Editorial: Lethal indifference to Florida prisoners dying of COVID-19
Florida used to confine its road-gang prisoners in old wooden barracks that it intended to replace sooner or later. On July 16, 1967, that became too late for 38 men who died when flames swiftly devoured one of those firetraps in a remote corner of the Panhandle. Only 13 inmates were saved.No one in authority had wanted that, but indifference can be just as deadly as intent.That long-ago tragedy comes to mind with the recent news that COVID-19 has killed 154 Florida prison inmates. That’s second, but not by much, to the 161 deaths in Texas.Texas, however, has about twice as many prisoners, giv...
R. Kelly lawyers denied chance to question inmate who attacked singer in federal lockup
CHICAGO — Attorneys for R. Kelly will not get the chance to question an inmate who confessed to attacking the singer at a downtown jail in August, a federal judge ruled Monday.And Kelly’s beating behind bars is not enough, on its own, to merit his release from the Metropolitan Correctional Center, U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber wrote.It was the latest rejection of Kelly’s many attempts to be released from custody while he awaits trial in several jurisdictions on sweeping charges related to sexual abuse.Despite pleading poverty after he was charged last year, bank records show Kelly has ...
Woman who gave birth in jail cell: 'They just wanted me to see how much pain I could endure'
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Broward County Sheriff Gregory Tony is “highly disgusted” over allegations he’s heard so far from an internal investigation after an inmate gave birth in a cell.The woman who recently gave birth to her baby boy in a Broward jail cell says she begged in vain for anyone to come help. She says she was terrified of having a miscarriage — left alone until minutes before her child was born.Stephanie Bretas, in an exclusive interview with the South Florida Sun Sentinel, on Friday gave a harrowing account of delivering her son in jail, describing squalid conditions and decrying...
Sheriff fires 2 jail administrators after Florida inmate gave birth in cell
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — A Broward County inmate screaming for help in her jail cell was forced to give birth there, ignored by jail staff members standing outside her cell until just before her son was born, according to the Broward Public Defender’s Office.Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony fired two top-level jail administrators Thursday, barely 24 hours after learning of the incident.“I conducted a review of the matter and determined that command level failures occurred by Col. (Gary) Palmer and Lt. Col. (Angela) Neely in this case,” Tony said in a news release announcing the terminations. “They ...
Convicted killer Erik Menendez moved to isolation after reportedly receiving pot-stuffed prison package
Convicted killer Erik Menendez was moved to an isolation unit Monday after California prison officials reportedly discovered a half-baked plan to send him marijuana behind bars.The brother who is now serving time for the 1989 shotgun murders of his millionaire parents was the intended recipient of the pot-stuffed parcel sent to the RJ Donovan Correctional Facility in San Diego, TMZ.com reported Tuesday.Prison officials intercepted the package and are now investigating whether or not Menendez was expecting its arrival, the website said.“On Oct. 12, RJ Donovan Correctional Facility inmate Erik G...
New York Daily News
ICE deports yet another Miami man accused of rape before he could stand trial
MIAMI — Immigration agents have deported another accused rapist before he could stand trial in Miami state court.The Miami Herald has confirmed that a man named Alcedis Ortiz, 42, who is accused of sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl, was deported to Colombia, even though he was still awaiting trial on two felony charges, one punishable by life in prison.He spent nearly five months in immigration custody before he was deported on Sept. 28, an ICE spokesman confirmed Friday.The deportation comes less than two months after U.S. authorities had to extradite another suspected rapist back from C...
Hijab removal for mugshot prompts federal lawsuit against Detroit jail, Michigan DOC
DETROIT — A 36-year-old woman is suing the city of Detroit and the Michigan Department of Corrections in federal court, alleging violations of her religious expression and freedom after being forced to remove her hijab while taking a booking photo last year at the Detroit Detention Center.Zainab Chabban is represented in the lawsuit by the Council on American-Islamic Relations Michigan Legal Fund.The Detroit Detention Center is run by the Michigan Department of Corrections. The city of Detroit believes it should not have been named.“Neither the city of Detroit nor the Detroit Police Department...
The Detroit News
COVID-19 curbs community policing at a time of diminishing trust
AUSTIN, Texas — The funeral last month for Jorge Cabrera featured familiar tributes to a fallen officer. Cabrera’s flag-draped coffin sat at the front of the church, near a large replica of a police badge with black ribbon. The strains of a bagpipe accompanied the entry of a uniformed honor guard.Cabrera was a ubiquitous figure in his hometown of Mission, Texas, serving a dozen years as a police patrol officer and traffic investigator in the border town of 85,000. Hundreds paid their respects in person or watched his funeral online as eulogists praised his service to the community.The 42-year-...
'I found a noose in my bed': Pa. prisoners allege hate acts by elite security teams
PHILADELPHIA — On July 28, after staff searched their dorm at State Correctional Institution Houtzdale, Aaron Tyson and his cellmates were left to sort through the disordered rubble of their property.Tyson spotted something unfamiliar peeking out of a pile on his bunk: The frayed end of a string made from a torn sheet. He pulled it free and held it up to show the others, asking them what it was.“That looks like a noose,” he said one told him.Tyson and two other men who witnessed his discovery say the noose was left by a Correctional Emergency Response Team — colloquially a CERT team, a black-c...
The Philadelphia Inquirer
Florida corrections department enters controversial immigration agreement with ICE
ORLANDO, Fla. — The Florida Department of Corrections will begin carrying out certain federal immigration enforcement tasks in a new partnership with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, becoming the latest agency to join a controversial program that immigrant advocates have decried as overreaching.FDC Secretary Mark Inch signed a memorandum with ICE last month that will train and deputize certain corrections officers, giving them the authority to investigate and detain inmates for their immigration status, and share that information with federal immigration authorities. Inch called the n...