Audit finds prison doctors paid for hours not worked

From: Las Vegas Sun
Dec 12th 2012, By Cy Ryan

CARSON CITY — Doctors hired by Nevada’s prison system may have been paid $1.9 million for hours they didn’t work, an audit found.

The audit found that full-time physicians, who are employed to work four ten-hour shifts a week, put in an average of only 5.3 hours per day. Part-time doctors work two ten-hour days.

“We estimate the annualized unsupported payments for full time doctors and part time doctors for fiscal year 2012 were approximately $1.9 million,” said the report by the Division of Internal Audits in the state Department of Administration.

The 23 physicians at the seven state prisons are paid an hourly rate ranging from $64 to $82.
An audit several years ago found that physicians hired in the state mental health system failed to put in the hours they were paid for, prompting officials to tighten controls.

The prison audit included physicians, dentists and psychiatrists.

The audit says physicians, as exempt employees, are not required to work the full ten-hour daily shift, but standard practice in Nevada is they put in “something equivalent to a 40 hour work week or more.”

Read the rest here: http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2012/dec/12/audit-finds-prison-doctors-paid-hours-not-worked/

Advertisements

Officials moving to shutter Nevada State Prison

From: Nevada Appeal
By GEOFF DORNAN, July 20, 2011

Prison officials are moving ahead with plans to close down the historic Nevada State Prison on Fifth Street.

Since May, when the Legislature voted to shut NSP down, Director of Corrections Greg Cox has been slowly moving inmates and staff to other institutions as space became available. He said about 130 close-custody and special-needs inmates have already been moved out of NSP to institutions including Warm Springs and Northern Nevada Correctional Center, both in Carson City.

The most dangerous were moved to Ely State Prison, Nevada’s maximum-security institution.

Some special-needs inmates were moved to Lovelock Correctional Center, 70 miles northeast of Reno along Interstate 80.

High Desert Correctional Center in southern Nevada, the state’s newest prison, will get nearly all of the more than 500 remaining inmates. That institution has two new and vacant units with enough capacity to hold those inmates.

Cox said the closure is being handled in a four-phase process designed to “limit the impact on staff and the community.”

“The Legislature’s intent and the department’s goal is to complete the closure in a safe, secure and efficient manner and to do this with as few staff layoffs as possible,” he said.

More than 200 corrections employees were assigned to NSP.

Cox told lawmakers in May that if they gave him time, he could greatly reduce the number of layoffs the closure would cause.

At the suggestion of state Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford, D-Las Vegas, the Legislature delayed the governor’s plan to close NSP by Oct. 31 back to March 31. Cox said that should reduce the projected 107 layoffs to 30 or less.

The department has already been able to close two units at NSP, which allowed it to move some staff to other area institutions where there are vacancies, including Lovelock.

Over the next few months, additional units will be closed as inmates are transferred out.

Cox told the Board of Examiners earlier this year that nearly all correctional staff willing to transfer would be able to keep a job. He has also said he expects some retirements among veteran officers who don’t want to leave the Carson City area.

The closure is driven by the fact that the antiquated design of NSP — parts of which are more than 100 years old — requires nearly twice as many correctional staff to operate as the state’s newest prison, High Desert in southern Nevada. Because of that difference, Cox testified during the legislative session, it costs $23,615 a year to keep inmates there, compared to just $14,061 at High Desert.

Read the rest here.

Jail cuts could reduce capacity by half in North Las Vegas

By Brian Haynes and Lynnette Curtis
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL
Jun. 1, 2011

Faced with ever-deepening budget woes, North Las Vegas plans to cut its jail to just 400 beds, less than half of the 900-bed operation of a few years ago.

It’s a casualty of the economic realities facing Southern Nevada, but local judges worry the smaller jail means less room for the criminals they need to lock up.

“There are bad people we have to lock up,” Municipal Court Judge Warren VanLandschoot said Wednesday. “There’s a misconception that the Municipal Court just handles traffic tickets. But we get guys with 150 prior arrests. We’re able to keep that person off the street for five months. That’s a whole bunch of crime that’s not happening.”

At its May 17 meeting, the City Council voted 4-1 to close all but one of the jail’s dormitories and end a contract that guarantees up to 200 beds for federal prisoners. Even without the federal prisoners, which account for about 50 inmates a day, the city would be left with 200 beds for men and 200 beds for women.

Read the rest here.

—————
What about preventing crime?
What about rehabilitating prisoners to stop crime from happening?
What about stopping the “war on drugs”?

One person with 150 prior arrests? What is wrong with the system, Judge VanLandschoot?! You suggest preventing crime by locking up people? What do you think happens inside? Does crime stop when someone is locked up? Does not it take a little more than just locking up people, o Judge? What happens when someone leaves jail? What happens to your job when these cells are cut, Judge, and when crime falls?

What about investing in more jobs, better education, more mentoring?
Everything costs money, Judge, only the sun comes up for free…

Jail cuts could reduce capacity by half in North Las Vegas

By Brian Haynes and Lynnette Curtis
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL
Jun. 1, 2011

Faced with ever-deepening budget woes, North Las Vegas plans to cut its jail to just 400 beds, less than half of the 900-bed operation of a few years ago.

It’s a casualty of the economic realities facing Southern Nevada, but local judges worry the smaller jail means less room for the criminals they need to lock up.

“There are bad people we have to lock up,” Municipal Court Judge Warren VanLandschoot said Wednesday. “There’s a misconception that the Municipal Court just handles traffic tickets. But we get guys with 150 prior arrests. We’re able to keep that person off the street for five months. That’s a whole bunch of crime that’s not happening.”

At its May 17 meeting, the City Council voted 4-1 to close all but one of the jail’s dormitories and end a contract that guarantees up to 200 beds for federal prisoners. Even without the federal prisoners, which account for about 50 inmates a day, the city would be left with 200 beds for men and 200 beds for women.

Read the rest here.

—————
What about preventing crime?
What about rehabilitating prisoners to stop crime from happening?
What about stopping the “war on drugs”?

One person with 150 prior arrests? What is wrong with the system, Judge VanLandschoot?! You suggest preventing crime by locking up people? What do you think happens inside? Does crime stop when someone is locked up? Does not it take a little more than just locking up people, o Judge? What happens when someone leaves jail? What happens to your job when these cells are cut, Judge, and when crime falls?

What about investing in more jobs, better education, more mentoring?
Everything costs money, Judge, only the sun comes up for free…

Door to clang shut on ancient state prison

http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2011/may/14/ancient-state-prison-close/
Las Vegas Sun

By Cy Ryan

Saturday, May 14, 2011

CARSON CITY – The ancient Nevada State Prison, initially opened when Abraham Lincoln was president, is finally going to close.

The Senate Finance Committee and the Assembly Ways and Means Committee voted Saturday to phase out the Carson City facility by April 2012 at a savings of more than $17 million.

Most of the 682 inmates will be transferred to the High Desert State Prison in Clark County, along with 59 staff.

Gov Brian Sandoval proposed in his budget the closure by Oct. 31 this year, but the budget committees, on the recommendation of Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford, D-Las Vegas, delayed the phase out.

Horsford said more time was needed to plan the transfer and this would give the officers who are losing their jobs more time to find other employment. And those who are being transferred to High Desert will have more time to re-locate.

The prison, one of the oldest in the United States, was a hotel when purchased by the state in 1862. It burned in 1867 and was rebuilt.

There will be 105 positions eliminated by the closure. But Greg Cox, acting director of the state Department of Corrections, said some of those jobs have been kept vacant.

He said only about 30 officers would lose their jobs. Almost all the officers will retain their employment if they want to move to Las Vegas or other prisons.
http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif
Horsford, chairman of the Senate Finance, got assurance from Cox that there were no plans for building a new prison or for expanded facilities.

Assemblyman Tom Grady, R-Yerington, complained the former corrections director didn’t do any maintenance on the state prison. He said he would not support closure because so many people are affected.

The joint committees voted down the recommendation of Gov. Sandoval. And there was applause from prison employees in the audience.

But then Sandoval offered the plan to keep it open six months longer than the recommendation and that passed.

Read the rest here.

Officials say inmate medical costs rising

From: NECN
March 11, 2011

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — A rash of broken jaws and an aging prison population have driven up medical costs across the Nevada prison system, state correctional officials told a panel of lawmakers Friday.

Greg Cox, acting director of the Department of Corrections, and Deputy Director Jeff Mohlenkamp told an Assembly Ways and Means and Senate Finance subcommittee that they’ve seen a spike in inmate-on-inmate violence that resulted in injuries, including broken jaws. They were unable to say how many.

The topic came up as legislators sifted through the Department of Corrections budget requests for the next two years.

Besides emergency medical care for injuries, Cox said

The system is struggling with costs for prisoners between the ages of 60 and 65. For this age group, the department estimates costs hover around $4,000 a year, a significant difference from the estimated $1,000 per year it costs for inmates 30 and under.

From 2009 to 2010, information provided by the department showed total inmate medical costs jumped from roughly $11 million to $14 million.

Don Helling, deputy director for correctional programs, said aging population costs go beyond treating illnesses or conditions and include additional burdens like those linked with dietary restrictions, a need that translates into providing special food as well as supervision to ensure the right food gets to the right inmate.

Friday’s budget discussion also addressed Gov. Brian Sandoval’s proposal to shutter aging Nevada State Prison in Carson City. Cox said High Desert State Prison in Indian Springs is particularly suited to taking on the displaced prisoners because it has two buildings ready to accept new inmates and offers modern facilities that would make monitoring inmate activity easier and more effective.

Read the rest here.

Nevada DOC Recommends State Prison Closure and charging onetime for a visit at ESP!

From a visitors’point of view: Has Howard Skolnik ever seen the empty visiting room at ESP? Does he know how much it already costs visitors to get to Ely from anywhere? What about cutting the number of lawsuits against NDOC by NDOC keeping to their own rules?

From: Correctional News

Prison officials here say $9 million a year could be saved annually if the Nevada State Prison in Carson City was closed and turned into a tourist attraction or training center, according to reports.

CARSON CITY, Nev. — Prison officials here say $9 million a year could be saved annually if the Nevada State Prison in Carson City was closed and turned into a tourist attraction or training center, according to reports. In promoting efficiency in state government, Nevada Department of Corrections Director Howard Skolnik said other prisons could house the more than 600 inmates presently at Nevada State Prison, the state would not need to build another prison for 10 years.

Money saved from the closure could be put into other areas, such as education.In his proposed budget submitted to Gov. Jim Gibbons, Skolnik not only called for the prison to be closed, but suggested the elimination of extra pay for those officers working in rural areas. Skolnik said he reduced the extra pay for rural officers to get within the 10 percent reduction ordered by the governor.

He also recommended a one-time $15 charge for a person who visits an inmate, which would cover part of the background check cost. The downturn in the economy has also nixed a plan to build an industrial park in Clark County on 22 acres the prison owns.

Nevada Correctional Officers Association President Gene Columbus questioned how much money could be saved and predicted that eliminating extra pay would result in a “mass exodus” of workers.

Obama and Bureau of Prisons Lowball Supermax Costs

How much does it cost society to pay for a locked down prison, as there are a few of these in Nevada? Is it really necessary? Would other, more positive and constructive measures not be much better and payable for society? Jobs in prisons, education, proper health care, better food, creating possibilities to build up a career on release?

Apart from the financial aspect: is it ethical to warehouse people, to store them in cages, some ´til they die? Is it ethical to be a revengeful society? Should we not concentrate on healing wounds and making sure tragedy does not strike again? What about warehousing people who are wrongfully convicted? Who are mentally ill? The court system being clogged up because of the wrongs in the prisons?

Hereby an article by the people of SolitaryWatch:

October 3, 2010
by James Ridgeway and Jean Casella
SolitaryWatch

In response to questions at his September 10 press conference, President Obama spoke about his failure to fulfill his clear campaign promise to close the military prison camp at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. He blamed fear and “political rhetoric” for blocking his plan to move Gitmo detainees to prisons in on U.S. soil. In the course of discussing Guantánamo, Obama said:

“And by the way, just from a purely fiscal point of view, the costs of holding folks in Guantánamo is massively higher than it is holding them in a supermax maximum security prison here in the United States.”

There’s no question that the president’s statement was true. The trouble started when the federal Bureau of Prisons was asked to provide information on the cost of holding a prisoner in a U.S. supermax. The Miami Herald‘s Carol Rosenberg followed up on the numbers. In an article following the press conference, she wrote:

“Pentagon reports the annual cost of running the prison camps, staffed by a variety of U.S. military troops, at $116 million. With a current population of 176 war-on-terror detainees, that’s more than $650,000 each.

By contrast, it costs nearly $5,575 a year to keep a prisoner in federal detention, said Bureau of Prisons spokeswoman Traci Billingsley on Friday. A Supermax prisoner’s cost might be a bit higher, she said, because of additional security.”

That just didn’t sound right to us–neither the $5,575 figure, nor the fact that supermax costs would only be just “a bit higher.” And sure enough, a few days later Rosenberg reported:

“A Bureau of Prisons spokesman on Monday revised upwards the cost of housing a captive in federal detention, days after the bureau said it spends a tiny fraction of what the military spends at Guantánamo Bay.

The new figure — $27,251 a year per federal prisoner compared to $650,000 per captive at the U.S. base in Cuba — is still a tiny fraction. “Obviously we’re far less expensive than what the military is doing,” said Bureau of Prisons spokesman Edmond Ross.

The per prisoner cost has exceeded $25,000 for several years now in the federal system, he said. It was unclear how a colleague arrived Friday at $5,750 a year, he said.”

Now, $27,351 may still be a “tiny fraction” of what’s spent at Gitmo–but multiplied by more than 200,000 federal prisoners, it’s still a lot of money. More importantly, it’s still not an accurate figure for the cost of keeping a supermax prisoner–something the BOP spokesperson neglected to mention when he provided the “corrected” number.

If the Bureau of Prisons wished to provide an accurate projection of costs, it could have provided figures for ADX Florence, the notorious federal supermax in Colorado, or for the “Communications Management Units” (CMUs) at Marion or Terre Haute federal penitentiaries– the units that most resemble any proposed future home for Guantánamo detainees. Yet it chose instead to offer the media misleading lowball figures.

We do know that the average annual cost for a supermax prisoner, according to one study by the Urban Institute, is $75,000 a year, as opposed to $25,000 for a prisoner in the general population. At the Illinois State Tamms supermax, it’s about $92,000 a year.

And this does not take into account the cost of building supermax prisons in the first place. The price tag for ADX Florence, completed in 1994, was $60 million, and it houses only about 400 prisoners. Obama’s proposed future home for Gitmo detainees, an unused state prison in Thomson, Illinois, would cost $237 million to buy, retrofit, and activate.

From: http://solitarywatch.com/2010/10/03/obama-and-bureau-of-prisons-lowball-cost-of-supermax-confinement/ (Solitarywatch.wordpress.com)

Solitary Watch News,
PO Box 11374,
Washington, D.C. 20008

Shelved prison project irks NV lawmakers


From: Las Vegas Sun

The Associated Press
Friday, Sept. 10, 2010 | 10:27 a.m.

Nevada lawmakers are frustrated that $500,000 was been spent to design a prison project that won’t be built.

The 2009 Legislature approved $7.8 million to convert space at the High Desert State Prison in Clark County into a medical unit. It was described as a high priority by Corrections Director Howard Skolnik.

But the Las Vegas Sun reports Corrections Director Howard Skolnik told a legislative subcommittee Thursday that given the state’s budget crisis, there will be no money to staff it.

He also says the inmate population has held steady, eliminating the need for the medical unit.

The subcommittee agreed to abandon the project than spend $7 million for construction.

Letter to Director Skolnik

Sent to Nevada Prison Watch:

June 27th, 2010

Jeremy Allen Crozier #77906
Ely State Prison
P.O. Box 1989
Ely, NV 89301

Howard Skolnik, Director
Nevada Department of Corrections
Administrative Offices
P.O. Box 7011
Carson City, NV 89702

Director Skolnik,

As you are probably well aware, I have written to you numerous times over the previous year to bring several legitimate issues to your attention concerning the Nevada Department of Corrections, and especially Ely State Prison. Again I remind you that before I have ever said one word against your staff, or filed a civil suit, I fought just as hard against the inmates. You may remember that it was I who wrote to you with my recommendations, which lead to AR #733, which limited the privileges for Disc. Seg. inmates. Now, I would like to make my case against administrative staff at Ely State Prison, and I hope that you will keep an open mind. I know that no one likes it when their staff are called into question, but as an intelligent man, I´m sure that you will agree with my assessment of the situation, and see the wisdom behind my recommendations.

I am sure that you are well aware of some of the incidents coming out of Ely State Prison, but I don´t believe that you have ever taken the time to take the situation at Ely State Prison in its full context given the nature of your job, busy schedule, budget concerns, and other state related issues. I completely understand your position, but it is time to address this issue in full.

Ely State Prison, as a hard-hit fact in the previous twelve (12) months, has had more issues that compromise the security and safety of the institution, staff and inmates than any other two (2) institutions in the Nevada Department of Corrections combined.

Issues that are now affecting Nevada State taxpayers who are outraged. Last week´s 2.3 million dollar IFC (Interim Finance Committee) granted overtime funds for prison officers´ overtime pay put the Nevada taxpayers over – the – top. Probably because they were on the hook for $325.000,00 for the ACLU Riker v. Gibbons civilsuit settlement, when Nevada tax payers are already facing a three (3) billion dollar 2011 fiscal budget shortfall, which is 50 % of Nevada State total budget.

That should have been enough to terminate Ely State Prison administration staff, but you choose not to do so. I will list other reasons that Ely State Prison administration needs to be fired promptly for just the previous twelve (12) months.

One, a record number of lawsuits was filed against the Nevada Department of Corrections in 2009, which Ely State Prison accounts for 94.6 % of all of the lawsuits filed in 2009. That should be a major red-flag for you that something is not running right in Ely. We are not talking about the usual crybaby I had my feelings hurt civilsuit either. Some of the civilsuits include, inmate grievance procedure deficiencies, which will allow all those years worth of medical grievances from the Riker v. Gibbons case to come back into play, and a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family of the inmate who died due to refusal of medical care at Ely State Prison. Fact, Ely State Prison administration staff must be held accountable, and terminated immediately. How long do you plan on allowing tine Nevada taxpayers to suffer?

Two, Ely State Prison administration staff have no control over their officers, and are disrespected by their officers often. Let´s look at recent incidents, inmates engaged in a riot in unit #4 on January 31, 2010. During which, numerous officers were fired because of excessive force, exceeding the scope of their authority, one officer was stabbed (Stubbs /S/40), many inmates severely injured during cell extractions that was never authorized, lawsuits filed. Lieutenant Matt Mennex lied, saying, “A.W.O. Debra Brooks authorized the cell extractions,” and state property destroyed. Do you think inmates just decided one day to throw a riot for the hell of it, or staff just decided on the same day to shed their professional discipline? No… no… you have way too many years working at the Nevada Department of Corrections to believe that.
That incident was overdue; although wrong, from years of Ely State Prison staff and inmates having no discipline, or direction from administration staff here.

Fact is, Ely State Prison administration staff has no control over the staff, nor inmates. The fact that a lieutenant and A.W.O. (Assistant Warden of Operations) were arguing and lying on each other stands out to me, and it should be a red flag for you as well because that shows how little control, discipline, and professionalism is at the management level at Ely State Prison. I think you need more argument as to just how far the shit goes at Ely State Prison and you know me, I´ll give it.

Recently, S. C.O. Barry was terminated for having sex with an inmate in his cell. You know what I find funny? S.C.O. Barry could not open the cell door, and close it on her arm/hand with a key. That means another officer had to have opened and closed the cell door for S.C.O. Barry from the control bubble. The only other officer working that night was C.O. Peeler. The same two (2) officers every night. Yet, C.O. Peeler still has his job here.

You know why C.O. Peeler is still working here? He is part of the “Good ol´boys club” of warden E.K. McDaniel. How about another example of the “Good ol´ boys club.” C.O.I. Jessica Bennett, formerly known as Jessica Balen was terminated on February 25, 2010, for failure to make her probation penal three (3) weeks away from completing her probation period. The reason, she accidentally walked out to the parking lot while she had the food slot key clipped to her utility belt. An incident that has occurred at Ely at least two-dozen times, and nobody has ever been terminated. Nor has there been any other terminations at any other prison despite the same incidents occurring several times. Jessica Bennett immediately turned the key in, accepted full responsibility, and apologized. That was how she was caught. As you know, the food slot key is not vital to the security and safety of the institution. That´s why officers carry that key around inmates.

Six (6) weeks later, C.O.I. Marrow lost his handcuff key in the housing unit. Three (3) units were searched and the key was never found until this very day. A key very vital to the security and safety to the institution, but he maintained his job thereafter. Good ol´ boys club. This shows there is no control, discipline, nor professionalism at Ely even when it comes to security and safety to the institution, and it shows favoritism on the part of Ely administration staff.

Caseworker Little, terminated for bringing in a cellphone for an inmate she was having sex with; c.o. Chris Arias, terminated for bringing in a radio for an inmate; c.o. Karosko sent to Tonopah after being stabbed for abusing an inmate, and these are only major incidents that were caught. The question before you is multiple prong:

1) How many more incidents were not caught?
2) How many went unreported due to the Good Ol´Boys Club?
3) Why are so many incidents occurring?
4) Why is Ely State Prison operating under the “Wild West Laws”?

Fact is, administration staff at Ely State Prison are not qualified, uncontrolled by you, and don´t care. They know that there has never been any consequence for them and their actions. A message you sent again by allowing the Nevada Taxpayers pay the price for medical denial, loss of life and malpractice, and not them. Hell, Debra Brooks, AWO was found unfit for duty by the courts after the Fuentes report. Lucky the courts could not terminate her.

Fact is, and there is no way around it, either the wardens at Ely State Prison knew what was going on and choose to do nothing, or they were grossly negligent and didn´t know and choose to remain blind to what was happening. Either way, that is immediate grounds for termination because all three wardens are unfit for duty in the Nevada Department of Corrections. It is time for you to send a clear and loud message to all Department staff. I recommend the following:

Warden Eldon K. McDaniel; A.W.O. Debra Brooks; A.W.P. Renee Baker be immediately terminated. H.D.S.P. has two (2) wardens (Nevins, Verra), which is not needed. Warden Nevins be transferred back to Ely based on his years working here before. Warden Verra take over all H.D.S.P. Given the Budget problems, the moves with the wardens saves the Department one warden´s pay scale. Tens of thousands of dollars. I recommend Kay Ellen Weiss with over 17 years of experience with the NDOC for the AWO job at Ely. She is a former Correction Officer and now a caseworker, and therefore, has both sides of the Department – administrative and corrections experience.

For the AWP (Assistant Warden of Programs) position at Ely, I recommend Mark Drain. Former corrections sergeant and now caseworker at ESP. Perfect for the job due to his experience. Especially, when it comes to AWP required classifications and inmate related incidents. His experience as a corrections sergeant means that he has been in the trenches and knows all too well inmate schemes and games.

You can make all that happen on your own accord, and with a phone call. Not only would you save the NDOC money, but you would send a clear message to all NDOC staff that you will not tolerate the shit, and most important, save the tax payers money and put them back at ease. You won´t want to be targeted by them for long.

As an inmate at Ely State Prison, that makes me the upmost authoritative voice between you and I on what happens here. Know that I only touched on a fraction of the shit, and I am eight pages in already. We are talking a book should I list them all. My recommendations are based on education and experience with an M.B.M. from the Upper Iowa University, and as a former Lieutenant in the Army Rangers. You need to immediately take control.

Signed: Jeremy Crozier

PS Given that Eldon K. McDaniel and his fearless bunch unauthorized my food according to NDOC forms, and all my legal work in the middle of several of my court cases, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the US Marshals to investigate. I will be filing a Civilsuit on this as well. Just two men talking in a room and nothing more. It would minimize your responsibility altogether if you terminate E.K. McDaniel, Debra Brooks, Renee Baker and show the courts you took immediate action.