Garden Grove approves $1.8M contract outsourcing jail security service to G4S

Garden Grove is switching its jail security services from one private company to another.

On Tuesday night, the City Council approved a $1,815,556.69 three-year contract with G4S Secure Solutions USA, Inc., a large private security firm with offices in more than a hundred countries and a controversial past uncovered in a 2019 news investigation.

Starting in June 2000, the city had contracted GEO Group, Inc. to provide 24-hour jail booking services for the police department. Although the council renewed a three-year contract with that company in 2019, the police department received notice that GEO is ending jail operations in California and will terminate the contract on Nov. 1.

GEO is a private prison firm that owns and operates two ICE facilities, three prisons and two detention facilities in California. This year the state planned to end two contracts with GEO for two prisons after Assembly Bill 32, a law barring renewal of contracts with private prisons, went into effect on Jan. 1.

Lt. Brian Dalton of the Garden Grove Police Department said Tuesday, “On average it takes police officers approximately two hours to handle a prisoner through the entire booking process. Using the GEO contract services, this processing time has been reduced to approximately 15 minutes, allowing police officers to return to the field more quickly.”

Dalton also said over recent years the amount of crime has increased along with arrests made by the police department. In 2019, officers made 7,575 arrests for felony and misdemeanor crimes compared to 5,619 arrests in 2014.

Garden Grove city staff recommended “piggybacking” on the existing jail services contract between Westminster and G4S approved in March 2020.

G4S offered to hire the 10 current GEO employees working in Garden Grove’s jail located in the police department building at 11301 Acacia Parkway.

The 10 custody workers would have to pass an updated preemployment screening. According to a service document compiled by G4S, the screening includes identity verification through Social Security, a variety of criminal searches, a review of seven years of employment, unemployment or education, a driver’s license check, drug screening, a physical exam and a psychological evaluation. G4S is also responsible for annual training.

G4S activities include security for concerts, shopping malls, banks, prisons and healthcare facilities. The company’s career page shows about 17 jobs — mostly security, detention or custody officers — available across Orange County.

According to a G4S spokesperson, the company provides jail support services to 15 Southern California police departments throughout Los Angeles San Bernardino and Orange counties including local cities Irvine, Buena Park, Fullerton, La Habra, Westminster and Costa Mesa.

“Our longest local partnership dates back to 1992 with the city of Irvine and the Irvine Police Department. G4S is proud to partner and support these communities with qualified security officers so local police forces can focus on public safety,” stated the G4S spokesperson through email.

USA Today and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel investigated the security company and published a report in late 2019 that found a pattern

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Schizophrenic who sparked chaos at Gatwick with two kitchen knives avoids jail

Adam Russell was told he is lucky to be alive after armed police responded to his arrival

A knifeman who told a neighbour he was planning a ‘massacre’ before sparking panic at Gatwick Airport has been spared jail. 

Adam Russell, 32, turned up brandishing two huge kitchen knives having told the neighbour he was ‘going to kill them all’. Airport staff feared a terror attack and pressed a panic button, as armed police arrived within two minutes to Taser and arrest him.

Russell, who suffers with schizophrenia, was in the midst of a relapse when he boarded a bus to the London airport in the early hours of June 3, 2019, Lewes Crown Court heard, as it handed him a suspended sentence on Tuesday afternoon.

His actions caused nearly 200 people to be evacuated from the South Terminal after he headed towards the international departure lounge with the weapons. 

Russell, from Crawley, West Sussex, pleaded guilty to possessing a bladed article and affray and has apologised for his behaviour.

Prosecutor Rachel Beckett said Russell was seen by one of his neighbours about 1.30am while they both waited for a bus.

She told the court: ‘The defendant said he was going for a massacre at Gatwick. He later said he was going to kill them all.’

Russell arrived at the airport and was seen walking into the arrivals hall, carrying a knife in each hand.

Security workers pressed the panic button when he arrived at the airport

One witness said the defendant was ‘walking with purpose in his stride’ and had ‘an emotionless glazed over look in his face’.

Another said Russell looked ‘like he was on a mission’.

As onlookers realised the danger, they began shouting and running, with security staff ushering people away.

He was heard shouting ‘come on then’ as he continued to hold the knives.

Ms Beckett added: ‘(A) security officer said she was so scared when she saw the defendant she was scared he was about to start stabbing everyone.

Russell was Tasered and arrested

‘She thought “this is it, this is a terrorist attack”.’

Staff pressed the panic button at 1.54am and armed police arrived in the area at 1.55am.

Officers armed with a carbine and handguns found the defendant and shouted at him to show them his hands.

They formed the view that he was ‘aggressive and an immediate danger’ and Tasered him in the chest.

After he was arrested, he told police that he is a schizophrenic.

Russell’s mental health had been deteriorating in the lead up to the incident, the court heard

The court heard that a week before the Gatwick incident he had told ambulance staff that voices in his head were telling him to blow up the airport.

Defence barrister Fiona Clegg said: ‘What is very clear is that in the proceeding weeks to the incident that his mental health was deteriorating significantly.

‘Mr Russell now wishes me to indicate that he is now able to see – whilst he

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Luksar jail inmates get a garden for meditation

© Provided by Hindustan Times

Sprawling over 50,000 square feet, a garden filled with neem, amla, and fruit trees adorns the Luksar jail premises. According to the jail authorities, the garden, labour of more than eight months, was developed to create a space for inmates where they could relax and calm their nerves.

Vipin Mishra, superintendent, Luksar jail said the “meditation garden”, developed by the inmates, offers an environment to the prisoners where their feelings of fatigue, anxiety can be soothed. “Apart from its green field, the garden has a pond with a few ducks and a statue of Gautama Buddha. The serene environment of the garden, inspired by the philosophies of Mahatma Gandhi and Buddha, has created a space for the inmates where they can meditate in peace. This, in turn, can help in reducing their psychological distress and trauma. This meditation garden is also aiding the spiritual well-being of the prisoners,” he said.

The superintendent said that the idea of the garden was conceived by jailor Satya Prakash and him in January. “We discussed the idea with the inmates. Surprisingly, some convicts came forward to support it, and later put their wholehearted efforts into developing the garden. We along with other jail staff guided them, and took care of the expenses from our own pockets, ” Mishra said.

Work on the garden inside Luksar jail, which houses 2,738 inmates, started in the first week of January and the garden was completed earlier this month.

An undertrial prisoner, Dinesh (single name) said that sitting and meditating in the garden, christened as an ‘ashram (monastery)’ has had a positive impact on his health. “Now, I don’t have problems like headache and stomach ache. I feel that by sitting there, I’ve become more honest, and speaking the truth gives me satisfaction,” he said.

Similar experiences were shared by other inmates who often meditate in the garden. “I suffer less stress now. A sense of benevolence and compassion has come in me towards my co-inmates and jail officials too,” said another undertrial, who did not wish to be named.

The garden has more than 50 trees and shrubs of pomegranate, neem, amla, plums, papayas, guava among others apart from different varieties of flowers.

Jailor Satya Prakash said, “I regularly spend a few hours in the garden. It has increased my dedication to my duty. We have seen positive changes in the behaviour of many inmates, and we feel more compassion towards them now. After all, the concept of jail is to reinforce corrective behaviour in inmates,” he said.

The Luksar jail, which has two wings named after Gandhi and Buddha, also houses a library for inmates apart from training institutes.

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Former Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard reports to jail to start prison sentence

Former Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard reported this afternoon to the Lee County sheriff’s office in Opelika to begin his prison sentence.

Hubbard turned himself in at 5:05 p.m., the online jail log shows.

Lance Bell, an attorney for Hubbard, said Hubbard was taken to the Russell County jail in Phenix City, where he is being held.

The Alabama Supreme Court denied Hubbard’s request for a rehearing two weeks ago, exhausting his state appeals.

Hubbard, 58, was sentenced to four years in prison in 2016 for violating the state ethics law. He has been out on appeal since.

Bell released a brief statement this evening.

“Mike Hubbard is a strong Christian man and has accepted the current situation but firmly believes in his innocence and looks forward to exploring other options to clear his name,” Bell said.

Joel Dillard, another lawyer for Hubbard, had said two weeks ago that the defense team would recommend that Hubbard file a federal appeal.

When the state Supreme Court turned down Hubbard’s request for a rehearing on August 28, the attorney general’s office said that left him with 15 days to report to jail to be turned over to the Department of Corrections.

A Lee County jury convicted Hubbard of 12 ethics violations. The Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals upheld 11 of the 12. The Alabama Supreme Court affirmed six of the 11 and overturned five.

Hubbard was one of Alabama’s most powerful politicians until his conviction, which automatically removed him from office.

Related: 6-year saga: Timeline of Mike Hubbard’s ethics case

Prosecutors said Hubbard used his public office to enrich himself, partly through consulting contracts.

Hubbard has maintained his innocence since his indictment in 2014 and said the transactions that led to the charges were normal business activities not related to his public office. He testified for three days during his 2016 trial.

The six convictions involved consulting contracts with three companies that paid Hubbard a total of $525,000 while he was speaker, from 2012 to 2014.

Lee County voters first elected Hubbard to the House of Representatives in 1998, a time when Democrats controlled the Legislature. They would elect him to four more four-year terms.

Hubbard became state Republican Party chair and in 2010 helped orchestrate a campaign in which the GOP took control of the Legislature for the first time in 136 years. Hubbard’s House colleagues elected him speaker, a position he retained until his conviction in 2016.

Shortly after the 2010 election, the new Republican-controlled Legislature met in a special session to put tighter restrictions in the state ethics law, fulfilling a campaign promise.

Hubbard was convicted under the enhanced law that he helped pass.

The former speaker has maintained his innocence since his indictment by a Lee County special grand jury in 2014, which led to his trial two years later.

This story was updated at 3:03 p.m. on Sept. 12 to say that Hubbard is being held at the Russell County jail in Phenix City.

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Greene County jail closes kitchen temporarily amid COVID-19 positives, lack of workers

The Greene County jail has closed its kitchen temporarily amid positive coronavirus tests among inmate workers. 

Coronavirus Began Spreading In The US In January



On Thursday evening, three inmates who worked preparing and delivering food for the roughly 850 people incarcerated at the jail told the News-Leader they had tested positive for the virus after feeling sick for multiple days.

In response to those positive tests as well as a lack of people “eligible” to be workers, the jail temporarily shut down the kitchen. Inmates were being fed with prepared food from another contractor, Greene County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Deputy Jason Winston said. 

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“Inmate trustees are a huge component to food preparation in our jail,” he said. “We currently do not have enough eligible inmates for trustee assignments, so we have temporarily closed our jail kitchen.” 

98 infected among those incarcerated

The coronavirus is not believed to be transmitted via surfaces or food. As a respiratory virus, it primarily spreads through respiratory droplets released from people’s nose or mouth when they breathe, cough, talk or sneeze.

Still, the new infections among the inmate workers and others brought the total number of positive coronavirus infections among incarcerated people to 98 as of Friday afternoon, according to a news release.

Of those, one inmate was in the hospital, 31 people were showing symptoms and 69 had recovered. 

Leaders, activists call for action: Sheriff says he’s doing his best amid COVID-19 outbreak

Those numbers do not count people who have been released. 

But a report of testing numbers obtained through a public information request showed that as of Aug. 31, 110 inmates had tested positive, and 82 had recovered. The jail had submitted 233 tests as of that date. 

As of Friday, the jail news release stated 51 jail staff had tested positive, and 37 had recovered. As of Aug. 31, 190 staff had been tested. 

Virus spreading through ‘trailer jail,’ other facilities

All of those numbers come about a month after the first coronavirus case was reported in Greene County’s “trailer jail,” which sits adjacent to the main building and houses up to 108 people in open, bunk-style housing.

Most of the people in the trailer eventually tested positive.

Following those reports, inmates and their family members told the News-Leader they hadn’t been provided masks until after the first case was reported and noted it was nearly impossible inside the jail to practice physical distancing or take other precautions recommended to keep the virus at bay. 

‘It’s a bad situation’: Inside the Greene County jail’s COVID-19 outbreak

The virus eventually spread to other areas inside the main jail building, though the extent to which it has spread is still unknown. 

Sheriff Jim Arnott, for his part, said in an interview last week he was doing the best he can, noting it is very difficult to stop the virus

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