Prison News in Brief: Alabama through Florida

Prison News in Brief: Alabama through Florida

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

  • Alabama Prison News

On July 29, 2013 there was a break-in at the Draper Correctional Facility.  According to the Department of Corrections, three sections of the prison were burglarized in the early morning hours, and laptop computers and multiple weapons were discovered missing when employees started arriving around 5:00 AM.  The facility’s farm office, radio shop, and dog kennels, which are located apart from the prison population, were reportedly breached.

  • Arizona Prison News

Newly-hired Maricopa County jail guard Rachel Harris, 22, was attacked on June 24, 2013 by prisoner Bobby Ruiz as she entered his cell at the Lower Buckeye Jail, and during the assault Ruiz bit off part of one of her ears.  Two other prisoners rushed in to help Harris, pulling Ruiz off her and restraining him until other guards arrived.  Sheriff Joe Arpaio told reporters that the missing piece of Harris’ ear could not be found and that Ruiz had presumably swallowed it.

Steven Mitchell, 39, died in a crash on July 30, 2013 after leading police on a chase through the state of Missouri.  He had escaped from the Jacksonville County Detention Center in Arkansas two days earlier with another prisoner.  A Nissan Sentra driven by Mitchell’s wife, Jessica, with Mitchell as a passenger, was pulled over.  When the officer asked Jessica to step out of the car, Mitchell jumped into the driver’s seat and sped away.  Sheriff David Lucas told ABC News that “During the pursuit, Mitchell wrecked his vehicle and sustained fatal injuries.”

  • Bolivia Prison News

According to government officials, about 1,500 young children and adolescents live in Bolivian prisons with incarcerated relatives.  The practice, which has been criticized, led to the pregnancy of a 12-year-old girl who was raped by her father, uncle, and godfather inside the San Pedro prison in La Paz.  In June 2013, prisons director Ramiro Llanos, who had spent part of his childhood living in a jail with his father, called on police to “stop being so corrupt and stop allowing children into prisons.”

On July 24, 2013, Lowell Correctional Institution prisoner Yvonne Eugena McBride died from what family members were told was pneumonia.  The day prior to McBride’s death, a mysterious “flu-like” illness was reported among prisoners in B Dorm.  The outbreak led officials to restrict the movement of more than 150 prisoners while the undiagnosed sickness was investigated.  McBride’s sister said she had tried to visit the prison the previous month, and Yvonne told her she was weak and had requested medical help, which was denied.

Pasco County deputy Norman Grant was arrested on a charge of child abuse on July 5, 2013 after choking and threatening to break the neck of a 16-year-old prisoner.  The teenager was strapped in a restraint chair when the incident occurred.  Grant has been the subject of three previous internal investigations into excessive force, but was cleared in those incidents due to lack of evidence.  This time the incident was caught on video.  Grant was fired the same day he was arrested.  “This deputy probably should’ve never worn a badge,” said Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco.

  • Florida Prison News

Anthony Gentile, a convicted sex offender held at the Manatee County Jail, faces additional charges after he reportedly performed illicit and disgusting acts on food before it was served to a jail employee.  Several witnesses described Gentile putting a salad spoon down his pants during the June 2, 2013 incident, then putting his genitals on the salad and spitting on the salad.  The staff member reportedly tasted the salad without knowing what had been done to it.

(Reprinted with permission from Prison Legal News.)