Gunmen free more than 1,800 inmates in attack on Nigerian prison

Burnt vehicles are seen outside the Nigeria police force Imo state command headquaters after gunmen attacked and set properties ablaze in Imo State
Burnt vehicles are seen outside the Nigeria police force Imo state command headquaters after gunmen attacked and set properties ablaze in Imo State, Nigeria April 5, 2021. Picture taken April 5, 2021. David Dosunmu/Handout via REUTERS

April 6, 2021

By Tife Owolabi

YENAGOA, Nigeria (Reuters) – More than 1,800 prisoners are on the run in southeast Nigeria after escaping when heavily armed gunmen attacked their prison using explosives and rocket-propelled grenades, the authorities said.

Nigerian police said it believed a banned separatist group, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), was behind the attack in the city of Owerri, but a spokesman for the group denied involvement.

The secessionist movement in the southeast is one of several serious security challenges facing President Muhammadu Buhari, including a decade-long Islamist insurgency in the northeast, a spate of school kidnappings in the northwest and piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.

Buhari said the attack, in a city near the oil-rich Niger Delta region that is the mainstay of Africa’s top crude exporter and biggest economy, was an “act of terrorism”. He ordered security forces to apprehend the fleeing prisoners.

The attackers stormed the facility at around 2:15 a.m. (0115 GMT) on Monday, according to the Nigerian Correctional Service said.

“The Owerri Custodial Centre in Imo state has been attacked by unknown gunmen and forcefully released a total of 1,844 inmates in custody,” its spokesman said in a statement late on Monday.

The police said attackers used explosives to blast the administrative block of the prison and entered the prison yard.

“Preliminary investigations have revealed that the attackers… are members of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB),” said Frank Mba, a spokesman for the Nigeria Police Force.

IPOB wants independence for a region in southeast Nigeria it calls Biafra. One million people died in a 1967-70 civil war between the Nigerian government and secessionists there.

In recent months security in the region has deteriorated. Several police stations have been attacked since January, with large amounts of ammunition stolen and reports of the IPOB’s paramilitary wing, the Eastern Security Network (ESN), clashing with the military.

But an IPOB spokesman told Reuters the group did not carry out the prison raid.

“IPOB and ESN were not involved in the attack in Owerri, Imo state. It is not our mandate to attack security personnel or prison facilities,” the IPOB spokesman said in a phone call.

(Reporting by Tife Owolabi in Yenagoa and Anamesere Igboeroteonwu in Onitsha; Additional reporting by Camillus Eboh in Abuja; Writing by Tom Hogue and Alexis Akwagyiram; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

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Cuomo changes course, allows elderly inmates to receive coronavirus vaccine

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced this week that the state’s oldest inmates are now eligible for the coronavirus vaccine. 

The state Corrections Department said Thursday it is preparing to vaccinate the 1,075 people in custody who are 65 and older. 

An announcement by Corrections spokesperson Thomas Mailey reversed a previous policy that allowed vaccines for prison staff but not for prisoners, according to Gothamist. 

New York is currently vaccinating those in Phase 1a and 1b: health care workers; residents of congregate care facilities; frontline workers, such as police, teachers and grocery store employees; and people who are 65 and older.  Beginning Feb. 15, people with underlying health conditions that put them at greater risk will also be eligible for vaccination. 


The state is currently facing a lawsuit on behalf of two men at Rikers Island who are under the age of 65 and have been denied the vaccine. They say they should be eligible because they are housed in a congregate setting. 

Asked at his Friday press briefing why prisons were not lumped in with other congregate settings, such as nursing homes, Cuomo said: “I don’t know the specific definition of ‘congregate.'”

He said the state was treating those inside prisons the same as the general population. “We are doing 65-plus and medically frail. It’s the same set of rules for both.”

Since the start of the pandemic, over 5,000 New York prisoners have contracted COVID-19 and 31 have died. 

A group of public defenders and advocacy groups said Friday that the governor’s order did little to right the injustice they saw in denying any incarcerated person a vaccine. 


“Today’s announcement that New York will begin moving toward offering the vaccine to elderly people in prison — who have been eligible for the vaccine now for weeks — has little to do with the patently illegal and immoral practice challenged in court today,” they said in a statement posted by the New York Civil Liberties Union.


“COVID-19 is a danger for incarcerated people of all ages because of the unique risks that the [prison] setting creates. That danger is borne overwhelmingly by people of color. Every single person incarcerated in New York state needs access to the vaccine.”

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Mississippi leaders say they can’t expand Medicaid, citing the cost. (What they don’t say is they’ve already expanded it to cover inmates.) — Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting

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Corrective Services Day: Gerda Foster swings from jazz to assisting inmates | Goulburn Post

news, local-news, Gerda Foster, Bundanoon, Berrima, Goulburn, National Corrections Day, inmates, A Year of Slow Food

It’s not every day you’ll find a resume that includes nightclub singer and programs officer for the state’s most serious inmates but that’s the case for Gerda Foster. Ms Foster swapped the jazz bars of Canberra for casual teaching at Berrima Correctional Centre in 1984. She then moved to Goulburn Correctional Centre as a drug and alcohol counsellor in 1986, later gaining a degree in criminology. READ ALSO: “I literally went from glamour to wearing my frumpish track suits, and dealing with some inmates who have done the most heinous of crimes,” she said. Although Ms Foster may miss the glamour, “changing [inmates] lives is what I’m passionate about and that’s why I’m still here today”. Ms Foster is among 10,000 Corrective Services NSW staff celebrated on National Corrections Day, January 15. The now senior services and programs officer began her career by chance when her author husband was running writing courses at Berrima Correctional Centre in the 1980s. Ms Foster said there had been great changes within the department over the decades. “When I first began, we didn’t have the technology or the structured, evidence-based training that our staff are now provided,” she said. “It came down to our creativeness to assist these offenders and I would run programs involving aerobics, meditation and nutrition because I believe healthy body, mind and spirit leads to behaviour change. “Workplace culture has improved too – it was male-dominated before but we see more female staff today, there’s greater cooperation between all units and the way we speak with offenders is much more meaningful, which is really important to help these people.” The grandmother of 21 is also a passionate gardener and has lived a largely self-sufficient life in Bundanoon, publishing a book with her husband, A Year of Slow Food, in 2000 on planting and harvesting. “There’s been a lot of research done into poor diet and crime delinquency and I do believe if you’re a mentally and physically healthy person when you leave prison, you will want to meet other healthy people and stay clear of your old ways of turning to drugs,” she said. “Unfortunately we can’t change the past so we need to deal with the here and now, providing them with the support networks and skills to cope and change their attitudes. “Keeping them engaged leads to successful rehabilitation such as the inmate having a job to get out to and essential services available like housing on release.” The 2021 National Corrections Day theme is Working together to reduce reoffending, focusing on the ways corrections staff work hard to assist offenders through programs, education, promoting a good workplace culture and positive interactions. CSNSW includes about 5000 custodial officers, 1800 Community Corrections staff, 750 industries workers, 720 psychologists and programs officers and 1170 Security and Intelligence staff.



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6 California inmates escape jail using homemade rope to descend walls, police say

Police are searching for the men, including one who is charged with murder.

Police in central California are on the hunt for six men they say escaped from a jail late Saturday night by scaling down its walls from the roof with homemade rope.

The Merced County Sheriff’s Office said the inmates, who range from 19 to 22 years old, were first spotted missing from their cells before midnight. Officers determined they were able “to gain access to the roof of the facility and utilize a homemade rope to scale down the side of the jail,” the sheriff’s office said in a Facebook post.

The fugitives who escaped from the Merced County Sheriff’s Office Jail have been identified and described as the following:

Fabian Cruz Roman, 22, 5-feet, 6-inches tall and 155 pounds, was in jail for a charge of murder, according to the sheriff’s office.

Gabriel Francis Cornado, 19, 5-feet, 10-inches tall and 225 pounds, was in jail for charges of attempted murder, shooting at an inhabited dwelling, participation in a criminal street gang, felon in possession of a firearm and violation of probation, the sheriff’s office said.

Manuel Allen Leon, 21, 5-feet, 10-inches tall and 165 pounds, was in jail for charges of assault with a firearm, shooting at an inhabited dwelling, evading a peace officer-reckless driving, participation in a criminal street gang and carrying a loaded firearm, according to the sheriff’s office.

Andrews Nunez Rodriguez Jr., 21, 5-feet, 7-inches tall and 145 pounds, was in jail for charges of attempted murder, shooting at an inhabited dwelling, participation in a criminal street gang and possession of a firearm, the sheriff’s office said.

Edgar Eduardo Ventura, 22, 5-feet, 11-inches tall and 129 pounds, was in jail for charges of felon in possession of a firearm, participation in a criminal street gang and violation of probation, the sheriff’s office said.

Jorge Barron, 20, 5-feet, 5-inches tall and 140 pounds, was in jail for a charge of violation of probation, the sheriff’s office said.

A task force has been created to find the fugitives, and anyone with information is asked to call 911, the sheriff’s office said.

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Several Hundred Inmates Involved in Massive Riot at Arizona Prison


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The incident happened after ‘several hundred inmates grouped together around staff and refused to disperse’. Corrections officers deployed ‘nonlethal munitions’ including pepper balls and rubber bullets but it remains unclear what caused the riot itself.

A riot involving several hundred prisoners broke out at an Arizona jail where guards deployed ‘nonlethal munitions’ including pepper balls and rubber bullets into the crowd.

The riot broke out at Eyman prison’s Cook Unit in Florence, near Phoenix after ‘several hundred inmates grouped together around staff and refused to disperse,’ according to Arizona Department of Corrections spokeswoman Judy Keane, as quoted by the Daily Mail.

Inmates were reportedly zip-tied and held on a yard as prison officials searched the prison, according to tweets reportedly emanating from inmates’ relatives.

​Inmates also reported that windows were broken on the property in the riot, according to the outlet.

‘They came in with tear gas, flash bangs, pepper spray, and started shooting them at everyone. It was basically a war zone,’ one inmate said.

Keane said two specialized teams of Department security staff were involved in the incident. 

‘The Designated Armed Response Team (DART) and Tactical Support Unit (TSU) responded to the incident and deployed nonlethal munitions to gain inmates’ compliance with instructions and secure the inmates inside their dorms,’ Keane said. 

There were no reports of injuries among inmates or staff but the prison unit was locked down for further investigations to take place. 

It was not clear what prompted the riot but local radio station KJZZ said inmates were unhappy with the conditions at the prison.

Some took to social media to express their shock over the incident.

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Canberra prisoner Cedric Roberts has jail term extended for boiling jam ‘jugging’ attack on fellow inmates

A prisoner at Canberra’s jail who “jugged” three other inmates, pouring boiling water mixed with sugar and jam on them, will spend nearly two more years in jail after he was sentenced in the ACT Supreme Court.

Cedric Roberts, 22, was also sentenced for stabbing a fourth man who tried to intervene with a shiv.

Roberts was already in jail for a series of spectacular escapes, including one where he scaled two fences in handcuffs as he was pursued by police, who were returning him to jail from a visit to the Canberra Hospital.

On another occasion when he was remanded in custody by a Magistrate, he jumped out of his chair, ran down a police officer and attempted to flee the court before his escape was thwarted and he was restrained in the court air lock.

But he did manage to abscond a day or so later during another visit to the Canberra Hospital after he had been uncuffed for treatment.

While free he robbed a service station, threatening the manager with a knife and yelling: “Give me the f***ing money, you bastard.”

After that incident he led a police chase, at speeds of up to 122 kilometres per hour in a 50kph zone, before being followed to a house.

Roberts fled the home on foot but was later captured.

While on remand in Canberra’s jail Roberts set fire to his cell twice.

In 2018 he pleaded guilty to a raft of offences, from escaping custody to aggravated robbery, and was sentenced to more than six years jail.

Justice John Burns said the “jugging” and stabbing had been premeditated.

One of the victims received burns to a large part of his body and the man who was stabbed required stitches.

But in sentencing Justice Burns noted that it was heartening to see Roberts had not had any disciplinary issues since May.

Roberts will serve an extra one year and nine months in jail.

His non-parole period ends in April next year.

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Nathan Reynolds inquest hears prison nurse didn’t hear inmates tell her he was having an asthma attack

A nurse has been grilled over her decision to administer a drug commonly used to treat an overdose to an inmate who died from an asthma attack in a Sydney jail.

A coronial inquiry is investigating the death in custody of Indigenous man Nathan Reynolds at the John Moroney Correctional Complex in September 2018.

He died after having a “severe” asthma attack, just a week before his family expected him to be released from custody.

Warning: This story contains an image of an Indigenous person who has died.

Earlier this week, inmates claimed a nurse “slapped” and “shook” Mr Reynolds when she arrived at the scene.

Inmate Jeremy Preo said he had Mr Reynolds on his side and breathing, but was asked to move away.

“I was very distressed and distraught, because I know that when she came in, he was still alive,” Mr Preo said.

In her evidence, nurse Kasey Wright denied ever slapping Mr Reynolds, but said she did firmly shake him on the shoulder, to try and rouse him.

“I wanted him to respond to me,” Ms Wright said.

A nurse admitted firmly shaking Mr Reynolds on the shoulder to rouse him.(Supplied: Makayla Reynolds)

She said her actions had been part of her initial assessment of the 39-year-old, and that she couldn’t find a pulse, a heartbeat, and didn’t hear him breathing.

Ms Wright also defended her decision to administer Mr Reynolds with the overdose drug, Naloxone.

Counsel for the Reynolds family, Joshua Brock asked Ms Wright: “You could understand the perception … that the administration of Naloxone might reflect a prejudice … that the inmate has used drugs.”

Ms Wright rejected that, saying it was “best practice” to use the treatment when someone presented like Mr Reynolds.

“You’re not causing any harm … I would do that as best practice,” she said.

“If he had taken anything, hopefully it would have helped, and hopefully his heart would have started beating, and hopefully he would have started breathing,” she said.

Ms Wright said she did not hear inmates telling her it was an asthma attack.

She also said a defibrillator was missing from the “crash cart” she had scooped up from the jail’s health clinic, because it was kept elsewhere during the night shift.

When asked why an ambulance wasn’t called sooner, she said the prison officer who called her had “no urgency in his voice”.

“They should have called an ambulance straight away,” she said.

‘You don’t run in an emergency’

The inquiry earlier heard from a range of corrections officers — many of them unable to recall important details of the night.

John Phali, an officer of 34 years, gave conflicting accounts about when an ambulance was called, and who made the triple-0 call.

Mr Phali was also shown prison CCTV footage, which revealed him escorting Ms Wright to where Mr Reynolds was “unresponsive” on the floor.

When asked about his casual pace, he explained: “I said we need to hurry, but she [Ms Wright] said: ‘We don’t run’.”

Ms Wright also told the coroner: “You don’t run in an emergency.”

The inquest was played a recording of the triple-0 call made from the jail.

It was dialled by a separate officer, Sham Dhanju, who was manning the front gate.

“Is he conscious?” the operator asked, to which Mr Dhanju replied: “No.”

The inquiry heard that about a minute later, Mr Reynolds had stopped breathing, but no condition update was relayed to Mr Dhanju from fellow officers.

Ambulance NSW also sought more information about Mr Reynolds’s condition by attempting to call Mr Dhanju back on phone numbers he provided.

The inquest heard one attempt went through to a fax machine, and the other, to voicemail.

During his evidence, another officer, John Fifita, was asked if he would do anything differently.

“I wish I was not there. Take a sickie,” he replied.

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Lockdown lifted at four Victorian prions, inmates test negative

You can now catch a $200 fine for not sporting a mask in selected areas, so when are they needed?

Fulham Correctional Centre is one of the prisons returning to normal operations after prisoners tested negative for coronavirus.
Fulham Correctional Centre is 1 of the prisons returning to usual operations following prisoners examined negative for coronavirus.

Lockdown has been lifted at 4 Victorian prions soon after inmates analyzed adverse for coronavirus.

It will come soon after 6 prisons were being plunged into lockdown on Tuesday immediately after an Australian GEO guard doing the job at Ravenhall Correctional Centre turned infected.

As a precaution correction amenities at Ravenhall, Fulham, Hopkins, Barwon, Loddon and Langi Kal Kal had been shut.

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But functions returned to usual at Ravenhall and Fulham correctional centres on Thursday afternoon.

Face masks laws came into force in Melbourne on Thursday in a bid to flatten the curve. Andrew Henshaw/NCA NewsWire
Facial area masks rules arrived into force in Melbourne on Thursday in a bid to flatten the curve. Andrew Henshaw/NCA NewsWire

Two Metropolitan Remand Centre inmates have also tested optimistic for COVID-19 in recent days.

Corrections Victoria reported the “asymptomatic prisoner”, who grew to become contaminated on Wednesday and who was in protective quarantine at the Ravenhall prison, was not related to the previous inmate who examined constructive on July 17.

Corrections Victoria advised all new prisoners are examined and needed to shell out 14 days in protecting quarantine, no matter of coronavirus COVID-19 hazard.

Private visits at Victorian amenities remain suspended, although workers and experienced website visitors are screened and temperature checked prior to entry.

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Calls for early release of low-risk inmates as six Victorian prisons in coronavirus lockdown

Six prisons in Victoria have been put in lockdown just after a guard at just one of the amenities analyzed positive for COVID-19.

On Tuesday, the Department of Justice and Group Safety confirmed to SBS News a jail officer at Ravenhall Correctional Centre in Melbourne’s west has the virus.

“The GEO workers member has been self-isolating considering that 16 July 2020 after remaining notified they have been a near call of a optimistic case,” a spokesperson for the department explained.

Ravenhall Correctional Centre and five other prisons have given that been positioned in lockdown.

“Actions are staying taken in line with Corrections Victoria’s coronavirus management plans, doing the job with the Office of Overall health and Human Services, to restrict the prospective distribute of the virus and maintain staff members and prisoners secure,” the spokesperson stated.

“Precautionary measures include extensive cleansing, speak to tracing and lockdown processes.”

Considering the fact that a COVID-19 situation was located in the Metropolitan Remand Centre previous 7 days, some have been contacting on the Victorian govt to release minimal-hazard prisoners.

“Our prisoners are sitting ducks correct now,” Victorian Greens spokesperson for justice Tim Go through said in a assertion.

“It would take extremely little hard work on the condition government’s part to make reduced-risk prisoners eligible for early release to help lessen our prison numbers significantly and secure inmates and employees alike from a potential outbreak.”

The Australian Lawyers Alliance echoed this past 7 days.

“Due to the fact the COVID-19 disaster broke we have stated that prisoners are at grave possibility of getting to be infected and that the poor sanitary ailments of prisons about Australia usually means COVID-19 could spread quickly if it enters a jail,” alliance spokesman Greg Barns mentioned.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews addresses the media


Victoria recorded a different 374 instances on Tuesday and 3 additional persons died.

But Premier Daniel Andrews mentioned he was assured his state’s stringent lockdown measures are getting a direct effect.

“At the finish of the working day, we’re not observing the [case numbers] doubling and doubling again,” he instructed reporters.

Deputy Main Medical Officer Michael Kidd mentioned absolutely everyone experienced hoped there would be a drop in cases around the initially couple months, as with the before lockdown in March and April.

“We have acquired to wait and check out just for one more handful of days to see what takes place and see if we do truly transform down the curve with those people quantities,” he explained in Canberra.

Added reporting: AAP

People in metropolitan Melbourne are matter to continue to be-at-property orders and can only go away residence for necessary work, study, workout or treatment responsibilities. Persons are also encouraged to use masks in community.

Men and women in Australia must continue to be at the very least 1.5 metres absent from some others. Test your state’s constraints on gathering restrictions.

If you are dealing with cold or flu signs, continue to be home and arrange a check by calling your physician or get hold of the Coronavirus Health and fitness Facts Hotline on 1800 020 080.

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