Mission Statement Occupy Las Vegas

Something is happening in Las Vegas, dear reader! No not glitter, glam and false smiles, but something real!
Please read the following mission statement from Occupy Las Vegas and join them if you can. If you are a family member or friend of someone in prison in Nevada, and you want to tell the crowds of Occupy, the 99%, of how our people in prisons are being mistreated, and our society is being disadvantaged because of the lack of human rights, re-education and rehabilitation, here is your chance to make your voice heard!
Please pass it on to people in prison, and if there is something to add (we think so), let the Occupy Las Vegas movement know!
Occupy Las Vegas has its website here.


Mission Statement: Occupy Las Vegas

The first questions that come out of anyone’s mouth whenever a new political movement arises are, “Who are they?” and “What do they want?”

They are good questions that should be answered.

WHO are we?

We are the 99% of Americans who have not benefited from the various financial bailouts, tax breaks, and other subsidies that the dominant 1% of the population have gained over the past several years.

We are students, veterans, homemakers, workers, the unemployed, those on Social Security benefits, those whose savings and investments were either wiped out or greatly diminished by the economic fluctuations starting in 2007.

We are those who have had our homes foreclosed upon, those whose homes are about to be foreclosed, those whose homes are now worth a fraction of what we paid for them, and those who have never owned a home and don’t expect to ever be able to.

We are the newly poor who wonder how everything for which we worked hard vanished so quickly and how we and our families are going to survive.

We are the long-time poor, who have never had much of a chance, let alone a voice, to make our own way in our current social and economic system.

We come from all backgrounds, races, and religions.

We are concerned about and more than a bit scared by the directions in which we see our lives, and the lives of our families, friends, neighbors going, the directions in which we see our nation and the whole planet going, and we are angry with those who have taken us in those directions.

We are part of a much larger global and national movement that wants real changes in how the world is run.

In short, we’re you, and you are one of us.

WHAT do we want?

We want an end to corporate money’s influence in politics, whether through campaign donations, PACs, or other groups. Money is not speech.

We want truly effective campaign finance reform, so that corporations and other interests have no overwhelming advantage over the rest of us in any part of American politics.

We want far greater legal accountability for public officials and corporate executives, and we demand that, if found guilty of committing crimes while in office, they are made to pay for those crimes in full, like anyone else.

We want our justice system to treat everyone equally regardless of origins or social class, at all levels and at every stage, from investigations to trials and sentencing.

We want an end to the continual attacks on our social safety net and on the rights of workers to organize themselves and, if need be, to strike to get better pay, benefits, and working conditions.

We want secure and sustainable investments and improvements in our social infrastructure, like schools and libraries, and to create an America where everyone may actually live in a decent and dignified manner, an America where everyone’s rights count and are respected by all.

This is who we are and what we want. We ask for no more and shall take no less.

We are the 99% and we will not be silenced.

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Letter from a Nevada prisoner dated Oct 11th, 2011

From: Nevada Cure:

The original of this letter is at the archives of Nevada-Cure. It was sent to Director Gregg Cox alongside a letter asking the Director to act in order to stop the abuses and excessive use of power at ESP and HDSP and wherever prisoners are vulnerable and on lockdown.

Thank you for writing me back. I received your letter on August 30, but am only now getting a chance to answer it. I have been going through so much in here for about a month because these so-called correctional officers have been denying me my meals and not only me but a couple of other inmates as well, and that senior c.o. in the bubble name Jesse Cox has been throwing away my fellow prisoners’ mail retaliating against us because of grievances and anything that we do or say. So me and several other prisoners had to do what we did to get the warden’s attention.

It’s obvious they don’t understand nonviolent protest because every time we get together and write a grievance these c.o. continue to do what they want to do “illegally” so we have to do what we have to do in a violent way to get these people to understand us. We are not animals, we are human beings that are locked down 23 hours a day in a maximum security prison in the middle of nowhere, a lot of us don’t have any family to help us (I know I don’t) and it’s hard to get people to hear our voice because the “C.O.” throw away our phone kites.

Just a few weeks ago I was removed from 4A to 4B after talking to the “caseworker” about what was going on and its like they don’t even care because after I told the caseworker what happened and why I was acting the way I was acting, they moved me to the other side (4B) with a bunch of really really mentally ill people who scream and bang on their door all day. Not only that, when they moved me into the cell, it was not clean at all. My water was turned off, my toilet was turned off and the guy who was in there before me left feces and urine in the toilet and I couldn’t flush the toilet because the co turned it off. I asked if they can turn it on so that I can flush it and the only answer I get is whistles and “chain chain chain, chain the fool” song that the c.o. sings to me just to provoke me. It keeps going and going.

That same day they refused to give me my dinner. I did nothing during chow time and they passed right by my door without even looking at me. So I flooded my room, tired of all the foul treatment, the cruel and unusual punishment, my lonely life without any help and everything else. Pencil in my hand I tell the Sgt. to go get the Cert team, come in my room and get me, I’m not cuffing up. You come in here and I’ll stab all of you. That day I was ready to die or get beat down by seven officers but it didn’t happen. They kept me in there all night until about 10 am the next morning. I was able to calm down and the warden came to talk to me. I told what happened. She acts like she cares but I know she doesn’t care at all. So I cuff up, get on my knees so that they can put the shackles on my ankles. The c.o. made a slick comment and I turned around to look him in the eyes and tell him to shut up and boom! I’m knocked to the ground with a closed fist by the officer. This isn’t the first time, so it didn’t shock me. One of the officers named Coleman that also had fun assaulting me while yelling, Stop resisting! Thrust his two fingers to the side of my neck going for my pressure point. I laughed at him because he wasn’t doing a good job at what he was doing, my body was supposed t shut down when he did that even though I was on the ground already, but it didn’t. The AWO was there, he seen what happened, why it happened, but he didn’t see it all (I wonder why?)

Well, I’m sorry for taking up your time with all this and not responding to your last letter. I will respond to your last letter, but let me tell you more. After that happened with the officers I was sent to the infirmary with no shirt, no socks, no shoes, put in a cell naked with a suicide blanket until I was seen by “mental health”. I was seen and cleared to go back to the hole. I was doing alright until one morning I was up ready to go outside so that I can get some fresh air and run a couple laps, a c.o. that did not like me told me that I couldn’t go to yard so I captured the food flap so that the Sgt. could come talk to me, he did and he said it was all a misunderstanding and I could have my yard time if only I would comply with their orders. I did. I got my recreation time and came back to my cell without any incident at all.

So I’m sitting in my cell reading a book by Chairman Mao Tse-Tung and here comes the mental health lady telling me she’s taking my yard and my phone. I didn’t care about the phone because I didn’t have anyone to call anyway and still don’t. So I ask how long are you going to take my yard time and she said, “As long as I want to.” I told her she couldn’t do that because I didn’t do anything and she walked away, so I flooded my room to get the sgt. or warden’s attention but to no avail. The C.E.R.T team comes and tells me they are going to clean out my cell and search it. They did and they also took me to another cell and strapped me down to a bed naked in a camera room and while they were strapping me down I told the CERT officer that I can finally look him in the eyes. He pulled my hair, pulled it so hard that my head lifted and turned my head the other way, pushed it down on the bed. A week later I got strapped down again for talking to another prisoner down the way from where I was and then they moved me to another cell and refused to let me shower and have a towel. So I flooded again. Nothing happened that night. The next morning mental health lady comes to my door and tells me that they are going to be taking my mattress every morning from 6 am to 6 pm. I told her no, you’re not. They took it from me and I slept on the cold dirty nasty stinking bug infested floor all night. They did not give it back to me at all. I was cold, without clothes, just a suicide blanket, naked sleeping on the floor. Did I write a grievance? No. Why? Because all I’m going to get is grievance denied, grievance denied, and grievance denied. I tell you this because nobody else listens to me at all. I hope that you understand the life I live in prison.

Well, as you probably already know, I will not be able to get a job here at Ely because of all the things I’ve been doing (It’s not my fault). They’re violating my rights; they’ve been doing it for the longest now. But there’s nothing I can do because I don’t have any help in here or out there. I hope that you can help me or get the IG or AG to talk to me because if this continues I don’t think I’m going to make it out of prison, and in my mind I don’t even think that I am going to get out of prison and I’m not even a lifer.

Now, on the lawsuit that I want to file is for something that happened down in High Desert. I did not want to shower in my room because it was dirty so the officer took me to the other shower up front in the infirmary to the shower. I started yelling and screaming, that’s all, and the officer opened the shower gate, snatched me out and slammed me on my face, punched me in the left side of my face, then my nose, causing it to bleed and then he put a pillow case over my head. I couldn’t see or breathe and I was down after that. I was scared, terrified and paranoid because of the cruel and unusual punishment and the excessive force that was used on me. (Like always). If you would like for me to send you a copy of my notice of charges I will do that because the c.o. even says that he hit me in the face and put a pillowcase over my head. It says that in my write up that he wrote (which I know is enough for a law suit).

Well, thank you for your time…

UN Torture Investigator Calls on Nations to End Solitary Confinement

In Nevada there are large parts of whole prisons on lockdown, this means prisoners are not allowed out of their tiny cells for 24 hours a day, and a few times a week, depending on the mood of those in charge, they can go to shower or to an enclosed yard alone. This goes on forever for some prisoners, with no program to step down, left to the discretion of those in power.

They never have any normal way of talking with another human being, always have visits behind glass, and are basically treated less than dogs.

Now, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Juan Mendez, has called for a ban on all forms of solitary confinement, because they can amount to torture. Here is the report from our friends at Solitarywatch:

From: SolitaryWatch:
October 19, 2011
By Jean Casella and James Ridgeway

The UN’s torture investigator, Juan Mendez, yesterday called on UN members nations to ban nearly all uses of solitary confinement in prisons, warning that is causes serious mental and physical harm and often amounts to torture. Juan Mendez, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and Cruel, Inhuman, and Degrading Treatment, presented a written report on solitary confinement to the UN General Assembly’s Human Rights Committee, which singled out for criticism the routine use of supermax isolation in the United States. He also gave a press conference and participated in a forum with American civil rights and human rights groups.

As Reuters reports, Mendez stated that solitary confinement “‘can amount to torture or cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment when used as a punishment, during pretrial detention, indefinitely or for a prolonged period, for persons with mental disabilities or juveniles.’” He continued, “‘Segregation, isolation, separation, cellular, lockdown, supermax, the hole, secure housing unit…whatever the name, solitary confinement should be banned by states as a punishment or extortion (of information) technique.’”

Mendez was precise in defining solitary confinement, and in outlining the limitations that should be placed on its use. He stated:

“I am of the view that juveniles, given their physical and mental immaturity, should never be subjected to solitary confinement. Equally, in order not to exacerbate a previously existing mental condition, individuals with mental disabilities should be provided with proper medical or psychiatric care and under no circumstances should they ever be subjected to solitary confinement. My recommendations are, first, to see if we can have a complete ban on prolonged or indefinite solitary confinement. And I more or less arbitrarily defined that as anything beyond 15 days of solitary confinement, meaning someone being confined to a cell for at least 22 hours a day.”

As Reuters reports, “Mendez told reporters he conceded that short-term solitary confinement was admissible under certain circumstances, such as the protection of lesbian, gay or bisexual detainees or people who had fallen foul of prison gangs. But he said there was ‘no justification for using it as a penalty, because that’s an inhumane penalty.’”

Mendez made reference to the case of accused WikiLeaker Bradley Manning, who spent after eight months in solitary at a military brig in Virginia before being moved to general population to await court-martial. Mendez said he “planned to issue a report on Manning and other cases in the next few weeks.”

Mendez also told reporters that he himself had spent three days in solitary in the 1970s in his native Argentina, then under military dictatorship, and they were “the three longest days in my life.”

Report Confirms Need for NV Juvenile Justice Reform: Nevada cited for "systemic or recurring" violent or abusive situations in juvenile facilities

Note: More info on this new report can be found here.

From: Fox Reno, Oct 4th, 2011

CARSON CITY, Nev. – A new report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation provides evidence that youth correctional facilities do not keep kids from committing crimes later or benefit public safety, while wasting taxpayer dollars and exposing young people to violence and abuse.

After a federal civil rights investigation at the Youth Training Center in Elko, a Nevada Supreme Court task force is already examining alternatives. State Sen. Sheila Leslie (D-Washoe Co.), who is on the task force, says Nevada sends its mostly urban young offenders into remote rural settings, which adds to the problem.

“We need to look at closing down these large institutions, which cost a lot of money and don’t work, restructuring our system, moving those kids back to their home communities and providing evidence-based treatment that does work, at a fraction of the cost.”

Nevada is one state cited in the report for “systemic or recurring” violent or abusive situations in juvenile facilities. It adds that several states are already moving away from youth incarceration, mainly because of budget woes or scandals over abuse in institutions.

Bart Lubow, Juvenile Justice Strategy Group director for the Annie E. Casey Foundation, says it is time for states like Nevada to adopt different policies and invest in alternatives that focus on treatment and supervision.

“Comprehensive, well-thought-out strategies in state juvenile justice systems will not only ensure that fewer kids are locked up, but will ensure that there’s less crime and less money spent, and that kids have better odds of being successful in adulthood.”

The report recommends that large institutions be replaced with small, treatment-oriented facilities. Leslie does not expect that idea to go over well in rural areas where the training centers are big employers, although she says it is among the options being considered.

Read the rest here.