Pubdate: Sun, 07 Aug 2011
Source: Jamaica Observer (Jamaica)
Copyright: 2011 The Jamaica Observer Ltd,
Author: Karyl Walker, bserver Online News Editor 


REGGAE star Buju Banton is now being transferred from the Pinellas
County Jail in Florida to a correctional facility in Mississippi to
begin serving his 10-year sentence.

Banton will be taken to the Adams County Correctional Center in
Natchez, Mississippi.

Defence attorney David Oscar Markus, who represented the embattled
artiste, in his drug trial, told the Sunday Observer that United
States magistrate James Moody recommended that Banton serve his
sentence at a facility in Florida, but a shortage of beds caused him
to be transferred to the Mississippi-based prison.

"The judge recommended that he serve his time in Florida, but there
were no beds in Miami, and the ultimate decision was made by the
Bureau of Prisons. We are hopeful that when a bed opens up down here
(Florida) that we can get him transferred so that it is easier on his
family (and us) to see him," Markus said.

The Adams County Prison has the capacity to house 2,232 male prisoners
and is owned by the corrections management provider, CCA.

The company is the fifth-largest corrections system in the US and
houses 75,000 offenders and detainees in more than 60 facilities
across that country.

CCA is a private corrections business which specialises in the design,
construction, expansion and management of prisons, jails and detention
facilities, as well as inmate transportation services.

The artiste was sentenced in the Sam Gibbons US Court in Tampa,
Florida in June this year of conspiring to negotiate a drug deal in a
police-controlled warehouse in Florida.

Banton, whose real name is Mark Myrie, was arrested at his home in
Tamarac, South Florida after almost a year of surveillance of
telephone and live conversations and video recordings that included
him tasting cocaine in a Saratoga warehouse.

He has consistently pleaded his innocence and maintained that he was
entrapped by government informant Alexander Johnson, who he claims was
paid US$50,000 to ensnare him.

The 38-year-old artiste has since signalled his intention to pursue
higher education in the form of a master's degree in economics and
political science while he is incarcerated.

His attorneys have also indicated that they are planning to appeal his
sentence before a three-member panel of judges in an appellate court
in Georgia.
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