Nevada Cure Meeting Agenda for Dec 28

Nevada Cure MONTHLY MEETING AGENDA: Next meeting is in Las Vegas 28th December at 6:30 PM.

Meeting Location:
Conference Room
Law Office of Gallian, Wilcox, Welker, Olson & Beckstrom, LC
540 E. St. Louis Ave.
Las Vegas, NV 89104

Conference Call Number and Code:
Code: 493815 #

Here is the Agenda for this meeting.

Please become a member of Nevada Cure (only 10 USD for those on this side, 2 USD for those on that side of the wall). Together we can make more difference and positive changes!

Brochure of Nevada-Cure for more information.

Nevada Cure Meeting Agenda for Dec 28

Nevada Cure MONTHLY MEETING AGENDA: Next meeting is in Las Vegas 28th December at 6:30 PM.

Meeting Location:
Conference Room
Law Office of Gallian, Wilcox, Welker, Olson & Beckstrom, LC
540 E. St. Louis Ave.
Las Vegas, NV 89104

Conference Call Number and Code:
Code: 493815 #

Here is the Agenda for this meeting.

Please become a member of Nevada Cure (only 10 USD for those on this side, 2 USD for those on that side of the wall). Together we can make more difference and positive changes!

Brochure of Nevada-Cure for more information.

AB 136 vetoed by Sandoval: no help for non-violent prisoners

From LVRJ (Ed Vogel, June 16th 2011):

–Assembly Bill 136, which would have allowed certain felons to earn credits to reduce their sentences by acquiring vocational skills and passing drug treatment programs. Violent and sex offender would have been excluded. Nineteen of the 26 Republicans opposed the bill.

Sandoval said the bill would allowed “dangerous criminals to be prematurely released from prison” and increased the risk of Nevada citizens. He added the bill sent a message to offenders that the state was “soft on crime.”

–Senate Bill 188, which would have allowed prison wardens to establish 84-hour work schedules for correctional officers in each two-week pay period. Employees would have worked 12-hour shifts, three days one week, four the next. The prison employees union has been seeking these shifts for several years.

The governor said prison wardens already have the authority to experiment with variable work schedule, and 12-hour shifts have been considered.

“Senate Bill 188 unnecessarily encroaches upon managerial authority in an agency facing unique employment challenges and severe budgetary restraints,” Sandoval said.

Every senator, including 10 Republicans, voted for the bill, while 12 of the 16 Assembly Republicans opposed it.

Since most of the governor’s vetoes were made after the close of the Legislature at 1 a.m. June 7, votes by the Legislature to override his vetoes will not be made until the next session in 2013.

Before adjournment, legislative leaders decided not to conduct override votes on four vetoed bills. That means those bills officially are dead.
Soft on crime? Nevada? This Bill was supposed to even exclude violent offenders. Has Gov Sandoval ever spoken with those who have been wrongly convicted? Or those who are stuck for years on end in a box with nothing to better themselves with? And does the governor think that people who committed a violent offense will rehabilitate themselves, be cured, be forgiven?

This Bill was even meant for those who have been convicted of a non-violent crime!

The risk to the Nevada citizens is that the people inside prisons are NOT reformed, are NOT able while inside to create a life away from joblessness, desperation, illnesses that are not (being) cured. Governor Sandoval creates more dangerous situations himself, plus those who opposed this bill.

Dear People, wake up and embrace those inside of good will and who want to be reformed, who ask for a change and who are willing to change. Punishing a person is not something we should do or tolerate for the rest of their lives. They must be reformed and cured and healed and returned to us. we must create the right environment here, and not wait ’til it is too late (when hatred has grown too much, or when death has arrived).

And for those inside on false convictions, false testimony, false witnesses, because of over-eager prosecutors, snitches, corrupt servants, surely there must come a day soon when this nightmare is over!

In strength, with Human decency and dignity…

Will Nevada´s prisons become one of the 10 U.S. Prisons With Impressive Libraries?

10 U.S. Prisons With Impressive Libraries

December 5th, 2010

Prison is not a fun place to be: it’s turned hardened criminals into scared submission, and the daily grind of just sitting in a cell — either by yourself or with a “roommate” you can’t stand — can play tricks on your mind that no nightmare can touch. But a lot of prisoners around the country are allowed very small indulgences, and with the participation of gracious volunteers and many public library systems, getting access to books, computers and legal resources is possible, even for those sitting behind bars. Prison libraries range from institutions that are open every day to books-by-mail programs, but these 10 U.S. prisons are well-known for their contributions to literacy, education, and rehabilitation. Or at least they should be.

1. Racine Correctional Institution: This Wisconsin correctional facility and reformatory school focuses on using education and positive influences to rehabilitate young people, and encouraging the inmates to experiment with the arts is part of that mission. In 2006, the Racine Correctional Institution Library hosted a poetry slam and competition, and a blog was kept to track the progress of the institution’s Shakespeare Project. Fifteen to twenty inmates studied and rehearsed Shakespeare plays for nine months, working with theater artists and preparing to perform for the other prisoners and for the community.

2. Maryland Pre-Release Prisons: Prisoners awaiting release in Maryland can now access well-equipped libraries full of career-planning resources to help them transition into a responsible, productive life in the real world. In 2007, the Maryland Correctional Education Libraries acquired two bookmobile units that travel to each pre-release library, providing prisoners with access to forty-inch smart screens, computers, wireless access, as well as databases and books.

3. Folsom State Prison Library: This legendary prison also has an impressive library overseen by the the California Department of Corrections. Boasting a law library and library focused on educating inmates, the Folsom State Prison Library also offers a vocational-intern program to prepare certain inmates for the working world outside of jail. The law library has a Paralegal Studies Program which trains inmates in research skills and helps them find forms and legal resources around the library.

4. Colorado Correctional Libraries: The Colorado State Library’s Institutional Library Services unit oversees twenty-three libraries in its Department of Corrections, and the librarians stationed at each prison can feel pretty isolated, overwhelmed, and even abandoned. But in 2006, a unit-wide intranet was created to unite the librarians and offer them support and resources, making it easier for them to share ideas and create helpful tutorials and other materials to their inmates and patrons.

5. National Institute of Corrections Online Library: The correctional agencies and librarians of the National Institute of Corrections have created a user-friendly, highly educational e-library here. It’s a resource center for corrections agencies at all levels who want to find tutorials, training, technical assistance, program development assistance, and research studies to improve their facilities.

6. Main Prison Library, Angola: Angola, also called “The Farm,” is the country’s largest maximum-security prison, and many of the prison staff and their families live and play on the premises, too. The Main Library was dedicated in 1968, but there are actually four other branches that serve Angola inmates as well, called Outcamp libraries. Cooperating with the State Library of Louisiana, the Angola libraries participate in an inter-library loan program. In addition to the library system, certain inmates who don’t have a GED or high school diploma, as well as inmates scoring low on the Test of Adult Basic Education are allowed to take classes in vocational subjects like automotive technology.

7. Illinois State Prisons: The Urbana-Champaign Books to Prisoners project aims to educate the inmate population of local state prisons by providing them with as many books as possible, mostly lent out by individual libraries and regular volunteers from around Illinois. As an avenue for also educating Illinois residents about the state prison system, prisoners and volunteers interact regularly, and many of the inmates’ own writings and art pieces are published. Lending libraries have been set up in the two local jails, and the program also offers books by mail to all Illinois inmates.

8. Norfolk County prison: This Massachusetts prison once inspired Malcolm X to turn himself into a voracious reader and research everything he could about the Muslim religion and Nation of Islam. He wrote articles for the inmates’ newsletter, participated in weekly debates at the prison, and holed up in the prison library, copying an entire dictionary to learn new words. Today, the prison still provides education programs to inmates in the culinary arts, computer technology, HVAC, college transition, ESL, reading enrichment, and getting a GED.

9. Bucks County Prison Library: Pennsylvania’s Bucks County Correctional Facility works with the local Lions Club to produce reading material for the blind. In fact, the inmates are the ones who actually “translate” the books and reading material into Braille.

10. The “standing library” at Rikers: This sprawling New York City jail houses around 14,000 inmates at any given time, ten different jails, schools, gyms, a track, barbershops, grocery stores, and a car wash, among other amenities. The New York Public Library provides all kinds of library services and volunteer projects in conjunction with the Department of Corrections, but a new weekly program — called “the standing library” — operates a bit like a book fair, hosted in one of Rikers’ gyms. Inmates are taken down to the gym in groups and are allowed to pick books off the shelves and sit and read for a while. Books are also taken around to prisoners in solitary confinement, who are allowed one extra book to read.

When, after reading this, you think: ´Let´s make Ely State Prison the nr 1 prison library in the country!´Or even in the State, well here is your chance:

The Ely State Prison Bookdrive is happening now! Any book that you think would be uplifting, educational, or inspirational to prisoners, please send them to:

White Pine County School District
Mountain High School
1135 Avenue C
Ely, Nevada 89301
Attention: Ms. Thiel / E.S.P. Library Donations

Please make sure to go through all of your books, removing money, papers or anything that you may have left inside of your books, because the officers will thoroughly inspect each book before they are inducted into the E.S.P. Library.

Please talk to your friends, family, co-workers and classmates, ask them if they have any old books that they don’t want or need any more. We really want you to help us turn the E.S.P. library into a real library. Help us bring meaning and positive change to these prisoner’s lives.

There is no rehabilitation, no programs, no real educational/vocational opportunities for these guys incarcerated at Ely State Prison. We want you to help us give them that opportunity, we want you to help us help them. We want you to help us liberate these prisoners’ minds and transform their lives through knowledge, education and higher learning. Please get involved in this life-changing project. There’s nothing more empowering than knowledge! Thank you for your time and concern.

Check here for a list of the type of books most wanted. Thank you! Even one book may change someone for the better and give them a new chance…

Prison Reform on Life Support


The effort to reform Pennsylvania’s sentencing structures and alleviate its overcrowded prisons hangs on by a thread.

As a recap, Pennsylvania is in the process of building four new prisons by 2013. The construction costs alone will be more than $800 million, and the annual costs to maintain them will be $50 million each.

To relieve the current situation, the commonwealth has sent 2,000 prisoners to Michigan and Virginia, where they have beds available. The secretary of the Department of Corrections here says that the new prisons will be filled soon after they open, based on current projections.

Last month, the Pennsylvania Senate passed a package of three bills sponsored by Senator Stewart Greenleaf (R-Montgomery County) that would reform sentencing guidelines (SB 1145), make it possible for certain non-violent offenders to leave prison early, based on certain conditions (SB 1161), and create alternatives for technical parole violators, parolees who violate parole but don’t commit a new crime (SB 1275).

In the last few years, 20 states have reduced their prison populations by setting up similar structures, and those states, by and large, have not seen an increase in crime. Why not Pennsylvania?

The House Judiciary Committee scheduled SB 1161 for a vote on June 23, as Chairman Thomas Caltagirone (D-Berks County) has been a vocal supporter of reform and relief to the corrections system. The plan was to amend the bill to add pieces of the other two bills into it. However, an error in drafting the amendment forced the committee to hold the bill.

SB 1161 was rescheduled for June 29. At that meeting, Dauphin County District Attorney Edward Marsico, who is president of the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association, and a lobbyist for the Attorney General’s office were given 40 minutes to address the committee and lay out their concerns with the bill. The concerns of the DAs and the AG lit a fuse under some reps, who piled on and offered their own problems with the bill. Lobbyists for the Department of Corrections and for the Board of Probation and Parole were also given a few minutes to speak. (DOC supports the reform, saying it could save us at least $60 million per year, and P&P is conditionally unopposed, with some minor changes.)

As a result of that ruckus, SB 1161 was held over again. Later that week, the legislature finished the 10-11 state budget, and legislators beat feet out of town.

The next opportunity for the House Judiciary Committee to consider this legislation will be after Labor Day, when both chambers return for a few weeks of session before Election Day. If the bill is amended, as expected, passes out of committee, and finds its way through the House, it will still have to go back to the Senate to vote on what’s known as concurrence, when a chamber takes up a bill that it already passed but was altered by the other chamber.

I’m worried that prison reform may be dead for this year and maybe the next four years. This legislative session officially ends in November, and there will be only a few more weeks of session. A House staffer who is close to the action is convinced they can get it done. I hope he’s right, and I’m wrong.

Andy in Harrisburg

Jeffrey Deskovic – Petition for Reforms

eforms Pertaining To Interrogations

(False confessions have accounted for 25% of the 208 DNA exonerations)

1. All interrogations should be videotaped, from beginning to end, which would prevent police from omitting abuse tactics they use from their testimony. It would allow a complete and accurate record of who said what, when, and what context. It would also protect honest police officers from false allegations of coercion.

1. 2. The use of the polygraph, lying to suspects about having evidence that they don’t have, prolonged interrogations over many hours should be outlawed because such tactics have been linked to false confessions. False confession studies show that these convey to suspects that no matter what, they will be arrested for something they did not do, it is just a matter of whether they will make it worse on themselves by lying through maintaining innocence.

2. 3. Interrogation of the mentally ill and/or retarded should only take place with a lawyer present because mentally ill and retarded people try to compensate for their deficiencies by being compliant.

3. 4. Before confession evidence is allowed into a trial, a pre trial hearing on the issue of whether a confession is truthful should be conducted, akin to a Wade hearing in which identification accuracy is reviewed, because confession testimony is devastating to defendants, resulting in a conviction 80% of the time, and the current pretrial hearing on voluntariness is not enough, since cases in which confessions have been proven to have been false based on DNA, judges have not suppressed such evidence.

Reforms Pertaining To Eyewitness Identification

(Misidentification has been the cause of wrongful convictions in 75% of the 208 DNA exonerations)
4. 5. Sequential lineups and photo arrays should be used, rather than showing many people at once to allow victims to focus intently on each photo or person.

5. 6. Everyone in the array and/or lineup should resemble each other, so that no one sticks out and to improve on the accuracy of identifications.

6. 7. The victim should be told that the perpetrator may not be present, so as to prevent victims from having undue confidence that the perpetrator is there, thus leading to a misidentification.

7. 8. Victims should be told that the investigation will continue if they don’t make an identification so that they don’t feel pressured into making an ID, lest the guilty party escape justice.

8. 9. The officers conducting the lineup should be in the blind as to who is suspected, so as to prevent inadvertent cues or clues from being given.

10. Confidence statements should be taken, in which a victim states, on a scale of 1 to 10, how confident they are about their identification, to give courts and juries further insight into an identification

9. 11. The lineup or photo array should be taped, to ensure its integrity.

Reform Pertaining To Incentivized Witnessing

Incentivized witnessing has been the cause of wrongful convictions in 15% of the 208 DNA exonerations
10. 12. The practice of incentivized witnessing, in which a witness’s gets a reward for testifying-whether a lesser prison sentence, having charges dropped, or just getting financial compensation should be ended; those who have evidence should come forward on a moral basis rather than being rewarded for doing so, because when desperate prisoners have been caught red handed for committing a crime and they have no truthful information to trade on, they falsely implicate others.

Reforms Pertaining To Evidence
11. 13. There should be a standardized evidence preservation system to ensure that evidence is preserved and available for inspection and testing. Right now there is no such system and the first obstacle for the wrongfully convicted is whether the evidence can be located and whether it has been destroyed. If it has, the innocent remain incarcerated with no way to prove innocence.

12. 14. It should be a crime whenever police and prosecutors purposely withhold evidence. History shows that with no personal penalties, morality alone is not enough to restrain some rogue policemen and prosecutors

Reforms Pertaining To Public Defenders

Without quality attorneys, unsaddled with the current disadvantages that public defenders have as opposed to the prosecution, innocent defendants will continue to be wrongfully convicted, and cases will not have just and fair outcomes.
13. 15. There should be one standardized system of defense for the poor statewide, as advocated for in The Spangenberg Group’s report for Chief Judge Judith Kaye on The State of Indigent Defence in New York, because such centralization would allow for more internal oversight, accountability, and review of public defenders. It would allow for more quality control.

14. 16. Those public defenders who have been found to have performed sub-standard performance for indigent defendants should no longer be employed by the state to do so. Because to do so would be to set the stage for future inadequate performances by that lawyer thus resulting in defendants, who are presumed innocent, to be victimized.

15. 17. The defense and the prosecution should have an equal and adequate budget to hire experts and other necessary personnel to assist in the preparation of cases rather than the defense having an extremely limited budget while the prosecution has a huge budget, because on such an unequal playing field, no confidence can be placed on the outcome of court proceedings or verdicts.

16. 18. Public Defenders should have the same size staff as The District Attorneys to ensure that they are not overwhelmed by sheer manpower. Each side should have enough personnel to adequately prepare a case.

17. 19. There should be a limit to the amount of cases each public defender is allowed to take on at one time. In the Bronx, NY, for example, it is not unusual for a public defender to have 120 cases at the same time. Overburdening a public defender prevents him or her from giving each case the time, preparation, and investigation it deserves.

18. 20. Public Defenders should be given pay equal to that of prosecutors, because otherwise the best legal talent will go to one side. Further, quality lawyers should not be discouraged from being public defenders by being given less pay, especially given the astronomical loans that young lawyers have as a result of going to law school.

19. 21. Indigent Defendants should be provided with court appointed attorneys to handle post conviction 440 motions, so that they can have competent legal representation, rather than trying to represent themselves against trained and seasoned prosecutors.

Reforms Pertaining To DNA
20. 22. Allow all of the wrongfully convicted to prove innocence with DNA, even in cases where defendants have pled guilty, because some judges have interpreted the law to prevent such defendants from having access to DNA. In 11 cases nationwide innocent defendants have falsely pled guilty, often as a result of fear of a higher sentence. Allowing the testing causes guilt to be confirmed or innocence to be established.

21. 23. Give Judges the authority to order crime scene DNA comparisons to DNA Databases; currently the law does not explicitly give them that authority, and whether the testing goes forward or not often relies on the discretion of the prosecution, whereas the power belongs in the hands of the judge.

22. 24. Current law allows judges the authority to order DNA in those cases in which DNA could affect the outcome, it should be that in any case in which there is testable material, a test should be done; because DNA will always be germane to guilt or innocence.

23. 25. Prosecutors should not be allowed to explain away negative DNA Test results at a trial by claiming the victim had a consensual sexual encounter, without first proving that such an encounter took place, because without requiring that a factual background first be established, it would allow prosecutors to mute such evidence.

24. 26. When a prosecutor argues that a rape or other crime was committed by one person, and then a post conviction DNA Test shows the defendant is innocent, prosecutors should not be allowed to then change their theory on appeal and claim that a crime was committed by two people, so as to be able to get around the DNA Test, because to allow otherwise would be a way to get around the power of DNA to prove innocence. Conclusions should be based on what the evidence shows, not by making evidence fit a conclusion.

Reforms Pertaining to Post Conviction Review
25. 27. The Court Of Appeals should review all cases, as a matter of a defendants right, as an additional level of review, with the goal of catching more wrongful convictions.

26. 28. There should be a review apparatus, independent of appeals and a pardon, which can review cases in which a defendant has a colorable claim of innocence, because often the wrongfully convicted have had their appeals exhausted, which shows that appellate review is not enough to protect the innocent, while it is a highly charged political environment for a Governor to issue a pardon. Rather, such a review should be independent of both, and be staffed by wrongful conviction experts, who have the power to overturn wrongful convictions.

27. 29. An Innocence Commission Should be created to study what went wrong in wrongful convictions, so that lessons can be learned from such wrongful convictions, and changes adopted, to try to prevent future wrongful convictions.

Reforms Pertaining to compensation
28. 30. An immediate sum of 15,000 dollars per year of wrongful incarceration should immediately be paid to those who have been cleared of a crime, aside from money awarded as a result of a lawsuit, to meet such immediate needs such as housing, cost of living, mental health services, health insurance, and education. A guilty person on parole currently receives more help than an exoneree, who receives nothing.

29. 31. Compensation Lawsuits should receive fast track processing in court, whereby priority would be given to such cases, because the wrongfully convicted struggle financially after being released, following such incarceration.

30. 32. Bad Case Law stating that if an exonerated person has contributed to his or her own wrongful conviction they are not eligible to receive any compensation should be changed, because the idea that anybody would intentionally get themselves wrongfully convicted, sentenced to prison, only to then clear themselves in order to be in position to then sue is ridiculous. To deny anybody who has been wrongfully convicted, is to add insult to injury.

Reforms Pertaining To The Parole Board which bear upon innocence
31. 33. The Parole Board should not be allowed to deny parole to those who profess their innocence based upon their not taking responsibility for their crimes or expressing remorse, because that does not take into account the reality of wrongful convictions. The wrongfully convicted should not be made to remain in prison, based upon their protestation of innocence. It is a fact that some wrongfully convicted prisoners were previously denied parole after finishing their sentence minimums but before they were cleared, based upon this, whereas they could have at least regained their freedom sooner.

32. 34. The Parole Board should not be allowed to deny parole to prisoners based upon their not completing the sex offender class, because such class requires prisoners to explicitly admit guilt to the other people in the class as well as to the instructors as a condition of completing the class. Such a practice places the wrongfully convicted in the catch 22 of either falsely admitting guilt to try to regain freedom, or to lose a chance at freedom as the price for maintaining innocence.


State’s inmate numbers rising

By Angela Couloumbis

Inquirer Harrisburg Bureau

Although the number of state prisoners nationwide is on the decline for the first time in almost 40 years, Pennsylvania’s prison population continues to spike – with no relief in sight.

Pennsylvania had a 4.3 percent increase in prisoners last year, according to a study released last week by the Pew Center on the States. New Jersey’s prison population, in contrast, fell 2.3 percent.

As of Jan. 1, state prisons nationwide held roughly 1.4 million inmates, 0.4 percent fewer than there were on Dec. 31, 2008. That was the first year-to-year drop since 1972, the Pew study found.

Among the main reasons for the decline: States are adopting guidelines reflecting research that shows low-level offenders, as well those who have violated technical aspects of their parole, can be rehabilitated more effectively in community programs rather than in prison.

“We are starting to see a triumph of science over sound bites,” said Adam Gelb, director of the Public Safety Performance project at the Pew center.

“State leaders are reaching across the aisle and coming up with research-based corrections strategies for nonviolent offenders that can protect public safety at far less cost than a prison cell,” he said.

Pennsylvania has been slow to revamp its sentencing and parole rules, even as the inmate population has been on the rise for decades: It increased 523 percent between 1980 and 2009, from 8,243 to 51,326, according to state Department of Corrections figures.

That increase was compounded in 2008 when Gov. Rendell issued a moratorium on paroles after a paroled felon killed a Philadelphia police officer.

The state now has an overcrowding problem: Prisons have roughly 7,700 more inmates than they can handle.

The problem is so severe that last month, Pennsylvania began shipping inmates to prisons in Virginia and Michigan. The state plans to place 2,000 prisoners out of state by the end of next month.

Corrections Secretary Jeffrey A. Beard has told lawmakers that if the prison population keeps growing, the four prisons under construction will be at capacity when they open.

Such growth comes at a cost: The Corrections Department has requested $1.9 billion in state funding for fiscal 2011. That is an 8.5 percent increase over its $1.75 billion budget this fiscal year.

In his budget address last month, Rendell said the state must reverse the trend of pumping ever more money into housing prisoners. He said increased funding for public education was “one great way to address this problem, because it provides an opportunity for our young people to choose the right path.”

“But we need to do more,” he said, adding that he would work with the legislature to find other solutions.

In recent years, many states facing overcrowding have shed the tough-on-crime approach of locking up people for longer periods. That approach, they believe, is costly and does not improve public safety.

In Pennsylvania, the legislature has approved initiatives along those lines, including one that reduces minimum sentences for eligible nonviolent offenders.

But other legislatures have been more aggressive, as have some Pennsylvania counties.

In Philadelphia, for instance, the county prison population decreased from a high of 9,854 in January 2009 to 8,369 on Thursday, according to Everett Gillison, deputy mayor for public safety. That, in part, allowed him to cut $9 million from his expected $249 million budget.

The drop is at least partly attributable to a deal last year in which the commonwealth agreed to take 250 state prisoners held in Philadelphia jails.

Another reason, in addition to the falling crime rate, is a program that consolidates hearings for defendants who have probation and parole violations.

Also, judges who have moved from criminal to civil court no longer retain old cases. In the past, some new civil court judges held criminal court once a month to clear their old cases. If there was a problem, hearings were delayed, leaving probation violators in jail for 30, 60, even 90 days before they had a hearing, which often resulted in their release.

State Sen. Stewart Greenleaf (R., Montgomery), who is pushing a number of bills to change sentencing and parole rules, said Pennsylvania’s overcrowding had become acute enough to spur legislative action.

“We can’t keep operating the way we have,” he said. “I think you have to look at law enforcement and the criminal justice system in a new way.”

Contact staff writer Angela Couloumbis at 717-787-5934 or

Inquirer staff writer Jeff Shields contributed to this article.

Come to the next Meeting of the Board of Prison Commissioners

Next Meeting of the Board of Prison Commissioners: Januari 12, 2010.

Write and send in your comments for the record. Maybe you have questions? Grievances? Unanswered questions? Complaints? Suggestions? This is your chance to submit the comments and if you are in the area, to read them out to the Board.

It may be that you feel not heard by the Board, but remember, if we do not tell them, they can always say the “did not know.” Now, they can not deny that there are abuses and extremely bad conditions in the prisons of Nevada. Because we told the Board about them. Witnesses from inside prisons, and family members, friends of prisoners, professionals like nurses testified of the bad state of the prisons in Nevada.

Should we care? Of course! Most prisoners will be free one day, living in the community again. Do we care about Human Rights? Well prisoners are humans too, even if you or I want to place all our anger, frustration on them. Human rights are not only for ´good´ people….

Investing in proper rehabilitation of prisoners is vital for the rest of the state and country. It costs more to incarcerate a person than to rehabilitate someone, because if it goes well, they will never return to prison. I am not sure whether the authorities want emptier prisons though….

Even better investment would be to start with good education and jobs. Not jobs in the guard/security incarceration industry I mean (although there is a shortage of personnel, leading to frustrations and stress at the workplace, where people are being incarcerated. Maybe also less long sentences would be a solution to create less stressful situations?), but jobs with dignity and respect. Rehabilitating prisoners, and preventing crime from happening by providing better education and help for families with children, and creating less criminal offenses would be a very important step.

No change

This letter or essay was taken over from Nevada Prisoner Voice:

The news of the legislators failing to arrest corruption in Nevada prison is not surprising. And I doubt they will until their hands are forced. Either by public outcry, or something else. Were they to start drug testing for guards (inmates are regularly tested) half would quit before the ink dried.

I believe you may have misunderstood some things I wrote you last. Trust I know more than most we can’t do anything without you on the outside. I say the future of prison and judicial reform lies with the convicts themselves, because there are so few of you out there who care.

Society views us as permanent outcasts. There is no interest in us redeeming or educating ourselves. Indeed the state officials, fear mongers they are, say to society that we will only misuse our knowledge, if allowed to educate ourselves to our natural impulses. The reality is that it is they who are afraid. That if we educate ourselves on the truth, we will tear down these walls, put an end to this mad house of misery and pain.

As technologically advanced as we are, we are not an enlightened society. We are a society filled with anger and hatred, built on insecurities.

Nothing happening now is new. England’s penal history gives us a clear view of where we are headed. Poor people desperate to feed their families getting their hands chopped off for stealing a loaf of bread. Today, instead of chopping off our heads, because that wouldn’t be profitable, they’re handing out life sentences like it’s nothing. And the more laws we create the more corrupt we become. Our job, our obligation, those of us who know and can see the truth, is to help people realize no matter how much time in prison you give a person, if the conditions do not change, if the convict remains uneducated, unskilled and unloved, his/her return to crime/prison is inevitable.

The only real solution to crime is judicial/prison reform and early prevention. Putting an end to the disparities in the education system. The quality education and programs available to children in affluent communities, and the lack there of in poor communities. A new curriculum to install pride and self worth based on good deeds rather than materialism, and appreciation for all peoples, encouraging leadership and innovation. Right now many young people, especially of color, can’t relate to what’s happening in the schools, which in reality is only giving them enough to be good workers for rich people. We have billions of dollars to bail out these fat cat corporations, and billions more to manufacture these bullshit wars/nation building. Then we have money to create more (relevant) programs for young people in the hood.

Fix this broken juvenile/foster care system. Give grants to community organizers, and more job training. These are the types of things that will cut down on crime free health care for our citizens, free education.

Being uneducated does not equal ignorance or lack of comprehension. Level of education does not determine a person’s worth. I know many men in these pens who have no education, but they are hungry to learn.

The question is who will teach them. It hurts my heart to see so many young people taught so many lies. That their worth in this world relies on the material. How to prey on each other rather than embrace each other. That our women are bitches, undeserving of respect or love. It hurts to know I am a citizen of the richest nation on earth. Living next to one of the poorest, an example of man’s cruelty to man. The people of Haiti are suffering horribly, and we do nothing. I noticed there were some new comments with the piece about the gang trial. Some of those comments are very telling to the ignorance and deep-seated hatred so many people carry inside. They need someone to blame, someone to feel better than. This is the psychosis of a capitalist society. Which is really an expression of man’s insecurities. Why would one man want more than he needs to live and provide for his family. Why do people create items of luxury that serve no purpose other than to scream out, “I have more than you, I am better than you.” The machine spits out misinformation, and by the insecurities of man, his ignorance, he is manipulated.

Ely State prison — a.k.a. — “the cemetery,” is the worst prison in Nevada. There is no regular every day pissing on the guards. The convicts here do not condone such vile acts. On the rare occasions when it does happen, more than not it’s an act of desperation. Locked behind these doors 24/7 the guards feel free to disrespect and dehumanize these men. Just in the time I’ve been in the unit I’ve lost all contact with my daughter because the guards are too lazy to pass out the phone. And if you complain, well, you don’t get the phone or anything else. I could write you a laundry list of all the games and psychological bullshit these guards do every day, that we must deal with.

For those ignorant enough to say well that’s what you deserve for breaking the law, well, I’m in prison for something I didn’t do. But that’s irrelevant. My response is this: just as we are men, we are human beings. When you treat human beings like animals, in time they will begin to act as such. And what happens to the sadistic boy who teases the tiger in its cage. Pokes it with his stick, throws rocks and firecrackers. To the boy it’s only a game. But when the tiger leaps the walls of its cage, then we all learn it’s not a game. People must realize these are human beings were talking about. Most of them will get out of prison one day. And when that day comes, who do you want to see, the man or the tiger. So the people should be concerned what’s happening in these prisons, how these men (human beings) are being treated. Prison is their punishment, not death by 1000 cuts, or medical neglect, or to be driven to insanity.

Imagine the madness it takes for a man to handle his own feces, to collect his own urine, and to mix this vile concoction together and throw it on somebody. Imagine the desperation. Again, this does not happen often. And if we were not locked in the cells 24/7, it would not happen at all. The older convicts wouldn’t allow it. But when it does happen, just like any other act of violence against prison staff, 99.9% of the time it is “not” unprovoked.

Corruption among the guards. Many of them who participate in gang activities or show sympathies toward white racist groups like the skinheads, etc. They were not somehow brainwashed or recruited. They came into the job with that. And they don’t smuggle in drugs out of fear or coercion. They do it out of greed! A house and nice car aren’t enough. They want a bigger house, nicer car, the latest high-powered rifle to hunt and kill defenseless animals for sport. They talk about it every day, what animals they killed, their guns, the latest thing to dress up their trucks. In the worst economy in our lifetime these guards have good paying, secure jobs. But all they do is complain all day and sit on their asses. I’ve never seen people get so much for so little and complain about it. Not that there are no decent people working in these prisons. But they are often manipulated by the us versus them argument. When they do tell the truth or speak out on behalf of the inmates, they end up either fired or ostracized.

Marritte Funches 37050
P. O. Box 1989
Ely, NV. 89301

P. S.
Peace is not the absence of trouble.