Craig Price’s prison sentence may increase in wake of Target 12 report

Craig Price

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Craig Price may see more prison time, after all.

Officials at the Rhode Island Department of Corrections now say they are now reviewing whether to extend the serial killer’s sentence for a 2009 stabbing of a prison guard in Florida.

A Target 12 investigation on Thursday revealed Price never lost any earned good time for the stabbing even though a court document shows correction officials in Florida called for a reduction of his “gain time” – Florida’s version of good time – by 365 days and punished him by placing Price in confinement for 60 days. Florida’s reduction of good time is meaningless because Price is still considered a Rhode Island inmate and only the Rhode Island Department of Corrections (RIDOC) can take that action.

In an interview earlier this week RIDOC director A.T. Wall said they never received a disciplinary report from Florida that would trigger the reduction of good time.

Subsequently Susan Lamkins – a spokesperson for RIDOC – sent an email stating they reviewed the court documents obtained by Target 12 and they are now looking into whether Price’s good time accrual should have been reduced.

“This is the first we have seen any document mentioning discipline imposed for the 2009 misconduct,” Lamkins wrote. “If the RIDOC had received a final disposition from the [Florida] we could have taken 60 days of good time away under RI law.”

Lamkins said they would not be able to reduce his time by 365 days because the law states “for every day a prisoner shall be shut up or otherwise disciplined for bad conduct … there shall be deducted one day from the time he or she shall have gained for good conduct.”

“As a result of reviewing the information in the court documents, we will be contacting the Florida Department of Corrections to request the official discipline report from 2009 with the final disposition,” Lamkins said in the email.

Lawyers for RIDOC will then extend Price’s sentence, according to Lamkins.

Target 12 reached out to the Florida Department of Corrections to determine why they never forwarded the disciplinary report, as Rhode Island officials claimed.

In response, a spokesperson sent a one-line email stating “The Florida Department of Corrections followed all procedures and protocols regarding this incident.

Price was charged criminally for the 2009 incident and will have to serve an additional two and a half years in a Florida prison when his sentence with Rhode Island expires. RIDOC officials say that release date is fluid – because of the good time statute – but as of now is set for 2018.

Price was sent to Florida in 2004 as part of an interstate compact because RIDOC deemed him a security risk to himself and others at the Adult Correctional Institution in Cranston.

A spokesperson from the Florida Department of Corrections said Price is being held in “close custody, and has a close management status- administrative segregation.”

The designation means Price is kept separate from the general population “for reasons of security of the order and effective management of the institution, where the inmate, through his or her behavior, has demonstrated an inability to live in the general population without abusing the rights and privileges of others.”

Price is allowed one visitor a month. Officials in Florida would not provide Target 12 with a copy of his visitation list and denied an interview request with Price citing security concerns.

Price was 15 years old when he admitted to stabbing to death 39-year-old Joan Heaton and her two daughters; 10-year-old Jennifer and 8-year-old Melissa. He also confessed to the murder of 27-year-old Rebecca Spencer two years earlier.

Records from the Rhode Island Department of Corrections (RIDOC) show Price accrued 43 infractions while he was incarcerated at the Adult Correctional Institution in Cranston, seven of those were either dismissed or lessened to a warning.

A Target 12 investigation revealed Price has accrued 1,519 days of good time – meaning his sentence has been reduced by more than four years so far.

In a superior court filing, the Rhode Island Attorney General’s office has argued Price violated his probation for the incidents in Florida and prosecutors are seeking more prison time.

Carolyn Medeiros, Executive Director of victim’s advocacy group Alliance for Safe Communities called Price’s accrual of good time “obscene.”

“It is obvious that his violent and non-compliant conduct has perpetuated while incarcerated in multiple states,” Medeiros said in a statement. “He has proven to continue to pose a serious risk to society.”

She said the Price case highlights the need to change our state statutes, calling for “truth in sentencing” for heinous crimes.

Tim White ( twhite@wpri.com ) is the Target 12 investigative reporter for WPRI 12 and Fox Providence. Follow him on Twitter: @TimWhiteRI

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