Probe under way after inmate event questioned

MADISON, Wis. (AP) – An investigation is under way after five Wisconsin correctional officers took inmates from a boot camp for alcoholics and drug addicts to an event where alcohol was served.

The probe began after a drug treatment counselor complained that allowing the inmates to get near alcohol was a setback to their treatment. Counselor Mark Nelson of Prairie Farm alleges he was pushed out of his job after he filed his complaint, though a Department of Corrections spokesman denies any retaliation.

The inmates were taken to hear a motivational speaker June 17th.

Officials at the St. Croix Correctional Center approved the jaunt for the inmates, saying they were closely supervised and couldn’t get alcohol.


New Jersey Corrections Officer Charged With Drug Trafficking

NEWARK, N.J. — A veteran Newark prison guard was charged with leading a half million dollar drug ring that bought cocaine in Texas and Florida and distributed it in New Jersey, authorities said Thursday.

 Officials said they began investigating senior corrections officer Eugene Braswell last August when outside his Newark home he fatally shot a former inmate paroled from Northern State Prison.

 Braswell, 29, had worked at Northern State but there is no evidence that he had sold drugs there, authorities said

The dead parolee, Waliford Williams, 34, had served time for drug dealing and had allegedly shot Braswell in the ankle as he sat on his porch, authorities said. Braswell, a prison guard for the past decade, returned fire and fatally struck Williams twice, once in the neck, officials said.

 Braswell and three alleged accomplices were arrested Thursday while two others had been picked up earlier in the month, officials said.

 A search of his home and car found $16,000 in cash and a .357 magnum, authorities said.

 “This was a lengthy and diligent investigation that began as a result of the shooting incident last summer involving a state correction officer who was sworn to uphold the law but instead broke the law by running a massive and illegal drug trafficking operation,’’ Attorney General Anne Milgram said.

 Braswell has been charged with leading a narcotics network, other drug charges, money laundering and conspiracy. Bail was set at $500,000.


Federal prison guards indicted

ASHLAND — Two correctional officers at the United States Penitentiary Big Sandy in Inez have been indicted by a federal grand jury in Ashland on charges of conspiracy to violate the civil rights of an inmate.

Larry Ray Miller, Jr., 32, of Hazard, and Christopher Fallen, 25, of Campton, are charged with conspiracy to violate the civil rights of a Big Sandy inmate, aiding and abetting each other in violating the inmate’s rights and providing an inmate with a pocket knife.

According to the indictment, the two officers conspired to punish an inmate confined to the Special Housing Unit at the penitentiary. Reasons for placing an inmate in SHU include violations of Bureau of Prisons internal rules and regulations pertaining to inmate conduct.

Larry Ray Miller, Jr. was listed as the number one officer assigned to the evening watch of the SHU. According to the indictment, he had supervisory authority over other correctional officers on his watch and was responsible for the management, custody, care, and safety of the inmates in the SHU.
On Dec. 30, 2007, Miller allegedly learned that the inmate, listed in the indictment only as “M.L.T.,” had assaulted a correctional officer during a forced cell extraction on the previous day. Miller allegedly cursed at M.L.T., banged on his cell door and told him that he could have him assaulted or killed for a carton of cigarettes. Miller also allegedly threw a bucket of mop water under the cell door and soaked M.L.T.’s bedding and clothing.

The indictment also lists an incident on the same day where Miller allegedly made a show of cleaning his fingernails with his pocket knife in view of M.L.T

Kevin Christopher Fallen was listed as the number two officer assigned to the evening watch of the SHU. His duties included the management, custody, care and safety of the inmates in the SHU.

According to the indictment, Fallen entered M.L.T.’s cell on the same day and presented a pocket knife to him, in violation of BOP procedures.

Miller and Fallen face a maximum prison sentence of 25 years if found guilty of the charges. For the counts of violating an inmate’s civil rights and aiding and abetting each other in the violation of those rights, they can receive not more than 10 years of imprisonment, a $250,000 fine and not more than three years of supervised release. For the charge of proving an inmate with a pocket knife, they can receive not more than five years of imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, and not more than three years of supervised release.

Miller and Fallen are scheduled to appear for their initial arraignment in Pikeville on July 31.