Published in: SF Bay View, August 11th, 2009
Editor’s note: The Bay View has been hearing from prisoners around the country that guards, fearing the loss of their jobs, are enraged by budget cuts and plans to release prisoners and close prisons. In some cases they are intensifying their harassment and torture of prisoners and in others they are trying to incite them to riot. That may be a factor in the Chino State Prison “race riot” and fire on Sunday, Aug. 9, just outside Los Angeles that injured more than 250 prisoners, destroyed one dorm and made most of the others uninhabitable. The Nevada prisons are generally considered some of the worst in the country. Here’s what’s happening there:
by Raymond Watison
Prisoners at Nevada State Prison are pleading for help. We truly believe that the administration is intentionally inflaming conflict. Not only are tensions between inmates rising, but those between correctional officers and inmates are at an all-time high.
Most importantly, we are starting to become angry because of an ugly rumor that is circulating in this institution. Word is we are deliberately being used for political gain due to the budget cuts.
We are starting to believe that we are, against our own will, being pushed to the edge so that the administration can make their case for more funds.
I have no choice but to reach out with this letter because other attempts to find assistance have been spoiled by what we call abuse of authority. The prison administration is abusing the disciplinary system that is designed for the safety and security of inmates’ rights.
The administration is trying to quiet our questions about their aggressive behavior. Not only the correctional officers but the administrators too are participants.
There is a grievance complaint system in place that we can no longer trust. This administration has given correctional officers the authority to either approve or deny inmate rights by doing away with the grievance procedure and to punish us for exercising our rights.
This is causing correctional officers to become very aggressive toward inmates. They refuse to obey their own rules and regulations without fear of consequences from any of the administrators.
We here at Nevada State Prison, like so many other prisoners around the globe, learn among ourselves that we are brothers in a never ending struggle. Seeking not to cause violence, we are trying hard to remain brothers because we recognize the administration’s motives in pushing us to cause destruction.
So I ask – no, I beg – you to intervene. You are our only hope. Is there any help for a widow’s son?
How you can help
Nevada State Prison is in Carson City, the state capital. Call, email, fax or write a letter today to Nevada Corrections Director Howard Skolnik, Nevada Department of Corrections, P.O. Box 7011, Carson City, NV 89702, phone (775) 887-3216, fax (775) 887-3253, email email@example.com . He has responded before to pressure, and he will again.
Calls directly to the prison may also help. Call Warden Gregory Smith at (775) 882-8588.
Send our brother some love and light: Raymond Watison, 1031835, Nevada State Prison, P.O. Box 607, Carson City NV 89702.