Bill to impose death penalty moratorium dies

From Las Vegas Sun:

CARSON CITY – A bill that would have imposed a moratorium on carrying out the death penalty is now dead itself.

Assemblyman Bernie Anderson, D-Sparks, introduced Assembly Bill 190 on Feb. 18 calling for a study of the costs of capital punishment cases compared to non-death penalty cases. It included a section that there would not be any executions until July 1, 2011, while the study was conducted.

The Senate Committee on Legislative Operations and Elections tabled the bill Saturday after an impassioned speech by Senate Minority Leader Bill Raggio, a former district attorney.

Raggio said this study bill “is a forerunner of doing away with capital punishment.” He said he knew of “several cases where the offender did not kill because of the death penalty.”

Raggio was district attorney in Washoe County and prosecuted several death penalty cases.

The moratorium on executions was removed from the bill in the Assembly.

Sen. Bernice Mathews, D-Reno, said in this year of tight money, it seems that anybody could look up these costs. And she said that once completed the study “sits on the shelf, nobody looks at it.”

“The information is already out there,” she said.

Sen. John Lee, D-North Las Vegas, said he would work with North Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Stephen Dahl on the study. And Sen. Warren Hardy, R-Las Vegas, said that while he has respect for Judge Dahl, he agrees with Raggio.

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Governor of NV vetoes AB 473 adopting regulations relating to medical emergencies and the provision of medical and dental services to prisoners

Following veto on AB 473 was sent by the governor of Nevada on May 25. See Las Vegas Sun. Keep watching to see if the medical and dental care and emergencies are kept as they should be, and not how they are now!

Corruption allegations against prison guards shadow Aryan gang trial

An article from the Las Vegas Sun, May 25, 2009:

Corruption allegations against prison guards shadow Aryan gang trial

By Jeff German (contact)

Mon, May 25, 2009 (2 a.m.)
Sun Archives

Authorities have said all along that one of the most disturbing aspects of the Aryan Warriors case is the way the violent prison gang corrupted Nevada corrections officers.

Former members and associates of the gang who are cooperating with federal prosecutors name some of those corrections officers and spell out their alleged corruption in FBI reports and grand jury transcripts.

They accuse officers of helping the white supremacist gang smuggle drugs into prison yards. They say guards left cell doors cracked open to allow gang members to assault other inmates, passed messages of all sorts among Aryan Warriors and allowed gang members to use cell phones to contact partners in crime on the streets.

One gang member even testified that corruption within the prison system played a role in the killing of at least one inmate, a planned slaying that the witness had warned authorities about in writing.

And yet, as the racketeering trial of six Aryan Warriors and associates moves into its second week downtown, federal authorities have not charged corrections officers with any related crimes.

“They have not taken action against any of our staff, which leads me to believe they don’t have any substantiation or there’s going to be another wave” of charges, Nevada Corrections Department Director Howard Skolnik said.

The latter scenario may be more likely, FBI spokesman Dave Staretz said.

“We’re not ruling out any further prosecutions,” he said.

Sixteen corrections officers accused of misconduct were either partially or fully identified by former gang members and associates in documents obtained by the Sun. But 16 is not a comprehensive total because the documents in the newspaper’s possession are a small portion of the evidence accumulated in the lengthy federal investigation. Some allegations date back more than a decade.

Skolnik said at least eight of the 16 still work for the Nevada prison system. Officials could not determine whether four of the partial names on list the Sun provided ever worked for the prison system. Some of the identified corrections officers were disciplined by the Corrections Department as a result of information developed by prison officials, Skolnik said.

Skolnik, however, won’t say how many officers were disciplined, and he won’t identify the officers. He cited privacy concerns.

The Sun is not publishing the corrections officers’ names because they have not been charged.

The absence of charges also poses an issue for the prison system. Inmates, after all, are presumed to have less credibility than their guards.

“If we can’t substantiate an inmate’s allegation, we’re not going to take action,” Skolnik said. “We still function under the basic philosophy of you’re innocent until proven guilty.”

Federal authorities have not provided prison officials with additional information to support the accusations by the protected witnesses, Skolnik said.

“They’re in the midst of litigation, and they may be holding back until they’re done with the trial,” he said.

The conduct alleged hardly seems the type for which authorities would want to postpone action, however.

In a January 2008 report, FBI Agent Robert Hunt said former Aryan Warriors leader Guy Almony told him that drugs were “primarily smuggled” into the maximum security Ely State Prison by corrections officers.

Almony, who began cooperating with federal authorities after he survived a November 2007 attack by fellow gang members at the North Las Vegas Detention Center, identified five corrections officers at the Ely prison who he claimed assisted in the drug smuggling operation, Hunt wrote.

One of those officers had a “heroin problem” and “would smuggle in anything for half the product,” the report quoted Almony as saying.

Almony, who signed a sealed agreement with prosecutors in March 2008 calling for him to plead guilty to a racketeering charge, alleged that the corrections officer also provided another Aryan Warriors leader in Ely with his cell phone to call gang members outside the prison.

In a February 2008 FBI report, one of the officer’s friends, who also worked at the Ely prison, also said that the officer had a heroin habit, that he would snort drugs out of an eye dropper. The officer interviewed by the FBI said the Aryan Warriors had tried to recruit his addicted colleague to smuggle drugs into the prison for them, but he didn’t believe his friend had ever complied with that request.

The officer with the alleged heroin problem agreed to take an FBI-administered polygraph test in April 2008 and told agents he no longer worked for the prison system, another FBI report shows.

Almony, who is expected to testify for the government in the Aryan Warrior trial, told agents that another guard would smuggle drugs in return for $500 a package, and yet another would bring in marijuana in return for half the amount of the drug for his personal use.

Skolnik said state regulations don’t allow the prison system to conduct random testing of corrections officers, but the officers can be tested if they appear under the influence of drugs or alcohol while on duty.

Senate Bill 47, which is now in the Assembly, would give officials the authority to conduct random testing, Skolnik said.

In his interview with FBI agents, Almony identified two other corrections officers he alleged passed messages for gang members. Both officers denied that in earlier interviews with agents, according to reports of those interviews.

One of the guards denied opening doors for gang members, but he accused yet another officer at the Ely prison of doing it, the reports show.

Two other former gang members now cooperating with and protected by federal authorities also accused the latter Ely officer of smuggling drugs into the prison.

Michael Kennedy, a former Aryan Warrior leader who testified at the trial last week, told the FBI in December 2006 that the officer often slid compact disc cases filled with a white powder under the cell doors of inmates, a report shows.

Michael Alvarez, a former Hispanic gang leader who brokered a drug trafficking alliance with the Aryan Warriors inside the prison, testified before a federal grand jury in November 2006 that the guard was one of several who helped inmates distribute sheets of construction paper that had been soaked in methamphetamine, transcripts show.

The drugs were brought in through the mail to his unit, he said.

“And it would come in on a daily basis, and we’d always, you know, send things to other units … and use COs, correctional officers, to do it,” Alvarez told the grand jury.

Alvarez, who is expected to testify in the racketeering trial, said the sheets sold from $75 to $100 apiece.

When interviewed by the FBI in July 2007, the Ely officer denied cracking doors for inmates or bringing drugs into the prison. But he acknowledged getting a tattoo from a skinhead gang at the prison, which caused him to be put on administrative leave, an FBI report of the interview said. The officer indicated he was under “psychotherapeutic medication” at the time. The officer “has a reputation of ‘taking care of things’ within the institution,” the report said. “He does not take (expletive) and supervisors would often come and request his help.”

Kennedy told the FBI that while he was at the Nevada State Prison in Carson City, a guard had provided the Aryan Warriors with information that allowed gang members to “beat up child molesters and take their property.”

At the Ely State Prison, another guard left a cell door open to allow an Aryan Warrior leader to assault an inmate, Kennedy alleged in the report. He also said a fellow inmate was “sleeping with several female corrections officers” there.

While at the High Desert State Prison in Southern Nevada, Kennedy came in contact with a female prison investigator who allegedly was providing sensitive information to gang members, the FBI report said.

The investigator once used her truck to deliver flowers, manure and other garden items with drugs hidden inside to the High Desert prison, Kennedy alleged. The investigator also once revealed the identity of a prison snitch to Kennedy and instructed him to “hit him,” the report alleged. The informant, however, was moved out of the state.

Alvarez testified in 2006 that he tried to warn authorities about a plot to kill one of his fellow Hispanic gang members. He sent a letter to a local prosecutor, but asked the prosecutor not to forward it to the Corrections Department.

“And I told her I didn’t trust the DOC, the Department of Corrections, because of everything that was going on there, but she sent the letter to the Department of Corrections anyway,” he testified.

The inmate was later killed, as Kennedy had warned, prompting an internal inspector general’s investigation within the prison system, he said.

Skolnik said he did not recall any corrections officers being disciplined as a result of that investigation.

He defended his staff of 1,800 corrections officers, saying there are “very few” bad apples.

“We have a very good record of controlling violence and escapes compared to most correctional departments in the country” even though Nevada has a higher inmate-to-staff ratio, he said. “Our staff does an incredible job with the resources it has.”

But Skolnik also acknowledged that mistakes are made.

“It’s a very difficult and stressful job,” he said. “It’s easy to become complacent, and when you become complacent, you get taken advantage of.”

Jeff German is the Sun’s senior investigative reporter.

Lockdown Hell

An article from Las Vegas Sun, from Sept. 2008:

CRIME:
Lockdown hell
That’s the reputation that isolating dangerous federal inmates for their own protection has earned North Las Vegas jail

Steve Marcus
(illustration:
A building crew leaves the Male Closed Custody Unit at the North Las Vegas Detention Center. Several alleged members of the Aryan Warriors, a violent white supremacist prison gang, are housed at the center.)

By Jeff German (contact)

Fri, Sep 19, 2008 (2 a.m.)
Click to enlarge photo

Steve Marcus

Officer Tyrone Bentley unlocks food flaps in cell doors of the North Las Vegas Detention Center, which houses dangerous federal detainees.
Sun Archives

Tony Morgan has been in and out of Nevada’s toughest prisons since 1988, but he says none of them treated him worse than his current house of incarceration, the North Las Vegas jail — where he is in protective custody.

For up to four months at a time, Morgan has been spending 23 hours a day alone inside an 8-by-11-foot concrete cell. His only glimpse of daylight comes once a week when he’s allowed to go into a courtyard — in chains. A fluorescent light remains on in his cell through the night, making it hard to sleep.

Morgan has been unable to adequately prepare for his upcoming trial, he and his lawyer allege, because he has no access to a law library and contact with his attorney is restricted.

Sure, Morgan’s no angel; he’s a convicted drug trafficker linked lately to the white supremacist Aryan Warriors prison gang. And time behind bars is not supposed to be a picnic. But Morgan, other North Las Vegas inmates and their lawyers say basic rights that are supposed to be guaranteed to all U.S. citizens are being denied at the jail. And even some judges have taken note of how harsh conditions are for some of the inmates.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada has an eye on the jail because “the Constitution guarantees the same rights to everyone,” notes Gary Peck, the organization’s executive director. “The moment the government decides that constitutional rights don’t apply to people who are accused of crimes or convicted of crimes is the moment when those rights lose their meaning for the rest of us.”

Complaints about rights violations at this particular jail, which is run by the North Las Vegas Police Department, have circulated for a long time. The latest to lodge them are defendants in the Aryan Warriors federal racketeering case. They are among about 250 federal defendants housed in North Las Vegas under an agreement with the U.S. Marshals Service.

Jail officials say they are doing their best to balance the rights of the inmates with the security of the facility, but the presence of the federal prisoners, some of whom are far more dangerous than the inmates the jailers are used to handling, makes everything more difficult.

Federal authorities think unrest in North Las Vegas will ease next year, when Southern Nevada gets the federal detention center marshals and others have long sought. Ground will be broken next month in Pahrump for a 500-bed facility.

But in the meantime, the allegations, some of which have been validated by federal judges, continue to haunt the North Las Vegas Detention Center.

Two years ago, during the sentencing of a drug trafficker, U.S. District Judge Philip Pro criticized North Las Vegas’ treatment of pretrial defendants — people who had not been convicted of the crime for which they were being held at the jail. Pro called it “subpar” and “borderline inhumane.”

And this month, U.S. District Judge Kent Dawson decided to give 44-year-old Kevin Curtin, a convicted sex offender, a lighter sentence after his lawyer, Cal Potter, brought to light the rough treatment Curtain had endured in isolation at the center.

In court papers seeking leniency, Potter said his client headed into trial in “no mental shape to be anything but a spectator.”

“If you weren’t living it, you wouldn’t believe it was happening at this time in our society,” Potter later said in an interview. “It’s draconian.”

Morgan, 39, has been living in isolation ever since jail officials received word that his life was threatened in the jail by Aryan Warrior leaders who, like Morgan, are awaiting trial on federal racketeering charges.

If this is how the detention center treats inmates for their own protection, Morgan said, he wants no part of it. He’d rather take his chances in the general jail population.

“They’re saying my safety outweighs my civil rights,” he said in telephone interviews.

Several other segregated Aryan Warrior defendants have filed federal court papers accusing North Las Vegas Detention Center officials of treating them too harshly. Some complain, for example, that they can’t properly shower because they remain shackled and chained whenever they are briefly let out of their cells.

But it’s not just the Aryan Warriors who are crying foul. Other segregated inmates not tied to the gang have complained about the tough jailhouse. About 100 of its estimated 1,000 inmates are kept in isolation, officials said.

Over the past several years, the ACLU has received an “inordinate” number of complaints from inmates citing a wide range of problems at the detention center, including overcrowding, inadequate medical care and the use of excessive force, Peck said.

Before he was convicted on child pornography charges in federal court last week, Robert Latham described his 11 months in an isolation cell in North Las Vegas as psychological torture.

“There’s no difference between night and day,” Latham said. “I get a newspaper every day, but other than that, I just stare at the walls.”

Roger Bergendorff, who pleaded guilty in August to possessing the deadly poison ricin following a well-publicized federal investigation, said North Las Vegas jailers “just don’t give a damn.”

In court papers, federal prosecutors and lawyers for North Las Vegas contend inmates are being treated reasonably, given some of the security concerns. U.S. Magistrate Peggy Leen, nevertheless, has been listening to the latest accusations raised by the Aryan Warrior defendants. She has had one hearing on the matter.

The Aryan Warrior defendants began seeking legal relief from the near 24-hour-lockdown conditions in June, as their court cases began to heat up.

Ben Durham, the former lawyer for Jason Inman, another alleged Aryan Warrior, said in court papers his client’s stay in isolation had taken a severe physical and mental toll on him, causing him to lose 40 pounds.

“He has not been outside since September 2007, and only then during the middle of the night,” Durham wrote. “On those occasions, he was in full restraints and shackles and required to keep moving the entire time.”

Similar allegations were leveled a month later by attorney Karen Winckler in a more comprehensive motion seeking the court’s aid on behalf of her client, Daniel Egan, 33, the Aryan Warriors’ reputed No. 2 man.

Winckler described the jail conditions as “dire” and “shocking,” adding that the jail authorities’ attitude toward medical treatment borders on “reckless.”

The lockdown conditions were harming her ability to communicate with Egan, who has since pleaded guilty in the racketeering case, she said.

“Visitation is nonexistent or very limited, depending on the mood of the facility,” Winckler wrote. “Egan’s calls (to his lawyer and family) are limited to the half-hour per day during his release time. However, this communication is meaningless because the release occurs in the middle of the night.”

At Egan’s sentencing Wednesday, Winckler said jail conditions are “just horrible” and said Egan, in many years in the Nevada prison system, “has never seen anything like this.”

Defense lawyers say some mistreatment occurs because the detention center was built to house small-time crooks and misdemeanor offenders, including those who haven’t paid parking tickets — not inmates like the Aryan Warriors, who proved hard to handle for even the state prison system.

Case in point is what they did to Guy Almony, reputed to be one of the gang’s own members.

About 11:30 p.m. on Nov. 20, Almony was talking on a phone at the jail when he was stabbed in the neck, allegedly by the gang’s reputed leader, Ronald “Joey” Sellers, who thought Almony was cooperating in the federal racketeering case.

Almony narrowly escaped death, his lawyer, Randall Roske, said.

Sellers was eventually moved to a more secure federal detention center in California, and Almony was moved to a safer prison environment outside Nevada.

“What happened to my client was a tragedy waiting to happen,” Roske said. “This entire facility is absolutely unprepared to handle inmates of this caliber and this level of dangerousness.”

North Las Vegas officials acknowledge the Aryan Warriors have presented challenges for the detention center.

“They have this need for power and to be in control of the jail,” North Las Vegas Police Chief Joe Forti said. “They create a very tense and hostile environment.”

A veteran North Las Vegas corrections officer who asked not to be identified out of fear of retaliation on his family said the Aryan Warriors have “slowed down” the daily operations of the detention center because of the safeguards needed to keep them in check.

“They know how to be disruptive and intimidate other inmates,” the officer said. “We’re constantly monitoring their activities.”

But the officer also insisted jail officials don’t deliberately mistreat any inmates.

“We do not tolerate any cruel and unusual punishment,” the officer said. “We do the best possible job we can in handling these types of people so that everybody can go home at night and be with their families knowing these guys are behind barbed wire and not running through their communities.”

Costs for Nevada inmate litigation

This was written by Nevada Prisoner Voice:

Fiscal Year 2008
(July 1, 2007 to June 30, 2008)

The following is provided in response to your request for information regarding the costs paid by the state to defend inmate litigation.

Please note that the Office of the Attorney General does not track the costs of inmate litigation separately so the amounts reflected are the agency´s best estimate.

The information provided below is for Fiscal Year 2008 (July 1, 2007 to June 30, 2008):

Total hours expended by Attorneys, Paralegals and Investigators 24,848.81 hours at average billable rate of $122 per hour $3,031,555

Total travel costs $ 32,744

Total Costs paid from Statutory Contingency Fund Pursuant to NRS 212.070 (claims that arise out of an action involving an Inmate confined within the Nevada Department of Corrections) $ 59,104

Inmate Tort/Property Claims paid from Nevada Department of Corrections for inmate claims under $500 $ 4,602

Inmate Tort/Property claims paid from the Attorney General Tort Claim Fund for inmate claims over $500 $ 210,016

Total: $3,338,021

There were 545 lawsuits in federal courts 19 Feb 2009. The bulk of the work for the federal court in Reno is from NV prison inmates at Ely State Prison.

407 == Ely State Prison
27 == Florence McClure Women’s Correctional
72 == High Desert State Prison
5 == Lovelock
11 == Nevada State Prison
16 == Northern Nevada Correctional Center and
7 == Southern Desert Correctional Center.

Professional standards accreditation that can prevent such lawsuits is overdue.
New leadership is needed that will embrace accreditation for all aspects of prison policy and operations.
This is not an expensive process compared to the current cost of litigation.

A federal public defender has stated that 90% of Nevada’s prison problems would disappear if Nevada prisons were accredited to professional standards, like schools and hospitals.

Why has leadership refused to implement accreditation?
Accreditation can save taxpayers millions in legal fees and benefit both prisoners and staff.

There´s no love here


In the depths of these dregs where our souls dwell in darkness as our minds dwindle like dust in the wind, we sit here with sad looks on our faces, waiting for a letter in the mail or a hot meal to be served. Waiting, waiting, waiting, always waiting for something, but it seems like nothing ever comes. Nothing good, anyways.

There’s no love here. Not in this artificial world of concrete and steel, surrounded by razor wire, and gun towers, which are enclosed by mountains on all sides. There’s no love in these confinements, just a lot of hate, anger. agony, hopelessness, loneliness and despair. The closest thing you’ll find to love in here, is pain.

There’s no love here, no sunshine, no fresh air. But if you open your eyes long enough to see, you will find that there is plenty of destruction, depression, aggression, torment, suffering, and death. The coldness that permeates the atmosphere seeps through our skin to our bones and chills our soul. We’ve been discarded by society, separated from our families, left to sit, suffer, rot, and die. They don’t care, so we don’t care. There’s no love here.

Coyote, 2008
Anarchist Black Cross,
Nevada Prison Chapter E.S.P.

The Thoughts of an Exile


While I sit, stand, lay here in this cell, exiled from American society and confined to 4 gruesome walls that were intentionally designed to break me all the way down, my heart beats furiously, yet proudly with resistance and I try to keep my mind open, heart open and eyes open, reaching out for truthful knowledge and for deeper understandings of self, love and life. I read, I study, I write, I contemplate and reflect, I hold discussions, I have conversations and try to engage others.

In these dungeons we are cut off from family, cut off from the world and cut off from a real education, but the people in here who linger, lurk and fester in these graveyards seem to love to learn all they can about their own history, culture, heritage and traditions, even though they’re usually considered lower than dirt in the eyes and minds of society, they still carry their pride of who they are and they hang on to that very tightly. I really dig that.

There are definitely some powerful and dangerous minds lurking in some of these cells, people who have taken true means to let the shackles, chains, cuffs and restraints from their minds. I feel blessed to have been able to come in contact with people in this clandestine world who could be so intelligent, artistic and resourceful, even while confined to a cold, hateful, primitive place like this. It’s because of these experiences and because of meeting these people that it feels good to be lower than dirt, it fee Is good to be so close to the earth. I appreciate the blessings and the lessons of being an exile.

While I write this, I’m on the second day of a 4-day fast with a native comrade of mine. He told me he was going to go on a fast tor a few days, to set things in order with himself and that he’d holler at me in a few days. I said, “Hey, wait a minute! I´ll do it with you.” So, here I am on the second day of this fast, trying to stay strong and focused, no talking, no eating and no masturbating; and trying to keep negative thoughts out of my head. My native comrade Xemo has his reasons for going on his fast, which are mostly spiritual, and I have my reasons and objectives.

First, I wanted to show him solidarity, as he is someone I feel connected to in meaningful ways, so I wanted to encourage him to keep going and to get his mind right, heart right, soul right. Prison isn’t the most positive or productive place, and we sit here amongst all this hate, madness, violence, gangsterisrn, materialism and corruption, it’s hard not to get caught up in it, it’s hard not to think like all those around you, it’s hard to rise above it. So, I knew if I were to go on this fast with my native comrade, it would inspire and motivate him to hold strong. Secondly, I felt the need to do this for myself, to back up oft the door, take my mind away from this place and tune in to myself and mostly to challenge myself.

To me, fasting is an act of enduring pain and coming out of it stronger, it’s an act of sacrifice. It calls for me to will myself to keep going under desperate situations, to keep fighting, to keep resisting, to keep holding on, to stay focused, to stay disciplined and to stay strong. Of course, there are deeper spiritual meanings attached to it. But 1’11 have to admit that this fast isn’t really tor spiritual purposes tor me, other than sacrificing my food, conversation, urges and desires to will myself to endure and overcome anguish, pain and torment, and I’m doing this to prepare myself for tutu re hardships. Those are my reasons tor taking up this fast.

Xemo tells me stories, sings me songs in Crow, sings me songs in Lakota, sings me songs in Shoshone. He sings songs about the eagle, he sings songs about the bear, he sings songs about the determination of the wolf. He taught me how to sing a healing song and he taught me how to sing a unity song. He tells me something good about the coyote, he says a coyote can adapt to any situation, you can take a coyote out ot the Nevada desert and put the coyote in Africa and the coyote will find a way to survive. I will always remember that.

I believe we become stronger through our pain, we become wiser, with a clearer outlook on life, a keener insight, and more compassionate and understanding after overcoming, or enduring struggles and painful situations. I believe we need to be challenged by life, every now and again, and it’s through these challenges that we grow (spiritually) and develop (mentally) and transform our thinking into higher states of consciousness.

It’s about the mind, body and soul. It’s about atonement. It’s spiritual, mental and physical, it’s not only about being a warrior, but it’s about being alive. This is not my first fast, but I’ve learned a lot from Xemo, ‘cuz he was kind enough to take the time to reach out to me and teach me things about his culture, which isn’t much different from the Yaquis, Aztecs and Mayas, and I am very appreciative for my friend’s time and kindness, and it felt good to hear him sing his songs, he sings from deep in his soul.

My appreciation of these gifts leads me to write this brief report on it and include it in this zine, to give people a small peak into the life and mind of an exile. We prisoners are exiles, because we’ve been exiled from life, exiled from society, exiled from real, human relationships, exiled from culture and traditions and customs and celebrations, but as long as we choose to keep the things that are most important to us in our hearts, then we are still thriving and surviving.

There’s a difference between living and maintaining, people in prison aren’t living, we’re maintaining and some of us aren’t even doing that. Times are hard in prison, this place can make your heart hard like cement and your soul cold like steel. This place breeds hate and anger. A lot of people are influenced by racism and prejudice ways of thinking. Some prisoners read and study their culture and history and use it as a tool to hate, hate and hate. They learn to hate other people and other races, ‘cuz they’re not like them. They don’t understand the true lessons, ways, teachings and understandings of their ancestors. They don’t understand that when you take things back to their roots and origins, you see that we all come from the same place, and in 50 many ways, we are all related. People who embrace the true understandings of their ancient cultures aren’t haters, but have a trued appreciation and respect for their own culture, as well as others.

I see all this hate around here, and to me it’s ignorance. It breaks my heart to see and experience all this madness every day. People who talk out of hate (in my opinion), usually speak with ignorance, people who talk out of love, usually speak with the intelligence of their hearts. If you’re someone who claims to love your people 50 much, then they take true strides to do real things for your people, instead of using all that energy to hate on the next man, or the next race, just because he ain’t like you.

I sit in my cell and do my fast, Xemo is in his cell, a few cells down from me, doing his fast. We are both locked down, but we are resourceful enough to find ways to communicate with each other and still keep people out of our business. I sit here in solitude, with no one or nothing to fear but myself and let these thoughts pour out of a heart that’s been broken a thousand times, but comes back and beats stronger and stronger each time. I feel the pain in my stomach, but I keep going, I don’t eat, I don’t have the desire to eat, only the desire to keep going, and that’s what I’m going to do, I can endure the pain, I’m a warrior, I am ready for whatever challenges that await me …

From the depths of my restless heart,
Coyote
E.S.P. 2008

There´s no love here


In the depths of these dregs where our souls dwell in darkness as our minds dwindle like dust in the wind, we sit here with sad looks on our faces, waiting for a letter in the mail or a hot meal to be served. Waiting, waiting, waiting, always waiting for something, but it seems like nothing ever comes. Nothing good, anyways.

There’s no love here. Not in this artificial world of concrete and steel, surrounded by razor wire, and gun towers, which are enclosed by mountains on all sides. There’s no love in these confinements, just a lot of hate, anger. agony, hopelessness, loneliness and despair. The closest thing you’ll find to love in here, is pain.

There’s no love here, no sunshine, no fresh air. But if you open your eyes long enough to see, you will find that there is plenty of destruction, depression, aggression, torment, suffering, and death. The coldness that permeates the atmosphere seeps through our skin to our bones and chills our soul. We’ve been discarded by society, separated from our families, left to sit, suffer, rot, and die. They don’t care, so we don’t care. There’s no love here.

Coyote, 2008
Anarchist Black Cross,
Nevada Prison Chapter E.S.P.

The Thoughts of an Exile


While I sit, stand, lay here in this cell, exiled from American society and confined to 4 gruesome walls that were intentionally designed to break me all the way down, my heart beats furiously, yet proudly with resistance and I try to keep my mind open, heart open and eyes open, reaching out for truthful knowledge and for deeper understandings of self, love and life. I read, I study, I write, I contemplate and reflect, I hold discussions, I have conversations and try to engage others.

In these dungeons we are cut off from family, cut off from the world and cut off from a real education, but the people in here who linger, lurk and fester in these graveyards seem to love to learn all they can about their own history, culture, heritage and traditions, even though they’re usually considered lower than dirt in the eyes and minds of society, they still carry their pride of who they are and they hang on to that very tightly. I really dig that.

There are definitely some powerful and dangerous minds lurking in some of these cells, people who have taken true means to let the shackles, chains, cuffs and restraints from their minds. I feel blessed to have been able to come in contact with people in this clandestine world who could be so intelligent, artistic and resourceful, even while confined to a cold, hateful, primitive place like this. It’s because of these experiences and because of meeting these people that it feels good to be lower than dirt, it fee Is good to be so close to the earth. I appreciate the blessings and the lessons of being an exile.

While I write this, I’m on the second day of a 4-day fast with a native comrade of mine. He told me he was going to go on a fast tor a few days, to set things in order with himself and that he’d holler at me in a few days. I said, “Hey, wait a minute! I´ll do it with you.” So, here I am on the second day of this fast, trying to stay strong and focused, no talking, no eating and no masturbating; and trying to keep negative thoughts out of my head. My native comrade Xemo has his reasons for going on his fast, which are mostly spiritual, and I have my reasons and objectives.

First, I wanted to show him solidarity, as he is someone I feel connected to in meaningful ways, so I wanted to encourage him to keep going and to get his mind right, heart right, soul right. Prison isn’t the most positive or productive place, and we sit here amongst all this hate, madness, violence, gangsterisrn, materialism and corruption, it’s hard not to get caught up in it, it’s hard not to think like all those around you, it’s hard to rise above it. So, I knew if I were to go on this fast with my native comrade, it would inspire and motivate him to hold strong. Secondly, I felt the need to do this for myself, to back up oft the door, take my mind away from this place and tune in to myself and mostly to challenge myself.

To me, fasting is an act of enduring pain and coming out of it stronger, it’s an act of sacrifice. It calls for me to will myself to keep going under desperate situations, to keep fighting, to keep resisting, to keep holding on, to stay focused, to stay disciplined and to stay strong. Of course, there are deeper spiritual meanings attached to it. But 1’11 have to admit that this fast isn’t really tor spiritual purposes tor me, other than sacrificing my food, conversation, urges and desires to will myself to endure and overcome anguish, pain and torment, and I’m doing this to prepare myself for tutu re hardships. Those are my reasons tor taking up this fast.

Xemo tells me stories, sings me songs in Crow, sings me songs in Lakota, sings me songs in Shoshone. He sings songs about the eagle, he sings songs about the bear, he sings songs about the determination of the wolf. He taught me how to sing a healing song and he taught me how to sing a unity song. He tells me something good about the coyote, he says a coyote can adapt to any situation, you can take a coyote out ot the Nevada desert and put the coyote in Africa and the coyote will find a way to survive. I will always remember that.

I believe we become stronger through our pain, we become wiser, with a clearer outlook on life, a keener insight, and more compassionate and understanding after overcoming, or enduring struggles and painful situations. I believe we need to be challenged by life, every now and again, and it’s through these challenges that we grow (spiritually) and develop (mentally) and transform our thinking into higher states of consciousness.

It’s about the mind, body and soul. It’s about atonement. It’s spiritual, mental and physical, it’s not only about being a warrior, but it’s about being alive. This is not my first fast, but I’ve learned a lot from Xemo, ‘cuz he was kind enough to take the time to reach out to me and teach me things about his culture, which isn’t much different from the Yaquis, Aztecs and Mayas, and I am very appreciative for my friend’s time and kindness, and it felt good to hear him sing his songs, he sings from deep in his soul.

My appreciation of these gifts leads me to write this brief report on it and include it in this zine, to give people a small peak into the life and mind of an exile. We prisoners are exiles, because we’ve been exiled from life, exiled from society, exiled from real, human relationships, exiled from culture and traditions and customs and celebrations, but as long as we choose to keep the things that are most important to us in our hearts, then we are still thriving and surviving.

There’s a difference between living and maintaining, people in prison aren’t living, we’re maintaining and some of us aren’t even doing that. Times are hard in prison, this place can make your heart hard like cement and your soul cold like steel. This place breeds hate and anger. A lot of people are influenced by racism and prejudice ways of thinking. Some prisoners read and study their culture and history and use it as a tool to hate, hate and hate. They learn to hate other people and other races, ‘cuz they’re not like them. They don’t understand the true lessons, ways, teachings and understandings of their ancestors. They don’t understand that when you take things back to their roots and origins, you see that we all come from the same place, and in 50 many ways, we are all related. People who embrace the true understandings of their ancient cultures aren’t haters, but have a trued appreciation and respect for their own culture, as well as others.

I see all this hate around here, and to me it’s ignorance. It breaks my heart to see and experience all this madness every day. People who talk out of hate (in my opinion), usually speak with ignorance, people who talk out of love, usually speak with the intelligence of their hearts. If you’re someone who claims to love your people 50 much, then they take true strides to do real things for your people, instead of using all that energy to hate on the next man, or the next race, just because he ain’t like you.

I sit in my cell and do my fast, Xemo is in his cell, a few cells down from me, doing his fast. We are both locked down, but we are resourceful enough to find ways to communicate with each other and still keep people out of our business. I sit here in solitude, with no one or nothing to fear but myself and let these thoughts pour out of a heart that’s been broken a thousand times, but comes back and beats stronger and stronger each time. I feel the pain in my stomach, but I keep going, I don’t eat, I don’t have the desire to eat, only the desire to keep going, and that’s what I’m going to do, I can endure the pain, I’m a warrior, I am ready for whatever challenges that await me …

From the depths of my restless heart,
Coyote
E.S.P. 2008