Nevada Department of Corrections Director Greg Cox quits

This is from the Las Vegas Review Journal, Sept 14th, 2015:
By Wesley Juhl and Sandra Chereb

Embattled Nevada Department of Corrections Director Greg Cox resigned abruptly Monday under unknown circumstances.

Gov. Brian Sandoval said in a statement he accepted Cox’s resignation and appointed E.K. McDaniel to serve as interim director of the department, which has come under scrutiny for use-of-force issues leading to inmate injuries and one prisoner fatality.

“I would like to thank Greg for his service to our state and I appreciate his hard work serving the people of Nevada,” Sandoval said.

No reason was given for the Cox’s resignation, but John Witherow, head of the NV Cure prison reform organization, has a laundry list of problems with the way the department treats inmates.

“I don’t know why he resigned, but I suspect it was his inability to control his subordinates,” he said.

NV Cure had met with Cox to discuss retaliation against prisoners who file formal grievances against the department. Witherow said Cox told him he would not tolerate that kind of treatment.

“The retaliation did not, in fact, stop. It increased,” Witherow said.

Cox’s resignation follows months of high-profile conflicts at Nevada prisons, beginning with a fatal inmate shooting in November at High Desert State Prison, just outside of Las Vegas, that wasn’t revealed until four months later when the Review-Journal discovered the Clark County coroner’s office had ruled it a homicide.

Inmate Carlos Manuel Perez, 28, died Nov. 12, 2014. [link added by NV Cure] A second inmate, Andrew Arevalo, was injured.

More recently, seven inmates were injured in August at Warm Springs Correctional Center in Carson City when a fight broke out during dinner and guards opened fire with rubber pellets. One inmate who was not identified was flown to a Reno hospital, though details of his injuries remain undisclosed.

In July, three inmates suffered minor injuries when guards fired rounds to break up a fight at Lovelock Correctional Center. One inmate at Ely State Prison was taken to a hospital in Las Vegas in April after he was shot by a guard during a fight. Eight other inmates were injured.

Cox’s resignation came the night before he was expected to present the findings from a study on the department’s use of force at Tuesday’s Board of State Prison Commissioners in Carson City. The prison board, comprised of the governor, Attorney General Adam Laxalt and Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske, requested the study at the last meeting after Perez’s death led to controversy.

On Monday, an unnamed spokesman for the department told the Review-Journal “there is no final report as of yet” in the study conducted by the Association of State Correctional Administrators.

Read the rest here.

A Rubber Band and a Paperclip

We received this from Nevada-Cure:

By Gilbert Paliotta

I’ll start from where things went bad for me…. In 1998, Ely State Prison Administration housed me in a cell with a known “Gang Enforcer” (that’s how he was listed in their files) who was recently transferred to this prison from another one due to his numerous assaults and batteries on other inmates. A week before they housed me with this guy, he had been released from the “hole” (punitive segregation) for cracking open the head of his last cellmate with a metal hotpot and ripping his eyeball out of its socket.

Administration moved me in the cell with this guy; and, to save you from the gory details, a fight ensued and he lost his life.

Did I mention that he was over six feet tall and a solid two hundred pounds and that I am only five nine and one seventy? That up until 1998 I was labeled as a “ model inmate” (nothing to brag about but it’s better than being labeled a “Gang Enforcer”)? That ESP administration had prior knowledge revealed by the sheriff’s office that this guy was ordered to “hit” (kill) his last cellmate and yet they continued to cell me up with this guy?

I was found guilty of murdering my cellmate even though it was clearly self-defense. In my prison disciplinary hearing I remained silent because I was facing criminal charges by the State of Nevada, but the disciplinary committee simply found me “guilty” without allowing me to defend against allegations, sentenced me to the maximum penalty in punitive segregation and illegally placed me on “high risk potential” (HRP) status, the most extreme and restrictive status an inmate can possibly be placed on, even worse than death row, not an accusation but a proven fact.

The warden at the time (McDaniel) left me on the HRP status until 2005, long after my punitive segregation sentence had expired, ignoring my repeated attempts to be taken off said status and sent back to the general population. He stated he would not take me off HRP status until he considered me “no longer a threat to staff and inmates”.

In 2005, Warden McDaniels finally removed me from HRP status but did not send me back to the general population. He told me to give him six months. It’s now 2012 and I’m still not back in general population.

They keep me on “administrative segregation” under the guise of “safety security” reasons, which is a contradiction or the warden would not have taken me off HRP in 2005.

During this time I filed a Civil Rights complaint (or rather I tried to) regarding the prison holding me hostage all of these years in segregation, it was dismissed. Had I had some help, that would not have happened. I had them dead to rights on that lawsuit.

Since they continue to keep me segregated when they have released other inmates who have been found guilty of murder of another inmate back to general population, I am beginning the steps of filing another separate complaint. This one will be from the date my prior lawsuit was dismissed.

And it gets worse…Physical abuse as retaliation

Administration didn’t like that I filed a lawsuit against them. In 2008, the guards assaulted me while I was handcuffed and had leg restraints on. Two days later, they assaulted me again while I was handcuffed and restrained. Of course, they twisted it up saying it was the other way around but how does a person attack two guards while he’s in full restraints?

In 2009-10 I was engaged to be married and was receiving visits every three months from my fiancée’ who traveled all the way from England.

Again, administration disrupted my life as I knew it. That lawsuit! After one of my visits with my (now) ex-fiancee, they said they found a pair of panties on prison grounds and that she gave them to me. This is major. I was strip searched three times before and after visits by five different guards and at no time was a pair of panties or any contraband for that matter ever found in my possession or on my person. During my disciplinary hearing (they charged me with possession of contraband’ for these alleged panties I allegedly received from my fiancée). I requested numerous witnesses, who all told me that they would testify on my behalf, and the video surveillance from the visiting room on the date of my fiancée’s visit to be introduced as evidence. The sergeant and lieutenant who handled this disciplinary hearing flat out refused to call any of the witnesses (all of whom were ESP staff) and refused to introduce the video surveillance.

They found me guilty of “possession of contraband”, sentenced me to a year punitive segregation and took my visiting privileges for one year.

I now have a civil action pending in federal court that is at the summary judgment phase.

In the process I lost my fiancée because she’s terrified to come back, thinking next time they will do something else worse to her.

My family members are hesitant to visit me for those same reasons.

Allow me to back pedal in time.

Eleven days after my last visit with my ex-fiancée (Michele), a pair of panties was again found on prison grounds!! The sergeant sent guards to my cell, strip-searched me and tore my cell apart, breaking items of my property in the process.

Get this, I was nowhere near where the pair of panties was found nor was I even outside. In fact, I had not even gone outside my cell since they lied about the first pair!

All of this is documented in the lawsuit and can be proven.

Also, during my disciplinary hearing (which is recorded) the lieutenant even stated, “No one is accusing you of being in possession of contraband.” He still found me guilty.

I’m waiting to see what the repercussions are going to be for filing this lawsuit I have now in federal court.

Maybe I just don’t care no more. After losing my fiancée I silently pray someone puts me out of my misery because I am in the process of writing a separate civil action in state court challenging the prison administrations lack of institutional protection of the laws in regards to religious practices: not allowing inmates to freely practice their religion.

I’ve been through the riots; I’ve fought administration both physically and on paper. It is impossible to do this alone. All I have is a rubber band and a paper clip.

I read these so-called prisoner support groups articles about how they fight for us, stand with us , etc. I find that to be carrots on a stick. To be honest, I don’t think they even exist. What “help” or “support” have they given to us? Nobody I know has benefited from their services.

I am not accusing you of anything, I don’t know you.

It’s just that I’m so fed up with of this. Losing someone you genuinely love because of the actions of someone else is crushing.

Have you lost a loved one or had an engagement called off? I sincerely hope that you haven’t nor ever have to experience that, but, if you have, multiply that by a dozen, topped off with the loss of seeing your family members as well.

Michele and I overcame major obstacles, living in different countries, me in prison, us being different nationalities and personalities among other things. Now imagine all of that being destroyed because ESP administration wanted to destroy the last bit of happiness I had in life.

I try to better myself each everyday both mentally and physically by reading everything I possibly can and maintaining a workout routine. I share whatever knowledge I have with anyone that asks but I’m limited. I cannot reach beyond these prison walls without support.

No one thinks they will ever be in such a position as I am in, but if it can happen to me, if can happen to someone you love. Please support prisoners in their fight for justice and fairness.

Gilbert Paliotta #46244
ESP
P.O. Box 1989,
Ely, NV 89301