The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


March 1, 2009

County inmate granted leave to attend slain son's funeral

Judge grants woman leave to attend slain son's funeral

SUNBURY -- A judge has issued a court order allowing an inmate at Northumberland County Prison to attend the funeral of her son, who was found beaten to death Feb. 21 in Bronx, N.Y.

Judge William H. Wiest granted the furlough to Melba Proctor, 24, of Mahoning Township, Montour County, prison Warden Ralph "Rick" Reish said.

Proctor learned while incarcerated that her 4-year-old son, Kevion Shand, had been slain while in the custody of his grandmother, Angela Barksdale, who has been charged with second-degree murder.

Reish said last week that he was unsure whether Proctor will be ordered to return to prison, and believes she has a month remaining on her minimum three-month sentence for having sex with an 18-year-old inmate at Northwestern Academy in Coal Township, where she worked in February and March 2008.

Attempts Saturday to determine the date of Kevion's funeral were unsuccessful.

Only judges can grant county inmates furloughs

Wardens of county prisons are not authorized to grant furloughs, which are defined as approved absences of inmates from an institution without an official escort, Reish said.

Wardens discuss an inmate's conduct with a judge, who then decides whether to issue a court order for a furlough. Inmates are released to a family member or other responsible party, Reish said.

For those who are denied a court order to attend a funeral, counseling is provided.

"The standard procedure is to allow them to make telephone calls to family," Reish said. If the inmate is still upset, he would see a counselor at the jail.

Inmates must also work through their attorneys to gain a possible furlough, Snyder County Jail Warden Ruth Rush said.

The inmate's attorney petitions the court for approval of a furlough, and in the case of a funeral, he must act quickly in order for it to be authorized in time, Montour County Jail Warden Gerald Cutchall said.

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