Thursday, November 27, 2014

Maryland inmate: 'This is my jail'

A Maryland inmate Tavo White reportedly made $16,000 a month from smuggling drugs and cellphones into prison with help from accomplices, according to
An FBI wire tap captured White saying, ‘This is my jail. You understand that,’ and claiming to control everything from contraband to mob hits within the prison.
White showered the female guards with gifts including cars and diamond rings. Four of those guards – Jennifer Owens, Katera Stevenson, Chania Brooks and Tiffany Linder – allegedly fell pregnant to White while he was behind bars
Owens had ‘Tavon’ tattooed on her neck and Stevenson had ‘Tavon’ tattooed on her wrist.
The details came to light after authorities busted a major smuggling ring inside the prison – and 13 female prison guards, seven inmates and five co-conspirators face racketeering charges.
Guards allegedly smuggled drugs and mobile phones into prison in their shoes for the ‘Black Guerrilla Family’, a gang which also operates on the streets of Baltimore.
All 12 officers have been suspended without pay, and the department is moving to fire them.
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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Florida cans corrections secretary

Michael Crews, the embattled secretary of the Florida Department of Corrections, announced he will step down, after months of scrutiny involving abusive corrections officers, suspicious inmate deaths and a poor record of inmate healthcare delivered by private contractors, the Miami Herald reports.
Crews’ exit had been rumored for weeks.
It comes amid allegations of widespread agency corruption and the failure of Crews’ top law enforcement officer, Inspector General Jeffery Beasley, to investigate wrongdoing in the prison system. Crews’ deputy, Tim Cannon, will replace him on an interim basis. Crews, the sixth prisons chief in eight years, presided over the state’s largest agency, with 101,000 inmates, 56 prisons and 21,000 employees.
Florida's action comes only weeks after Mississippi's Corrections Commissioner Chris Epps  was indicted for corruption.
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Monday, November 24, 2014

Report: Federal BOP overcrowded and disfunctional

Michael Horowitz, the inspector general for the U.S. Department of Justice, issued a report which examines a range of issues in the Federal Bureau of Prisons and Justice Department, including civil rights enforcement, cyber security, management and law enforcement oversight, reported the Birmingham News.
Despite the fact that the inmate population dropped for the first time in decades, however, Horowitz noted that current projections indicate that prisons will be 38 percent over capacity by fiscal year 2018 - higher than today.
The $6.9 billion budget for the Bureau of Prisons in fiscal year 2014 was 25 percent of the Justice Department's discretionary spending, up from 18 percent in fiscal year 2010. The prison system has the most employees of any agency within the Justice Department, including the FBI, and is second only to the FBI in spending.
"First and foremost, the BOP must pursue strategies to reduce prison overcrowding," the report states. "It must also provide effective oversight of privately managed contract prison facilities, reduce the incidence of inmate sexual abuse, and prevent the smuggling of weapons and contraband into prison."
Sentencing reform advocates seized on the report as evidence that the federal government must do more to prevent long incarcerations of nonviolent criminals.
"Overcrowded federal prisons stuffed with nonviolent drug offenders are not only a waste of money, but eating away at public safety funding for other divisions within the DOJ," Families Against Mandatory Minimums counsel Molly Gill said in a prepared statement. "Building more prisons is not the answer, and back-end fixes like compassionate release, clemency, and expansion of earned time credits can only do so much. Reforming mandatory minimum sentences is cheaper, safer, and smarter than every other option on the table."
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Saturday, November 22, 2014

New Hampshire has fastest growing incarceration rate in the country

In the past two decades, New Hampshire’s crime rate has remained steady. It has one of the lowest violent crime rates in the U.S., and the state’s population has only grown by about a fifth.
As the number of incarcerated Americans inched up for the first time in four years, the prison population in small, largely rural New Hampshire grew faster than any other state. The 8.2% increase in the Granite State topped second-place Nebraska’s 6.8% rise and far outpaced the 0.3% national increase in the number of inmates, according to figures released this fall by the U.S. Department of Justice.
A bipartisan effort in New Hampshire was meant to cut a prison population that had been growing for decades. According to the New Hampshire Department of Corrections, state prisoners increased from 287 in 1980 to 1,250 by 1990 and 2,847 by 2008. A policy called Truth in Sentencing, which reduced early releases for inmates based on good behavior, contributed to that growth. The Justice Reinvestment Act, as the 2010 law was known, undid many of those guidelines.

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Friday, November 21, 2014

Utah lawmakers looking to bring back firing squad

Ten years after banning the use of firing squads in state executions, this week Utah lawmakers endorsed a proposal to allow the practice again to avoid problems with lethal-injection drugs, reported NBC News.
The proposal from Republican Rep. Paul Ray of Clearfield would call for a firing squad if the state cannot obtain the lethal injection drugs 30 days before the scheduled execution. Utah dropped firing squads out of concern about the media attention, but Ray said it's the most humane way to execute someone because the inmate dies instantly.   
"We have to have an option," Ray told reporters Wednesday. "If we go hanging, if we go to the guillotine, or we go to the firing squad, electric chair, you're still going to have the same circus atmosphere behind it. So is it really going to matter?"        
An interim panel of Utah lawmakers approved the idea on a 9-2 vote. The proposal still needs to go through the full legislative process once lawmakers convene for their annual session in January. Under current law, death by firing squad is only an option for criminals sentenced to death before 2004. It was last used in 2010.
For years, states used a three-drug combination to execute inmates, but European drugmakers have refused to sell them to prisons and corrections departments out of opposition to the death penalty. That move has led states to use different types, combinations and doses of lethal drugs, but those methods have been challenged in court.
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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Missouri carries out its 9th execution of 2014

The 33rd Execution of 2014
Leon Vincent Taylor was executed on November 19, 2014 in Missouri.  He killed a suburban Kansas City gas station attendant in front of the worker's young stepdaughter in 1994. His execution was the ninth execution in Missouri this year, reported the Kansas City Star.
Taylor, 56, was pronounced dead at 12:22 a.m. at the state prison in Bonne Terre, minutes after receiving a lethal injection. With Taylor's death, 2014 ties 1999 for having the most executions in a year in Missouri.
Taylor shot worker Robert Newton to death in front of Newton's 8-year-old stepdaughter during a gas station robbery in Independence, Missouri. Taylor tried to kill the girl, too, but the gun jammed.
Taylor's fate was sealed Tuesday when Gov. Jay Nixon declined to grant clemency and the U.S. Supreme Court turned down his appeal.
His body covered by a white sheet, Taylor could be seen in the execution chamber talking to family members through the glass in an adjacent room. Once the state started injecting 5 grams of pentobarbital, Taylor's chest heaved for several seconds then stopped. His jaw went slack and he displayed no other movement for the rest of the process.

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Florida executes man for murder of woman and daughter

The 32nd Execution of 2014
Chadwick Banks was executed in Florida on November 13, 2014. He fatally shot his sleeping wife and then raped and killed his 10-year-old stepdaughter 22 years ago, reported The Associated Press.
The forty-three-year-old Banks was pronounced dead at 7:27 AM after a lethal injection at a Florida State Prison, the office of Gov. Rick Scott said.
Banks was condemned for the September 1992 killing of 10-year-old Melody Cooper. Banks also received a life sentence for the murder of his wife, Cassandra Banks, in a community outside the state capital of Tallahassee.
Authorities said Banks was drinking and playing pool at a bar before going home about 3 a.m. the night of the slayings. Banks shot his wife point-blank in the head and then raped and shot his stepdaughter, according to authorities.
To read more CLICK HERE