This should be repeated and repeated until it is heard and changed by the legislature! Torture has no place in Nevada.
How many more people must die alone, unexplained, without medical care, after very long time inside Nevada’s prisons?
State corrections officials are investigating the death of an Ely State Prison inmate who was found unconscious inside his cell earlier this week.
Paul Skinner, 53, was discovered by prison staff on Tuesday. Medical personnel unsuccessfully tried to revive Skinner until paramedics rushed him to the William Bee Ririe Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
America’s 10 Worst Prisons: Dishonorable Mentions
7 runners-up, from a “gladiator school” to America’s largest death row.
By James Ridgeway and Jean Casella
Wed May. 15, 2013, in: Mother Jones Magazine
#1: ADX (federal supermax)
#2: Allan B. Polunsky Unit (Texas)
#3: Tent City Jail (Phoenix)
#4: Orleans Parish (Louisiana)
#5: LA County Jail (Los Angeles)
#6: Pelican Bay (California)
#7: Julia Tutwiler (Alabama)
#8: Reeves Country Detention Complex (Texas)
#9: Walnut Grove Youth Correctional Facility (Mississippi)
#10: Rikers Island (New York City)
Read the complete introduction to our 10 Worst Prisons project.
Last of 11 parts.
Serving time in prison is not supposed to be pleasant. Nor, however, is it supposed to include being raped by fellow prisoners or staff, beaten by guards for the slightest provocation, driven mad by long-term solitary confinement, or killed off by medical neglect. These are the fates of thousands of prisoners every year—men, women, and children housed in lockups that give Gitmo and Abu Ghraib a run for their money.
While there’s plenty of blame to go around, and while not all of the facilities described in this series have all of the problems we explore, some stand out as particularly bad actors. These dishonorable mentions make up the final installment of our 11-part series, a subjective ranking based on three years of research, correspondence with prisoners, and interviews with reform advocates concerning the penal facilities with the grimmest claims to infamy.
Attica Correctional Facility (Attica, New York): More than four decades after its famous uprising, New York’s worst state prison still lives up to its brutal history. According to the Correctional Association of New York, which has a legislative mandate to track prison conditions, Attica is plagued by staff-on-prisoner violence, intimidation, and sexual abuse.
Communications Management Units (Marion, Illinois, and Terre Haute, Indiana): These two federal prisons-within-prisons, whose populations are more than two-thirds Muslim, were opened secretly by the Bureau of Prisons during the Bush administration, according to the Center for Constitutional Rights, which is challenging the facilities in a federal lawsuit. “The Bureau claims that CMUs are designed to hold dangerous terrorists and other high-risk inmates, requiring heightened monitoring of their external and internal communications,” notes a lawsuit fact sheet. “Many prisoners, however, are sent to these isolation units for their constitutionally protected religious beliefs, unpopular political views, or in retaliation for challenging poor treatment or other rights violations in the federal prison system.” (Also see: Pelican Bay.)
Ely State Prison (Ely, Nevada): A “shocking and callous disregard for human life” is how an auditor described medical care at Ely, which houses the state’s death row along with other maximum security prisoners (PDF). The audit, which found that one prisoner was allowed to rot to death from gangrene, formed the basis of a 2008 class-action lawsuit brought by the ACLU’s National Prison Project. The suit was settled in 2010, but by 2012 the prison still was not in full compliance.
Idaho Correctional Center (Kuna, Idaho): Run by Corrections Corporation of America, the world’s largest private prison company, ICC has been dubbed a “gladiator school” for its epidemic of gang violence. According to a lawsuit filed in 2010 by the ACLU of Idaho (PDF), the violence is not only condoned but actively promoted by the staff. The suit was settled, but last November, the ACLU said CCA appeared to be violating the agreement, which called for increased staffing and training, reporting of assaults to the local sheriff’s office, and disciplinary measures for staffers who didn’t take steps to stop or prevent assaults.
San Quentin State Prison (Marin County, California): This decrepit prison, which sits on a $2 billion piece of bayside real estate, is home to America’s largest death row. As of late-April, there were 711 men and 20 women condemned to die at San Quentin—you can find the latest stats here (PDF); the figure is constantly changing, despite a state moratorium on executions, because prisoners frequently die of illness or old age. Some even commit suicide rather than remain in solitary limbo.
Louisiana State Penitentiary (Angola, Louisiana): At America’s largest prison, those who embrace warden Burl Cain’s pet program of “moral rehabilitation” through Christianity are afforded privileges while sinners languish in institutional hell. A former slave plantation, the prison lends its name to the so-called Angola 3, two of whom have been held in solitary for 40 years, largely for their perceived political beliefs. (In March, Louisiana’s attorney general declared, bafflingly, that the men had “never been in solitary confinement.”)
The federal pen at Lewisburg.
United States Penitentiary (Lewisburg, Pennsylvania): In this overcrowded supermax, the target of multiple lawsuits, prisoners are locked down for 23 to 24 hours a day in the company of a cellmate. One lawsuit alleges that prison officials deliberately pair people with their enemies, and that this practice has led to at least two deaths. The suit also claims that prisoners have been strapped to their bunks with four-point restraints if they resist their cell assignments.
Research for this project was supported by a grant from the Investigative Fund and The Nation Institute, as well as a Soros Justice Media Fellowship from the Open Society Foundations. Additional reporting by Beth Broyles, Valeria Monfrini, Katie Rose Quandt, and Sal Rodriguez.
From: KSNV MyNews
LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3) — Nov 17th 2012
Two prisoners have died over the past two days after being found unresponsive in their state prison cells.
Nevada Department of Corrections officials said in a news release today that John Biasi, 55, was found dead in his single cell at High Desert State Prison about 4 p.m. Friday.
Biasi was serving 10 to 25 years for second-degree murder and a consecutive term of 5 to 15 years for use of a deadly weapon. He was convicted in Clark County and had been in state custody since November 2011.
NDOC said today that Winston Kelly, 38, was found unresponsive in his single cell during the 11 a.m. head count at Ely State Prison. He was taken to William Bee Ririe Hospital in Ely and was pronounced dead at 12:12 p.m. He was convicted of first-degree murder, robbery and use of a deadly weapon in Elko County
Officials said both deaths are being investigated and no other information is available.
We received these sympathetic obituaries from a friend of Randal N. Wiideman, who sadly passed away on October 23rd 2011 in Ely State Prison:
I first and foremost open with Revolutionary Greetings, all my utmost Bigtime Bulletproof Respect in Solidarity and, A true venomously warrior salute! With all due Respect to the Row and the stretched out: keep your head held high above water and never allow anyone to robb you cut off your peace. Trapped in the shadows of the murderous, through the valley of mischievous darkness and, from my grave to yours, welcome to death row.
On October 19th, 2011, a dear friend Randal N. Wiideman exclaimed to me that he was not feeling very well. The following morning on the 20th he pleaded and requested to be seen, along with the evening pill call to no prevail. Both times the nurse told him to fill out and send in a medical request kite, of which he had already done so previously and, again at that time. A repetitious occurrence of events took place on the 21st, with the same reference to submitting a medical kite, of which by this time he had compelled 3, with no response. In the afternoon of the same day Randal pressed the alert button and asked the officer to call medical and demanded to be seen. When the officer came on the tier several hours later, he told Mr Wiideman that medical did not even respond to him. So Randal once again commenced another medical kite and again advised the nurse at pill call of his diminishing condition, who continuously only insisted on putting in a med. Kite. The following day on the 22nd, it wasn’t till a nurse came through handing out nailclippers that the same officer who called the previous day, told the nurse out of concern of Randal’s deteriorating condition. The nurse took one glance at him and 15 minutes later, they were taking him out of here in a wheelchair to the infirmary. On the 23rd during morning pill call I asked the nurse how he was doing and he said: “He’s doing real good and just resting.” At 11:00 AM count time, the officer counting stopped at my grave and said he passed away an hour ago.
If responded to accordingly, I know his inevitable “[m]urder” could have been prevented. Today is 2-9-12 and , 3-4 weeks ago another inmate passed away in the infirmary… don’t know who or how but, I’m certain we all know who’s behind it. I myself obtain serious medical deficiencies and, due to several lawsuits, I can’t get a nurse to flip me off… let alone acquire any adequate medical care, treatment or education. The list is long of all the human beings who have lost their lives in the hands of the injurious, malignant, ideological, hipocricy that we call Ely State Prison.
During, before and after the Riker case settlement, I have continuously written Amy Fettig who was the head counsel from the A.C.L.U. on that case. Though the plaintiffs received no money, Amy Fettig received a #325,000.00 check from that case. Now all the responses from the ACLU refer to the Riker case and avoid answering the letters addressing serious issues no matter how critical they are. Part of the settlement stipulation was that the appointed monitor give a 3 week notice prior to any visit… to give the NDOC 3 weeks to set the stage for that dog and pony show.
So, who’s on death row? If you are a warrior trapped in Ely State Prison and your eyes read upon these words… you better hope not to get sick on the watch of the bloody hands of E.S.P.!
How many more of us have to die? God bless the dead, as I tip the rose and close how I opened.
For any words or encouragement, support or leads to legal assistance, feel free to hit me up… and I’ll catch you on the rebound.
Amadeo J. Sanchez, #64781
P.O. Box 1989
Ely, NV 89301
Randal N. Wiideman #22306, Rest in Peace, was the Grandson of the late great Charles “Lucky” Luciano, who was inevitably taken from us on October 23, 2011.
He was, is and has been nothing but an uttermost, divinely blessing to me and, upon many others who have had the honor and opportunity to cross paths and rub shoulders with him. He had a really big heart of gold, a beautiful spirit and was very knowledgeable, with the energy and drive that would make you believe that he was truly half machine. I’ve never met or encountered anyone my whole life who was as surgical and lethal as he was with legal work. Making the impossible a handreach away, giving hope to the hopeless, the world to the havenots, while being detrimental to the N.D.O.C. and court system.
He was colorblind to race and would help anyone without judging them. Some of us “convicts” would look down on one, for some of the people he helped. He looked past the dramacydal ignorance and only saw, helping another human being in need of his help. Breaking through barriers and walls of diversity in a cumulative way as he did, is so very rare, especially in this diminishing multicultural environment where hate is harvested all year around.
I’ve seen him get a handful of life sentences reversed and thrown out, cut time off of other people’s sentences as well as commence tons of lawsuits. He loved, ate, drank and breathed law and, though many of us resist in the physical form to strive to bring change to the struggle of darkness we all endure. He was very much on the same page, except… he was doing it with a pen, a torch to bring light to our path and, with the only language this system understands. Randal: you are very much appreciated and will be missed, loved and in our hearts, thoughts and prayers. From the cradle to the grave you will never be forgotten, Rest In Peace and sleep with the Angels.
Public Enemy #1
Sad news: on March 22nd 2012 an imprisoned man died, allegedly stabbed to death, at Ely State Prison. May he find rest. It is very sad that violence is continuing inside this prison.
We recently received this short observation:
On March 22, someone was killed on unit 8, a black man named “Brass”. Supposedly he was stabbed to death. The prison has been locked down since Tuesday. Maybe tomorrow or Monday it will come off lockdown, but nobody knows for sure. Here is what I’ve heard: The Unit 8 Senior at the time saw Brass on the tier clutching his chest/heart and thought he was having a heart attack, so he locked the tier down and made everyone go back into their cells, not knowing that the inmate actually got stabbed. So whoever did it was able to get rid of the weapon and clean up all evidence, etc. and basically got away clean. Nobody knows who did it, all they know is that this man Brass is dead.
Here is the AP newsitem in the Las Vegas Sun:
Ely State Prison inmate found dead with stab wound
The Associated Press
Friday, March 23, 2012
Officials are investigating the death of a 31-year-old Ely State Prison inmate who was found dead with apparent stab wounds at the foot of prison stairs.
The news that Ronnie Danelle Brass was found by staff at about 3:15 p.m. Thursday and pronounced dead by a doctor shocked his lawyer, Jonell Thomas, who said he had an appeal pending before the Nevada Supreme Court.
“I’m just stunned,” Thomas said. “I was hopeful we were going to get a new trial for him.”
Brass and his younger brother, Jermaine Brass, were sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole following the January 2009 shooting death of their brother-in-law, Ernest Mitchell.
Mitchell had accused the brothers of stealing vehicle tires and rims from his house. Mitchell’s wife, Katrina Brass, witnessed the shooting and testified against her brothers at trial.
Ronnie Brass was convicted in Clark County on April 28, 2010, of first degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder, first degree kidnapping and conspiracy to commit kidnapping.
Thomas said she had hoped the court would hear oral arguments on her contention that Ronnie Brass had an IQ of just 58, and was an accessory in the slaying, not the killer.
Read the rest here.
From: Coyote-Calling Blog:
First and foremost, my most sincere greetings of solidarity and respects are extended to the poor, imprisoned and oppressed. My name is Coyote, I’m a serious Anarchist radical, confined and isolated in the infirmary of Nevada’s most notorious maximum security lock-up: Ely State Prison.
In 2007, I started up my own prison chapter of Anarchist Black Cross. Because of my efforts – and another comrade’s efforts – and due to the exposure of the blatant medical neglect here at ESP through the Rikers vs. Gibbons / ACLU lawsuits, a solid support structure for NV prisoners has begun to be erected. This includes the Nevada Prison Watch website that provides oversight of the NDOC; Makethewallstransparent.com, which does the same; the Nevada Prison Newsletter, which I am now the co-editor of; and now the NV-CURE has been re-activated. Whereas before, NV prisoners had no outside resources to connect to, now we have these, so this is just the beginning of many things to come.
I have published zine after zine, all available from the S. Chicago ABC Zine Distro and also the Chicago ABC Zine Distro. Through my zines I have been able to reach many, many prisoners across the country, helping them to make the transformation from gangster to guerrilla, or from criminal to radical, and also showing them how to be active and organized while behind enemy lines. My zine “Starting Your Own ABC Prison Chapter” has been very influential to many prisoner activists who are trying to get themselves started. I have also been in collaboration (on the sly) with many prisoners in different states, helping them get organized where they’re at, showing them how to start up their own prison chapters, how to reach out to activists on the outs, how to reach out to prisoners where they’re at, etc.
Due to my efforts, and my resistance, here at ESP I have been able to flood this prison out with thousands of copies of all kinds of zines, radical literature and empowering reading materials. I have supplied hundreds of prisoners here with their own libraries and their own collections of literature, and they use these materials to not only raise their own consciousness, but also to raise the overall level of consciousness throughout this gulag. It has gotten to the point that there isn’t a tier/unit you can go to in this prison, where there aren’t at least 6 or 7 prisoners on each wing who have a good supply of zines and literature, most of which has come from me.
In January 2010, I started up a book drive for the ESP Library that lasted until May 2011, where people from all over the world had donated thousands of books to our library. When administration caught wind that an Anarchist radical was behind the whole thing, they hurried up and shut it down!!!
I have participated in mostly all of the riots, protests and demonstrations of resistance here at ESP, and have been accused by the pigs of being the main organizer of several of them. I have been placed on High Risk Potential status and labeled a ‘threat to the safety and security of the institution’, moved around from one hole to another every 30 days, which I have indeed used to my advantage to pass out literature, form alliances with other radicals, raise awareness, plant seeds and to organize.
Through my efforts I have been able to bring small numbers of enemy faction together, and unite prisoners across racial lines, to fight the true enemy. I have been a leader, a teacher, a comrade and a mentor to many of these youngsters here, regardless of their race, ethnicity, etc. Now there are many prisoners here at ESP who have become radicalized, and we now even have a handful of serious Anarchists here, all who have been taught and trained to be effective writers, propagandists, activists, leaders, teachers, and organizers, and some who are now in the process of starting their own collectives.
Because of my resistance to the stagnation and oppression of this everyday profane existence in this gulag, waking others up in the process, the warden has removed me from the rest of the prisoners, saying that I have “too much influence” over them, and placed me here in the infirmary to be isolated, until I am released. But even this has not stopped me.
Yes, I can proudly say that I’ve accomplished many things, have resisted all the way through, becoming a thorn in their side, but I claim no victories, because this prison still exists, we’re still locked down and treated like shit, still in the deathly hands of the enemy, and there are still many prisoners here who are unaware, asleep, afraid, or walking around ignorant and blind. There’s still much work to do, many battles still to be fought…
Still Striving for Real Victories
To send letters of encouragement and support, please write me at this address:
Coyote Sheff #55671
P.O. Box 1989
Ely, Nevada 89301-1989
Coyote’s zines can be obtained at either of these addresses (free to prisoners):
1321 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Chicago, Illinois 60622
S. Chicago ABC Zine Distro
P.O. Box 721
Homewood, Illinois 60430
We received this from Nevada-Cure:
By Gilbert Paliotta
I’ll start from where things went bad for me…. In 1998, Ely State Prison Administration housed me in a cell with a known “Gang Enforcer” (that’s how he was listed in their files) who was recently transferred to this prison from another one due to his numerous assaults and batteries on other inmates. A week before they housed me with this guy, he had been released from the “hole” (punitive segregation) for cracking open the head of his last cellmate with a metal hotpot and ripping his eyeball out of its socket.
Administration moved me in the cell with this guy; and, to save you from the gory details, a fight ensued and he lost his life.
Did I mention that he was over six feet tall and a solid two hundred pounds and that I am only five nine and one seventy? That up until 1998 I was labeled as a “ model inmate” (nothing to brag about but it’s better than being labeled a “Gang Enforcer”)? That ESP administration had prior knowledge revealed by the sheriff’s office that this guy was ordered to “hit” (kill) his last cellmate and yet they continued to cell me up with this guy?
I was found guilty of murdering my cellmate even though it was clearly self-defense. In my prison disciplinary hearing I remained silent because I was facing criminal charges by the State of Nevada, but the disciplinary committee simply found me “guilty” without allowing me to defend against allegations, sentenced me to the maximum penalty in punitive segregation and illegally placed me on “high risk potential” (HRP) status, the most extreme and restrictive status an inmate can possibly be placed on, even worse than death row, not an accusation but a proven fact.
The warden at the time (McDaniel) left me on the HRP status until 2005, long after my punitive segregation sentence had expired, ignoring my repeated attempts to be taken off said status and sent back to the general population. He stated he would not take me off HRP status until he considered me “no longer a threat to staff and inmates”.
In 2005, Warden McDaniels finally removed me from HRP status but did not send me back to the general population. He told me to give him six months. It’s now 2012 and I’m still not back in general population.
They keep me on “administrative segregation” under the guise of “safety security” reasons, which is a contradiction or the warden would not have taken me off HRP in 2005.
During this time I filed a Civil Rights complaint (or rather I tried to) regarding the prison holding me hostage all of these years in segregation, it was dismissed. Had I had some help, that would not have happened. I had them dead to rights on that lawsuit.
Since they continue to keep me segregated when they have released other inmates who have been found guilty of murder of another inmate back to general population, I am beginning the steps of filing another separate complaint. This one will be from the date my prior lawsuit was dismissed.
And it gets worse…Physical abuse as retaliation
Administration didn’t like that I filed a lawsuit against them. In 2008, the guards assaulted me while I was handcuffed and had leg restraints on. Two days later, they assaulted me again while I was handcuffed and restrained. Of course, they twisted it up saying it was the other way around but how does a person attack two guards while he’s in full restraints?
In 2009-10 I was engaged to be married and was receiving visits every three months from my fiancée’ who traveled all the way from England.
Again, administration disrupted my life as I knew it. That lawsuit! After one of my visits with my (now) ex-fiancee, they said they found a pair of panties on prison grounds and that she gave them to me. This is major. I was strip searched three times before and after visits by five different guards and at no time was a pair of panties or any contraband for that matter ever found in my possession or on my person. During my disciplinary hearing (they charged me with possession of contraband’ for these alleged panties I allegedly received from my fiancée). I requested numerous witnesses, who all told me that they would testify on my behalf, and the video surveillance from the visiting room on the date of my fiancée’s visit to be introduced as evidence. The sergeant and lieutenant who handled this disciplinary hearing flat out refused to call any of the witnesses (all of whom were ESP staff) and refused to introduce the video surveillance.
They found me guilty of “possession of contraband”, sentenced me to a year punitive segregation and took my visiting privileges for one year.
I now have a civil action pending in federal court that is at the summary judgment phase.
In the process I lost my fiancée because she’s terrified to come back, thinking next time they will do something else worse to her.
My family members are hesitant to visit me for those same reasons.
Allow me to back pedal in time.
Eleven days after my last visit with my ex-fiancée (Michele), a pair of panties was again found on prison grounds!! The sergeant sent guards to my cell, strip-searched me and tore my cell apart, breaking items of my property in the process.
Get this, I was nowhere near where the pair of panties was found nor was I even outside. In fact, I had not even gone outside my cell since they lied about the first pair!
All of this is documented in the lawsuit and can be proven.
Also, during my disciplinary hearing (which is recorded) the lieutenant even stated, “No one is accusing you of being in possession of contraband.” He still found me guilty.
I’m waiting to see what the repercussions are going to be for filing this lawsuit I have now in federal court.
Maybe I just don’t care no more. After losing my fiancée I silently pray someone puts me out of my misery because I am in the process of writing a separate civil action in state court challenging the prison administrations lack of institutional protection of the laws in regards to religious practices: not allowing inmates to freely practice their religion.
I’ve been through the riots; I’ve fought administration both physically and on paper. It is impossible to do this alone. All I have is a rubber band and a paper clip.
I read these so-called prisoner support groups articles about how they fight for us, stand with us , etc. I find that to be carrots on a stick. To be honest, I don’t think they even exist. What “help” or “support” have they given to us? Nobody I know has benefited from their services.
I am not accusing you of anything, I don’t know you.
It’s just that I’m so fed up with of this. Losing someone you genuinely love because of the actions of someone else is crushing.
Have you lost a loved one or had an engagement called off? I sincerely hope that you haven’t nor ever have to experience that, but, if you have, multiply that by a dozen, topped off with the loss of seeing your family members as well.
Michele and I overcame major obstacles, living in different countries, me in prison, us being different nationalities and personalities among other things. Now imagine all of that being destroyed because ESP administration wanted to destroy the last bit of happiness I had in life.
I try to better myself each everyday both mentally and physically by reading everything I possibly can and maintaining a workout routine. I share whatever knowledge I have with anyone that asks but I’m limited. I cannot reach beyond these prison walls without support.
No one thinks they will ever be in such a position as I am in, but if it can happen to me, if can happen to someone you love. Please support prisoners in their fight for justice and fairness.
Gilbert Paliotta #46244
P.O. Box 1989,
Ely, NV 89301