminate strip searches and can detect items as small as a paper clip.

    Four machines (RadPRO SecurPASS) are being used at the County Jail, in the men's and women's receiving rooms.

    They're similar to body scanners in use at airports, a seven second scan that does not show anatomical or facial features for privacy. The machine can see drugs or weapons hidden in clothing, hair or body cavities, including items as small as .02 inch thick.

    Dart said officers at the jail are unarmed so the machines are for their safety. He said that when a defendant goes to court or meets with their attorneys, they have access to a number of people and could return to the jail with contraband.

    In total, the scanners cost $940,500. They are a more sophisticated version of the scanning machines Cook County started using three years ago.

    The 11 old machines will be shipped to the courthouses to scan prisoners in holding cells there.

    Minnesota woman accused of providing heroin to Jail inmates

    March 14, 2011
    Shannon Green

    Two inmates at the Columbia County Jail were taken to the hospital last week after taking heroin authorities said was brought into the jail by a Minnesota woman after her arrest.

    Taylor Cunningham, 30, of St. Paul, Minn., was booked into the jail March 6 after she was arrested on a warrant from Ramsey County in Minnesota.

    Deputies with the Columbia County Sheriff's Office say Cunningham provided heroin to three inmates after her arrival at the jail, according to a criminal complaint filed Friday.

    "We believe she was secreting it inside of herself and that's how she got past the initial screening when she entered the jail," said Detective Lt. Roger Brandner of the Columbia County Sheriff's Office.

    Jail deputies typically do not strip-search inmates on arrival without cause, Brandner said.

    Cunningham shared the heroin with three other inmates, according to Brandner.

    One inmate who was treated for a heroin overdose on March 7 was found lying on her stomach with blue face and lips, according to a complaint. She was taken to Divine Savior Healthcare by ambulance.

    "The good thing is that (the inmate) didn't overdose and die," Brandner said, "because she sure could have. We're thankful that she got the right emergency care right away."

    A second inmate was taken by squad car and treated for the effects of heroin at Divine Savior Healthcare, Brandner said.

    The incident points to a growing problem with abuse of drugs such as heroin and hydrocodone, accompanied by deaths from overdoses, Brandner said.

    "Portage has had a couple deaths," Brandner said. "It just shows you the extent of the problems."

    Cunningham faces 7 1/2 years in prison as an initial maximum penalty on a felony charge of delivery of heroin on or near a jail. She was ordered held on $7,500 cash bail at an initial appearance Friday and is scheduled for a preliminary hearing Thursday.

    PLATTSBURGH — A contraband incident at Clinton County Jail is raising questions about a court ruling that the county’s top law-enforcement official says could be dangerous.

    “This is one of the concerns I voiced over this whole strip-search issue,” Clinton County Sheriff David Favro said Tuesday.

    “Our hands are tied.”

    Last Saturday, guards at the jail smelled some kind of smoke coming from the vicinity of a cell that housed Joseph Bushey III.

    Bushey, 31, had arrived at the jail on Friday after being convicted on drug charges. There, he awaited transfer to state prison.

    As guards investigated the smoke smell, they told Bushey that they were going to search his body for contraband, Favro explained.

    Despite Bushey’s objections, the guards conducted the search and, upon removing his undergarments, allegedly found a wad of toilet paper stuffed into the crack of Bushey’s buttocks.

    Inside the toilet paper were three cut-off fingers from a rubber glove. Inside one finger were 14 pills, in another was a brown leafy substance, and in the third finger was a green leafy substance, Favro said.

    The leafy items turned out to be tobacco and marijuana, but tests on the pills were not back yet, Favro said.

    Bushey has since been sent to state prison.


    Favro said it appears that Bushey smuggled the contraband into the jail when he was sent there Friday.

    Because of a court ruling in 2009 by the Northern District Circuit Court, jail officers are not allowed to strip search an inmate arriving at the jail unless there is reasonable suspicion that he or she is carrying contraband.

    “He could be walking funny or clenching his butt cheeks, but if he isn’t doing something like that or some other type of behavior, then we don’t have reasonable suspicion,” Favro said.

    Bushey, who served time at the jail in 2003 and 2004, was not searched when he arrived last Friday, Favro said.


    The court ruling stemmed from instances at the jail when inmates facing misdemeanor or minor charges were searched between Feb. 29, 2003, and July 1, 2007.

    A suit was brought by former Ellenburg resident Phyllis Mitchell, who was strip searched when she was brought to the jail on misdemeanor charges after she was accused of violating several agricultural laws in 2003.

    The case was settled after the court decision two years ago, when the county agreed to pay out $1.15 million to about 2,700 plaintiffs.

    Several other counties in the state also agreed on settlements.

    Clinton County paid $25,000 of the $1.15 million in the form of a deductible payment, and insurance covered the rest.


    Favro said the case is not sitting well with him or other county sheriffs around the state.

    “Here we have a person who has already violated the law and we can’t search him, but if you or I want to go to Orlando, Fla., on a vacation we have to go through an X-ray machine at the airport that shows all parts of our body and be subject to an intensive pat-down search.

    “This puts the safety and security of our facility, our employees and other inmates at risk. This time, it was drugs, but he could have had a weapon.”

    Favro commended his staff for being alert and finding the contraband on Bushey.

    “We can’t search him when he arrives, but anytime after he is in here, we can search him if we have reasonable cause,” the sheriff said.

    “It doesn’t make a lot of sense.”


    Favro wonders if Bushey was one of the plaintiffs in the settlement and knew of the rules forbidding strip searches of inmates upon arrival at the county jail.

    “If he wasn’t a plaintiff in the case, he is local and could have easily seen it in the news and known about it,” Favro said.

    County Administrator Michael Zurlo said the county settlement funds were sent to a management firm in Philadelphia, which sent checks out to the 2,700 plaintiffs. Information from that firm as to who received checks was not readily available on Tuesday.

    “These are not records held by the county,” Zurlo said.

    Each plaintiff was believed to have received at least $1,000 in the settlement.

    Favro hopes the law gets changed.

    “In the meantime, we will be as vigilant as possible and react accordingly.”

    Prisoner hides weapon in deodorant

    March 17, 2011
    The Times News

    A man serving time in Alamance County jail after he was convicted for possession a firearm by a felon was charged Thursday for having a weapon in jail.

    Kevin Michael McCain, 23, of East Parker Street, Graham, was charged by the Alamance County Sheriff’s Department with possession of a weapon by a prisoner. He was placed under $1,000 bond, according to a warrant.

    McCain is accused of having a 2.25 inch screw hidden in a deodorant container.

    According to the warrant, McCain had the screw in his “possession without permission or authorization, a weapon capable of inflicting serious bodily injury or death.”

    Woman accused of taking a cell phone to inmate

    March 23, 2011

    A 43 year old Rydal woman was arrested Tuesday in connection with supplying a cell phone to an inmate in jail, reports stated.

    According to Bartow County Sheriff Clark Millsap:

    Tammy Sue Ragan has been jailed after an investigation into a cell phone located inside the Bartow County Jail.

    Millsap stated deputies discovered the cell phone and launched an investigation to discover how it was brought into the jail.

    The investigation lead deputies to Ragan, who worked for Trinity Food Service.

    The service is contracted for providing food for inmates. Ragan allegedly developed a relationship with one of the inmates, purchased the phone and brought it to the inmate while she was working at the jail kitchen.

    Ragan was charged with passing contraband to inmates behind the guard lines and interference with security measures at a correctional facility.

    Ragan is being held at the Bartow County Jail awaiting bond hearing.

    The two inmates were also charged with the same charges, Joseph Keith Moore, 27, of Cartersville; and Joseph Michael Lanning, 26, of Robertsdale, Alabama.

    Both Moore and Lanning were being held in jail on probation violations charges prior to these two new charges.
    Peoria County Inmate Sneaks Gun Into Jail

    March 25, 2011

    PEORIA COUNTY -- 18 year-old Tyron Robinson was booked into Peoria County Jail Tuesday on attempted murder.

    Shortly after the arrest, authorities learned that Robinson may still be armed, inside the jail.

    Jail officers conducted a search and turned up a loaded revolver, Robinson now faces additional charges and the investigation continues.

    Drugs smuggled into Jail on Snow White’s back

    Authorities in Cape May say they've confiscated several coloring book pages sent to inmates at the county jail, often addressed "To Daddy," with orange paint covering pictures of Snow White and Cinderella. Those hues weren't Burnt Orange or Mango Tango, though, it was Suboxone, a medication typically taken by people trying to kick heroin, painkillers or other opiates.

    Cape May County Sheriff Gary Schaffer said his office received a tip from a confidential informant that drugs were being smuggled into the jail via mail. Over the course of a two-month investigation, authorities learned that Suboxone pills and film were being dissolved, painted onto the pages and sent to inmates at the jail. The pages were tested and came back positive for Suboxone.

    It was unclear how they distributed the drugs once they got the faux art in the mail.

    Inmates Zachary Hirsh, Charles Markman and Paul Scipione were charged with conspiracy and attempting to commit a crime. Debbie Longo, of West Wildwood, was arrested and charged with intent to distribute drugs; Katelyn Mosebach of Trevose, Pa, was charged with the same crime but not arrested.


    Supreme Court to decide Jail strip search case

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Supreme Court said Monday that it would decide whether a jail policy of strip searching every individual arrested for any minor offense violated constitutional privacy rights.

    The high court agreed to hear an appeal by Albert Florence, who was strip searched twice at two different New Jersey jails over a six-day period after his arrest on a warrant for a traffic fine he had already paid.

    He said in his lawsuit that the conduct at the two jails violated his constitutional rights.

    A U.S. appeals court disagreed and ruled it was reasonable to search everyone entering the jail, even without suspicion of criminal activity such as concealing weapons or contraband.

    The Supreme Court last addressed a similar issue in 1979, when it upheld strip searchers of all prisoners at a facility in New York after contacts with visitors.

    The latest case dated back to March of 2005, with Florence in the passenger seat of his BMW when a New Jersey state trooper pulled the vehicle over for speeding. His wife was driving.

    The officer conducted a records search, which showed that Florence had an outstanding warrant for an unpaid fine.

    Florence gave the officer a letter showing he had paid the fine, but he was arrested anyway and taken to the Burlington County jail, where he was strip searched the first time.

    He later was transferred to a Newark jail in Essex County, where the warrant had been issued, and was strip searched again. The next day, Florence had a hearing before a judge who ordered his immediate release.

    The Supreme Court will hear arguments in the case and is expected to rule in its upcoming term that begins in October.

    The Supreme Court case is Florence vs. Board of Chosen Freeholders of the County of Burlington, No. 10-945.

    Internet Visiting comes to Charlotte County Jail

    April 4, 2011

    How would you like to visit an incarcerated loved one from home? Well, if that person is in the Charlotte County Jail, now you can.

    Inmates at the charlotte county jail can now visit with family members at home, via the internet. The jail already offers video visitation on the grounds, but now for a fee, inmates can visit with their families at home or across the country. "If somebody is incarcerated here but their grandma is in ohio they can actually visit them in Ohio via their computers." Said Charlotte County Sheriff Bill Cameron at a press conference today at the Charlotte County Jail. The technology is a first of its kind for the state of florida and it was paid for with the inmate welfare fund. Which means it comes at a cost of zero dollars to local tax payers. Montgomery Technology Incorperated from Alabama installed the video visitation at the Jail. They approached Cameron and offered to install this system for free in the hopes that it will catch on around the country and generate business for their firm.

    But as with any new technology this technology comes with its own issues and the biggest one that seems to come to mind is how to prevent these visits from turning into virtual conjugal visits, but the sheriff says his staff is fully prepared to deal with that "My staff will be having a screen that shows all the visits that are going on at any given moment so they can be watching" said Cameron. This is not the first time that Cameron and his Jail staff have been in the news for creative money saving ideas at the jail. Several years ago, the staff turned the retention pond in front of the jail into a fish hatchery where catfish are raised for consumtion by the inmates. Inmates also raise hydroponic vegetables and have worm gardens. The waste from the worm gardens is used to fertilize the vegetable gardens. Cameron also broke ground a year ago by selling advertising space in his jail. "So far every thing we have tried has been very successful I think this will be the same" Said Cameron Right now the cost to scedule a visit with an inmate over the internet is about $33. The revenue from that cost is split between the contractor who installed the system and the Inmate welfare fund at the jail.

    Jail fight puts man in hospital

    April 4, 2011

    RALEIGH -- An Apex man was in a coma late Sunday after an early-morning altercation with an Officer in the Wake County Jail.

    County officials are investigating the incident.

    Shortly after midnight Saturday, Joshua Martin Wrenn, 29, was arrested at a Raleigh nightclub on a charge that he had assaulted his wife.

    Four hours after Wrenn was booked by Wake magistrates, he was involved in an altercation with a detention officer in the jail, according to Phyllis Stephens, a spokeswoman for the Wake sheriff's department.

    "Around 4:30 a.m., he assaulted a detention officer," Stephens said late Sunday. "And that is under investigation."

    Wrenn was taken to Wake Med, where he was in critical condition, according to Kathy Treadway, Wrenn's mother.

    Treadway questioned the county's assertion that Wrenn instigated the altercation. "If that was the case," she said, "then why is there no charge on him for assault?"

    It was unclear when Wrenn was taken to the hospital. But early Sunday afternoon, Wake County Judge Robert Rader received a call from authorities asking to place Wrenn on an unsecured bond. The reason, Rader said, was that Wrenn was in the hospital in a coma and was no longer a threat to his wife.

    Rader said he inquired about the incident but could not verify what had happened in the jail.

    According to arrest records, a warrant had been issued for Wrenn's arrest March 25. The warrant charged him with misdemeanor assault on a female. State prison records show Wrenn has a long criminal record with convictions for domestic assault, forgery and other offenses.

    On Sunday, Treadway was at the intensive care unit, where doctors had drilled a hole in Wrenn's skull to relieve pressure.

    "They said he came in with a head injury and there was swelling and fluid buildup, and that's why they drilled and put the tube in," she said.

    Jail employee finds phone in sandwich

    April 7, 2011

    MOULTRIE — A Colquitt County Sheriff’s Office employee noticed during a Tuesday search of a jail inmate’s cell that a sandwich seemed unusually heavy.

    It turns out there was a reason -- the inmate had a phone stuffed in one half of the sandwich and the cell phone charger stuffed in the other half, sheriff’s reports said.

    The contraband items were found during a routine “shakedown” of Dennis Lee Mitchell’s cell and were in his belongings, the reports said.

    Mitchell, 212 Apt. 8 Third St. N.W., was charged with possession of a cell phone by an inmate.
    Texas lawyer tried to buy inmate's silence

    Really?.....Former Jail Sergeant Sandvig

    April 11, 2011
    Associated Press

    DALLAS (AP) - A Laredo lawyer has reached a plea deal with federal prosecutors for offering a Louisiana jail inmate thousands of dollars to keep quiet on a federal drug trafficking investigation.

    Alonzo Ramos pleaded guilty before a federal magistrate in Dallas on Thursday to a single count of interstate travel in aid of racketeering. Court documents show that prosecutors have agreed to ask for a prison term of no more than five years and a fine of no more than $250,000 when he's sentenced July 5.

    According to documents Ramos signed, the son of former state District Judge Andres Ramos Jr. of Laredo admitted to offering the convicted drug trafficker $48,500 from drug proceeds kept at his Laredo home. The negotiations and payment were recorded by federal agents with the inmate's cooperation.


    Playing dress-up: Parish Jailers resign after prank

    April 10, 2011
    The Daily News

    A Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office road deputy was not amused and a jailer was lucky he wasn’t tased or worse in an ill-advised prank at the parish jail that ended with the resignation of two jailers.

    “It was a practical joke involving two jailers,” Deputy Chief Shannon Lyons said. “One put on an inmate’s uniform and was going to run out the door. A patrol deputy walked in right about that time and was starting to take his taser out.”

    The deputy soon recognized the “escaping inmate” was really a jailer in disguise, and the taser was not deployed, Lyons said.  Chief Deputy Scott Blair said nobody came close to getting shot, but the prankster was told he was going to get tased.

    The prank was short-lived, but potentially dangerous and it could have turned out “a lot worse,” Lyons said.

    When the situation settled and Sheriff Robert Crowe heard about what had happened, he said he would not tolerate such horseplay and that disciplinary action would be taken.

    “But the two jailers chose to resign rather than be disciplined,” Lyons said.

    Because the practical jokers resigned, he declined to name the now former jailers, but he did say they were neither new nor especially longtime WPSO employees.

    Attorney barred from photographing man's injuries in alleged Jail beating

    Defense attorney says a beating by deputies was so severe that he couldn't recognize his client. Officials say the inmate was dangerous and was being kept in an area where civilians and cameras are banned.

    April 17, 2011
    Jack Leonard and Robert Faturechi
    Los Angeles Times

    Despite a judge's order, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department has refused to allow an attorney to take photographs of a client he said was beaten so badly by jail deputies that he was unrecognizable.

    Deputy Public Defender John F. Montoya said the inmate, Federico Bustos, suffered severe bruising two months ago to his face, stomach, chest, right arm, both legs and feet. Bustos' left eye was so swollen that Montoya said he initially feared his client had lost the eye.

    Sheriff's officials repeatedly turned down his requests to allow a public defender's investigator into the jail with a camera to document the injuries, even after he obtained a court order permitting photos, he said.

    "He was so severely beaten that I could not initially recognize him," Montoya said. "I don't understand what the Sheriff's Department is trying to hide."

    Sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore described Bustos as an "extraordinarily aggressive" inmate who was known to hurt himself and others. Bustos, he said, was injured when he attacked deputies who were trying to remove him from his cell after noticing him behaving strangely.

    Whitmore said the inmate was not injured as seriously as his attorney alleged.

    He said the department decided not to comply with the order after consulting with the county counsel's office. Sheriff's officials had recorded the encounter with a video camera and plan to give the public defender's office a copy of the recording once an internal affairs investigation is complete, he said.

    "We have nothing to hide," Whitmore said. "What's ironic about this is we extracted him for his own protection."

    The dispute comes as the county jails face renewed scrutiny after allegations by the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California and inmates of abuses by sheriff's staff in the nation's largest local jail system.

    Two months ago, an ACLU observer alleged in a court declaration that she witnessed two deputies treat an inmate like "a punching bag," unjustifiably beating him as he lay unconscious. An internal sheriff's log accused the inmate of punching the two deputies. The Sheriff's Department is investigating the allegation.

    Bustos, 30, is charged with murder and attempted murder in the kidnapping and shooting of two men in 2006. Prosecutors allege that he and others bound the victims' hands, eyes, mouths and feet with duct tape and drove them to a deserted area of Sierra Madre, where the victims were shot in the head. One survived.

    Court records show that Bustos refused to leave his cell on several occasions when he was due to appear in court. In January, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Janice Claire Croft declared him mentally incompetent to stand trial and ordered him transferred to Patton State Hospital. She also ordered that he could be involuntarily given anti-psychotic medication.

    Bustos was awaiting a transfer to Patton when Montoya learned on Feb. 23 that his client had been moved to the jail ward at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center.

    After visiting the inmate, Montoya said, he wanted to document the injuries for himself in case they provided evidence of his client's mental problems and were relevant in his criminal defense.

    Montoya described the department's refusal to comply with the court order to permit photographs as "patently self-serving and outrageous."

    "I have never represented anyone who was as severely beaten by the police as Federico Bustos was," said Montoya, a 32-year veteran defense attorney.

    But Assistant County Counsel Roger Granbo said the inmate was under medical observation in a secure area of the jail where neither civilians nor cameras are allowed. He said his office was never given an opportunity to oppose Montoya's request for the order and had concerns about its validity.

    Granbo said the county was preparing to go to court to challenge the order when Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Terry Smerling, who signed the order, called the Sheriff's Department. A lieutenant told the judge why the department was not allowing the defense investigator into Bustos' housing area, Granbo said. Granbo noted that neither the court nor the defense attorney sought to pursue the matter after the conversation.

    "We were not defying the order. We wanted to find out where the order came from and test its validity," Granbo said. "It's an order that we would have challenged…. We thought the issue was over."

    Montoya said he decided against going back to court to compel the department to comply because several days had passed and Bustos' injuries would have begun healing.

    Michael Gennaco, who heads the Office of Independent Review, said one of the attorneys in his unit watched the video of the cell extraction and that nothing in the recording "jumps out to you as 'this is clearly excessive force' … but a video is only part of the story."

    Gennaco said the inmate's cell was small, and at least four deputies were involved, which meant that some of the action was blocked from the video camera. Bustos' injuries were mainly bruises to his head and he suffered no broken bones, Gennaco said.

    Jail inmate shoots Texas Sheriff's Deputy to death

    April 18, 2011
    BBC News

    A Jail inmate shot and killed a Texas Sheriff's Deputy with her own gun before escaping, officials have said.

    Tucker Strickland, 21, overpowered Sherri Jones, 54, while she was escorting him through the basement of the Bowie County courthouse in New Boston on Monday, police said.

    He escaped in a jail van but was caught about 30 miles (45 km) away across state lines in Ashdown, Arkansas.

    Texas authorities were preparing to charge him with capital murder.

    Strickland had recently been found mentally incompetent to stand trial on a domestic violence charge, the Texarkana Gazette newspaper reported.

    Jones, a part-time officer, had worked for the department for six years. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

    "After Arrest...Before Trial...After Conviction...Until Release...we are there"