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Sirens & Gavels

Posts tagged: Idaho Department of Correction

Inmates claim gangs are running Idaho prison

A group of inmates is suing Idaho, saying the contractor running the state's private prison is cutting back on labor costs by letting prison gangs help run the prison.

Among other things, the litigants claim that gang leaders inside the Idaho Correctional Center are consulted by prison staff before new inmates are placed into certain cell blocks.

Prison officials dispute any suggestion of impropriety, saying they take various steps to insure security for all inside the facility.

But recognizing and conferring with gang leaders, the plaintiffs argue, strengthens the gang culture by legitimizing its authority.

Here's a link to an Associated Press article about the lawsuit.

Another escape attempt at Benewah jail

State officials learned of an attempted Wednesday escape at the Benewah County Jail when officials at another jail called to say the inmate had been transferred there, and they wanted him gone. 

The Idaho Department of Correction is working to transport Timothy Wesley Allen, 30, to another facility, said spokesman Jeff Ray.

Allen was awaiting transfer to state custody on a parole violation when he tried to break through a wall at the jail, Ray said.

Jailers discovered the attempted break-in about 10 p.m., Ray said. Benewah County Sheriff's Office transferred Allen to the Shoshone County Jail in Wallace, Idaho.

Jailers called the state official in charge of the facility and asked that Allen be removed as soon as possible.

“He said 'how come?' and found out why,” Ray said.

The Benewah County Sheriff’s Office did not return a phone call seeking comment.

Allen has convictions for grand theft, robbery, DUI and accessory to a robbery in Montana in 2009, Ray said.

This is the second time in six months Benewah County has failed to notify the department of an escape or attempted escape by a state inmate.

Jesse John Wilkenson, also known as Jesse Brebner, 20, has escaped twice - last July and last September.

2-time jail escapee back in custody

A burglar who escaped from the Benewah County Jail in July escaped again early Tuesday, authorities say, but was back in custody by Tuesday night.

Jesse John Wilkenson, 20, also known as Jesse Brebner, was in custody on charges related to the July 15 escape when he left the jail about 12:15 a.m. A Benewah County sheriff's deputy, acting on a tip, arrested Wilkenson after establishing a roadblock west of St. Maries, according to the St. Maries Gazette Record.

Wilkenson had been sentenced to a 365-day prison treatment program for a burglary conviction but hadn't been transferred to a state facility because he was awaiting the resolution of his escape charge, which carries up to five years in prison, said Teresa Jones, spokeswoman for the Idaho Department of Correction.

Benewah County authorities did not notify state prison officials of Wilkenson's escape in July for several days, but Jones said the department knew of Tuesday's escape early that day.

Past coverage:

July 21: Cross deputization helped nab jail escapee

July 19: Benewah County kept jail escape quiet

Cross-deputization helped nab escapee

A convicted burglar who escaped Friday from Benewah County Jail has been recaptured, thanks in part to Kootenai County’s cross-deputization agreement with the Coeur d’Alene Tribal Police.

Tribal officers made the arrest working with Plummer city police and the Benewah County Sheriff’s Office, authorities said Wednesday.

Jesse John Wilkenson, 20, also known as Jesse Brebner, was recaptured at 2 a.m. Wednesday on Conklin Park Road, according to the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Department.

Read the rest of Alison Boggs' story here.

Past coverage:

July 19: Benewah County kept jail escape quiet

Benewah County kept jail escape quiet

UPDATE: Wilkenson was arrested early Wednesday in Kootenai County. Read more here.

State authorities issued a warning that a convicted felon escaped Friday from Benewah County Jail after learning local officials failed to do so.

“Anytime someone is running from the law, we consider them to pose a measure of risk because they may be acting desperately and irrationally,” said Jeff Ray, a spokesman for the Idaho Department of Correction. “You gotta hit the red button when these guys get loose.”

Jesse John Wilkenson, also known as Jesse Brebner, is 20 and has brown hair and brown eyes. He is 5-foot-8, 146 pounds and has a medium complexion, a news release from the Idaho Department of Correction said Tuesday.

Wilkenson was sentenced Friday to a year-long retained jurisdiction program following a burglary conviction and a probation violation. Judges can retain jurisdiction over offenders during evaluation and treatment. If they complete the program successfully, offenders can be released on probation and avoid longer prison sentences, the release said.

Wilkenson escaped a few hours after the sentencing, the news release said.

Ray said Benewah County officials alerted the Department of Correction about the escape in the notes column of a form faxed to the state Monday that details when a prisoner can be transported.

As a felon, Wilkenson falls under the state’s jurisdiction, Ray said.

“We didn’t know about it until Monday and then it was buried,” Ray said. “If it’s an offender under our jurisdiction, we want to know if he’s loose.”

Benewah County Sheriff Robert Kirts did not return phone calls seeking comment.

Anyone with information about Wilkenson’s whereabouts is asked to call local law enforcement.

Reunion with deputy leads to arrest

A transient was arrested early today after a Spokane County sheriff's deputy recognized him from previous arrests in Idaho.

Having been arrested before is hardly probable cause to be rearrested, but, according to the sheriff's office, Timothy Karl Turnbull, 52, (pictured) had a suspended driver's license and a warrant from the Idaho Department of Correction.

Turnbull was stopped after Deputy Chuck Sciortino spotted him driving a car without a seat belt in the West Plains area.

Sciortino had previously arrested Turnbull while a Kootenai County sheriff's deputy. He ordered Turnbull out of the car to arrest him after learning of the suspended license and warrant. A baggie of methamphetamine feel from Turnbull as he stood up, a news release said.

Turnbull was booked into jail for the driver's license misdemeanor and a felony drug charge. He may face fugitive charges related to the warrant and felon in possession of ammunition charge for bullets found under the driver's seat of his car.

Turnbull has previous drug convictions in Kootenai and Boundary counties, according to the Department of Correction.
   

Escaped Idaho killer captured in Spokane

An escaped killer from Idaho was arrested in north Spokane today. 

Kelly Renee Norton, 44, walked away from the Pocatello Women’s Correctional Center Sunday night, according to the Idaho Department of Correction.

She was arrested at Francis Avenue and Division Street about 10 a.m. this morning after detectives got a tip from Pocatello police.

Norton was sentenced in 1994 to a 10- to 20-year sentence for second-degree murder in Washington County. She also was convicted of drug possession.

Norton has been at the prison’s community custody unit since Oct. 9.

The unit is outside the main prison fence and houses minimum security inmates “who regularly work in the community,” according to the Idaho Department of Correction.

Authorities think Norton walked from the facility to a waiting vehicle.

Wanted: Two Whipples

An accused armed robber failed to appear in court earlier this month, and Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for information that leads to his capture.

Joseph E. Whipple, 21, (left) and Jimmy D. Dempsey, 17, were each due in Spokane County Superior Court May 20 on charges of first-degree robbery in a case featured in this blog post.

Whipple didn’t show, and Crime Stoppers sent his mug shot and a brief description of his charges to the media today.

Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or submit tips online at www.crimestoppersinlandnorthwest.org.

Joe Whipple is the second Whipple making the news today.

Jeffrey Anthony Whipple, 44, escaped from a work crew with two other prisoners near Avery, Idaho, Sunday night or early this morning. Read a story on that here.

There is no indication whether the two are related.

UPDATE: Jeffrey Whipple was arrested on 6/2/09. Read about his arrest here. UPDATE 6/23/09: Joseph Whipple has been arrested.

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