March 15, 2012

Inspector identifies violations at lockup

A security breach that allowed a jailhouse tryst arose from several deficiencies, which, if they persist, could bring consequences.

By David Hench dhench@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

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A security breach at the Cumberland County Jail in Portland over the weekend allowed inmate Arien L’Italien to make his way to the cell of a female inmate, Karla Wilson, with whom he had sex.

John Ewing/Staff Photographer

Butts said that the way L'Italien and Wilson jimmied the locks, the doors would have seemed secure until the inmate worked the bolts open. Even then, a control panel would not have shown that the doors were open, except possibly when the inmate was leaving or returning to the cell.

It's unclear whether the jail will have to respond to a federal law that requires reporting of the circumstances in which a sexual act occurs.

The law was designed to reduce the incidence of prison rape, but it would appear not to apply in this case because the sex was consensual, Butts said.

L'Italien was transferred after the incident to the Maine State Prison in Warren, where the state operates a high-security, "Supermax" unit.

L'Italien was being held on federal charges of attempted murder. He was arrested in January after trading gunfire with the U.S. Marshals Violent Offender Task Force outside a church in Portland's Parkside neighborhood.

The U.S. marshal for the District of Maine, Noel March, said Wednesday that the decision to move L'Italien implied no dissatisfaction with the Cumberland County Jail's security procedures.

"I have full confidence in Sheriff (Kevin) Joyce's conscientious attention to the care, custody and control of the inmates and detainees housed in the Cumberland County Jail," March said. "I trust Sheriff Joyce. I do not trust Mr. L'Italien. Therefore, Sheriff Joyce and I agreed to transfer Mr. L'Italien to the most restrictive confinement available in the state."

March said he still has 53 federal detainees in the county jail.

Staff Writer David Hench can be contacted at 791-6327 or at:

dhench@pressherald.com

 

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