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Inouye and David SoHappy Sr., at Geiger Corrections Center in March 1988. Spokesman-Review photo by Dan Pelle.
The passing of Sen. Daniel Inouye this week generated some memories from long-time Democrat Tom Keefe, who reminded Spin Control of the time the Hawaiian senator came to Spokane in 1988 and made a trip to Geiger Corrections Center.
We'll let Keefe tell the story:
On March 6, 1988 Inouye of Hawaii, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, visited with David Sohappy and his son, David, Jr., following their acquittal in Yakama Tribal Court of all charges related to the federal/state “Salmonscam” sting operation that occurred on the fall of 1981 and the spring of 1982 along the Columbia River. Following their conviction in federal court in Los Angeles, the Sohappys were each sentenced to serve five years in federal prison for selling their own salmon (David, Sr. was convicted of selling 317, David, Jr. to selling 28) to undercover federal agents. The first photo was picked up by the Associated Press and appeared in newspapers nationwide.
As our visit was ending, David and his son stood on each side of Senator Inouye, David, Sr. facing him. They began to slowly sing a sacred Feather Religion song, passing their hands through the air above and around the senator, who stood with head bowed in silent reflection. When they finished, he thanked them both.
Before coming to Spokane, Senator Inouye asked me to provide him with standard sentencing ranges under Washington State law for a variety of crimes (burglary, child abuse, bank robbery, etc.) for which David and his son would have received lesser prison sentences. He calmly and deliberately listed those offenses for the gathered press as we departed the prison yard, and thereby highlighted the disproportionality of what had occurred. Senator Inouye continued to carry that message to Indian Country and to the White House until the Sohappys were released. Without his intervention, David would have likely died in prison.
Senator Inouye’s last words to David at the prison gate were, “Don’t give up. The next time we meet again I hope it is at your home at Cooks Landing”. When David Sohappy passed away, Senator Inouye sent a personal note of condolence to the Sohappy family.
The federal “Salmonscam” and subsequent search for justice for David Sohappy proved to be the final great battle of the “Indian wars” over treaty fishing rights that had plagued the Pacific Northwest and the State of Washington for over a century. Thanks largely to the courage of Senator Daniel Inouye, that sad chapter in our state’s history was finally closed.
An inmate at Geiger Corrections Center is accused of trying to strangle another inmate as she used a toilet late Wednesday.
A witness told corrections deputies the victim looked like “a deer in headlights” when Maria C. Schlienger, 23, attacked her with a pink, torn-up rag as the victim sat on a toilet in a bathroom stall at Geiger, 3507 S. Spotted Road, according to court documents.
Geiger, which is slated to close, is a minimum-security facility that houses overflow inmates from the Spokane County Jail.
The witness said Schlienger wrapped the rag around the woman's neck until she intervened. The 26-year-old victim, who is serving time for a drunken driving conviction, briefly lost consciousness, officials say.
A sheriff's deputy responded to the jail and noticed a faint red mark on the victim's neck. The rag was recovered from the bathroom floor.
Schlienger was transported to the jail on a second-degree assault charge.
Inmates at Geiger Corrections Center helped clean up thousands of dollars worth of damage to the city park in Rockford recently.
Three young teens have been charged as juveniles with the vandalism, which was reported May 21. Another boy is facing a trespassing charge.
The vandals damaged the Lyon's Club picnic shelter, fair building and “nearly every other structure and fixture within the park,” according to the Spokane County Sheriff's Office.
Seven inmates from Geiger spent about 6 1/2 hours cleaning the park last Thursday.
“The Geiger Inmate Work Crew Program performs manual and skilled labor such as clean up, litter pick up, graffiti removal, forestry work, limited maintenance and other projects for non-profit and government agencies related to public health, safety and welfare,” according to a news release.
On its face, moving inmates from the Spokane County jail system to a jail in Kennewick solves big problems.
In the short term, local governments would save hundreds of thousands of dollars at a time when they’re continuing to deal with difficult budget decisions.
In the long term, it could take pressure off the county to build a new jail to replace the aging Geiger Corrections Center, which county leaders have fought to replace for years with little political success.
But county officials are fighting the potential move, which was sparked by city of Spokane officials who have long battled the county over the daily rates the county charges to hold inmates.
This is a screen shot of a video vehicle prowling suspect Nathan Calvert posted on his Facebook page.
A car prowling suspect who escaped from Geiger Corrections Center now faces an additional felony charge.
Nathan John Calvert is to be arraigned next week on a charge of second-degree escape.
He was arrested Feb. 23 in the area of 2900 E. Cleveland Ave. after escaping Geiger on Feb. 11.
Calvert, 28, already is charged with residential burglary, possession of a stolen firearm and three counts of second-degree theft for a theft spree that included him posting a video of himself with suspect stolen property on his Facebook page.
The alleged spree ended when an attorney caught him in his truck. Spokane Valley police say Calvert told detectives he committed 30 to 40 vehicle prowlings and garage burglaries a night for two to three weeks throughout Spokane County.
An inmate assaulted another inmate at Geiger Corrections Center Friday evening, officials said today.
Anthony Neil Carson, 33, was moved to the Spokane County Jail to face a second-degree assault charge after entering the victim's room and punching him in the face and body repeatedly, according to the Spokane County Sheriff's Office.
The victim, whose name has not been released, received stitches and treatment for a facial fracture at a local hospital.
Carson “apparently felt the victim inmate was spreading rumors and talking bad about him,” according to a news release by sheriff's spokesman Deputy Mark Gregory.
Carson was serving a 180-day sentence for a District Court bench warrant, according to jail records. He was convicted last year of possession of a controlled substance, driving while intoxicated and third-degree theft.
This is a screen shot of a video vehicle prowling suspect Nathan Calvert posted on his Facebook page.
Authorities still are looking for a car prowling suspect who escaped from Geiger Corrections Center Saturday, officials said today.
Nathan John Calvert, who posted a video of himself with suspected stolen property on his Facebook page just before his arrest in December, had been working in the kitchen area when staff noticed he was gone about 3:30 p.m. The facility was locked down as staff looked for Calvert, according to the Spokane County Sheriff's Office.
Calvert, 28, has pleaded not guilty to felony charges related to a car prowling spree that ended when an attorney caught him in his truck. Spokane Valley police say Calvert had a stolen Jeep filled with stolen property. Calvert told detectives he committed 30 to 40 vehicle prowlings and garage burglaries a night for two to three weeks throughout Spokane County.
Detectives expect to use Calvert's Facebook video as evidence. The video shows Calvert in a vehicle he describes as a Jeep. He focuses on stolen property in the back of the vehicle and says he hasn't decided what he's going to do yet. Then he raps. Check out the video here.
Anyone with information on Calvert's location is asked to call 911. Anyone who was near Geiger at the time of the escape and may have seen someone matching Calvert's description also is asked to call 911.
It's the second escape from Geiger in three weeks. Two women were arrested after escaping in January.
A Spokane couple has been arrested for helping two women escape Geiger Corrections Center Tuesday, the sheriff's office said today.
Troy Arvid Scheiber, 43 and Judith A. Scheiber, 46, were booked into jail for second-degree rendering criminal assistance late Tuesday after deputies determined they planned to give Kathleen D. Stockton, 49, and Rachel A. Banks, 25, a ride out of the area.
Stockton (left) and Banks (right) were arrested after one of the women, whose hand and face were bloodied and who was wearing only one shoe, asked for a ride at the Airway Express on Geiger Boulevard, according to the Sheriff’s Office. She reportedly told employees that she had “jumped the fence” at the corrections center. The women escaped through a broken window.
The women were severely injured by razor wire from the facility's fence - sheriff's office spokesman Deputy Mark Gregory described some of their cuts as initially life threatening. Banks also broke her ankle, Gregory said.
The suspects were moved to the Spokane County Jail to await their appearances in Superior Court today for first-degree escape.
Stockton was serving time for felony drug possession. She was arrested in 2005 for stealing purses from churches and day cares. Banks was arrested earlier this month on charges of residential burglary and possession of a stolen vehicle. She also was arrested in April after crashing a stolen car into a house.
Geiger, located at 3507 South Spotted Road, is a branch o the jail that houses “low level inmates that don't pose a threat to the community,” Gregory said, but the incident illustrates the problems that arise when inmates are housed at a facility that isn't designed for such a purpose.
“Temporary security measures were put in place immediately following the incident,” Gregory said in a news release.”The facility administrators will be considering options for more permanent measures, knowing that the only real fix is to build a replacement facility.”
A 15-time felon considered by law enforcement to be one of the area’s most active criminals is accused of planning an escape at Geiger Corrections Center, and jail staff are investigating why he was placed at the minimum-security facility.
Jeffery Edward Krell, 44, was caught with marijuana at the Spokane County Jail last month, but he had recently been reclassified as a lower security inmate when Geiger staff discovered 15 screws missing from a broken window in his unit at Geiger in Airway Heights, which serves as an extension of the jail for minimum security inmates, said Sgt. Dave Reagan, spokesman for the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office.
“I don’t know why” Krell was reclassified, Reagan said, adding that staff at Geiger “are kind of scratching their heads, too.”
A jail inmate who escaped from work crew was arrested Thursday at a home in the South Perry Neighborhood, leading to the renter’s arrest on a criminal assistance charge.
Jason W. Breedlove, 37, was allowed out of Geiger Corrections Center with a work crew despite a recent recommendation from booking officials that he be placed in a more secure facility, according to the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office. He walked away from snow clean up on Dec. 1.
Breedlove is charged with several property crimes in Kootenai County, including a car prowling at Capone’s Pub and Grill last summer, according to court records.
Here’s a dispatch from Sgt. Dave Reagan, spokesman for the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office:
“It was not so much a jail break as it was a wing break. Sgt. Jon Simbler at the Geiger Corrections Center discovered a large owl inside the perimeter fence Sunday and noted that it appeared to have a broken wing. It was cranky, he added.
Not wanting to risk the bird’s talons, he began calling around to see if he could locate professional help for the owl. A call to sheriff’s dispatch produced no results, nor did a call to the Washington State Patrol.
The WSP dispatcher said that although they dispatch for the state game department, they would only come if it was a spotted owl. Sgt. Simbler said it didn’t appear to have spots.
Finally, Lt. Mike Rohrscheib called a wild animal rescue group who put him in touch with a bird rescue specialist. “Marilyn” said that she hadn’t been in the business for a number of years, but knew of a veterinarian who treated birds if they could catch it.
“Watch out for the talons,” she added.
Rohrscheib kept looking and located a private wildlife specialist who took the owl into “custody” and drove it to the Jerry Ponti Veterinary Clinic. By now the bird was looking quite lethargic and its survival was in question.
However, on Monday the owl was described as getting stronger and eating and drinking. X-rays were planned and surgery is in the future if needed. On Tuesday, he was downright feisty.
Simbler Tuesday humbly reported that it was the entire staff at Geiger who displayed an overwhelming sense of duty to see that the owl survived.”
An inmate who escaped from a Hoopfest work crew is back in jail after police say he tried to steal a car.
Gary J. Todd, 29, was arrested Monday after a homeowner in the 3700 block of E. 13th Ave. found Todd trying to steal his 2004 Chevy Cavalier, according to a probable cause affidavit.
Todd fled on a black BMX bike but was arrested in the 300 block of South Lacey about 20 minutes later after someone reported a man “saying he had escaped from Geiger and was running form the police.”
Police had been looking for Todd since June 28, when he never returned from a bathroom break while working with an inmate crew at Hoopfest.
A guard found his discarded jumpsuit and goggles inside the portable toilet. Geiger officials believe the escape was planned because Todd apparently had a change of clothes waiting for him.
Todd was to be released Oct. 11 on a drunken driving charge but faces a new felony charge of attempt theft of a motor vehicle. He appeared in Superior Court on that charge Wednesday, where his bond was set at $7,500.
An inmate serving time for a drunken driving conviction still is at large after walking away from a Hoopfest work crew Friday night.
Gary J. Todd, 29, hasn’t been seen since he asked to use a portable toilet near the INB Performing Arts Cente after his crew finished setting up equipment about 11:30 p.m., according to the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office.
A guard found his discarded jumpsuit and goggles inside the portable. Geiger officials believe the escape was planned because Todd apparently had a change of clothes waiting for him.
Todd is not considered a threat to the community, but anyone with information about his whereabouts is urged to call 911.
Geiger sent five crews to help set up for Hoopfest in downtown. A Hoopfest official said crews are carefully screened before being assigned to work at the event.
Todd was to be released Oct. 11. He has a history of drunken driving convictions, including a conviction for operating a motor vehicle without an ignition interlock.
The Geiger Corrections Center will soon become an interim version of the treatment-focused “community corrections center” that is to be part of a jail-construction bond measure next April.
Although Geiger will be available for overflow from the Spokane County Jail, its new mission will be to provide 144 beds for offenders who are nearing release. Jail officials already have started rearranging inmate populations to conform to Geiger’s revised role.
Inmates who are considered suitable candidates will receive a formal regimen of classes, substance-abuse treatment and other help in turning their lives around.
Read the rest of John Craig’s story here.
Spokane County will lay off 57 jail employees next month to offset a big drop in the number of inmates.
The employees were notified Tuesday evening, and formal layoff notices were to be distributed today.
Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich said his jail budget would have been $8 million in the hole by the end of year if county commissioners hadn’t approved the cuts.
The layoffs will include 30 corrections deputies at the Geiger Corrections Center – more than 40 percent of the deputies at the center. At the main Spokane County Jail, 14 of 140 deputies will lose their jobs.
Read the rest of John Craig’s story here.
A metal bar sharpened into a dagger was found in an inmate’s cell at Geiger Corrections Center this week.
Alan M. Lloyd, 32, is accused of making the weapon out of a metal bar inside his brace, according to court documents. Guards found the item during routine cell checks Tuesday night.
Lloyd appeared in Spokane County Superior Court Thursday on a felony charge of possession of weapon by a prisoner.
His bond was set at $10,000. He’d been at Geiger on $15,000 bond for a residential burglary charge from January.
The Spokane County Jail will be featured on a cable television show this Thursday.
An hour-long episode of the show “Behind Bars” on the Discovery Channel will explore life at the jail and feature interviews with inmates and employees.
“In the Spokane County Jail, accused murderers, rapists and the mentally ill outnumber the staff four-to-one and put an elite force of officers to the test,” according to the program guide for the show.
A television crew for the network filmed in the jail and at Geiger Corrections Center in September and October.
They also filmed in Spokane County Superior Court, including a hearing for mentally ill accused killer Cole K. Strandberg (pictured left being led into a court hearing earlier this month).
The crew told a court clerk they planned to interview Strandberg at the jail.
“Behind Bars” was first called “Hard Time” and featured two episodes exploring prison life in Alaska and Indiana.
On Thursday, three new hour-long segments will air, beginning with the Spokane County Jail at 8 p.m.
The Shelby County Jail in Memphis, Tn., and the Cook County Jail in Chicago also will be featured.