DOJ Rolls Back Obama Program Aimed at Fixing Police Problems

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced on Sept. 15 that, effective immediately, it is making significant changes in a program launched six years ago to investigate and issue reports of problems in some local police agencies. The Collaborative Reform Initiative for Technical Assistance (CRI-TA), part of DOJ’s Office of Community Policing Services, was launched

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Trump Lifts Obama’s Curbs on Military Equipment for Cops

  President Trump has reversed restrictions his predecessor imposed about two years ago on what surplus military equipment the Department of Defense (DOD) can provide to federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies under its 1033 program. The change was first announced by Attorney General Jeff Sessions at a national conference of the Fraternal Order

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AG Sessions Maps How Feds Will Fight Violent Crime, Drugs

  In a March 15 session with law enforcement officials in Richmond, Virginia, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions outlined the administration’s plans to combat what he described as the beginning of an increase in the nation’s rate of violent crime. Breaking sharply from the Obama administration’s stand, Sessions said he plans to bring back aggressive

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Jailhouse Informants’ Testimony Deserves Greater Scrutiny

  If you remember the summer of 2001, you’ll recall the name Chandra Levy. She was a 24-year-old graduate student and Federal Bureau of Prisons intern who disappeared May 1 as she was getting ready to leave Washington, D.C., and return to her family’s home in California. The reason her disappearance flooded the airwaves and

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News Bites

Alabama: A March 2, 2014 fight at the Elmore Correctional Facility resulted in eight prisoners being transported to Jackson Hospital, where three were admitted for further treatment. Details on the extent of the prisoners’ injuries and the circumstances of the fight were not released. Argentina: Raunchy photos depicting female jail guards and superintendents in various

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New York Prison Guard Pleads Guilty to Contraband Introduction Offenses

Curtis Drakes, 33, a former prison guard at the Mize Street Detention Facility has pleaded guilty to conspiring to introduce contraband into a correctional facility. According to court records, Drakes smuggled cell phones into the Mize Street Detention Facility for cash payments from inmates at the facility.  This conduct allegedly spanned the time period of

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Inmates Caught, Hunt Shifts To Who Faked Release Order

By Dianne Frazee-Walker

You’ve got to give them credit for trying. Florida inmates Joseph Jenkins and Charles Walker “almost got away with it.” Instead of digging the traditional tunnel under the prison or impersonating a correctional officer and walking out of prison as free men, these felons came up with a strategy more ingenious than story lines for prison outbreak movies.  

Jenkins and Walker came close to pulling off forging documents that granted them an early release. The escapees both 34 were serving life sentences for murder at the Franklin Correctional Facility in the Florida Panhandle. The duo must have decided a life sentence was too long, so they somehow produced official looking documents that go them an early release, 15 years early. The fraudulent certificates passed as plausible with an authentic looking forged judge’s signature along with case numbers. 

Mr. Jenkins was released on Sept. 27 and registered as a felon on Sept. 30. Mr. Walker was released on Oct. 8 and registered with the authorities three days later.

The ploy came to an abrupt end Saturday evening at Cocoanut Grove Motor Inn located in the touristy town of Panama City Beach, Florida just hours after family members of the men publicly pleaded for their surrender.

The capture occurred just in time because Jenkins and Walker were waiting for a ride from Atlanta to pick them up and take them across the state line. The two men were arrested peacefully and are now in custody. They were unarmed and had a small amount of cash on them.

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Pennsylvania: No Prison Time for Guards Convicted of Abusing Prisoners

By Christopher Zoukis

A former Pennsylvania prison guard who was convicted on 27 counts of abusing prisoners will serve no prison time of his own, after a state court sentenced him to five years’ probation and six months on house arrest.

Harry Nicoletti, 61, was convicted of numerous counts of official oppression, simple assault, criminal solicitation and terrorist threats, as well as three counts of indecent exposure. He was acquitted of more serious charges of involuntary deviant sexual intercourse and institutional sexual assault.

The jury reached its verdict after deliberating three days following an 11-day trial that included 58 witnesses, some of them prisoners who recanted their earlier statements against Nicoletti. Charges against four other prison guards had previously been dropped.

Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas Judge David Cashman could have sentenced Nicoletti to up to 18 months in prison, but instead told him, “I’m sparing you from the danger you posed to the individuals you were in charge of.”

Nicoletti was originally indicted on 117 criminal charges following his arrest in September 2011. He was accused of being the ringleader of a group of six guards at SCI Pittsburgh who targeted sex offenders and homosexual prisoners for abuse that included sexual assaults, beatings, tainting food with urine and feces, and other mistreatment. [See: PLN, Nov. 2012, p.40; April 2012, p.1]. “It was evil for evil’s sake,” said Allegheny County Assistant District Attorney Jon Pittman at Nicoletti’s March 27, 2013 sentencing hearing.

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Retaliations Becoming Prevalent

By Dianne Frazee-Walker Joe Arpaio is an eighty-year-old Arizona sheriff dedicated to illegal immigration enforcement and lowering the recidivism rate in the state of Arizona. He has been reelected by the citizens of Maricopa County seven times. The controversial sheriff is either loved or hated by most voters because of his extreme stance on illegal

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Anti-Immigrant Arizona Sheriff Outed by His Mexican Ex-Boyfriend

By Prison Legal News Paul Bebeu, Sheriff of Pinal County, Arizona and a former police officer, was a rising Republican star within the state in 2012 – crusading in support of the anti-immigrant legislation SB1070, co-chairing Arizona’s campaign for Mitt Romney’s presidential bid and espousing the so-called family values that appealed to his conservative base. However,

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