Another issue of the NPN was published.
Another issue of the NPN was published.
Vol. 2, No 5 “Veritas in Caritatis”
Summer Issue 2012
THEME: “Audi alterum partem”
Listen to the other side!
“Voice of the Nevada Jurisprudence and Prison Report”
Statement of Purpose:
The NJPR Newsletter reports on current prison conditions, good and bad; more importantly it looks at and evaluates the legal processes and the substantive laws which are designed to keep men in prison: Pre-trial issues, probation and parole policy, sentencing structures, post-conviction law, and most important, the philosophy underlying policy in practice.
The purpose of the NJPR Website is to provide a repository of affidavits, declarations and grievances in Web-Dossiers organized by categories of intuitional behavior. Fundamentally, this is a whistleblowing organization trying to associate with other “transparency” projects at an intrastate, national and global level. We seek to identify patterns which can be utilized by the U.S. Department of Justice.
We invite any resident, and especially judicial officers of the Courts and government Administration to write letters to the NJPR.
Index to this Issue:
Section One: Conditions
1. Civil Actions Against NNCC Law Library Closures
2. Parole News: AB 85 Committee Report, Aug. 20 2012
3. Compassionate Release DOES Exist?
4. Cop Beaten by Inmate
Section TWO: Law, Equity and Policy
1. Ex-Con Travel Passport Policy
2. Quis custodiet ipsos custodies? Administrative Law Loopholes
Section Three: Art, Culture, Education and Religion
1. “Christian” Hater Habits and Correspondence Policy
2. Inmate Intellectual Activities at Rock Bottom
3. Call for Fast Against Injustice
4. Thoughts on Henry David Thoreau
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Section One: Conditions
1) Civil Actions Against NNCC Law Library Closures
The prisoners at NNCC have voiced their grievance at both the Federal District Court and the local district state court. The Federal petition was kicked to the curb apparently. The local action taken was a writ of mandamus/alternative. The court tried to chill the inmate litigants by illegally demanding a federal level of proof of indigency.
The closure of the law library is conjectured to be a long-range plan to lock-down the last remaining medium custody yard in the Nevada system. At this writing, the plan is to create a level system here, which is usually reserved for high security situations. The administrator has just informed the Prison Industry workers they will be moved from cell-designed unit four, to a barn designed unit 10. The battle against state sovereignty begin.
2) Parole News: AB 85 Committee Report, Aug. 20 2012
The Nevada legislature created in 1999 an Advisory Committee to study the draconian sex laws and the registration requirements. NJPR wrote to the Legislative Counsel and received the minutes of its second report. The committee is monopolized by the “criminal justice community” members and under the dominium of the Executive branch Attorney General.
The meeting minutes express with great satisfaction that their laws now conform to the Federal SORNA, which threaten individual states with a 10% loss in Federal Justice Assistance Grants. The Parole and Probation Department come into the prison to break the “happy” news about the decrease of liberties for released inmates condemned for sex crimes, leaving behind public information pamphlets on the subject. The Legislative Counsel refused to send additional documents (exhibits) of the AB 85 Committee, instructing us to contact the boss of the Committee, the Attorney General. Separation of powers issue seem to be implied.
3) Prisoner Let Go on Compassionate Release!!
Some months back, NJPR reported on the lack of statutory authority for releasing men to families to die. Our old friend Doug died stuck on the yard we reported; but recently another very ill man was actually let go! Which is great, but what is the procedure? Is it a new procedure? Is it covered by an Administrative regulation, or by legislative statute? Or does it come under the common law of executive clemency of the executive branch chief, the Governor of the State of Nevada?
To be continued…
4) Cop Taken on in Fisticuffs After Taunting Inmate Complaining of Broken Property
The custody managers of the prison decided to do a deep search of a barn-like housing units at NNCC, and the staff well instructed by their supervisor to be zealous. The result was the destruction of the property (some say it was a trivial Styrofoam dinner tray) of an inmate, who went up to the unit officer in a rage, yelling about his loss.
The officer did not respond with an apology about the breakage and the inconvenience. The officer responded with aggression and a throat of immediate arrest and placement in the “hole”. The inmate apparently took the Cop’s aggressive comments to be an invitation to have a boxing match, and commenced to pummel the officer to the ground. Why taunt? Is it smart? Is it respectful? Is it prudent? Is it in accordance to the Code of Professional Conduct?
Section Two: Law, Equity and Policy
1) Felons and Ex-Felons, and Foreign Travel
We still receive lots of inquiries about the truth of U.S. Passport policy. This is taken verbatim from a letter from San Francisco Passport Agency:
“Indeed, the information you received is correct… Felons and ex-felons are allowed to apply for and receive passports; but please note there are exceptions to this rule. In certain circumstances, felons and ex-felons are given a “namecheck hold” status (depending on the specific circumstances) by law enforcement and when we receive a namecheck hold we are required to have these applications approved by our legal department in Washington D.C. If legal approves these, we issue the passports. If legal does not approve these, we do not issue the passport and send the applicant a letter and advise them that their passport could not be issued at this time. Please note that in these circumstances, no refunds are given.”
2) Quis custodiet ipsos custodies? Administrative Blind spots
There used to be, among the American people, a healthy distrust of the individual states. The people were wary of the state’s disrespect and disregard for constitutional rights of the United States, and would look to the federal government for the vindication of those rights. But the states have been able to utilize the coercive power of mass media to create a unanimous identity between the American individual person and the nation-state. This identity between the “people” and its government is the hallmark of the “totalness” of a totalitarian nation-state. But this merging of identity is an extremely new phenomena, and infects both camps of the struggle between “federalists” and “state’s rightists”. The first identifies with the federal government, the second is loyal only to the local despot over the federal agent. The tension of this social conflict is perceptible in the Supreme Court of the United States, especially in the Marshall-Brennan era.
For a good illustration of the attitude creep over time, let’s look at a passage from Coleman v. Thompson 501 U.S. 702, in the dissent of Blackmun, Marshall and Stevens. This is a case that “states rights” philosophy continues the trajectory towards totalitarianism through “its crusade to erect petty procedural barriers in the path of state prisoners” seeking justice in the federal courts, by creating a “Byzantine morass of arbitrary… impediments to the vindication of federal rights” but the right being eroded, the right to come to a higher law, springs from a duty, as all rights do—the duty of the federal courts to keep a vigil over the state’s treatment of its citizens. About the source of this duty, Blackmun notes: “Indeed the duty arose out of a distinct distrust of state courts, which this court perceived as attempting to evade federal review.”
This distrust reflects the truth of power, and the high degree of corruptibility of governments at local levels, and the higher likelihood of the breakdown of the Republican form of government that prohibits the merging of the branches into a “total” state at the local level. It is a prudent habit of caution and the intellectual virtue of circumspection to “distrust” the political seats of power in the shadows of localities. Even the federal district courts are subject to passively give in to the pressures of the various pressures of the executive and legislative branches.
This healthy intellectual distrust of local governments is evident in the Supreme Court insofar as there are judges on that bench that have not swallowed the mythology of the “states rights” doctrine. The Supreme Court is more impossible than local courts due to three things: the dignity of the institution, the extremely high public visibility, and lack of local connections that could influence its Justices. These natural political prophylactics against corruption are not present in local state courts.
And they are not present in state prison mechanisms of local “justice communities”. Normally, both state and federal executive branch agencies are constrained by the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments (respectively) to provide due process in the formulation of agency rules and the actions these agencies carry out upon the non-governmental social agencies of the Executive branch, although authorized and funded by the legislature.
But in Nevada (and probably many other states) the prison administration is EXEMPT from normal public participation, oversight and scrutiny as provided for by it Administrative Procedure Act. Nevada Revised Statute 233B.039 (1) (b) EXEMPTS the Nevada Department of Corrections from its rulemaking guidelines. Of course, the effect of this exemption is to make its operations invisible and secret. Even though Nevada has grand jury statutes that permits them to enter into prisons, this is a very rarely, if-ever-used vehicle to draw prison officials into the light of public scrutiny. The only reliable public participation in rulemaking by prison officials has been the end-user, prisoners themselves. But since local courts are now so much under the thumb of the executive and legislative branch, very little justice comes from courts. But that is all the more reason to keep up the good fight!
Section Three: Art, Culture, Education and Religion
1) Ely Chaplain Transfers to NNCC with Hater Habits
Chaplain Stogner came to NNCC after being brainwashed into Ely-style institutional hatred of human beings called inmates. His first Jesus-loving act was to tear down the Chapel schedule and cancel all “inmate-led” services and violated AR 810.3-7A “Inmate Facilitators”. Then he disinfected the chaplain office, installed a huge stereo-system apparently so he can thump his bibles to the beat of Christian-rock (a bizarre oxymoron).
A lawsuit is pending on several issues against his acts. One issue regards a threat he issued to an inmate for writing to the Roman Catholic Bishop Randelph Calvo. To make the story short, the inmate said “Reeaally?” and wrote a letter to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, who wrote an e-mail back as follows:
“… Nevada State prison inmates corresponding to and receiving letters from ordained clergy who are also volunteers at the correctional center of the inmate, correspondence is permitted regarding religious matters of faith and morals. When this kind of communication occurs the ordained clergy is acting in the capacity of a professional for the Church and not a lay volunteer.”
As mentioned above, NRS 233B.039 (1) (b) exempts the Department of Corrections from the watchful eye of normal administrative rule-making and adjudication. This creates a dark shadow where citizens hired as staff are invited to be “role models” of the typical consumer culture I-do-what-I-want attitude!
2) Broken Record Tactics: Give Men Something to Do
The first thing Charles Dicken’s noticed about the Philadelphia experiment of mandatory solitary confinement was the amazing creative output of the inmates. The only alternative to stark raving madness was for the wardens of the … to give the inmates opportunities for intellectual stimulus and things to do with their hands.
The Nevada policy is to drive men stark raving mad so that the resulting raving madness can become propaganda that brainwashing (by mass media) the public mind into believing inmates are sub-human, the worst-of-the-worst. Many other “states” have the same policy. Any state that has such a policy has no right to the name or status of “state”. The state has turned into a “nation-state”, which is more of a civil religion than a state, according to contemporary thinkers like.
NNCC has lost its Toastmaster’s International group, the Blue Eagles Gavel Club, all of its inmate led religions programs, all college level course offerings, all of its Alcoholic Anonymous meetings led by inmates and has reduced all inmate activities to psycho-Therapeutics or “programming”. They leave open the gym, organized sports and pool (billiards). Of course also the typical prison “weight-pile” for the bodybuilder cult. But if a fellow would like to buy a Great Course college class, that seems to be excluded by the “safety and security” of the institution.
3) Fasting as Social Action and Prayer for Justice
The Nevada Prison News (NPN) ran an article in its last issue (Summer 2012, p. 5) by SAMAEL, who calls on the audience of that Zine for a fast against the terrible conditions of Ely State Prison. The editors of NJPR are in full support of this. Mahatma Gandhi kicked out British oppressors by his practice of Satyagraha. In the ancient prayer practices of the Roman Catholic, and other Eastern Christian Churches, fasting plays a major role. There are entire seasons of fasting-prayer (Advent before Christmas and Lent before Easter). Every week there is a required fast on Fridays, and the Saturday night before Sunday Mass. The word “breakfast” refers to the nightly fast of the monastic tradition—break-fast.
The important part of the fast is the intentionality, the “giving” aspect of the suffering that accompanies a fast. There are three kinds of ends to prayer in the Christian monastic view: purgative, the illuminative and the unitire. Fasting can be used to any of these ends. By fasting for the purging of an injustice in the world, we are using petitionary prayer.
Now, there is a doctrine of equity and natural law called the doctrine of clean hands: he who asks for justice must DO justice. If we are unjust ourselves, how dare we approach the almighty Creator? So, the intention for justice must be universal—we must wash our hands of our own injustices at the same time as the purging of social injustices in a specific sense.
So, that being said, this editor will offer up and participate in fasting toward any end (if good) suggest by other Nevada prisoners.
4) The Civil Religion of Henry David Thoreau
In the famous essay “Civil Disobedience”, Thoreau drops numerous memorable one-liners and gnomic phrases. For example here is one that should tickle the ears of inmates: “Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison”. How about this one: “Even voting for the right is doing nothing for it”.
And this: all men recognize the right of revolution; that is, the right to refuse allegiance to, and resist, the government when its inefficiency or its tyranny are great and unendurable”. These are all reiterations, not to poorly spoken of principles of natural law Andthis is my “The mass of men serve the state thus, not as men mainly, but as machines, with their bodies… In most cases there is no free exercise whatever of the judgment or the moral sense”.
All of this secular wisdom is for naught, and completely nulled out by the following declaration: “There will never be a really free and enlightened State until the State comes to recognize theindividual as a higher and independent power, from which all its own power and authority are derived, and treats him accordingly”. It can be, and has been demonstrated that there will never be a really free and enlightened state, period! Just like there will never be a man who is an angel, or impeccable (never making error).
The American writer looks at the state from an epistemological perspective, which really is the wrong category to use as a measure (although it continues to be the measure, which explains the wholesale acceptance of modern masses on the omniscient levels of “knowing” by the Homeland Security domestic surveillance program).
The correct category to use is merely Justice, and that is harder to reach perfection in than the techniques of government surveillance. So, as ear-tickling as Thoreau’s quips are, that is all they are. His mind is an early-middle stage onset of immanentism, and this means the loss of the imagination’s power to conceive of the true Power and Authority of the universe. If one cannot do justice to that One, how will justice be done in a plurality of men?
Received from Nevada-Cure, it is on the website here. Please print and distribute widely to those you know in Nevada prisons!
Here you find a copy of the NV-CURE Informational Bulletin (IB) Newsletter – No. 1 – that will be sent to prisoners on our mailing list this month.
You may want to print copies to send to prisoners that may not be on our mailing list and you may want to e-mail to any persons that may have an interest in the NV prison system.
We need to bring the problems with the NV prison and parole systems to as many people as possible.
Good people should not tolerate the things that are going on behind barbed wire fenses in Nevada.
(Citizens United for the Rehabilitation of Errants)
540 E. St. Louis Ave.
Las Vegas, NV 89104
Informational Bulletin Newsletter (1) June 2012
NV-CURE is a non-profit corporation. Our mission is to educate people on the issues and problems associated with the prison and parole systems through factual information to provoke intelligent and reasonable debate and discussion of those issues and problems. Our goal is to find intelligent solutions to issues and problems and cause constructive change to the prison and parole systems. We want humane and rehabilitative treatment for all prisoners and we want justice and fairness for all people regardless of their race, national origin, religious preferences, political beliefs, sexual orientation, or the nature of previous criminal conduct.
We need your help, and the help of your family, friends and associates, to accomplish our mission and achieve our goal. Join us in the struggle to bring justice and fairness to all in the criminal justice system.
We hold meetings on the last Wednesday of every month at 6:30 PM in our Las Vegas Office. All people are welcome to attend in person or through our telephonic conference line. (Call for Details).
NV-CURE Membership for prisoners ($2.00), basic ($10.00), family ($20.00) and sustaining ($50.00) is ANNUAL. Each person needs to keep track of their membership date and make a renewal membership donation yearly. This will save us having to write you to remind your yearly membership is due.
NV-CURE Lifetime Membership is $100.00 and only needs to be paid once.
NV-CURE Members may assist the organization by contributing money and/or volunteering to perform tasks to assist NV-CURE in achieving its mission and goal. All NV-CURE Members are expected to assist other NV-CURE Members in resolving issues and problems confronting them, to recruit more members to our cause and to assist others in furtherance of our mission and goals. NV-CURE Members are expected to actively participate in the struggle for justice and fairness for all. Struggle in Solidarity.
NV-CURE has a mailing address listed above. All mail to NV-CURE, or any NV-CURE Directors or Officers, should be sent to the address listed above. All mail to NV-CURE is scanned into our files and disseminated for response. Responses will be provided within 30 days or as soon as possible.
NV-CURE Telephone Calls
NV-CURE has a telephone number listed above. All calls to NV-CURE must be prepaid. We do not have the funds necessary for us to accept collect calls. Please do not make collect calls to us. Thank you.
NV-CURE Prisoner Members
NV-CURE Prisoner Members are encouraged to help accomplish our mission. Work together, help each other, help other prisoners and encourage other prisoners, and their family and friends, to join us in the struggle to make constructive changes to the prison and parole systems. We need your help in building solidarity among all prisoners to make constructive changes and to bring justice and fairness to all. We will accomplish more working together than struggling individually.
NV-CURE Prisoner Members need to organize as many prisoners as possible at each institution into a cohesive and united front to effectuate constructive change. DO NOT VIOLATE ANY PRISON RULES. Gather information regarding staff abuse, conditions of confinement, staff misconduct and other problems that need to be addressed. Provide that information – IN AFFIDAVIT FORMAT – to NV-CURE for our use in any manner deemed appropriate. NV-CURE will compile that information, organize it into an articulate format and provide that information to persons responsible for investigating the problems addressed and to persons responsible for the adopting of laws, policies and procedures governing and controlling those matters and for correcting those problems. We all need to work together to make NV-CURE a viable vehicle through which all our voices and complaints heard in an intelligent and reasonable changes made to the criminal just-us system.
NV-CURE Prisoner Members at each institution may elect a member at each institution to lead the struggle for change. Each elected leader should be in weekly telephone communication through pre-paid calls to designated NV-CURE Community Representative. Only through coordinated and organized joint action may we effectuate the changes required for humane conditions of confinement and justice and fairness for all.
NV-CURE is NOT a legal assistance organization. We are not lawyers and we do not provide legal advice. We have lawyers and paralegals as members involved with us in the struggle and on our Board of Directors. Those persons are acting as individuals in our struggle and pursue their professions separately from NV-CURE activities. Please do not contact them for legal assistance or advice unless you have the money to pay for their services up front, or you have survived summary judgment in a civil action. As much as they would like to help, they require financial resources for their survival in the community. Please do not write them personally for help unless you are able to pay for their services. Thank you.
Staff Abuse of Prisoners
As many of you are aware, for the past nine (9) months NV-CURE has been gathering information regarding staff abuse of prisoners. We have received a great deal of information on the subject. (as well as on other problems) and we have reported those matters to NDOC Director COX and various other non-profit legal assistance organizations, legislators, NV Advisory Committee on the Administration of Justice (ACAJ) and the media.
Director COX has assured us that each matter we reported to him as been referred to the Inspector General’s Office for investigation. (NDOC staff investigating claims against NDOC staff). We have received reports from our Prisoner Members that staff abuse of prisoners has diminished during the past five (5) months. We hope that we have helped to reduce this problem.
If you have information regarding continued staff abuse of prisoners, in any form, please report that abuse to us in affidavit format. We will continue to gather and correlate information on that subject. We want all staff abuse of prisoners to STOP and we need your help to do that.
Please do not send us documents you want returned or copied. Only send us copies of documents we may retain in our files. We have attempted to copy and return documents, but the task was overwhelming and the costs overburdening. We will no longer return or copy documents. Send us only copies of documents we may retain. Thank you.
NDOC Director COX has assured NV-CURE that there will be no retaliatory action taken against prisoners that report staff abuse or misconduct. We have taken him at his word. Unfortunately, we have received reports that prisoners who have reported staff abuse and misconduct have been retaliated against. We want information on each instance of staff retaliation against prisoners for exercising their 1st Amendment right to expose staff abuse and misconduct. We suggest reading the 9th Circuit decision in Rhodes v. Robinson, 408 F.3d 559 (9th Cir. 2005), to insure your retaliation complaints meet the five (5) point requirement for stating a retaliation claim. We will report retaliation claims to Director COX and other appropriate officials and attempt to make NDOC staff aware of the fact that reporting staff misconduct, filing grievances and filing lawsuits are authorized, encouraged, legitimate and reasonable forms of 1st amendment activities and are the intelligent and reasonable alternative to violent protest. If staff want to avoid being reported, staff should not engage in abusive or retaliatory misconduct. It is in all of our best interests to resolve complaints through appropriate channels.
Report each instance of staff retaliatory action to NV-CURE and pursue your claim through the grievance and, if necessary, the judicial process.
Please be aware that NDOC staff have been known to engage in devious and underhanded retaliatory misconduct. NDOC staff have labeled prisoners as “informant”, “child molester” and other “undesirable” persons, regardless of the truth of the matter, to retaliate against prisoners that have reported them, or their fellow employees’ misconduct with the intent of causing those prisoner harm from other prisoners. Do not fall into their retaliatory games of deception. NDOC staff are not your friends and reporting their misconduct does not make you a “snitch”. Report staff misconduct and make NDOC staff follow the law and the policies and procedures governing their conduct.
Please provide NV-CURE with information regarding each and every instance of NDOC staff misconduct and we will report the misconduct to appropriate authorities.
False and Inaccurate Information in NDOC Files and Records
NV-CURE has received credible information indicating that in 2007 the NDOC had a computer “glitch” problem that result in various false and inaccurate information regarding past criminal history, good time and custody status being inserted into various prisoner files. It appears in some instances the NDOC removes the false information only to have it re-appear at a later date. An audit has been requested by the ACAJ and will be presented in the 2013 Legislative session.
NV-CURE has a Community Member interested in gathering information on this subject. Should any prisoner have a problem with false and/or inaccurate information being contained in their NDOC file, appropriate action should be taken to correct the problem. Document the false or inaccurate information (request a screen printout from your caseworker), request the information be removed and/or corrected, pursue a grievance if necessary and report each incident in affidavit format, with supporting documentation, to NV-CURE. Our Community Member will use information in attempt to resolve problems existing in NDOC files.
Hep C and HIV Issues
We have received information indicating that prisoners are being denied testing and treatment for Hep C and adequate HIV medications. Please provide any information in affidavit form regarding denial of treatment for HEP C and HIV to NV-CURE. The news media may be interested in this situation.
Medical and Mental Health Issues
NV-CURE is aware that, in spite of the settlement reached in Riker v. Gibbons (ACLU litigation against Ely State Prison for denial of medical care), medical care at ESP and several other NDOC facilities is far below a constitutional level of care. We have received letters complaining of prisoners being denied medical care for broken bones, hepatitis c, cancer, diabetes and other issues. Please provide information in affidavit form to NV-CURE, and file grievances. While it is difficult for prisoners to prevail in a medical case against the state, it has been done. Recently, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decided in favor of prisoner John Snow in a medical case and remanded his case back to district court for further proceedings. It would be informative to read the Snow v. McDaniel, 681 F.3d 978 (9th Cir. 2012), decision to understand deliberate indifference to serious medical needs, which is the standard necessary to prevail in litigation against the state on this issue.
NV-CURE is in contact with the ACLU National Prison Project attorney that has an interest in the medical care and treatment being provided to Nevada prisoners.
Additionally, it has come to the attention of NV-CURE that mentally ill prisoners are being harassed and abused by NDOC staff. This is unacceptable. Please report any incidences of this type to NV-CURE in affidavit format. Our respect and thanks to those already speaking up in defense of the mentally ill in Nevada’s prisons!
Please provide information regarding medical and mental health issues in affidavit form to NV-CURE.
Clothing, Food, Personal Hygiene and Water Issues
Please provide information in affidavit form to NV-CURE regarding inadequate clothing, food, water and personal hygiene items issues within the NDOC. We have received information that there are problems in these areas that need to be addressed. One of our Prisoner Members is handling issues relating to inadequate food and we will channel the information on that subject to him. In the event any other Prisoner Member is interested in handling the information provided concerning the other issues, please make that fact known to us. We need your help to make changes to each of these problems.
NV-CURE Informational Bulletin Newsletters
A new NV-CURE member in the community has an interest in preparing NV-CURE Informational Bulletin Newsletters. We welcome him to the struggle for change. We intend to begin publishing this newsletter on a quarterly basis and provide you with news and information beneficial for use in the struggle for change. Any suggestions for matters to be included in this newsletter would be appreciated.
National CURE Board of Directors Meeting
National CURE Board of Directors is meeting in Washington, D.C., in the end of August and early September of 2012. Our President, who is on the National CURE Board of Directors, will be attending that meeting and representing the interests of NV prisoners. In our next newsletter, we will report of his activities. Please provide any suggestions for topics of discussion for International and National CURE.
Thank you for being a member of NV-CURE and for joining NV-CURE in the struggle for justice and fairness for all.
Financial Resources – Donations
NV-CURE requires financial resources to accomplish our mission and goals. We currently have extremely limited financial resources. We need your help, and the help of your family and friends. Please contribute to our cause and induce other to contribute. Donations may be sent to the NV-CURE office and made through paypal on our website. The more financial resources we have available, the more we can do. Without financial resources, we cannot accomplish our mission or goals. Help. Thank you.
Affidavit Format for Providing Information
The following is the format that should be followed in providing information regarding the above referenced matters to NV-CURE. Please use it.
AFFIDAVIT OF (NAME OF AFFIANT)
(Nature of Complaint, i.e., Medical treatment, Use of excessive Force, etc)
State of Nevada )
County of (Name of County)
I, (Name of Affiant), hereby declare and state as follows:
1. I am a prisoner confined at (name of institution) and I am making this Affidavit for the use of NV-CURE in any manner NV-CURE deems appropriate.
2. I am above 18 years of age, I am competent to testify regarding the matters set forth herein and the matters set forth herein are stated based on my own personal knowledge and observations.
3. (Use as many numbered paragraphs as necessary to described the events you witnessed. Be sure to include names, dates, times, places of the events and all relevant facts.
4. Further, Affiant sayeth naught.
Pursuant to the provisions of 28 USC §1746, I declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing statements are true and correct. Executed on this ____ day of _(Month)_, 2012, in the County of (Name of County) in the State of Nevada.
(Name and Address)
NV-CURE Meetings With NDOC Director COX
NV-CURE is scheduled to meet with NDOC Director COX quarterly on issues of concern related to the prison system. We are also in communication with other organizations, legislators and media regarding those issues. We are advocates of your concerns and will do our best to address your issues in the community.
Nevada State Bar Notice
Please note that Veronica Melton is no longer answering prisoner mail for the State Bar Association and is no longer able to send the Jailhouse Lawyers Handbook to prisoners. Sorry. A new person has been assigned to answer prisoner mail. Contact the Center for Constitutional Rights, Attn: Jailhouse Lawyers handbook, 666 Broadway, 7th Fl., N.Y., N.Y. 10012, for a copy.
Problems Obtaining Identification Documents
Anyone having problems obtaining identification (Birth Certificate, Social Security Card, etc.) necessary for use when released to the community should provide an Affidavit on that subject.
STRUGGLE IN SOLIDARITY
The cruelest tyranny is practiced
Behind the shield of law and order
Out now, available here:
You can download it here, print it and send it to someone in prison!
First, an apology. Personal matters have interrupted my life and drained some of my energy and fight. With every letter I received asking “where’s my May issue?”, I said to myself, well, I’ll get one out soon so the questions will be answered. But, days turned into weeks and weeks into months and the longer I waited the harder it became to get something on paper. Life on the outside is full of distractions and responsibilities and when we don’t see the inhumanity on a daily basis (through letters) we lose our outrage, we become complacent. The Beast never sleeps, it is continually growing stronger while the few of us who care, get tired and weak. That’s how the system works, that’s why we need lots of fighters.
Anyone who understands the prison issues, knows that all the hoopla about releasing nonviolent offenders doesn’t amount to a hill of beans in the scheme of things. Over policing, career building prosecutions, and harsh sentencing remain the standard. The problem isn’t that prisoners aren’t being released soon enough (well, that’s a problem too) but rather that too many are being locked up to begin with.
Once in, we face another set of stupid reactionary people who’s ideology determines policy. Alfonzo Graham continues to give lengthy defers to guys who were ready to go home long ago; BOCM and PRC continue to place “program needs” on people and then keep them from entering the programs; Wardens and guards taunt and harass prisoners with write-ups for minor infractions, rotating the seg population to make use of all the beds.
In the meantime, politicians posture and weasel word and pass a John Doe “reform” Bill even though they KNOW the reason prisoners file with the courts is because the ICRS is worthless. The complaint system is fraught with nepotism and cronyism where justice and fair play are totally absent.
Hey, but you guys know all this. These have been constant and repeated themes in this newsletter. In fact, this newsletter has held its tongue and curbed its words lately in light of the “changes” that many perceived taking place in this country and state. Many prisoners believed Barak Obama would set a new standard and bring civility and dignity to the way America does business. They hoped that this new way would trickle down to the bottom of the barrel, the prisons. So many were under the spell of Hope-ium that speaking the truth, that Obama is a corporate salesman intent on maintaining empire abroad and repression at home, was out of bounds.
The same Hope-ium addiction afflicts many prisoners regarding the situation here in Wisconsin. The false hope that weasel-wording politicians will reform the prison system in any meaningful way, keeps prisoners pacified and complacent. Just in case you really don’t get it, things ain’t changin’. Punishment, retribution, and violence are the true values the privileged of this country hold and they ain’t giving in. Things won’t change unless YOU make them change. Sucking on that Hope-ium pipe only prolongs the misery. In the mean time, days and weeks and years slip by and the prisons get fuller and the conditions get worse.
That said, Wisconsin’s financial mess is not resolved and more and bigger cuts in all sorts of spending areas will be needed. Prisons are part of the conversation and that’s a good thing. We only wish the motivation was some sort of enlightened thinking instead of financial reality. Word is, some of the old timers with lots of time in, will be released this October. That’s just a rumor at this point so don’t start packing your bags.
Our brother Warren Lilly won a court order halting his forced feeding. The order is stayed while it runs through the appeal process. For those of you who did not receive our January 2009 issue, it is because we ran a piece written by Warren.
Judge Bissonnette actually had himself strapped into a restraint chair to understand the brutality Warren has been subjected to. Judge Bissonnette said in his order, in part, “Certainly, this Court, nor the Wisconsin Court of Appeals, nor the Wisconsin Department of Corrections, should in any way condone any type of mistreatment or torture of an inmate in a Wisconsin correctional facility. This debate should form no part of a discussion about how medical care is to be delivered to a U.S. citizen over his constitutional objection.” In other words, STOP THE TORTURE!!
Another comrade, Harlan Richardts has submitted an article on the continued ideologically (and politically) driven parole commission. His research is on the status of lifers but the trends he has teased out of the statistics are similar through every category of parole eligible prisoner. A recent report from the Sentencing Project, Life Without Parole, confirms the trends Harlan reports.
We hope this newsletter helps you sort out the conflicting news and dis-information presented by the DOC and the mainstream press. We hope to continue our efforts to bring critical analysis and revolutionary inspiration but make no promises. We always hold out hope that others will join our effort, providing the needed energy and vision. Thousands of prisoners are released every year and a few have offered assistance when released but the pressure of day to day survival along with the heavy and threatening hand of their POs as left us overwhelmed, stressed out, and tired.
We have engaged the Beast in the courts. Our case #09-C-062-C is moving forward in U.S. District Court WDWI. Hopefully the DOC will fund future newsletters. That will relieve some of our stress and invigorate our spirit. We’ll still be overwhelmed and tired but that’s the nature of battle. Onward!
Quote to Ponder: “The press is so powerful in its image-making role, it can make a criminal look like he’s the victim and make the victim look like he’s the criminal. This is the press, an irresponsible press. If you aren’t careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.” – Malcolm X
By Harlan Richardts
Back in the 1980s a person with a life sentence (lifer) would serve on average 13-15 years before release on parole. In the 1970s it was much shorter because Wisconsin’s governors routinely granted clemency to lifers by commuting their sentences to 50 years or less. This allowed lifers to receive parole hearings far in advance of the statutorily mandated 11 years, 3 months (one lifer had his sentence commuted to “time served” after only 5 years).
It was so rare for a lifer to spend more than 20 consecutive years in prison that in 1980 there were only two prisoners with that distinction. In 1990, it was a newsworthy item when Steve Urban died in prison after serving 47 years on a life sentence. He was released on parole in the early 1970s but by that time he had become institutionalized and quickly demanded that he be allowed to return to prison. When he died, he no longer had any family to claim his body, which was buried in a pauper’s grave outside of Waupun. The Waupun Correctional Institution Lifers Group took up a collection and bought a headstone for his grave.
Times have changed. The constant drum beat of vengeance, retribution and punishment has changed the political landscape. Newly convicted lifers no longer automatically become eligible for parole after 11 years, 3 months. The judge sets the length of time to eligibility and it is not uncommon for lifers to have to serve 30 or more years to their first parole hearing.
Fast forward to 2009, and those same lifers who could have been paroled in 13-15 years are now hoping for release after serving twice that amount of time. In the 1980s, release on parole was virtually assured based on past practice. While there are a few lifers still being released on parole after an average of 30 years, it has become the exception rather than the rule.
From only 2 lifers with 20 or more consecutive years served in 1980, there are now 255. The number is increasing every year. One of those lifers who had already served 20 years in 1980 is still in prison. Garold Rheinschmidt has now served 49 years. He is not alone. There are 6 lifers who have served over 40 years and an additional 37 lifers who have served over 30. There were none in 1980.
When data on lifers is evaluated based on year of admission, the critical year is currently 1979. That is the first year for which there are more lifers still in prison than have been released. The percentage of lifers incarcerated increases until 1989; none of the lifers who entered prison that year have been released.
Curiously, there are some anomalies. Two women came to prison in 1992 and were paroled relatively early. Lashonda Mayhall was released in 2005 after 12.5 years and Mary Leggate. One wonders why these two women were released in such a relatively short period of time while all other lifers spend years, or decades more.
To the lay person, it may seem right that “life means life”; that regardless of what was done in the 1980s and before, murderers belong in prison forever. It may seem that murderers are only now getting their just desserts. Perhaps that is true. Ex-governor Tommy Thompson made being “tough on crime” his mantra and served multiple terms as governor. The prison population was just 3,980 in 1980, grew to 7,362 in 1990 and hit 21,110 in 2005. Thompson made the warehousing of prisoners an established policy and became infamous among prisoners for his 1994 letter where he stated: “The policy of this Administration is to keep violent offenders in prison as long as possible under the law.”
The data reflect this change in attitude as most of the growth in time served to release occurred in the late 1990s and beyond. Dierdra Morgan, chairperson of the parole commission in 2001-02, is the only chairperson with the distinction of having gone an entire calendar year without paroling a single lifer (2002). In 2001, she paroled one lifer. He was housed in maximum security at the time and that generally means he was either paroled to a in prison or was released because he was terminally ill.
Jerry Smith, Ms. Morgan’s predecessor, was not much better. He released only 2 lifers in each of the two years he was chairman.
Lenard Wells was Governor Doyle’s first chairman. He started out slowly but once he gained confidence he began paroling many lifers. In 2005, he released 18 lifers. But he was forced to resign in 2006 due to the public outcry when he paroled two “cop killers.” The news media never did tell the whole story, prefering sensationalism to fair and accurate reporting. Robert Prihoda and LaVern Rogers were convicted in the 1975 shooting death of an off-duty police officer during a tavern robbery. They were both young men who made poor choices and paid the price of over 30 years in prison. Now approaching middle age, they no longer pose a threat to anyone and were appropriately released on parole. Neither one has been involved in any further criminal activity although they have now been free for years.
But Governor Doyle, ever the weather vane of public opinion, was spooked by the press coverage and replaced Wells with someone he could be sure would never make him look bad in the media again. Political expediency took precedence over fair paroling policies. The outcome of the 2010 gubernatorial election is more important than letting rehabilitated prisoners return to society. After all, nobody wants ta be “Willie Hortoned” in an election.
Governor Doyle’s adoption of Thompson’s warehousing policy seems very puzzling considering who Doyle’s father was. Honorable James E. Doyle, Sr., was a federal judge in the Western District of Wisconsin and was instrumental in bringing Wisconsin’s prison system out of the dark ages in the 1960s and 1970s. Gone are the days of bread and water diets, the silent system and a raft of draconian restrictions prison administrators once claimed were necessary to running a prison. It was so-called activist judges like Doyle who brought the cleansing light of judicial scrutiny to a medieval prison system. How ironic that decades later it is his son who is behind the erosion of those principles of justice and fair play upon which Judge Doyle’s legacy stands.
One of the basic constitutional protections our founding fathers guaranteed us was the right to be free from ex post facto laws. This includes not being subjected to increased punish-ment for a crime previously committed. It seems only fair that this principle be respected in our country. Still, many oppose such a basic guarantee.
The problem is that when the constitution was written it only proscribed actual changes in laws, not reinterpretation of existing laws. Although the spirit of the ex post facto Clause would prohibit doubling a prisoner’s time in prison after the fact,
the devil is in the details. In other words, our judges have chosen to rely on a strict literal interpretation rather than a more equitable analysis based on the intent of the constitution.
Many people listen to the controversy over judicial appointments to the federal bench with a yawn. For most citizens it does not matter who becomes a judge because they will never see the inside of a federal courthouse. But for those on the fringes of society – the prisoners and other social outcasts – federal courts are their only hope for justice. After decades of conservative judicial appointments, few judges remain who are willig to stand up for society’s most oppressed people.
Wisconsin’s lifers are trapped in a system which exists solely to perpetuate itself. In 1990, Thompson funded a study which called for the prison population to reach 20,000 by 2000. It became a self-fulfilling prophecy. The growing population of lifers has contributed to that growth. Those 255 lifers with more than 20 years served have cost taxpayers millions of dollars over the decades of their captivity. The annual cost to house a prisoner in fiscal year 2005 was $44,118. It is easy for Governor Doyle to blame our $6 billion budget shortfall on a bad economy. Much of it, however, appears to be the direct result of ill-considered corrections policies over the last 25 years.
There are hundreds of lifers still in prison under the old sentencing laws who could be safely released on parole. Jesse Derickson is 85 years old, serving double life for shooting 2 men and trying to make it look like they shot each other. Jesse has spent 26 years in prison and is now a doddering old man, wasting away in a prison cell. Wayne Lowe is 81 years old and has spent 21 years in prison on a life sentence for killing his wife’s boyfriend. Wayne weighs about 90 pounds and can best be described as frail. These men have spent decades in prison, are near the end of their lives and no longer pose a threat to anyone. Who would you rather see in a prison cell? One of the many aging, now harmless, lifers or the young gun toting gang member selling crack on a street corner near you? Which one do you have the most to fear from?
The time for vengeance is over. What Wisconsin needs is restorative justice: A system which heals the victim, the community and the offender. Now is the time to restore sanity to the correctional system. The Department of Corrections has numerous programs to help prisoners learn to be good citizens. When prisoners change their thoughts, beliefs and actions, it should be acknowledged and they should be permitted to return to being productive members of society.
Parole decisions should be based on suitability for release rather than the next gubernatorial election. Our elected officials are squandering tens of millions of dollars on misguided corrections policies while children go hungry and schools are
under funded. Isn’t it time that Wisconsin’s citizens speak out on this issue?
About the author:
Harlan Richartds is serving a life sentence for stabbing another man in a fight. He has served 24 years in prison. In April 2008, after 2 1/2 years at a work release center and 19 months on work release, Alfonso Graham increased the length of Richards’ parole defer which resulted in Richards’ transfer back to a prison for additional years of warehousing. Richards is a self-taught jailhouse lawyer who has litigated prison rights issues extensively during his incarceration. He earned a bachelors degree in business administration from UW Platteville in 1997, graduating summa cum laude. He is currently housed in Oakhill Correctional Institution.
All raw data and calculations may be found at: WisconsinLifers.blogspot.com
Report wants life without parole abolished
By Kevin Johnson, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON — A record 140,610 inmates in state and federal prisons are serving life sentences and nearly one-third of those have no possibility of parole, according to a criminal justice research group that supports alternatives to incarceration.
The Sentencing Project, whose reports are regularly cited in academic and government reviews examining criminal justice policy, concluded that the number of inmates sentenced to life without parole has more than tripled to 41,095 since 1992. The report, citing in part the rising cost of incarceration, urges that life without parole be abolished.
The recommendation was met with strong opposition from some law enforcement officials who said life sentences, including life without parole, help drive down violent crime.
Joseph Cassilly, past president of the National District Attorneys Association, acknowledged that long prison terms are a “huge drain on resources.”
He said life sentences are appropriate for violent offenders and even some repeat drug dealers.
“Sometimes there is no way of getting through to these (criminals,)” said Cassilly, who did not dispute the report’s statistical findings.
In the project’s review, titled “No Exit,” researchers also found “overwhelming” racial and ethnic disparities for those serving life terms: 66% are non-white and 77% of juveniles sentenced to life in prison are non-white.
“Life sentences imposed on juveniles represent a fundamental and unwise shift from the long-standing tradition that juveniles are less culpable than adults … and are capable of change,” said Ashley Nellis, a co-author of the report.
Among other findings:
• In Alabama, California, Massachusetts, Nevada, and New York at least one in 6 prisoners is serving a life sentence.
• California, Florida, Louisiana, Michigan, and Pennsylvania each have more than 3,000 people serving life without parole.
• Pennsylvania leads the nation with 345 juveniles serving life without parole.
• The costs of housing an aging prison population also are rising. States should expect to pay $1 million for each prisoner who spends at least 40 years incarcerated, the report concluded.
Todd Clear, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, said the cost of maintaining a permanent prison population is daunting. The total price tag to keep today’s “lifers” incarcerated for the rest of their lives could cost the nation tens of billions of dollars, he said.
‘LIFER’ NUMBERS CLIMB
Number of people sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole in the U.S.:
The National Criminal Justice Act of 2009 – “undertake a top-to-bottom review of our entire criminal justice system” and to offer recommendations for reform.”
Senator Jim Webb of VA has introduced The National Criminal Justice Act of 2009.
Here is a fact sheet on the Bill which according to Senator Webb will be “undertake a top-to-bottom review of our entire criminal justice system” and to offer recommendations for reform.”
Here is part of Webb’s statement:
The National Criminal Justice Act of 2009 that I introduced in the Senate on March 26, 2009 will create a blue-ribbon commission to look at every aspect of our criminal justice system with an eye toward reshaping the process from top to bottom. I believe that it is time to bring together the best minds in America to confer, report, and make concrete recommendations about how we can reform the process.
Why We Urgently Need this Legislation:
With 5% of the world’s population, our country now houses 25% of the world’s reported prisoners.
Incarcerated drug offenders have soared 1200% since 1980.
Four times as many mentally ill people are in prisons than in mental health hospitals.
Approximately 1 million gang members reside in the U.S., many of them foreign-based; and Mexican cartels operate in 230+ communities across the country.
Post-incarceration re-entry programs are haphazard and often nonexistent, undermining public safety and making it extremely difficult for ex-offenders to become full, contributing members of society.
America’s criminal justice system has deteriorated to the point that it is a national disgrace. Its irregularities and inequities cut against the notion that we are a society founded on fundamental fairness. Our failure to address this problem has caused the nation’s prisons to burst their seams with massive overcrowding, even as our neighborhoods have become more dangerous. We are wasting billions of dollars and diminishing millions of lives.
We need to fix the system. Doing so will require a major nationwide recalculation of who goes to prison and for how long and of how we address the long-term consequences of incarceration.
Matlock on a Mission
Our friend Ken Harris is taking it to ‘em. Resistance to the abuse and oppression can take many forms. Some guys refuse to work, some refuse to eat, some stay in the hole, some write to politicians, some write to the press, and some learn the law and use the “tools of the Master” against the master. Our friend Matlock has done the latter, with vigor.
He recently settled his case, similar to Johnson v. Raemisch regarding the violation of his First Amendment rights in the denial of our newsletter.
He also won his Federal civil suit against the guards who abused him. That civil suit arose from the original John Doe filed by Harris in 2005. As we reported, Columbia County DA Bauer (now Judge Bauer) refused to prosecute the two guards and then Sauk Co. DA Barrett refused to interview Harris or his witnesses and asked to be removed from the case.
This case also created quite a stir when the DOC retaliated against a nurse who verified Harris’ claim of abuse.
In June, Judge George closed the case, falsely claiming that the prosecutors determined the case “lacked prosecutorial merit”. This, after 4 years of “investigation” where none of Harris’ witnesses were interviewed.
Harris has filed a Writ of Mandamus in the Court of Appeals forcing the Judge George to subpoena witnesses and documents that will prove the abuse.
The DOC, DAs, and courts want to keep their record intact – no prisoner will ever win a John Doe complaint on the 940.29 statute “Abuse of residents of a penal institution.” Who knows what pressure was applied on Judge George.
If you recall, Harris filed an ICRS against KMCI Deputy Warden Beck for foul-mouthing a group of prisoners. This resulted in Conduct Reports and other retaliation against Harris. He was removed from his program and transferred to a max.
He’s about ready to file suit in Federal Court on a claim of retaliation. You can bet he’ll prove his case. He’s a pit bull and he’s got a good chunk of their ass in his jaws.
He’s suffered a lot of abuse for standing up and fighting, but he’s satisfied and happy that he has done what he can to fight the abusive system. Fight on!
Stanley prison sucks up more state money
Published: August 14, 2009
The chorus of anger and resignation gets louder every time the state has to shell out more money for the Stanley Correctional Institution.
“It’s a white elephant,” said David Helbach, administrator for the Wisconsin Department of Administration’s Division of State Facilities and secretary to the state Building Commission. “It was a bad deal, and it never should have happened.”
But it happened and has cost taxpayers ever since.
Construction of the 43-acre prison began in 1998 as a joint venture between the city of Stanley and Dominion Venture Group, Edmond, Okla. The prison was built to state specifications with the understanding the state would buy the prison upon completion.
Helbach, who joined DOA two years ago, said the state negotiated an $82 million deal to buy the prison. But, he said, it was a curious deal considering the state was in the midst of a prison construction boom in the late 1990s.
“We bought it for about 30 percent more than we could have built it for,” Helbach said. “And we could have done it better.”
Since paying the $82 million and opening the prison in 2000, Wisconsin has dumped almost $20 million into upgrades and repairs, Helbach said.
That trend extended Wednesday when state Building Commission members unanimously approved a $313,250 boost to a security upgrade project, increasing the total cost of the security project to $1.4 million.
The project will add new door-locking and monitoring systems and fix defects in the buildings’ security systems, said John Dipko, spokesman for the Wisconsin Department of Corrections.
“We’re so far into the hole, we can’t get out,” Risser said.
State Rep. Dean Kaufert, R-Neenah, agreed, saying Wisconsin is stuck with the building.
“I don’t know if we can throw up our hands and say, ‘Forget it, we’ll build something new,’” he said. “I don’t know where the tipping point is, and I don’t think we can throw in the towel.