ACLU: Let’s be Smart on Crime

Submitted 04/11/2011

The death penalty is expensive. An increasing body of evidence shows that death penalty cases cost far more than cases seeking life in prison without parole, from trial preparation to execution. Seeking the death penalty automatically triggers heightened obligations for state-appointed defense attorneys. A recent review of the federal death penalty found that the median cost of a case in which the government seeks the death penalty is nearly eight times greater than similar cases where the death penalty was not sought.

By simply seeking the death penalty, the State significantly raises the stakes of a case – not only to the defendant, but to the taxpayers who foot the bill.

Nevada has no official studies of its own to confirm that the death penalty in fact is more expensive for the state. AB 501 authorizes such an in-depth study into the fiscal costs of the death penalty in Nevada and places a moratorium on executions through July 1, 2013 while the study is conducted.

We do know, however, that Nevada has expansive and often vague statutory language concerning the capital punishment. This opens the door to both costly litigation to pin down the meaning of these statutes and to prosecutors seeking the death penalty more often than they should. AB 460 aims to streamline and clarify Nevada’s death penalty laws and better allocate the limited resources of the criminal justice system.

Both of these bills will help the state focus money where it is most needed, and not on the costly, inefficient system of the death penalty.

Please send an email to your Assemblyperson now and urge them to support AB 460 and AB 501.

Sample Email in Support of AB 460 and AB 501

Dear Assemblyperson:

Like many Nevadans, I am concerned about the financial priorities of the state. I know that you have very hard choices ahead in deciding where to spend our limited resources and where to make cuts. There are no easy solutions, and like you, I want our state to focus its resources in the most thoughtful and meaningful ways. That is why I am strongly urging you to support AB460 and AB501.

AB501 will examine how much money we are spending on the death penalty over life in prison without the possibility of parole, and will impose a temporary moratorium on executions while the study is conducted. AB460 will clarify vague statory language about the death penalty, reducing the need for costly litigation over the laws and over-charging the death penalty.

Both AB460 and AB501 will save the state money – money that is desparately needed in other areas of the budget. We need to start being smart on crime, and can no longer afford to continue down such an expensive road.

Sincerely,
Your Name
Your Address
———————–
Note by NPW: NPW supports at least the end of the death penalty and the end of Life without Parole sentences, as well as excessive sentencing.

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SB 201 Ombudsman for Nevada´s prisons approved

SB201 for the Ombudsman has been approved (with amendments)!

S.B. 201

SENATE BILL NO. 201–SENATORS PARKS, LESLIE; BREEDEN,
COPENING, DENIS, HORSFORD, KIHUEN AND MANENDO
FEBRUARY 28, 2011
____________
JOINT SPONSORS: ASSEMBLYMEN MUNFORD, ANDERSON;
ATKINSON, BOBZIEN, CARLTON, CARRILLO AND HOGAN

Referred to Committee on Judiciary
SUMMARY—Revises provisions relating to correctional
institutions. (BDR 16-827)
FISCAL NOTE: Effect on Local Government: No.
Effect on the State: Yes.

EXPLANATION – Matter in bolded italics is new; matter between brackets [omitted material] is material to be omitted.

AN ACT relating to correctional institutions; establishing an
Ombudsman for Offenders to receive and process
complaints by offenders and certain other persons;
establishing the powers and duties of the Ombudsman;
requiring the Ombudsman to adopt regulations relating to
the processing of such complaints; requiring the
Ombudsman to make certain reports to the Department of
Corrections, the Legislature and the Advisory
Commission on the Administration of Justice; requiring
the Director of the Department to adopt regulations which
comply with certain standards; and providing other
matters properly relating thereto.
Legislative Counsel’s Digest:

1 Section 7 of this bill creates the Office of the Ombudsman for Offenders within
2 the Office of the Attorney General.
3 Section 8 of this bill grants the Attorney General the power to appoint and
4 remove the Ombudsman for Offenders.
5 Section 9 of this bill sets forth the powers of the Ombudsman.
6 Sections 10 and 11 of this bill specify the accounting and use of money
7 collected by the Ombudsman.
8 Section 12 of this bill directs the Ombudsman to establish regulations
9 governing the receipt, processing and reporting of complaints from Legislators,
10 offenders and family members of offenders and from the Ombudsman.
11 Sections 13 and 17 of this bill specify the responsibilities of the Ombudsman
12 concerning the processing and reporting of complaints and actions taken in
13 response to the complaints.
14 Section 14 of this bill requires the Ombudsman to notify certain persons of the
15 Ombudsman’s decision regarding the processing of a complaint.
16 Section 15 of this bill makes confidential certain information relating to
17 complaints, reports and recommendations.
18 Section 16 of this bill requires the Ombudsman to prepare and submit a
19 biennial report for the Department of Corrections, the Legislature and the Advisory
20 Commission on the Administration of Justice.
21 Section 18 of this bill prohibits the penalizing of an offender for certain acts
22 relating to complaints and prohibits the hindrance of the Ombudsman in performing
23 the duties of office.
24 Section 19 of this bill provides that the authority of the Ombudsman is not
25 exclusive of other available remedies.
26 Existing law requires the Director of the Department to protect the health and
27 safety of the staff and offenders in the institutions and facilities of the Department.
28 (NRS 209.131) Section 20 of this bill requires the Director to establish regulations
29 which comply with the standards set by the National Commission on Correctional
30 Health Care to govern staff training in medical emergency response and reporting.
31 Existing law also requires the Director to establish standards for the personal
32 hygiene of offenders and for the medical and dental services at correctional
33 institutions and facilities. (NRS 209.381) Section 21 of this bill requires those
34 standards to comply with standards set by the National Commission on
35 Correctional Health Care.
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEVADA, REPRESENTED IN
SENATE AND ASSEMBLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:
1 Section 1. Chapter 209 of NRS is hereby amended by adding
2 thereto the provisions set forth as sections 2 to 19, inclusive, of this
3 act.
4 Sec. 2. As used in sections 2 to 19, inclusive, of this act,
5 unless the context otherwise requires, the words and terms defined
6 in sections 3 to 6, inclusive, of this act have the meanings ascribed
7 to them in those sections.
8 Sec. 3. “Administrative act” includes an action, omission,
9 decision, recommendation, practice or other procedure of the
10 Department.
11 Sec. 4. “Complainant” means a Legislator, an offender or a
12 family member of an offender who files a complaint as described
13 in section 12 of this act.
14 Sec. 5. “Official” means the Director, a deputy director,
15 manager, warden or employee of the Department.
16 Sec. 6. “Ombudsman” means the Ombudsman for
17 Offenders.
1 Sec. 7. The Office of the Ombudsman for Offenders is
2 hereby created within the Office of the Attorney General.
3 Sec. 8. 1. The Attorney General shall appoint the
4 Ombudsman. The Ombudsman is in the unclassified service of the
5 State. The person appointed:
6 (a) Must be knowledgeable in the field of corrections; and
7 (b) Must be independent of the Department.
8 2. The Attorney General may remove the Ombudsman from
9 office for inefficiency, neglect of duty or malfeasance in office.
10 Sec. 9. The Ombudsman may:
11 1. Employ such staff as is necessary to carry out the duties
12 and functions of his or her office, in accordance with the
13 personnel practices and procedures established within the
14 Attorney General’s Office. The Ombudsman has sole discretion to
15 employ and remove any member of his or her staff.
16 2. Purchase necessary equipment.
17 3. Lease or make other suitable arrangements for office
18 space, but any lease which extends beyond the term of 1 year must
19 be reviewed and approved by a majority of the members of the
20 State Board of Examiners.
21 4. Perform such other functions and make such other
22 arrangements as may be necessary to carry out the duties and
23 functions of his or her office.
24 Sec. 10. 1. All money collected by the Ombudsman must be
25 deposited with the State Treasurer for credit to the Account for the
26 Ombudsman for Offenders, which is hereby created.
27 2. Money in the Account may be used:
28 (a) To defray the costs of maintaining the Office of the
29 Ombudsman; or
30 (b) For any other purpose authorized by the Legislature.
31 3. All claims against the Account must be paid as other
32 claims against the State are paid.
33 Sec. 11. All gifts and grants of money which the
34 Ombudsman is authorized to accept must be deposited with the
35 State Treasurer for credit to the Account for the Ombudsman for
36 Offenders.
37 Sec. 12. The Ombudsman shall, by regulation, establish
38 procedures for receiving, processing and reporting complaints
39 from a Legislator, an offender or a family member of an offender
40 and for processing and reporting allegations personally known to
41 the Ombudsman concerning:
42 1. An administrative act which is alleged to be contrary to law
43 or a policy of the Department; or
1 2. Significant issues relating to the health or safety of
2 offenders and other matters for which there is no effective
3 administrative remedy.
4 Sec. 13. 1. The Ombudsman shall advise a complainant to
5 pursue all administrative remedies that are available to the
6 complainant. The Ombudsman may request and shall receive from
7 the Department a progress report concerning the administrative
8 processing of a complaint. After the Department has taken
9 administrative action on a complaint, the Ombudsman may
10 process and report a complaint on the request of a complainant or
11 on his or her own initiative.
12 2. The Ombudsman is not required to process or report a
13 complaint brought before the Ombudsman. A person is not
14 entitled as a right to have his or her complaint processed or
15 reported by the Ombudsman.
16 Sec. 14. After the Ombudsman receives a complaint from a
17 Legislator, an offender or a family member of an offender as
18 described in section 12 of this act and decides to process
19 the complaint, the Ombudsman shall notify the complainant, the
20 offender or offenders affected and the Department. If the
21 Ombudsman declines to process the complaint, the Ombudsman
22 shall notify the complainant in writing and inform the offender or
23 offenders affected of the reasons for the Ombudsman’s decision.
24 Sec. 15. 1. Correspondence between the Ombudsman and
25 an offender is confidential and must be processed as privileged
26 correspondence in the same manner as letters between offenders
27 and courts, attorneys or public officials.
28 2. The Ombudsman shall keep confidential all matters
29 relating to a complaint and the identities of the complainants or
30 persons from whom information is acquired, except so far as
31 disclosures may be necessary to enable the Ombudsman to
32 perform the duties of the office and to support any
33 recommendations resulting from the processing of a complaint.
34 3. A report prepared and recommendations made by the
35 Ombudsman and submitted pursuant to section 16 of this act are
36 exempt from disclosure under chapter 239 of NRS.
37 Sec. 16. 1. For each regular session of the Legislature, the
38 Ombudsman shall prepare a report on:
39 (a) The conduct of the Office of the Ombudsman for
40 Offenders;
41 (b) Complaints processed by the Ombudsman; and
42 (c) Findings resulting from those complaints if the
43 Ombudsman finds:
44 (1) A matter that should be considered by the Department;
1 (2) An administrative act that should be modified or
2 cancelled;
3 (3) A statute or regulation that should be altered;
4 (4) An administrative act for which justification is
5 necessary;
6 (5) Significant issues relating to the health or safety of
7 offenders; or
8 (6) Any other significant concerns as set forth by
9 regulation.
10 2. The report must be submitted not later than September 1 of
11 each even-numbered year to the Department and the Director of
12 the Legislative Counsel Bureau for distribution to the Legislature
13 and the Advisory Commission on the Administration of Justice.
14 3. Subject to section 17 of this act, the Legislature may
15 forward all or part of a report prepared and submitted pursuant to
16 this section to the complainant or the offender or offenders
17 affected.
18 Sec. 17. 1. Before publishing a finding or recommendation
19 that expressly or by implication criticizes a person or the
20 Department, the Ombudsman must consult with that person or the
21 Department.
22 2. When publishing a finding adverse to the Department or
23 any person, the Ombudsman shall include in that publication a
24 statement of reasonable length made to the Ombudsman by the
25 Department or person in defense or mitigation of the action, if that
26 statement is provided within a reasonable period of time as
27 specified by regulation.
28 3. The Ombudsman may request to be notified by the
29 Department, within a specified period of time, of any action taken
30 on a recommendation.
31 4. The Ombudsman shall notify a complainant of actions
32 relating to the complaint taken by the Office of the Ombudsman
33 and the Department.
34 Sec. 18. 1. An offender must not be penalized in any way
35 by an official or the Department for filing a complaint,
36 complaining to a Legislator or cooperating with the Ombudsman
37 in researching a complaint.
38 2. A person or the Department shall not:
39 (a) Hinder the lawful actions of the Ombudsman or employees
40 of the Office of the Ombudsman; or
41 (b) Willfully refuse to comply with lawful demands of the
42 Office.
43 Sec. 19. The authority granted the Ombudsman pursuant to
44 sections 2 to 19, inclusive, of this act:
45 1. Is in addition to the authority granted under:

1 (a) The provisions of any other act or rule under which the
2 remedy or right of appeal or objection is provided for a person; or
3 (b) Any procedure provided for the inquiry into or
4 investigation of any other matter.
5 2. Shall not be:
6 (a) Construed to limit or affect the remedy or right of appeal or
7 objection; or
8 (b) Deemed part of an exclusionary process.
9 Sec. 20. NRS 209.131 is hereby amended to read as follows:
10 209.131 The Director shall:
11 1. Administer the Department under the direction of the Board.
12 2. Supervise the administration of all institutions and facilities
13 of the Department.
14 3. Receive, retain and release, in accordance with law,
15 offenders sentenced to imprisonment in the state prison.
16 4. Be responsible for the supervision, custody, treatment, care,
17 security and discipline of all offenders under his or her jurisdiction.
18 5. Ensure that any person employed by the Department whose
19 primary responsibilities are:
20 (a) The supervision, custody, security, discipline, safety and
21 transportation of an offender;
22 (b) The security and safety of the staff; and
23 (c) The security and safety of an institution or facility of the
24 Department,
25 is a correctional officer who has the powers of a peace officer
26 pursuant to subsection 1 of NRS 289.220.
27 6. Establish regulations with the approval of the Board and
28 enforce all laws governing the administration of the Department and
29 the custody, care and training of offenders.
30 7. Take proper measures to protect the health and safety of the
31 staff and offenders in the institutions and facilities of the
32 Department [.] , including, without limitation, establishing
33 regulations, with the approval of the Board, which comply with
34 standards set by the National Commission on Correctional Health
35 Care to govern staff training in medical emergency response and
36 reporting.
37 8. Cause to be placed from time to time in conspicuous places
38 about each institution and facility copies of laws and regulations
39 relating to visits and correspondence between offenders and others.
40 9. Provide for the holding of religious services in the
41 institutions and facilities and make available to the offenders copies
42 of appropriate religious materials.

1 Sec. 21. NRS 209.381 is hereby amended to read as follows:
2 209.381 1. Each offender in an institution or facility of the
3 Department must be provided a healthful diet and appropriate,
4 sanitary housing.
5 2. The Director with the approval of the Board shall establish
6 standards which comply with standards set by the National
7 Commission on Correctional Health Care for personal hygiene of
8 offenders and for the medical and dental services of each institution
9 or facility.
H

More Abuses at Ely State Prison reported

We received this letter too:
Sent on March 16/17th 2011, received on March 22nd via an emailprogram:

“On March 16, 2011, 2 Correctional Officers hand-cuffed me and took me inside a small
medical room to review some documents. Due to me being hand-cuffed from the back, I was unable to, and the nurse who had the documents told me that I would not be able to take notes.

So it was impossible for me to view the documents with my hands tied behind my back and without any pencil and paper to oppose two Motions I have in Nevada District Court No. 2:10-cr 01340 – ILIO LRL in Vegas.

I told the nurse I will inform the courts of this. And the Nurse and Correctional Officers became angry. The Correctional Officers placed me back in my cell. As I placed my hands out the flap for them to take the cuffs off, C.O. Mr Davis called me a bitch and pulled my right arm out of the flap with the hand cuff still on it, and the other C.O. began yanking the hand-cuff pulling my skin back. C.O. Davis raised his right leg up and attempted to break my right arm and missed. The other Officer kept yanking my arm with the cuff on it.

Afterwards they made threats to kill me, and the Nurses and the CERT team were just
standing there. Officer Davis said “Fuck your legal shit”; the Nurses refused to give me medical treatment. I now sit here leaking badly from my arm and I have large marks on my arm. I need help. Now, they just denied me dinner, I will starve.

Case nr: 10-16778, U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

Raymond Watison #1031835
Ely State Prison
P.O. Box 1989
Ely, NV 89301

Starving prisoners at Ely State Prison

Received by mail in AZ and emailed on 21st of March 2011 to several receipients. Also received a sworn statement from author. Apologies for misreadings of the manuscript.

For the past 6 days and counting we here at ESP have been receiving only 1000-1500 calories meals each day. It angers me to even write what they´re giving us. Prisoners are starving, not only me but other prisoners are weak, light-headed, dizzy and shaking badly. I myself submitted a medical request complaining about these medical issues I´m having and medical has deliberately refused to respond to medical requests.

Numerous Correctional Officers are angry, surprisingly not toward the inmates but with Director Greg Cox, for issuing the order to shorten our meals, to punish the entire institution for his faults. Stupid muthafucka should of never issued furloughs knowing that was a retarded ass move, and he should have listened to Howard Skolnik, ex-Director of NDOC.
But no, he wants to further abuse his authority.
Director Greg Cox has personal issues with numerous prisoners and personell within the Department.

I saw on my life if inmate Chris Welsh would have killed himself blood on my shirt.
(unreadable). Well the administration has said that we will start receiving our hot breakfast again, which I don´t believe until I see it. Also a couple of inmates on 1B side have been taken out on a stretcher.

This is not a want or a need, this is a must-do. All who read this, write the Governor, the Board of Commissioners, Attorney General, everyone you can, to get Director Greg Cox out of that office, before he pulls another stunt. I´ll keep you updated on events occurring at ESP.

Signing out,
Raymond Watison #1031828
Aka “Tear Drop”
Date: March 14, 2011