Protest against the Attorney General of Nevada’s Office

Tonja Brown:
We protested against the Attorney General’s Office for withholding evidence in cases.
The actual banner is 4′ x 130′.

Press release about the action:

I will be joining Ty Robben along with others for a protest at the Attorney General’s Office on Tuesday at noon. Due to the investigative reporting by Joe Hart and Geoff Dornan regarding the computer glitch that has caused inmates to have false felony charges placed in their files, the Advisory Commission on the Administration of Justice has called for an examination into computer glitch.

What the Advisory Commission does not know is how the Attorney General’s Office is, in part, responsible for the denials in at least one former inmate, Nolan Klein’s Parole and a Pardon, because, their office withheld exculpatory evidence from Mr. Klein and the federal court in the 2005 case of Klein v Helling. These Brady violations by the Attorney General’s Office and being compounded by the computer glitch resulted in Mr. Klein’s Paroles, a Pardon, his freedom and his fife.

I anxiously await the results from the Examination that was order by Assemblyman Horne on March 7, 2012. On April 17, 2012 I will turn over the exculpatory evidence and show the Commission the irreparable harm this has caused Mr. Klein and his family.

The Brady violations by the Attorney General’s Office has placed the intregity of the Attorney General’s Office in question. I have asked the Governor to contact the the United States Justice Department to investigation the Atttorney General’s Office for civil rights violations.

Tonja Brown

Read it in the Nevada Appeal (subscription is needed)…

See further: New Blog about State employees


Changing the AG for justice’ sake

Soon there will be elections for a new Attorney General in Nevada.
The AG is a part of the Board of Prison Commissioners, and therefore will have influence on the prison system, rules and regulations, etc. Also, the AG has to defend the conduct of the State when prisoners with serious civil rights claims and abuses challenge the state in court, as has so often been the case over the years.

So maybe for the sake of justice, ethics and human rights concerns, we could all choose someone for the position of AG who will be constructive with the civil and human rights of those in prisons and who are already being punished by taking their freedom. They have families and loved ones who are our neighbors and friends, maybe we are them…

If we choose someone with these qualities, it will not only good for the ‘most despised’, but even more for those in the free world. Besides, it will cost much less in tax payers money if prisoners do not have to go to the courts anymore to claim their rights. Could this be a win-win situation?

Here is a word from someone whose brother became a victim all over again from the current A.G., Masto’s inadequate ways:

“Just to remind you that AG Masto conspired to conceal a crime. The crime was that the prosecuting attorney, Ron Rachow, withheld the evidence from the defense that showed that SPD believed that someone else was responsible for the crime that Nolan Klein was convicted of 22 years ago.

Masto was given the documents 3 months before Nolan Klein’s death and she kept quiet about the evidence found in the file.

She continued to fight Nolan’s appeal in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals knowing that she had been given the newly discovered evidence that supported Nolan’s claims in the 9th Circuit.

Masto then violated ADKT 427.

A Writ of Mandamus was filed on this new regulation and Oral Arguments were heard on Sept. 30.

We are waiting for a decision from Judge Flanagan.

Read this story. If there are to be any changes then we must vote for Travis Barrick for Attorney General.”

Here a short audio-clip of candidate for AG Travis Barrick on the Nevada News Bureau website.

Read the article in the Nevada News Bureau here.

The horror show that is Ely State Prison

I am an inmate at Ely State Prison (ESP) and have been for the last 9 years. I wanted to write and inform you about some of the horror show that is Ely State Prison. You can´t imagine the utter and absolute horror show this prison really is on the inside.

Here is an example from about 6 to 8 weeks ago. Officers went to a lock down unit to get a hot pot from an inmate. He refused to give it to them (this was on a Saturday: no wardens). So they extracted him. When other inmates began to yell at the officers for their extraction method, the number of officers grew and they did 6 to 8 more unnecessary extractions that sent 4 or 5 inmates out of the prison to the hospital in town to get treatment for their injuries. The lieutenant (Minik or Minnick) from that shift was fired about a week or so later. The shift sergeant from that shift (Bryant) was also the squad sergeant in charge of the Redman extraction that resulted in his death.

People in here die on a fairly regular basis. About three months ago a guy in unit 5 was beaten so bad over the course of 3 days by his cellie that he needed to be life-flighted out of here.

I have lived in general population and held a job in here for the last 8 ½ years. As I´m sure you know unit 8 is the only open unit in the prison and it is where the “workers” live. At one time, about two months ago there were about 140 workers. The administration is now in the process of getting that number down to 94 and housing all of us on one wing of unit 8 and locking down the other half.

Now I´m not sure if you know how this prison was designed, but to really understand, I´ll quickly explain. There are 8 units here, 4 units are considered general population, they are on one side of the prison; units 5, 6, 7 and 8. They each have an A and a B wing with 48 cells, 24 downstairs and 24 right above upstairs. Each wing was designed to house 48 people. Long ago, they put a second bunk in the 3 thru 24 cells (cells 1 and 2 are medical singles) that brought the number of inmates to 72 a unit.

About 3 ½ years ago they put second bunks in cells 25 thru 48, now they cram 94 inmates into a unit. In the lock down units it makes it loud and the stale air is brutal as well as the heat. In unit 8 as in the other units there are only 4 showers, 2 telephones and tables for 48 people to sit. Plus on the wall in the unit along with “no smoking” it says “Maximum occupancy 90,” which was probably put there by the Fire Marshall, but I´m sure the zero will be painted over and made into a four. That´s how they do things inside here. To start this process of getting down to 94 workers they have changed the times we are allowed out of our cells… well they actually took time away from us. See the pages I enclosed.

Here is another example. Some time ago an inmate sued the prison (ESP), because it was not handicap-accessible. After he won and the prison got some grant money to fix some things, they took the non-handicap accessible urinal off the “main yard.” So now there is no urinal on the yard. The officers here now look the other way while people urinate in an outside drain by the trash compactor. They will not let people go into the gym or back into the unit and then back out again. So if you want to stay outside you basically have to break the law.

Here is another policy that was started because people here and also at High Desert (HDSP) started refusing to live with someone in a lock down situation that has no end, for the main reason that it becomes very dangerous. They force you to live with people, especially here at ESP, in a small cell where you never have any time to yourself. They don´t tell you if the other person has HIV, Hep C or mental problems. The number of cell fights they have here at Ely is unreal. And until both inmates come to the door and get handcuffed, the officers will not enter a cell. So you could be getting your head split open and all they will do is gas the cell with pepper spray. And when under normal conditions if one person or both are leaving the cell, both people have to get handcuffed first. Well, on a regular basis one person will wait until his cellie gets cuffed first, then attack, because they know the officers won´t come into the cell until he cuffs up also. It makes for a very dangerous situation.

So in response people were refusing to cell with another person in a lock down situation and would go to the hole. Well since so many people were doing this, they changed the rules so that now you get none of your appliances for the first 60 days in the hole, then you petition for 1 appliance, and then 1 more, in another 60 days. Yet they can take them if you break any rules. If they don´t like you, you´ll never have your appliances.

Like I´ve said, you can´t imagine the horror show ESP really is on the inside.

Received per mail on May 20th 2010

Existing Isn’t Enough

Received from John Neff

It is absolute madness as the phantoms of volatility wreak havoc on even the most humble, peaceful man. Prison is doing its job for a society that does not even know it. We are now animals in our cages to be teased and the games of our captors have stretched beyond cruelty. The corrupted hands of those in charge and filthy from the criminality and torment that they inflict.

The regime that is turning us into doormats and daring us to challenge them is intolerable. Our festering hatred and need to do something about it is driving us crazy with fantasies of violence. This environment isn’t letting us change and it will not stop applying pressure. We are steadily losing bits of the infrastructure holding our humanity together while our captors continue to laugh at our impotence to do much about it; this is exactly as they designed it. If we snap, we are giving validation to their methods and more can be taken away.

Society needs to know what they turn a blind eye to and start to see this factory of discontent that it is engineering. How safe is anyone from those who only wish for retribution from the wrongs imposed upon them daily? This place has already reneged on its promise of rehabilitation. They’ve tossed hope into a landfill and buried it in self pity – then they set it on fire and the fire burns the color of desolation.

We are parlor tricks forced to dance for authority’s amusement. Our minds are being numbed by our circumstances while intellect diminishes from lack of stimulation. We jump when their schedule demands it and the cycle only worsens all the time with no end in sight. Time is trying to beat us into complacency with rules that serve no other purpose except to punish. The routine has us leaping through hoops to obey or else we will be denied the most basic necessity of life – food. Laws don’t protect us anymore or assure us of any fairness or even a measure of human treatment. The laws can be broken at will because even the courts will not intervene.

It costs too much to things right and the state budget allows the system of deference. They are given a license to oppress as long as society approves and since society doesn’t even know where its money or time is being wasted, it has no objections. Ignorance is the only way this system runs like this without a hitch.

Between the drab mountains of Nevada, in the vastness of its barren landscape, lie cesspools of the system’s disease. Prisons just like Ely State Prison that few really know about because it remains hidden from the populace by mirrors to deflect scrutiny and is draped in the layers of nonchalance by the tiny dot on the map it supports. The warden here wears his town like a ring on his fat finger and it has become his puppet to control just like he controls the prison. No one opposes his iron fist here. This is a dictatorship of “good ol’ boy” friendships and a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy is always in place. All of the veneers may look clean and shiny but there are many dark facets to this world. Everything is only covered in the pristine white spackle of righteousness while many secrets are swept under the carpets of excuses that allow the system to overlook everything that is truly going on.

Currently, as a new day dawns with no changes forthcoming, the problems are glaring and staring at us to provoke us it seems. Just yesterday, a man was denied the human right to eat with no other recourse for nutrition available since the prison cancelled our purchase of supplemental sustenance through the canteen. In the past weeks, this has been the latest tool of abuse and has happened at least seven other times. Our food has even become involved in punishment and is leverage to satisfy morbid fascinations.

No one cares to fix it here forcing prisoners to improvise ways to fend for themselves behind a closed steel door. The question exists of how to stop what is happening? How fair is it that hired caretakers act this way without thought of repercussions? Isn’t their job contingent upon assuring every prisoner under their care the same treatment? The prison is well aware of the underlying abuses that take place but they just close their eyes to it acting like it never happened and let it persist unchecked. Where does a man turn when he is denied so much? When he only has his will to survive and has had enough? There is nothing left except his nature or his violence to get results for his suffering and even this is frowned upon. Yet, the abuses must be stopped somehow. The torment must exist through our mistakes – not our captors or this environment.

Contact those in charge to voice complaints or to ask questions to find out the truth. Or, write to me if you prefer!

John Neff #54213
PO Box 1989
Ely, NV 89301

Letter to the Editor about Members of the Pardons Board

From the Sparks Tribune (but not yet published online…) (click to see larger version).

Letter to the Editor, by Tonja Brown. December 27, 2009.

Dear Editor,
I’m writing this letter in an effort to bring to light the injustice that is being perpetrated by our public officials, four of whom are now up for re-election: Justices James Hardesty and Ron Parraguirre, Attorney General Masto and our governor, Jim Gibbons.

In May, Judge Brent Adams ordered Washoe County District Attorney, Dick Gammick to turn over the entire file in Mr. Nolan Klein’s case. On June 10, newly discovered evidence was found. On June 24, I appeared before the Nevada Pardons Board to bring it to their attention the acts within in the Washoe County District Attorney’s Office.

I presented to the Pardons Board dozens of documents, including the hand-written notes, that a former assistant district attorney made on our motion for discovery that he was not going to turn over any of the materiality or exculpatory evidence despite a 1988 court order to do so. The Pardons Board knew that this attorney violated Brady v. Maryland by withholding all of the materiality and exculpatory evidence that showed another person was responsible for the crime in which my innocent brother, Nolan Klein, was convicted of 21 years ago.

On Nov. 19, the Pardons Board knew that the assistant district attorney had defied a court order to turn over all of the evidence in the case. They also knew that the newly discovered evidence that was found in the file that would not only clear Mr. Klein of the crime but newly discovered evidence was found that supports Mr. Klein’s claims in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals that our AG Masto is trying to get dismissed because of Mr. Klein’s recent death.

One would think that they would have placed Mr. Klein on the November’s Agenda for an exoneration, but, no they would rather cover up the acts of the Washoe County District Attorney’s Office for the last 21 years. How many more innocent people will die in prison because they want to condone the bad acts of officials under the color of law? Could your loved one be next? We need transparency in government not more cover-ups. We, the voters, need to be heard. We must send a message that we are not going to condone their actions and vote them out of office. For those of you who were considering running for office, here is your opportunity to make a difference.
Tonja Brown
Carson City

No change

This letter or essay was taken over from Nevada Prisoner Voice:

The news of the legislators failing to arrest corruption in Nevada prison is not surprising. And I doubt they will until their hands are forced. Either by public outcry, or something else. Were they to start drug testing for guards (inmates are regularly tested) half would quit before the ink dried.

I believe you may have misunderstood some things I wrote you last. Trust I know more than most we can’t do anything without you on the outside. I say the future of prison and judicial reform lies with the convicts themselves, because there are so few of you out there who care.

Society views us as permanent outcasts. There is no interest in us redeeming or educating ourselves. Indeed the state officials, fear mongers they are, say to society that we will only misuse our knowledge, if allowed to educate ourselves to our natural impulses. The reality is that it is they who are afraid. That if we educate ourselves on the truth, we will tear down these walls, put an end to this mad house of misery and pain.

As technologically advanced as we are, we are not an enlightened society. We are a society filled with anger and hatred, built on insecurities.

Nothing happening now is new. England’s penal history gives us a clear view of where we are headed. Poor people desperate to feed their families getting their hands chopped off for stealing a loaf of bread. Today, instead of chopping off our heads, because that wouldn’t be profitable, they’re handing out life sentences like it’s nothing. And the more laws we create the more corrupt we become. Our job, our obligation, those of us who know and can see the truth, is to help people realize no matter how much time in prison you give a person, if the conditions do not change, if the convict remains uneducated, unskilled and unloved, his/her return to crime/prison is inevitable.

The only real solution to crime is judicial/prison reform and early prevention. Putting an end to the disparities in the education system. The quality education and programs available to children in affluent communities, and the lack there of in poor communities. A new curriculum to install pride and self worth based on good deeds rather than materialism, and appreciation for all peoples, encouraging leadership and innovation. Right now many young people, especially of color, can’t relate to what’s happening in the schools, which in reality is only giving them enough to be good workers for rich people. We have billions of dollars to bail out these fat cat corporations, and billions more to manufacture these bullshit wars/nation building. Then we have money to create more (relevant) programs for young people in the hood.

Fix this broken juvenile/foster care system. Give grants to community organizers, and more job training. These are the types of things that will cut down on crime free health care for our citizens, free education.

Being uneducated does not equal ignorance or lack of comprehension. Level of education does not determine a person’s worth. I know many men in these pens who have no education, but they are hungry to learn.

The question is who will teach them. It hurts my heart to see so many young people taught so many lies. That their worth in this world relies on the material. How to prey on each other rather than embrace each other. That our women are bitches, undeserving of respect or love. It hurts to know I am a citizen of the richest nation on earth. Living next to one of the poorest, an example of man’s cruelty to man. The people of Haiti are suffering horribly, and we do nothing. I noticed there were some new comments with the piece about the gang trial. Some of those comments are very telling to the ignorance and deep-seated hatred so many people carry inside. They need someone to blame, someone to feel better than. This is the psychosis of a capitalist society. Which is really an expression of man’s insecurities. Why would one man want more than he needs to live and provide for his family. Why do people create items of luxury that serve no purpose other than to scream out, “I have more than you, I am better than you.” The machine spits out misinformation, and by the insecurities of man, his ignorance, he is manipulated.

Ely State prison — a.k.a. — “the cemetery,” is the worst prison in Nevada. There is no regular every day pissing on the guards. The convicts here do not condone such vile acts. On the rare occasions when it does happen, more than not it’s an act of desperation. Locked behind these doors 24/7 the guards feel free to disrespect and dehumanize these men. Just in the time I’ve been in the unit I’ve lost all contact with my daughter because the guards are too lazy to pass out the phone. And if you complain, well, you don’t get the phone or anything else. I could write you a laundry list of all the games and psychological bullshit these guards do every day, that we must deal with.

For those ignorant enough to say well that’s what you deserve for breaking the law, well, I’m in prison for something I didn’t do. But that’s irrelevant. My response is this: just as we are men, we are human beings. When you treat human beings like animals, in time they will begin to act as such. And what happens to the sadistic boy who teases the tiger in its cage. Pokes it with his stick, throws rocks and firecrackers. To the boy it’s only a game. But when the tiger leaps the walls of its cage, then we all learn it’s not a game. People must realize these are human beings were talking about. Most of them will get out of prison one day. And when that day comes, who do you want to see, the man or the tiger. So the people should be concerned what’s happening in these prisons, how these men (human beings) are being treated. Prison is their punishment, not death by 1000 cuts, or medical neglect, or to be driven to insanity.

Imagine the madness it takes for a man to handle his own feces, to collect his own urine, and to mix this vile concoction together and throw it on somebody. Imagine the desperation. Again, this does not happen often. And if we were not locked in the cells 24/7, it would not happen at all. The older convicts wouldn’t allow it. But when it does happen, just like any other act of violence against prison staff, 99.9% of the time it is “not” unprovoked.

Corruption among the guards. Many of them who participate in gang activities or show sympathies toward white racist groups like the skinheads, etc. They were not somehow brainwashed or recruited. They came into the job with that. And they don’t smuggle in drugs out of fear or coercion. They do it out of greed! A house and nice car aren’t enough. They want a bigger house, nicer car, the latest high-powered rifle to hunt and kill defenseless animals for sport. They talk about it every day, what animals they killed, their guns, the latest thing to dress up their trucks. In the worst economy in our lifetime these guards have good paying, secure jobs. But all they do is complain all day and sit on their asses. I’ve never seen people get so much for so little and complain about it. Not that there are no decent people working in these prisons. But they are often manipulated by the us versus them argument. When they do tell the truth or speak out on behalf of the inmates, they end up either fired or ostracized.

Marritte Funches 37050
P. O. Box 1989
Ely, NV. 89301

P. S.
Peace is not the absence of trouble.

Governor of NV vetoes AB 473 adopting regulations relating to medical emergencies and the provision of medical and dental services to prisoners

Following veto on AB 473 was sent by the governor of Nevada on May 25. See Las Vegas Sun. Keep watching to see if the medical and dental care and emergencies are kept as they should be, and not how they are now!

Corruption allegations against prison guards shadow Aryan gang trial

An article from the Las Vegas Sun, May 25, 2009:

Corruption allegations against prison guards shadow Aryan gang trial

By Jeff German (contact)

Mon, May 25, 2009 (2 a.m.)
Sun Archives

Authorities have said all along that one of the most disturbing aspects of the Aryan Warriors case is the way the violent prison gang corrupted Nevada corrections officers.

Former members and associates of the gang who are cooperating with federal prosecutors name some of those corrections officers and spell out their alleged corruption in FBI reports and grand jury transcripts.

They accuse officers of helping the white supremacist gang smuggle drugs into prison yards. They say guards left cell doors cracked open to allow gang members to assault other inmates, passed messages of all sorts among Aryan Warriors and allowed gang members to use cell phones to contact partners in crime on the streets.

One gang member even testified that corruption within the prison system played a role in the killing of at least one inmate, a planned slaying that the witness had warned authorities about in writing.

And yet, as the racketeering trial of six Aryan Warriors and associates moves into its second week downtown, federal authorities have not charged corrections officers with any related crimes.

“They have not taken action against any of our staff, which leads me to believe they don’t have any substantiation or there’s going to be another wave” of charges, Nevada Corrections Department Director Howard Skolnik said.

The latter scenario may be more likely, FBI spokesman Dave Staretz said.

“We’re not ruling out any further prosecutions,” he said.

Sixteen corrections officers accused of misconduct were either partially or fully identified by former gang members and associates in documents obtained by the Sun. But 16 is not a comprehensive total because the documents in the newspaper’s possession are a small portion of the evidence accumulated in the lengthy federal investigation. Some allegations date back more than a decade.

Skolnik said at least eight of the 16 still work for the Nevada prison system. Officials could not determine whether four of the partial names on list the Sun provided ever worked for the prison system. Some of the identified corrections officers were disciplined by the Corrections Department as a result of information developed by prison officials, Skolnik said.

Skolnik, however, won’t say how many officers were disciplined, and he won’t identify the officers. He cited privacy concerns.

The Sun is not publishing the corrections officers’ names because they have not been charged.

The absence of charges also poses an issue for the prison system. Inmates, after all, are presumed to have less credibility than their guards.

“If we can’t substantiate an inmate’s allegation, we’re not going to take action,” Skolnik said. “We still function under the basic philosophy of you’re innocent until proven guilty.”

Federal authorities have not provided prison officials with additional information to support the accusations by the protected witnesses, Skolnik said.

“They’re in the midst of litigation, and they may be holding back until they’re done with the trial,” he said.

The conduct alleged hardly seems the type for which authorities would want to postpone action, however.

In a January 2008 report, FBI Agent Robert Hunt said former Aryan Warriors leader Guy Almony told him that drugs were “primarily smuggled” into the maximum security Ely State Prison by corrections officers.

Almony, who began cooperating with federal authorities after he survived a November 2007 attack by fellow gang members at the North Las Vegas Detention Center, identified five corrections officers at the Ely prison who he claimed assisted in the drug smuggling operation, Hunt wrote.

One of those officers had a “heroin problem” and “would smuggle in anything for half the product,” the report quoted Almony as saying.

Almony, who signed a sealed agreement with prosecutors in March 2008 calling for him to plead guilty to a racketeering charge, alleged that the corrections officer also provided another Aryan Warriors leader in Ely with his cell phone to call gang members outside the prison.

In a February 2008 FBI report, one of the officer’s friends, who also worked at the Ely prison, also said that the officer had a heroin habit, that he would snort drugs out of an eye dropper. The officer interviewed by the FBI said the Aryan Warriors had tried to recruit his addicted colleague to smuggle drugs into the prison for them, but he didn’t believe his friend had ever complied with that request.

The officer with the alleged heroin problem agreed to take an FBI-administered polygraph test in April 2008 and told agents he no longer worked for the prison system, another FBI report shows.

Almony, who is expected to testify for the government in the Aryan Warrior trial, told agents that another guard would smuggle drugs in return for $500 a package, and yet another would bring in marijuana in return for half the amount of the drug for his personal use.

Skolnik said state regulations don’t allow the prison system to conduct random testing of corrections officers, but the officers can be tested if they appear under the influence of drugs or alcohol while on duty.

Senate Bill 47, which is now in the Assembly, would give officials the authority to conduct random testing, Skolnik said.

In his interview with FBI agents, Almony identified two other corrections officers he alleged passed messages for gang members. Both officers denied that in earlier interviews with agents, according to reports of those interviews.

One of the guards denied opening doors for gang members, but he accused yet another officer at the Ely prison of doing it, the reports show.

Two other former gang members now cooperating with and protected by federal authorities also accused the latter Ely officer of smuggling drugs into the prison.

Michael Kennedy, a former Aryan Warrior leader who testified at the trial last week, told the FBI in December 2006 that the officer often slid compact disc cases filled with a white powder under the cell doors of inmates, a report shows.

Michael Alvarez, a former Hispanic gang leader who brokered a drug trafficking alliance with the Aryan Warriors inside the prison, testified before a federal grand jury in November 2006 that the guard was one of several who helped inmates distribute sheets of construction paper that had been soaked in methamphetamine, transcripts show.

The drugs were brought in through the mail to his unit, he said.

“And it would come in on a daily basis, and we’d always, you know, send things to other units … and use COs, correctional officers, to do it,” Alvarez told the grand jury.

Alvarez, who is expected to testify in the racketeering trial, said the sheets sold from $75 to $100 apiece.

When interviewed by the FBI in July 2007, the Ely officer denied cracking doors for inmates or bringing drugs into the prison. But he acknowledged getting a tattoo from a skinhead gang at the prison, which caused him to be put on administrative leave, an FBI report of the interview said. The officer indicated he was under “psychotherapeutic medication” at the time. The officer “has a reputation of ‘taking care of things’ within the institution,” the report said. “He does not take (expletive) and supervisors would often come and request his help.”

Kennedy told the FBI that while he was at the Nevada State Prison in Carson City, a guard had provided the Aryan Warriors with information that allowed gang members to “beat up child molesters and take their property.”

At the Ely State Prison, another guard left a cell door open to allow an Aryan Warrior leader to assault an inmate, Kennedy alleged in the report. He also said a fellow inmate was “sleeping with several female corrections officers” there.

While at the High Desert State Prison in Southern Nevada, Kennedy came in contact with a female prison investigator who allegedly was providing sensitive information to gang members, the FBI report said.

The investigator once used her truck to deliver flowers, manure and other garden items with drugs hidden inside to the High Desert prison, Kennedy alleged. The investigator also once revealed the identity of a prison snitch to Kennedy and instructed him to “hit him,” the report alleged. The informant, however, was moved out of the state.

Alvarez testified in 2006 that he tried to warn authorities about a plot to kill one of his fellow Hispanic gang members. He sent a letter to a local prosecutor, but asked the prosecutor not to forward it to the Corrections Department.

“And I told her I didn’t trust the DOC, the Department of Corrections, because of everything that was going on there, but she sent the letter to the Department of Corrections anyway,” he testified.

The inmate was later killed, as Kennedy had warned, prompting an internal inspector general’s investigation within the prison system, he said.

Skolnik said he did not recall any corrections officers being disciplined as a result of that investigation.

He defended his staff of 1,800 corrections officers, saying there are “very few” bad apples.

“We have a very good record of controlling violence and escapes compared to most correctional departments in the country” even though Nevada has a higher inmate-to-staff ratio, he said. “Our staff does an incredible job with the resources it has.”

But Skolnik also acknowledged that mistakes are made.

“It’s a very difficult and stressful job,” he said. “It’s easy to become complacent, and when you become complacent, you get taken advantage of.”

Jeff German is the Sun’s senior investigative reporter.