Ohio places prison physician on paid leave during investigation of inmate’s suicide

Daily Reporter, June 10, 2011

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio has placed a prison doctor on paid administrative leave during an investigation into the suicide of an inmate under the doctor’s care.

Department of Rehabilitation and Correction spokesman Carlo LoParo said Friday the action taken with Dr. Myron Shank is standard during such investigations.

The state is looking into the June 2 suicide of Gregory Stamper, convicted of a double homicide in 1995, who hanged himself at Allen Correctional Institution in Lima in northwestern Ohio.

Read the rest here.

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Suicide raises questions about mental health care at jail

From: Las Vegas Sun
By Steve Kanigher
May 4th 2011

A suicide at the Clark County Detention Center in 2009 is kindling accusations that the downtown facility run by Metro Police is doing a poor job addressing mental health needs, an issue that prompted a Justice Department investigation of the facility a decade ago.

In a federal lawsuit, Las Vegas attorney Cal Potter III alleged on behalf of plaintiff Amanda Lou Cavalieri that the suicide of her husband, Michael Anthony Cavalieri, could have been prevented had the jail better screened and observed him.

Defendants include Metro and NaphCare, an Alabama company contracted by the jail to provide detainees with psychiatric and medical care. Metro spokesman officer Marcus Martin declined to comment on the lawsuit, filed in March, and a Las Vegas lawyer who represents NaphCare didn’t return calls seeking comment.

Cavalieri, 55, was an electrician booked in February 2009 on assault and weapons charges and was a pretrial detainee. According to the lawsuit, he suffered from bipolar disorder and was withdrawing from drug addiction.

He was initially placed in an observation cell and was to be housed in a unit with authorized suicide watch by jail staff at 15-minute intervals. But the lawsuit alleges that staff erroneously concluded he did not have suicidal thoughts and placed him in a cell within the general population.

On March 6, 2009, a correctional officer allegedly failed to perform a required twice hourly walk-through, and Cavalieri was discovered hanging from an air-conditioning vent. He was pronounced dead at University Medical Center.

Dr. Simone Russo of Las Vegas, retained by Potter, stated in an affidavit that Cavalieri “should have been admitted to a psychiatric ward for further observation and treatment.”

“Based upon my review of the record there does not appear to be any suicidal precautions taken after the decedent was placed in the general population, which is below the standard of care,” Russo said. He said that resulted in Cavalieri taking his life.

The lawsuit also stated that problems concerning suicide prevention and mental health care have been long-standing at the jail and it “has continued to be plagued by suicides.” According to Martin, one suicide occurred at the jail in 2008, but none in 2010 or so far this year.

After inspecting the jail in early 1998, the Justice Department issued a scathing report identifying numerous issues that it said violated the inmates’ constitutional rights. Among those issues were “inadequate mental health care and suicide prevention.” Investigators found inadequate suicide screening when individuals were first processed into jail, and poor supervision once they were placed in temporary holding areas, a combination they said posed “an especially dangerous inmate suicide risk.”

Read the rest here.

Man found dead in jail cell

More sad news from Nevada´s prisons…

Man found dead in jail cell | NevadaAppeal.com

By F.T. Norton, Dec 23rd 2010

A man awaiting trial on sexual assault charges was found dead in his jail cell on Wednesday night.

Carson City Sheriff Ken Furlong said Rodrigo Enrique Romero, 20, who pleaded not guilty earlier this week to sexual assault, kidnapping, destruction of property and battery with intent to commit sexual assault, was found in a segregated cell about 7:30 p.m. unconscious with part of a sheet around his neck. The other end of the sheet was attached to the bed, said Furlong.

Jail staff and paramedics tried unsuccessfully to revive Romero.

Furlong said according to the preliminary investigation, Romero was last seen alive by detention staff some 15 minutes before he was found unresponsive.

He said Romero had been having issues with other inmates which was why he was in a segregated cell.

Read the rest here.

Ely State Prison: A Place of Depravity, Death and Despair

Ely State Prison is a place of death, stagnation, misery, pain, loneliness and indeterminate lockdown. If you were to take a walk on one of these depressing tiers back here in “the hole”, you would hear many disembodied voices ring out, yelling in anger and frustration, trying to tell you how bad it is for us in here, in between the isolated confines of steel and stone.

This is a maximum security prison, but not everybody here is a security risk, but if you were to ask these pigs that, they’d probably tell you otherwise, just to try to justify the fact they’re keeping us warehoused in here, whether we deserve it or not. With time things change, and usually for the worse. Deterioration is a normal occurrence in here. In fact, if you were to ask the prisoners around here if they think the conditions here will get better or worse, most of them will tell you things are only going to get worse. Pessimism and hopelessness permeate the minds and attitudes of the average prisoner in here. There’s nothing much to look forward to, besides the next meal, and maybe a letter in the mail, if you’re lucky.
Back in the day, ironically when E.S.P. was actually opened up (when we were allowed group yard, tier time, porters, etc.), the majority of the prisoners here were actually befitting of the status: maximum security. Back then, a man was sent to Ely State Prison for failure to adjust in another, less secure prison, violence, escapes and things of that nature. But even then, that could also mean he was disruptive, someone who organized other prisoners, led religious services, or filed too many legal writs or grievances.
Not every man at ESP is told why he’s here these days, and not every man here has committed a violent crime. Not every man here has done anything serious to even warrant maximum security status (like for example, I have a neighbour here in the hole with me right now who was transferred up here simply for contraband). A prisoner has no chance to appeal a transfer before being sent to ESP, and sometimes arrives in the middle of the night without warning. Brought into a world of darkness, locked into a cell, left to get stale and stagnant as he deteriorates, like a mouldy piece of bread.
Nobody belongs in a world where they’re buried alive, where they’re in a tomb for the dead, basically. And the police has total control, and many of them frequently abuse that control, either on a psychological level, or on a physical level. And over the days, weeks, months and years, a prisoner who is confined to this every day misery, begins to degenerate. I’ve seen it happen, over and over again. Nobody belongs in a world like this, where death permeates the atmosphere. Where pressure is applied so constantly that all it does is make these men hard and mean as time goes by.
Some of these guys in here feel they only have 2 or 3 choices now: escape, snitch or suicide. Nobody has escaped from here yet, but many turned into snitches, and many have committed suicide. And others have succumbed to psychotropic medications, which is a form of both escape and suicide. For so many of us in here, there’s nothing to strive for, no aim, no goals, no hope, no light at the end of their tunnel, and they just give up; give in. There’s no love here, just the artificial love that you’ll find in the gang culture of prison life. This is a terrible place to be, especially for someone who has to return back to society.
All you have to do is read a little psychology to figure out what’s going on, to understand what’s being done to us in here. They try to break us down, sever our family and social ties, dominate us, talk shit to us, treat us like children, going out to their way to try to keep us stagnant and ignorant, and always out to break our spirits. Needless to say, I pass around books, articles and notes on psychology, so that prisoners can get a deeper understanding about things. Not just about being in prison, but also about how our minds work, personality, emotions, why we act the way we act, and why we are the way we are. It’s very important to actually be able to come to an understanding of these things; to raise our level of conscious and to be able to elevate our thinking under these circumstances is very important in more ways than one, and it’s also necessary for our survival in here, where psychological warfare is being waged on us every day.
The depravity and despair in this graveyard continuously pushes men to death or insanity. I wrote an article on November 18th, 2009, about the mysterious death of death row inmate Timothy Redman. November 18th, 2009, was the day he died, and I was there when it happened. This is a prime example of the daily depravity that takes place in this hellhole. Approximately an hour after Redman allegedly tried to grab a correctional officer by the wrist and pull his arm through the food slot (apparently the pig had to struggle to free himself), an extraction team of officers was made up to physically and forcefully remove Redman from his cell, or at least to try. Redman refused to surrender and to be placed in handcuffs, and he did so by displaying a weapon. What’s cold about this whole thing is that the policy (administrative regulation) even states that any time a prisoner has a weapon in his cell, his water and toilet is to be shut off, an officer is to be stationed outside of his cell, and nothing is to come in or go out of his cell – not even meals, and this officer is supposed to stay stationed outside of his cell until the prisoner either gives the weapon up, or for 72 hours, and then they have to decide what to do from there, whether excessive force is to be used or not. Did this happen? No. These pigs refused to follow their own rules and a man died as a result.
I can tell you exactly what took place. After Redman refused to surrender, the pigs then proceeded to spray one can of pepper spray into his cell. After that the senior officer in the control bubble commenced to open Redman’s cell so the pigs could run in there on him and retaliate, and then remove him from his cell. But the cell door was jammed from the inside, and they couldn’t get it open. Obviously Redman was no dummy, he knew how to keep the pigs out, and he knew why it was so important to do so. That’s a situation that you usually don’t win. They come in and beat your ass, and after they’ve got you fully restrained, they beat you some more as they yell out “Stop resisting! Stop resisting!” So, over the course of two hours, the pigs emptied a total of 6 canisters of gas into Redman’s cell, and then sprayed a seventh canister one time. They would spray him, and then go hide out in the upper storage room, so that the gas wouldn’t affect them (Redman was housed in 3-B-48, right next to the upper storage room). When they were finally able to open Redman’s cell to get him out, he was dead. His face was purple, his body was blue and blood was coming out of his nose. His boxers were stained with feces and urine and he had what appeared to be a smile on his face. The nurses and doctors tried to revive him, but to no avail.
What’s mysterious about this whole situation was that when they pulled Redman out of his cell, there was no rope tied around his neck or anything. But they say he hung himself. They said it was a suicide. But did he really hang himself, or was he murdered by six cans of pepper spray? Was it a cover-up? People need to be concerned about this, and they should demand to see the video footage of the extraction, just to make sure, because the whole thing seemed mysterious to the majority of the inmates who saw the incident take place.
All seem to agree that Redman died from the pepper spray. They think he was murdered. Who knows what happened. All humans are capable of murder, and death row inmates have been murdered before under McDaniel’s administration. I know this much: a couple of hours after they carried Redman’s body out of the unit, 2 of the wardens, the coroner, and the investigator were all standing outside of Redman’s cell laughing, smiling and joking around, thinking it was funny, until a prisoner piped up and said, “What are you laughing at? If that was one of your own who died, you wouldn’t find it very funny, now would you?” They got quiet. But it seemed like they were happy to see Redman die. At dinner time, a guard who was on the extraction team came into the unit and yelled out loud, so everybody could hear, “Cell 48 said he doesn’t want his tray.” It just goes to show how much regard these pigs have for our lives. They have no love, no mercy for us. The whole scene was a blatant violation of the administrative regulations and a blatant disregard for Redman’s life. And the really cold, cold, part about it was, when the coroner asked the warden, on two separate occasions, “How should I decide this?”, “How do you think I should decide this, suicide or murder?” The warden looked around, seen that prisoners were standing alert at their doors and said, “I can’t decide that, that’s your job.” But what would even propel the coroner to ask such an odd question like that in the first place? It makes you wonder…
I knew Redman personally. He wasn’t really a friend of mine, but someone I talked to occasionally. I don’t know what set him off to go after the pig, but I do know this: Redman was a death row inmate who has had to endure 23-hour lockdown while on H.R.P. (High Risk Potential status: supermax custody level) for 16-17 years straight. I’ve heard him talking once about how year after year administration is stripping one privilege away from us each year. Tobacco, milk, scrambled eggs, hot lunches, food packages, clothing packages, etcetera, etcetera. They just take, take, take and keep you locked down in a cell with a death sentence hanging over your head. Oh yeah, and I know that they were messing with Redman’s mail too. He seemed to think that his wife left him due to this; because certain letters never got to her. So, I think it’s safe to say, with all these things taken into consideration, you have a man who has nothing to lose, and no hope in sight, who has basically been driven to a point where life doesn’t even matter anymore.
There’s a lot of people like that in here. They weren’t always like that though. They’ve deteriorated, and have been broken, and just stopped trying, stopped caring, with no one or nothing to help pull them through. It’s a sad, sad story, about depravity and despair. Some of us fight and struggle (psychological and spiritually), trying to make it through this, trying to better ourselves and better our positions in life, and some just give up all hope. It’s easy to give up in a filthy, foul-ass place like this, where nobody cares about what you’re going through, or about where happens to you, one way or another.
The guards that work here don’t care about us, they’re not trained to care about us, they are only trained to control us. Ely State Prison is an unproductive, unhealthy environment, even for these pigs. It has been documented that prison guards have the highest rates of heart disease, drug and alcohol addiction, divorce – and the shortest lifespans – of any state civil servants, due to the stress in their lives. Prison guard are in constant fear of injury by prisoners, and the fear of contracting diseases always lingers in their minds, since prisons are normally flooded with all kinds of diseases, from hepatitis C, tuberculosis, to AIDS.
From the first day in the academy these guards are trained to believe that they are taught to believe that they are the “good guys” and that prisoners are the “bad guys”, They are pretty much programmed into fearing and despising us – before they even come into contact with any of us! They are led to believe that all prisoners are manipulative, deceitful and dangerous, and that all prisoners are the scum of the Earth. So no, they don’t care about us, they are not even allowed to care about us. We are not even human to them. Needless to say, none of this leads to rehabilitation, but on the contrary, it only contributes to the everyday depravity here in this hellhole.
I’m writing about all of this for a reason though. I’m here to expose the abuse, the injustices, the disparity and hopelessness. I’m here to raise awareness about all of these things, and I’m here to help seek solutions. One of the things I’d like to help Nevada prisoners understand is that the situation for us out here is deplorable. There is a real problem with this whole system, and if we don’t recognize these problems, we will never find solutions, not to mention the possibility that we ourselves could even be contributing to many of these problems. Please believe, the way they’ve got us doing our time is not the way we’re supposed to be doing our time. This whole prison is “the hole”, there’s no general population here at E.S.P., there’s no incentive, no programs, no rehabilitation, nothing. We have way more coming to us than this! We are not supposed to just lay down and accept this, we have to start finding ways to come together, we have to start striving to make the necessary changes that will help better our positions in life, so that we don’t have to keep coming back to these dead ends.
Furthermore, like Ikemba always says, there’s no real level of activism in Nevada. Prisoners do not have any available resources, bookstores for Nevada prisoners, no prisoners’ rights advocacy groups, no solid help from the outside, whatsoever. In order to make changes on the inside, we need support from the outside. We must take it upon ourselves to build a proper support structure for Nevada prisoners, and we have to do this from the ground up!
So, if you’re a prisoner doing time in Nevada and if you have family/friends out here in Nevada – or anywhere else on the outs – I would like to encourage you to explain to them how bad the situation is for you/us in here. Let them know that we cannot expect any type of real rehabilitation from this system; explain to them that the administration is not going to do anything to help us further our growth and development, or push us close to becoming reformed, socially functioning individuals. We have to take it upon ourselves to do these things and we can’t do it without a proper support structure from people on the outside.
Talk to your families, talk to your friends, talk to your loved ones out there (show them this newsletter if you have to), see what they would be willing to do to start up programs for Nevada prisoners. Something needs to be done, but nothing will improve unless prisoners start taking the initiative. The guys who have to do life sentences, or who have to be here for the duration, I encourage you to start learning the law, use it as a tool to make changes for everybody; start stepping up to the plate, instead of waiting for others to do it for you. As long as we keep trying, sooner or later something has to give. It’s better to try than to do nothing, especially when we’re living like this! We can do anything we put our minds to, it all starts with a thought, and what we think about we become, so let’s get it cracking. 
Until then, we are just going to sit here, warehoused in this misery, as the years go by, more people losing their minds, more deaths and suicides, more repression, more rules being placed on us, making it harder on us, more restrictions, more losses of privileges and whatever else they want to take from us. We will sit here with sad looks on our faces, as anger and hatred eat us up inside. The despair will lead to depravity, and the depravity will do us in. Death is the only outcome tomorrow, for those that don’t start taking action today.
Solidarity and Respects
Coyote

AZ: Suicide/homicide rates skyrocket at AZ Department of Corrections

From Arizona Prison Watch

I obtained prisoner death records last week from the AZ Department of Corrections, and the stats on suicides and homicides since Brewer took office are mind-boggling: they’re twice the rate as they were when Janet was governor; this fiscal year (beginning July 2010) the suicides are on track for being three times the annual rate.

In no instance of the recent suicides has there been documentation that ADC staff had any culpability – though I’ve had more than one family member tell me that their mentally ill loved one had been taken off of their psychiatric medications in prisons before their suicide or homicide. That sounds to me like a pattern of institutional neglect.

Anthony Lester‘s death remains a mystery to me, by the way – the ADC record detailing his death lists his injuries as self-inflicted (his jugular, his right wrist, and his leg were all cut with a razor) , but a document compiling the deaths for the year calls it a homicide. Tony’s family was told it was a suicide – a “highly preventable” one, which they tried to warn the ADC he was at risk for. They have other information suggesting that he believed he was in imminent danger from a gang, though. Until I get confirmation to the contrary, I’m leaving him in the suicide category.

Tony suffered from schizophrenia, and was sentenced to more than a decade in prison due to two women being slightly injured trying to prevent him from cutting his throat (both required band-aids at the scene) during a psychotic episode. He had to be restored to sanity before he could go on trial, of course. That’s par for Maricopa County’s treatment of people with mental illness who needed psychiatric hospitalization before or at the time of their “crime”. If I could sick the DOJ on every responsible judge and prosecuting attorney, I would, because that’s a violation of the Olmstead Decision, as far as I’m concerned. The Olmstead Decision was a Supreme Court verdict that determined that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires states to deinstitutionalize and place people with disabilities in the least restrictive setting possible.

Arizona, after 20 years of Arnold v. Sarn litigation, is still underserving the seriously mentally ill in the community. Here they’re just criminally prosecuted for the symptoms of their illness and thrown into the most restrictive setting possible – state prison (often maximum security) – largely because the state lacks adequate outpatient and inpatient alternatives for individuals at risk of harming themselves or others (we spend it all on corrections instead. If ADC Director Ryan had any courage, he’d call that what it is and tell the state where to put their money and the courts where to stuff their convictions).

Why else would a judge give a man with schizophrenia three years for climbing a utility tower in a thunderstorm to be closer to God? Why would he even be prosecuted for that in the first place? I think they actually believed they were protecting him from himself. Sadly, Shannon Palmer ended up being murdered by his cellmate two years in.

The deaths by “natural causes” are also extremely young – go to the ADC’s website, under ADC in the News, for death notices. There’s an archive on that page, too. I suspect that it’s complications from the effects of the Hep C virus that’s killing people so young inside. I’ll be analyzing the documents I obtained further to confirm that, and post it when I compile it all.

Here are the links for the APW posts about the more recent suicides:

Special Management Unit: Prisoner suicide at ASPC Eyman (11/4) – James Galloway

Prison suicide and gangs at Florence Central (10/01) – Duron Cunningham, Rosario Rodriguez-Bojorquez

Additionally, I missed a couple of suicides in my compilation that I didn’t have info on until now:

Douglas Nunn 33 (8/29/09) – ASPC-Florence/Central

Patricia Velez 25 (4/28/10) – ASPC-Perryville/Lumley

All 3 of the women who have killed themselves in the past year and a half hung themselves and were housed in Lumley, where the maximum security yard is. All three were in their 20s. I don’t know if Patricia had a mental illness or not: a psychological report was sealed by the court when she was sentenced to 7.5 years for aggravated assault and fleeing a law enforcement vehicle. Geshell and Sasha, the other two women from Lumley who killed themselves, did have evidence of a serious mental illness when sentenced.

Two of the men who killed themselves recently were both from ASPC-Florence/Central. The largest number of male suicides in any one prison have occurred at ASPC-Eyman, however.

Sometime in the next couple of days I’ll break down the suicides and homicides by race and age, and tell you how they compare to stats for the overall prison population, as well as to rates in the general population. It seems to me that if all the violence boiled down to a gang war, the Aryan Brotherhood is winning.

From AZ: Justicia Ahora: Resist State Violence this Friday.

From our friends at AZ Prison Watch:


National Day of Action Against Police Brutality

Friday, October 22, 2010 11am- 1pm

MEDICAL NEGLECT
IS VIOLENCE:

STOP KILLING THE PRISONERS!!!

Arizona Department of Corrections
1601 W. Jefferson St. (at 16th Ave)
Phoenix, AZ 85007
(park in the SE lot at Wes Bolin off Jefferson – the ADC is across the street.)

17 suicides/15mos
5 homicides/9 months
6,000 HCV+ prisoners and counting…

HARD TIME HEP C ALLIANCE – AZ
http://hardtimehepc.blogspot.com

For more information, contact:
Peggy at 480-580-6807 or
prisonabolitionist@gmail.com

ALL FAMILIES WELCOME:
CHALK, BUBBLES,
and GREAT PEOPLE WILL BE THERE.

PLEASE WEAR BLACK.
BYOB. A sack lunch would be smart, too.

Some public comments, made at the Meeting of the Board of Prison Commissioners, July 14, 2009

For the Record

Meeting of the Board of Prison Commissioners

July 14, 2009

To the Members of the Prison Commission and the Public,

Since last meeting, April 14th, nothing has changed that I have noticed: inmates in Ely State Prison are still not being treated properly for serious medical problems, the prison is still on lockdown except for 2 units, some inmates are kept illegally on a ‘High Risk Potential’ even though there are no apparent reasons to keep them on this inhuman status (keeping an inmate on a leash while he has to walk through the visiting room to the restroom during a visit, sounds a lot like what we saw on pictures in the media of Abu Ghraib).

There also are no programs, no steps, to step down from one level to the next.

Inmates are not able to make telephone calls according to the rules, because telephones are not brought to the inmates when they need to make a call to their relatives.

Cleaning material is scarcely handed out if at all. There are far too many strip-searches, even though it is even noted in the media that it is some employees who bring in illegal drugs, not inmates. Strip-searches are inhumane and the ones who have to check up become dehumanized too by doing them so often. People, whether inside or out, have to be able to retain their dignity.

Also, I hear that very recently, order forms were taken out of catalogues of a bookseller, by those employed in ESP in unit 3, so that the inmates are discouraged to (or can not even) order any books to read. This is unnecessary and it only produces a dangerous level of lethargy and disturbance of minds.

Also, mentally ill patients are being housed in this maximum security prison, whereas it is not meant to be a mental hospital. This brings along high levels of noise and disturbance for those patients (who need treatment) as well as those next door who try to make something of their lives, even if they are locked up. See also the article in Las Vegas Sun recently, July 12 (http://lasvegassun.com/news/2009/jul/12/illness-keeps-many-cycle-through-jail/).

There needs to be a change of mentality in society, in Nevada, within the Department of Corrections, from only cutting costs without any alternative and improvement to making society better and by doing this, preventing crime and cutting cost by not having to house so many people for years on end with no goal, no medical care, no redemption, no growth, no forgiveness, no love.

Is this a message for ‘soft-hearts’? I think it takes guts to want to change and engage in supporting children so that they grow up becoming balanced adults, in stead of greedy, corrupt, selfish people who will believe that crime (doing bad) pays and that being greedy is good. It takes courage to really invest in rehabilitating people who have made wrong decisions, who have succumbed to becoming addicted to hard-drugs. It is not only stupid to be so-called “tough on crime” by not wanting to see what this system results in, it will cost society ultimately too much in money and dangerous situations (most inmates will one day be released!) to lock people up with no alternative and to not want to see they are people, with needs just like you and me. We who pay for the prison system, you and me (I too pay tax over there, as well as those who are incarcerated pay tax), we want oversight over what is happening to our money; and we whose parents, children, husbands and wives, boyfriends and girlfriends, siblings are locked up: we want to know that even though they are locked up, they are at the same time looked after and offered chances for growth and rehabilitation.

The amount of lawsuits against the warden of ESP is growing, and do we really want our money to go to these lawsuits, if a better warden would be found, who listens and acts when it matters, and who is not a frightening dictator under whose management diabetics rot to death? Surely Nevada can do much better than this!

*************************************************************************************************************

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TO: NEVADA STATE BOARD OF PRISON COMMISSIONERS

FROM: MERCEDES MAHARIS MA MS MA

RE: DEATHS AND UNACCEPTABLE PRISON CONDITIONS

DATE: 14 July 2009

Good Day.

Requested prisoner deaths from May of 2007 to the present have failed to arrive, but here is a partial list only from Carson County, for your information:

Anthony Weber 05/02/07

Richard Adams 05/10/07

Michael Kisling 05/19/07

Warren Staden 06/06/07

Anthony Melchor 06/08/07

Pioquinto Herrera 06/27/07

Virgil Stephens 07/06/07

Virgil Perry 07/29/07

Maynard Humphrey 08/09/07

Mark Miller 08/15/07

Ronald Royston 09/03/07

Michael Wallace 09/03/07

Robert Boswell 11/25/07

Dale Burroughs 12/19/07

Edwin Chartier 12/20/07

James Bey 02/13/08

Jack Leafdale 03/06/08

Lawrence Booker 03/10/08

Luther Hayslip 03/21/08

Armondo Claro-Garcia 03/26/08

Johnnie McGraw 05/18/08

John Stafford 05/27/08

Darren Enlow 05/29/08

Thomas Smith 05/31/08

Hermenegildo Escalara-Barragan 06/02/08

John Dillon 06/04/08

Sylvester Azbill 06/08/08

Bobby Boswell 06/12/08

Felipe Azanon 06/21/08

David St. Pierre 07/07/08

Thomas Zanetti 08/22/08

Pinkus Ralzin 08/29/08

Jose Obregon 09/23/08

William Barney 10/15/08

Donald Tanner 11/04/08

Sever Marga 12/05/08

Raymond Price 12/06/08

Michael Bowman 12/25/08

Though I was polite in my inquiry, the director of nursing hung up in my ear, after telling me to go to your office, AG Cortez Masto. But, to date I have received no answer to my inquiries for NDOC death data and other requests. Why is your staff unable to find my letters and answer them? Is NDOC also losing death data, or not recording it? Your public information staff member told me she would call me back regarding my inquiries, but, she has not.

For your direct information, here are copies of my certified letters to you, AG Masto:

11 May 2009

Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto

Office of the Attorney General
100 North Carson Street
Carson City, Nevada 89701-4717

Dear Attorney General Cortez Masto,

I met you at the 21 Feb 2009 meeting of the League of Women Voters of Las Vegas Valley where you spoke on “The Role of the Board of Prison Commissioners.” I’m the lady from Arizona who came a long way to hear you. Remember that we spoke both before and after the meeting?

I shared with you that new leadership was needed for the prisons. You told me that I might like to attend the commissioners’ meeting in April because Mr. Miller was going to bring that up.

Well, I need your help. I spoke at the 14 April meeting, you may remember, and made a written submission for the record, what I see as a pattern of failure, abuse and ways to stop lawsuits.

20 April 2009 I emailed a request for a “DVD and/or audio” of the Nevada State Board of Prison Commissioners’ meeting of 14 April 2009 to Secretary of State Ross Miller’s office assistant, Sally.

I received no email reply. 30 April 2009 I called Mr. Miller’s office. Ms. Sally Lincoln told me that Mr. Miller had sent you my request. She said that he had concerns about fulfilling my request because of family privacy rights that concerned him. But, this was a public meeting.

Ms. Lincoln told me that they had no projected date as to when you would have a decision on whether or not my request could be fulfilled.

Will you please have Mr. Miller’s office send immediately (advise me of costs if there are costs):

a copy of the DVD recording of the meeting (containing both pictures and audio); plus,
a copy of the submissions made to the prison board; and
the sign in list.
I wish that you had given some hope to us at the meeting, a comforting word or two. We want prisoners to succeed. Please do so in the future? We need fully accredited to professional standards… in all areas.

In closing, can you please send what happened during the disturbance in High Desert State Prison 13 April 2009 that Mr. Skolnik talked about at the14th board meeting? Please include photos of both prisoners and guards who were injured, if they were? I sincerely hope all are in good health now.

And my second certified letter:

And:

19 June 2009

Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto

Office of the Attorney General
100 North Carson Street
Carson City, Nevada 89701-4717

Dear Attorney General Cortez Masto,

Three requests for information, please, from the NDOC? If these is a charge for copying, please advise

1. Please send the updated death list information for NDOC prisoners for who have expired while inside NDOC: 20 May 2009 to the present; (NDOC Nursing Director ref’d me to your office);

2. Please send what happened during the disturbance in High Desert State Prison 13 April 2009 that Mr. Skolnik talked about at the14 April board meeting including photos of both prisoners and guards who were injured, if they were? I sincerely hope all are in good health now; and

3. Please send a record of use of force inside NDOC facilities for the past five years, with photos;

4. Please send breakdown of those in solitary confinement, Ad Seg or Dis Seg, as I believe NDOC

officials refer to it, by time and race since 01 January 2007. Years ago NDOC officials did not keep this information. I hope they do now since it is important to understand how officials are administrating Nevada prisons in this regard.

Please answer my inquiries as soon as possible?

Why were staff members unable to prevent this recent tragic death at High Desert State Prison?

Bryan Tyler Nowell, Age 45
Administrative Segregation/Disciplinary Segregation Unit (The HOLE: Solitary Confinement)
Born 05/17/64
Died 03 June 2009
Suicide: Asphyxia by Hanging

Solitary confinement, as I submitted to you in my comments 14 April 2009, the Dr. Stuart Grassian report referenced, causes damage to human beings and in this case, death. We must stop this inhumane process today. Please give the order to Director Skolnik, Governor Gibbons, AG Cortez Masto, Mr. Miller… today, that solitary confinement stops now.

How many suicides have happened since May 2007 in Nevada prisons?

How are first line responders on duty in Nevada prisons educated to recognize those who are mentally unstable and may be thinking of taking their lives?

Are corrections officers advised about who is taking psychotropic drugs? Shouldn’t they know this in order to prevent suicide and other violence?

What is the budget for first responder education?

For a person to die in solitary confinement, or be allegedly gassed approximately 20 times and have a guard break a finger in a food slot at Ely State Prison recently, per a new Ely lawsuit in US District Court, is unacceptable and socially reprehensible. Prisoners are people.

Why are NDOC officials denied a prisoner with a rare liver disease medical care at High Desert, Mr. Miller? Will you please visit him to see for yourself? Will he die before release? Don’t you want to see his refused medical grievances? His life is at stake.

Why are NDOC officials shuttling the Ely HIV prisoner, whom guards there and at NSP have beaten, stabbed and shot during his Nevada incarceration, for treatment to High Desert, even though there are no specialists there to help him? Does this not further stress this prisoner to the point that he, too, will die young? Please move this prisoner to NNCC where he belongs.

We want to see education for officers and staff in violence prevention in Nevada prisons.

Where does the prison food coming from? What is the daily cost now? Why are we receiving reports of Nevada prisons serving expired food and that it is dwindling in serving sizes? How many calories are our prisoners getting daily? Where are the dieticians to supervise food service? Is it true that Nevada prisoner requests for Kosher food are not being honored?

What about those prison buses that the Department of Transportation has no responsibility to check for safety during prisoner transports? Who manufacturers those buses? Who inspects them and how often? How do prisoners get out alive if there is an accident? Are they coached on what to do in case of an accident to be able to get out safely? Why don’t prisoners get to see out? Are bus drivers licensed commercially? How many buses are there?

Is it true that NDOC officials allow senior corrections officers to recruit informants, snitches in prison terms, from the prison population, putting even more stress on prisoners. Do they order corrections officers to put prisoners on the train to Ely without due process? How much retaliation takes place against those who refuse? To what extent is retaliation taking place?

Why do Nevada prison mailrooms refuse to deliver books to prisoners, approved books that arrive? What happens to books undelivered to prisons? Why do corrections officers read magazines that families and loved ones pay for and reportedly keep them from the prisoners for weeks? Why don’t mailroom officials follow mail AR’s? Why do you allow punishment to all Ely prisoners by making them use tiny ink well fillers to write their letters with? To stop them from writing to loved ones and filing lawsuits?

Are you being loyal to the law by allowing unaccredited standards, operations and policies to continue inside Nevada prisons?

Why don’t Nevada prisoners in solitary confinement get daily fresh air and exercise, as is their right? Why do corrections officers take prisoners out at midnight, interrupting the sleep cycle?

Why do you allow Ely lockdown for years and years and years to continue? Please stop this today. You have the power. You can do it.

What are the guidelines for putting people into solitary confinement, ad seg, dis seg, to use your euphemisms?

Where are the felony charges against Nevada prisoners who are in solitary for extended periods?

Please produce the records of how long prison officials are keeping Nevada prisoners in solitary confinement.

Why don’t Nevada prisoners go to jail for assaults? Why don’t Nevada corrections officers go to jail for assaults?

How are the perpetrators of rape charged? Do they go to court? Or, do NDOC officials punish them by extending sentences without due process?

What are the NDOC regulations for time limits, if any, placed on people going into solitary?

Where are, and what are, the administrative regulations for the amount of time that officials can put prisoners in solitary confinement?

How much money is in the budget for corrections officers’ educations about recognition of mental health problems that prisoners may be suffering?

Here are excerpts of a letter from a prisoners’ family member that we received 13 July 2009:

…” I have suffered 13 years under the duress and frustration of the corrupt Nevada Prison System, Judicial system period. This is the “Country of Nevada”. Good Ole boys for sure and Ely guards are barbarians! P.up trucks drinking in the hills, cruel, I have seen the bleeding wounds on my husband’s ankles from having the shackles set to wear they rub and rub and break open old scabs from the week before, one guard will hike them up and tighten them another will just let them shift all around, I mean come on, walk from port to visit belly chain hands behind back cuffed shackles like he,s the incredible hulk and an escort officer, sometimes two, give me a break!

Ooooh are those guards tough, gag me, disgusting display of over the top unnecessary pain for the prisoner and extreme drama to increase the all ready distorted sense of importance these guards have!

No wonder they have such domestic violence problems!

…we do not trust anyone in connection with law they are all crooked corrupt tools of the higher echelon of our corrupt legal system.

As I stated I have suffered 13 years as has my husband I am ready to take a stand no matter what this lousy system needs to be torn down from the top down.”

What response do you advise us to give to this free person who is suffering daily because of operations and policies at Ely State Prison?

Please, take the high road in eliminating unacceptable Nevada prison conditions starting today. Implement a platform of rehabilitation and hope.

Please replace ineffective NDOC leadership with professional administration.

Please implement oversight in Nevada prisons today==before more violence erupts and the death toll for Nevada prisoners continues to escalate.

Yours truly,

Mercedes Maharis MA MS MA