Prisoner at Ely State Prison killed

Sad news: on March 22nd 2012 an imprisoned man died, allegedly stabbed to death, at Ely State Prison. May he find rest. It is very sad that violence is continuing inside this prison.

We recently received this short observation:

On March 22, someone was killed on unit 8, a black man named “Brass”. Supposedly he was stabbed to death. The prison has been locked down since Tuesday. Maybe tomorrow or Monday it will come off lockdown, but nobody knows for sure. Here is what I’ve heard: The Unit 8 Senior at the time saw Brass on the tier clutching his chest/heart and thought he was having a heart attack, so he locked the tier down and made everyone go back into their cells, not knowing that the inmate actually got stabbed. So whoever did it was able to get rid of the weapon and clean up all evidence, etc. and basically got away clean. Nobody knows who did it, all they know is that this man Brass is dead.

Here is the AP newsitem in the Las Vegas Sun:

Ely State Prison inmate found dead with stab wound

The Associated Press

Friday, March 23, 2012

Officials are investigating the death of a 31-year-old Ely State Prison inmate who was found dead with apparent stab wounds at the foot of prison stairs.

The news that Ronnie Danelle Brass was found by staff at about 3:15 p.m. Thursday and pronounced dead by a doctor shocked his lawyer, Jonell Thomas, who said he had an appeal pending before the Nevada Supreme Court.

“I’m just stunned,” Thomas said. “I was hopeful we were going to get a new trial for him.”

Brass and his younger brother, Jermaine Brass, were sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole following the January 2009 shooting death of their brother-in-law, Ernest Mitchell.

Mitchell had accused the brothers of stealing vehicle tires and rims from his house. Mitchell’s wife, Katrina Brass, witnessed the shooting and testified against her brothers at trial.

Ronnie Brass was convicted in Clark County on April 28, 2010, of first degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder, first degree kidnapping and conspiracy to commit kidnapping.

Thomas said she had hoped the court would hear oral arguments on her contention that Ronnie Brass had an IQ of just 58, and was an accessory in the slaying, not the killer.

Read the rest here.

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ABC Nevada Prison Chapter: Still No Victories

From: Coyote-Calling Blog:

First and foremost, my most sincere greetings of solidarity and respects are extended to the poor, imprisoned and oppressed. My name is Coyote, I’m a serious Anarchist radical, confined and isolated in the infirmary of Nevada’s most notorious maximum security lock-up: Ely State Prison.

In 2007, I started up my own prison chapter of Anarchist Black Cross. Because of my efforts – and another comrade’s efforts – and due to the exposure of the blatant medical neglect here at ESP through the Rikers vs. Gibbons / ACLU lawsuits, a solid support structure for NV prisoners has begun to be erected. This includes the Nevada Prison Watch website that provides oversight of the NDOC; Makethewallstransparent.com, which does the same; the Nevada Prison Newsletter, which I am now the co-editor of; and now the NV-CURE has been re-activated. Whereas before, NV prisoners had no outside resources to connect to, now we have these, so this is just the beginning of many things to come.

I have published zine after zine, all available from the S. Chicago ABC Zine Distro and also the Chicago ABC Zine Distro. Through my zines I have been able to reach many, many prisoners across the country, helping them to make the transformation from gangster to guerrilla, or from criminal to radical, and also showing them how to be active and organized while behind enemy lines. My zine “Starting Your Own ABC Prison Chapter” has been very influential to many prisoner activists who are trying to get themselves started. I have also been in collaboration (on the sly) with many prisoners in different states, helping them get organized where they’re at, showing them how to start up their own prison chapters, how to reach out to activists on the outs, how to reach out to prisoners where they’re at, etc.

Due to my efforts, and my resistance, here at ESP I have been able to flood this prison out with thousands of copies of all kinds of zines, radical literature and empowering reading materials. I have supplied hundreds of prisoners here with their own libraries and their own collections of literature, and they use these materials to not only raise their own consciousness, but also to raise the overall level of consciousness throughout this gulag. It has gotten to the point that there isn’t a tier/unit you can go to in this prison, where there aren’t at least 6 or 7 prisoners on each wing who have a good supply of zines and literature, most of which has come from me.

In January 2010, I started up a book drive for the ESP Library that lasted until May 2011, where people from all over the world had donated thousands of books to our library. When administration caught wind that an Anarchist radical was behind the whole thing, they hurried up and shut it down!!!

I have participated in mostly all of the riots, protests and demonstrations of resistance here at ESP, and have been accused by the pigs of being the main organizer of several of them. I have been placed on High Risk Potential status and labeled a ‘threat to the safety and security of the institution’, moved around from one hole to another every 30 days, which I have indeed used to my advantage to pass out literature, form alliances with other radicals, raise awareness, plant seeds and to organize.
Through my efforts I have been able to bring small numbers of enemy faction together, and unite prisoners across racial lines, to fight the true enemy. I have been a leader, a teacher, a comrade and a mentor to many of these youngsters here, regardless of their race, ethnicity, etc. Now there are many prisoners here at ESP who have become radicalized, and we now even have a handful of serious Anarchists here, all who have been taught and trained to be effective writers, propagandists, activists, leaders, teachers, and organizers, and some who are now in the process of starting their own collectives.

Because of my resistance to the stagnation and oppression of this everyday profane existence in this gulag, waking others up in the process, the warden has removed me from the rest of the prisoners, saying that I have “too much influence” over them, and placed me here in the infirmary to be isolated, until I am released. But even this has not stopped me.

Yes, I can proudly say that I’ve accomplished many things, have resisted all the way through, becoming a thorn in their side, but I claim no victories, because this prison still exists, we’re still locked down and treated like shit, still in the deathly hands of the enemy, and there are still many prisoners here who are unaware, asleep, afraid, or walking around ignorant and blind. There’s still much work to do, many battles still to be fought…

Still Striving for Real Victories
Coyote

To send letters of encouragement and support, please write me at this address:
Coyote Sheff #55671
P.O. Box 1989
Ely, Nevada 89301-1989

Coyote’s beautiful, inspiring writings can be viewed on either of these sites:
1) Coyote Calling
2) nevadaprisonwatch.org
3) Scribd.com/Prisonwatch

Coyote’s zines can be obtained at either of these addresses (free to prisoners):

Chicago ABC
1321 N. Milwaukee Ave.
P.M.B. 460
Chicago, Illinois 60622

S. Chicago ABC Zine Distro
P.O. Box 721
Homewood, Illinois 60430

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

Prison Officials Say Computer Adds Crimes to Inmates Records

From: News4:

Reported by: Joe Hart
March 2nd 2012

Some Nevada prison inmates tell us computer errors have added crimes to their records they never committed — and prison officials confirm that’s it happened hundreds of times in recent years.

Our Fact Finder report found the prison system switched over to a new computer program in 2007 which it turns out regularly added false convictions and even additional life sentences to inmates records.

Prison spokesman Steve Suwee told News 4 there’s a glitch in the system because its designed to process sentences of specific durations…Say 10 or 20 years. But when an inmate has a life sentence the glitch may add additional crimes to that inmate’s record.

Suwee says it may have happened as many as 1,300 times since 2007. Those are the cases they know about.
One former prison inmate who was serving a life term told News 4 the system added multiple life sentences which his case worker spotted and corrected before he went to the parole board.

In addition, Don Helling, the former deputy director of the Nevada Department of Corrections indicated there were problems when he testified in a lawsuit last year about discrepencies in inmates’ records. Helling’s sworn testimony stated, ” Speculating, we converted over to a new system in
’07, and when all of the information was flipped over into the new system errors occurred.”

Prison officials say the problem continues to happen once or twice a month. And now that we’ve brought it up they are going to try to run the numbers and find out exactly how many mistakes have been caught since 2007. We’ll follow up next week as we learn more about this glitch and its possible impact on prison sentences.

http://www.mynews4.com/news/story/Prison-Officials-Say-Computer-Adds-Crimes-to/Ya8mbKLPSEadmhJSo8FwBQ.cspx