Prison Talk

We firmly believe that even though a prisoner's body is locked up, their mind can always be free to travel the world and learn about anything they are interested through the magic or books.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Gay prisoner sues after inmate bites off part of his nose

'Crunching sound' Gay prisoner sues after inmate bites off part of his nose
This photo provided by the Kentucky Equality Federation shows the injury to former Warren County Regional Jail inmate Brandon Milam's nose when he was attacked. A lawsuit Milam filed Tuesday claims that he lost his sense of smell and has to undergo extensive reconstructive surgery. A gay man sued a Kentucky jail and a fellow inmate Tuesday, saying the other prisoner bit off part of his nose after harassing him for days. Follow @NBCNewsUS The suit says that Brandon Milam, of Bowling Green, Ky., was sitting on his bed on July 2 when Timothy Schwartz, the other inmate, approached him, pinned him against the wall and began punching his face. Milam, 26, said that he “heard a crunching sound as Defendant Schwartz bit part of (his) nose off, severing it from (his) face,” the suit claims. “Schwartz then spit the piece of (his) nose out onto the floor.” Milam said he was disfigured, lost his sense of smell and was still in pain from the July attack in the Warren County Regional Jail, according to his lawsuit. Read the lawsuit : Milam also claims that Schwartz, 41, and other inmates used gay slurs and threatened him for about a week before Schwartz bit off his nose. The men had been placed in a single cell with about 14 other men, according to the suit. The severed piece of nose was found by another inmate. Doctors at a hospital in Nashville, Tenn., tried to reattach it but were unsuccessful, the lawsuit said. Now Milam faces a series of reconstructive surgeries that could cost $26,000, according to The Daily News in Bowling Green. "It's a real tragedy that this would happen in a protective custody setting, this outrageously violent act," M. Austin Mehr, one of Milam's attorneys, said this week. "It was just like an animal." "I was also called queer several times," Milam said, according to a statement released by the Kentucky Equality Federation. "I was in jail for a probation violation over a shoplifting charge. I wasn't a flight risk and I had no violent history." The Kentucky advocacy group has assisted Milam in his suit and has urged federal authorities to pursue a case against Schwartz as a hate crime. "The deliberate indifference that the jail facility seemed to maintain when placing Mr. Milam in the cell with the attackers while being aware of his sexual orientation opens them to civil liability," attorney Jillian Hall, vice president of legal for Kentucky Equality Federation, said in the statement. The advocacy group says there has been a "growing trend" of gay inmates being harassed by Kentucky law enforcement. Schwartz was indicted on an assault charge and has pleaded not guilty. He was in jail for an alleged scheme to forge signatures of family members of disabled people, file false Medicaid claims and charge Medicaid for services not provided, according to the News. He remains in jail. His attorney, Walter Hawkins, did not immediately return a call. Milam was jailed for violating his probation for a guilty plea to felony theft, the suit said. He has since been placed on house arrest. This article includes reporting by NBC's Isolde Raftery and The Associated Press.

Bus a vehicle to urge students to choose school, not prison

IVA — A school bus of a different stripe idled in front of Crescent High School on Tuesday. The first half looked like a typical yellow school bus. But the rest was painted a dull white, the color of prison buses in Alabama. Inside, eight 11th-grade girls sat listening to Chet Pennock tell them why they need to stay in school. Reason No. 1 is to avoid prison. At the back of the bus, the girls walked inside an 8-foot by 8-foot replica of a cell that held a metal bunk bed, toilet and water fountain once used by prisoners in Holman Correctional Facility in Atmore, Ala. Some of the students whispered. Others said nothing and stared blankly at a schedule posted on the wall. Wake-up time at most prisons is 3:30 a.m. Work begins at 7 a.m. Lights must be out at 10:30 p.m. “No cellphones, no iPods, no video games, no curling irons, no hair products,” Pennock said. “A typical cell this size will almost always have four people, all out in the open to see, hear and smell the things we do in private.” Pennock is a lead presenter with the Mattie C. Stewart Foundation based in Birmingham, Ala. The nonprofit drives its Choice Buses to middle schools and high schools across the nation to reduce the dropout rate. The message is simple, and tangible: Stay in school or you could go to jail.
Before students walk into the jail cell the bars never close on them — they watch a short movie that presents sobering statistics. According to the Mattie C. Stewart Foundation, 75 percent of inmates nationwide are high school dropouts, and college graduates earn $1 million more than high school dropouts over a lifetime. Student reactions tend to be candid, said program manager Lynn Smelley, from an age group that generally has little to say. “It goes from ‘Oh, I don’t want to be here,’ to ‘Are you kidding me?’ ” he said. The bus stayed at Crescent for the entire school day and will be in Greenville, Union and Sumter the rest of the week. It is in South Carolina free because of a partnership with State Farm Insurance and Personal Pathways to Success, a statewide education program. Since the foundation began in 2007, more than 1.5 million students have stepped on its buses. The bus is not a scare tactic, said Phil Christian, executive director of the foundation. “You hear them tell them all the time, hey you’ve got to stay in school, but do we ever tell them why? I think it’s just assumed.” Phil Christian, Mattie C. Stewart Foundation executive director “It’s simply there to remind you that this is the likely consequence of people who drop out,” he said. “You hear them tell them all the time, hey you’ve got to stay in school, but do we ever tell them why? I think it’s just assumed.” The foundation does not keep track of the dropout rates of schools visited by its soon-to-be four buses, but it has a 100 percent ask-back rate, Christian said. “We’ve got a waiting list so long we can’t accommodate all of them,” he said. Crescent Principal Devon Smith is staging his own intervention to motivate students to take charge of their futures. He keeps a wirebound notebook full of the names of about 50 students who are behind on classwork, homework, projects and essays. Students must stay after school to complete projects, and sometimes that means missing football practice. If he has to, Smith said, he will drive home a student or two. “We want to start changing that culture to, ‘I will do my work, I will be successful,’” Smith said. “The main reason kids fail is because they don’t get all the work in. It’s amazing.” Students slack off because they’re bored, lazy — the list goes on, the principal said. But he saw improvements almost immediately following the first week of after-school academic detention last week. Parents are supportive of the effort, but it is tiring. Smith spent most of Tuesday communicating with students. Iva-based Anderson School District 3, which includes Crescent as its only high school, has had a dwindling number of dropouts. According to statistics from the South Carolina Department of Education, the number dropped to 14 during the 2011-12 school year from 33 in 2007-08. Christopher Bowling, an 11th-grader, will not be part of that number. He plans on attending college, a plan affirmed by watching video interviews of prisoners while he was aboard the bus. “Hearing other peoples’ stories make me want to do the right thing,” he said. By Jennifer Crossley Howard Posted October 17, 2012

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Prison guards arrested for taking bribes

(Raleigh, NC) -- Two guards at a private prison in North Carolina have been charged with accepting bribes to smuggle in cellphones and cigarettes. Rhonda Boyd and Raye Lynn Holley worked as correctional officers at Rivers Correctional Institution, a 1,450-bed prison in Winton, N.C. According to a federal criminal indictment made public Wednesday, Boyd is charged with conspiracy to commit bribery and acceptance of a bribe, while Holley is charged with accepting a bribe. The indictment alleges that the two had been smuggling contraband into the prison since early 2011. Rivers is a private prison owned by The GEO Group, Inc., a Florida-based company that contracts with the Federal Bureau of Prisons to house federal inmates and detainees. Many of the prisoners housed at the facility are from the District of Columbia.

Monday, October 8, 2012

What Jerry Sandusky can expect in Pa. prison

By Associated Press, Published: October 7 HARRISBURG, Pa. — Jerry Sandusky will walk into state prison with little more than a watch and wedding band. He’ll be able to work a 30-hour week to make a few dollars. He’ll be able to watch Penn State football but not violent movies. If the former Penn State defensive coach is sentenced Tuesday to a long state prison term, he will find himself far removed from the comfortable suburban life he once led, placed under the many rules and regulations of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections. Even Sandusky’s own attorney believes that whatever sentence he gets, at age 68 Sandusky will likely live out his days inside a state prison. Prison officials, written policies and former offenders provided a detailed look to The Associated Press about the regimented life behind bars that Sandusky faces. Sandusky has been housed in isolation inside the Centre County Correctional Facility in Bellefonte since his conviction in June on 45 counts of child sexual abuse, and he has spent his days reading and writing, preparing a statement for sentencing and working out twice a day, defense attorney Joe Amendola said. “Jerry is a very likable guy — he gets along with everybody,” Amendola said last week, as he worked with Sandusky to help get his affairs in order, including a power of attorney and updated will. “He’s a model inmate. He doesn’t cause problems, he’s sociable, he’s pleasant.” Assuming Judge John Cleland gives him at least two years — the minimum threshold for a state prison sentence — Sandusky’s first stop will be the Camp Hill state prison near Harrisburg, where all male inmates undergo a couple weeks of testing to determine such things as mental and physical health, education level and any treatment needs. Prison officials will assign him a security level risk and decide which “home prison” to send him to. Although Sandusky’s home in the Lemont area of State College is only a couple miles from Rockview state prison, there is no way to predict where he will end up. Older inmates sometimes end up at Laurel Highlands, which can better treat more severe medical problems, or Waymart, a comparatively lower-security prison in the state’s northeastern corner. The roughly 6,800 sex offenders are scattered throughout the prison system, which has no special units for them. Treatment is available for sex offenders, and those who hope to be paroled must participate. “My guess is he’ll wind up in a minimum-security facility, and probably a facility for nonviolent people,” Amendola said. A convicted sex offender who spent 10 years in prison, and who works with other released sex offenders through the Pennsylvania Prison Society, said Sandusky won’t be able to keep a low profile. “You can have some control over how obscure you are as a prisoner,” said the 52-year-old man from the Philadelphia suburbs, who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because of the stigma attached to sex offenses. “You can either make yourself standout, or you can stay closer to the woodwork. There’s no hiding that man.”