Nevada Jurisprudence and Prison Report Vol 2, No. 5 (Summer 2012), published Dec. 2012

Nevada Jurisprudence and Prison Report

Vol. 2, No 5      “Veritas in Caritatis”            
Summer Issue 2012

THEME: “Audi alterum partem”
Listen to the other side!

“Voice of the Nevada Jurisprudence and Prison Report”
E-mail:  nvjprudence@gmail.com  
http://nvjprudence.wordpress.com

Statement of Purpose:

The NJPR Newsletter reports on current prison conditions, good and bad; more importantly it looks at and evaluates the legal processes and the substantive laws which are designed to keep men in prison: Pre-trial issues, probation and parole policy, sentencing structures, post-conviction law, and most important, the philosophy underlying policy in practice.

The purpose of the NJPR Website is to provide a repository of affidavits, declarations and grievances in Web-Dossiers organized by categories of intuitional behavior. Fundamentally, this is a whistleblowing organization trying to associate with other “transparency” projects at an intrastate, national and global level. We seek to identify patterns which can be utilized by the U.S. Department of Justice.

We invite any resident, and especially judicial officers of the Courts and government Administration to write letters to the NJPR.

Index to this Issue:

Section One: Conditions

1. Civil Actions Against NNCC Law Library Closures
2. Parole News: AB 85 Committee Report, Aug. 20 2012
3. Compassionate Release DOES Exist?
4. Cop Beaten by Inmate

Section TWO: Law, Equity and Policy

1.     Ex-Con Travel Passport Policy
2.     Quis custodiet ipsos custodies? Administrative Law Loopholes

Section Three: Art, Culture, Education and Religion

1.    “Christian” Hater Habits and Correspondence Policy
2.    Inmate Intellectual Activities at Rock Bottom
3.    Call for Fast Against Injustice
4.    Thoughts on Henry David Thoreau

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Section One: Conditions

1)   Civil Actions Against NNCC Law Library Closures

The prisoners at NNCC have voiced their grievance at both the Federal District Court and the local district state court. The Federal petition was kicked to the curb  apparently. The local action taken was a writ of mandamus/alternative. The court tried to chill the inmate litigants by illegally demanding a federal level of proof of indigency.

The closure of the law library is conjectured to be a long-range plan to lock-down the last remaining medium custody yard in the Nevada system. At this writing, the plan is to create a level system here, which is usually reserved for high security situations. The administrator has just informed the Prison Industry workers they will be moved from cell-designed unit four, to a barn designed unit 10. The battle against state sovereignty begin.

2)   Parole News: AB 85 Committee Report, Aug. 20 2012

The Nevada legislature created in 1999 an Advisory Committee to study the draconian sex laws and the registration requirements. NJPR wrote to the Legislative Counsel and received the minutes of its second report. The committee is monopolized by the “criminal justice community” members and under the dominium of the Executive branch Attorney General.

The meeting minutes express with great satisfaction that their laws now conform to the Federal SORNA, which threaten individual states with a 10% loss in Federal Justice Assistance Grants. The Parole and Probation Department come into the prison to break the “happy” news about the decrease of liberties for released inmates condemned for sex crimes, leaving behind public information pamphlets on the subject. The Legislative Counsel refused to send additional documents (exhibits) of the AB 85 Committee, instructing us to contact the boss of the Committee, the Attorney General. Separation of powers issue seem to be implied.

3)   Prisoner Let Go on Compassionate Release!!

Some months back, NJPR reported on the lack of statutory authority for releasing men to families to die. Our old friend Doug died stuck on the yard we reported; but recently another very ill man was actually let go! Which is great, but what is the procedure? Is it a new procedure? Is it covered by an Administrative regulation, or by legislative statute? Or does it come under the common law of executive clemency of the executive branch chief, the Governor of the State of Nevada?
              To be continued…

4)   Cop Taken on in Fisticuffs After Taunting Inmate Complaining of Broken Property

The custody managers of the prison decided to do a deep search of a barn-like housing units at NNCC, and the staff well instructed by their supervisor to be zealous. The result was the destruction of the property (some say it was a trivial Styrofoam dinner tray) of an inmate, who went up to the unit officer in a rage, yelling about his loss.

The officer did not respond with an apology about the breakage and the inconvenience. The officer responded with aggression and a throat of immediate arrest and placement in the “hole”. The inmate apparently took the Cop’s aggressive comments to be an invitation to have a boxing match, and commenced to pummel the officer to the ground. Why taunt? Is it smart? Is it respectful? Is it prudent? Is it in accordance to the Code of Professional Conduct?

Section Two: Law, Equity and Policy

1)   Felons and Ex-Felons, and Foreign Travel

We still receive lots of inquiries about the truth of U.S. Passport policy. This is taken verbatim from a letter from San Francisco Passport Agency:

“Indeed, the information you received is correct… Felons and ex-felons are allowed to apply for and receive passports; but please note there are exceptions to this rule. In certain circumstances, felons and ex-felons are given a “namecheck hold” status (depending on the specific circumstances) by law enforcement and when we receive a namecheck hold we are required to have these applications approved by our legal department  in Washington D.C. If legal approves these, we issue the passports. If legal does not approve these, we do not issue the passport and send the applicant a letter and advise them that their passport could not be issued at this time. Please note that in these circumstances, no refunds are given.”

2)   Quis custodiet ipsos custodies? Administrative Blind spots

There used to be, among the American people, a healthy distrust of the individual states. The people were wary of the state’s disrespect and disregard for constitutional rights of the United States, and would look to the federal government for the vindication of those rights. But the states have been able to utilize the coercive power of mass media to create a unanimous identity between the American individual person and the nation-state. This identity between the “people” and its government is the hallmark of the “totalness” of a totalitarian nation-state. But this merging of identity is an extremely new phenomena, and infects both camps of the struggle between “federalists” and “state’s rightists”. The first identifies with the federal government, the second is loyal only to the local despot over the federal agent. The tension of this social conflict is perceptible in the Supreme Court of the United States, especially in the Marshall-Brennan era.

For a good illustration of the attitude creep over time, let’s look at a passage from Coleman v. Thompson 501 U.S. 702, in the dissent of Blackmun, Marshall and Stevens. This is a case that “states rights” philosophy continues the trajectory towards totalitarianism through “its crusade to erect petty procedural barriers in the path of state prisoners” seeking justice in the federal courts, by creating a “Byzantine morass of arbitrary… impediments to the vindication of federal rights” but the right being eroded, the right to come to a higher law, springs from a duty, as all rights do—the duty of the federal courts to keep a vigil over the state’s treatment of its citizens. About the source of this duty, Blackmun notes: “Indeed the duty arose out of a distinct distrust of state courts, which  this court perceived as attempting to evade federal review.”

This distrust reflects the truth of power, and the high degree of corruptibility of governments at local levels, and the higher likelihood of the breakdown of the Republican form of government that prohibits the merging of the branches into a “total” state at the local level. It is a prudent habit of caution and the intellectual virtue of circumspection to “distrust” the political seats of power in the shadows of localities. Even the federal district courts are subject to passively give in to the pressures of the various pressures of the executive and legislative branches.

This healthy intellectual distrust of local governments is evident in the Supreme Court insofar as there are judges on that bench that have not swallowed the mythology of the “states rights” doctrine. The Supreme Court is more impossible than local courts due to three things: the dignity of the institution, the extremely high public visibility, and lack of local connections that could influence its Justices. These natural political prophylactics against corruption are not present in local state courts.

And they are not present in state prison mechanisms of local “justice communities”. Normally, both state and federal executive branch agencies are constrained by the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments (respectively) to provide due process in the formulation of agency rules and the actions these agencies carry out upon the non-governmental social agencies of the Executive branch, although authorized and funded by the legislature.

But in Nevada (and probably many other states) the prison administration is EXEMPT from normal public participation, oversight and scrutiny as provided for by it Administrative Procedure Act. Nevada Revised Statute 233B.039 (1) (b) EXEMPTS the Nevada Department of Corrections from its rulemaking guidelines. Of course, the effect of this exemption is to make its operations invisible and secret. Even though Nevada has grand jury statutes that permits them to enter into prisons, this is a very rarely, if-ever-used vehicle to draw prison officials into the light of public scrutiny. The only reliable public participation in rulemaking by prison officials has been the end-user, prisoners themselves. But since local courts are now so much under the thumb of the executive and legislative branch, very little justice comes from courts. But that is all the more reason to keep up the good fight!

Section Three: Art, Culture, Education and Religion

1) Ely Chaplain Transfers to NNCC with Hater Habits

Chaplain Stogner came to NNCC after being brainwashed into Ely-style institutional hatred of human beings called inmates. His first Jesus-loving act was to tear down the Chapel schedule and cancel all “inmate-led” services and violated AR 810.3-7A “Inmate Facilitators”. Then he disinfected the chaplain office, installed a huge stereo-system apparently so he can thump his bibles to the beat of Christian-rock (a bizarre oxymoron).

A lawsuit is pending on several issues against his acts. One issue regards a threat he issued to an inmate for writing to the Roman Catholic Bishop Randelph Calvo. To make the story short, the inmate said “Reeaally?” and wrote a letter to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, who wrote an e-mail back as follows:

“… Nevada State prison inmates corresponding to and receiving letters from ordained clergy who are also volunteers at the correctional center of the inmate, correspondence is permitted regarding religious matters of faith and morals. When this kind of communication occurs the ordained clergy is acting in the capacity of a professional for the Church and not a lay volunteer.”

As mentioned above, NRS 233B.039 (1) (b) exempts the Department of Corrections from the watchful eye of normal administrative rule-making and adjudication. This creates a dark shadow where citizens hired as staff are invited to be “role models” of the typical consumer culture I-do-what-I-want attitude!

2) Broken Record Tactics: Give Men Something to Do

The first thing Charles Dicken’s noticed about the Philadelphia experiment of mandatory solitary confinement was the amazing creative output of the inmates. The only alternative to stark raving madness was for the wardens of the … to give the inmates opportunities for intellectual stimulus and things to do with their hands.

The Nevada policy is to drive men stark raving mad so that the resulting raving madness can become propaganda that brainwashing (by mass media) the public mind into believing inmates are sub-human, the worst-of-the-worst. Many other “states” have the same policy. Any state that has such a policy has no right to the name or status of “state”. The state has turned into a “nation-state”, which is more of a civil religion than a state, according to contemporary thinkers like.

NNCC has lost its Toastmaster’s International group, the Blue Eagles Gavel Club, all of its inmate led religions programs, all college level course offerings, all of its Alcoholic Anonymous meetings led by inmates and has reduced all inmate activities to psycho-Therapeutics or “programming”. They leave open the gym, organized sports and pool (billiards). Of course also the typical prison “weight-pile” for the bodybuilder cult. But if a fellow would like to buy a Great Course college class, that seems to be excluded by the “safety and security” of the institution.

3) Fasting as Social Action and Prayer for Justice

The Nevada Prison News (NPN) ran an article in its last issue (Summer 2012, p. 5) by SAMAEL, who calls on the audience of that Zine for a fast against the terrible conditions of Ely State Prison. The editors of NJPR are in full support of this. Mahatma Gandhi kicked out British oppressors by his practice of Satyagraha. In the ancient prayer practices of the Roman Catholic, and other Eastern Christian Churches, fasting plays a major role. There are entire seasons of fasting-prayer (Advent before Christmas and Lent before Easter). Every week there is a required fast on Fridays, and the Saturday night before Sunday Mass. The word “breakfast”  refers to the nightly fast of the monastic tradition—break-fast.

The important part of the fast is the intentionality, the “giving” aspect of the suffering that accompanies a fast. There are three kinds of ends to prayer in the Christian monastic view: purgative, the illuminative and the unitire. Fasting can be used to any of these ends. By fasting for the purging of an injustice in the world, we are using petitionary prayer.

Now, there is a doctrine of equity and natural law called the doctrine of clean hands: he who asks for justice must DO justice. If we are unjust ourselves, how dare we approach the almighty Creator? So, the intention for justice must be universal—we must wash our hands of our own injustices at the same time as the purging of social injustices in a specific sense.

So, that being said, this editor will offer up and participate in fasting toward any end (if good) suggest by other Nevada prisoners.

4) The Civil Religion of Henry David Thoreau
           
In the famous essay “Civil Disobedience”, Thoreau drops numerous memorable one-liners and gnomic phrases. For example here is one that should tickle the ears of inmates: “Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison”. How about this one: “Even voting for the right is doing nothing for it”.

And this: all men recognize the right of revolution; that is, the right to refuse allegiance to, and resist, the government when its inefficiency or its tyranny are great and unendurable”. These are all reiterations, not to poorly spoken of principles of natural law Andthis is my “The mass of men serve the state thus, not as men mainly, but as machines, with their bodies… In most cases there is no free exercise whatever of the judgment or the moral sense”.

All of this secular wisdom is for naught, and completely nulled out by the following declaration: “There will never be a really free and enlightened State until the State comes to recognize theindividual as a higher and independent power, from which all its own power and authority are derived, and treats him accordingly”. It can be, and has been demonstrated that there will never be a really free and enlightened state, period! Just like there will never be a man who is an angel, or impeccable (never making error).

The American writer looks at the state from an epistemological perspective, which really is the wrong category to use as a measure (although it continues to be the measure, which explains the wholesale acceptance of modern masses on the omniscient levels of “knowing” by the Homeland Security domestic surveillance program).

The correct category to use is merely Justice, and that is harder to reach perfection in than the techniques of government surveillance. So, as ear-tickling as Thoreau’s quips are, that is all they are. His mind is an early-middle stage onset of immanentism, and this means the loss of the imagination’s power to conceive of the true Power and Authority of the universe. If one cannot do justice to that One, how will justice be done in a plurality of men?

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Thrown to the Wolves

From: Coyote-Calling

By: Coyote

“It is imperative to distinguish carefully between the rhythms of flourishing and the rhythms of decline in every single thing.”

– Myyamoto Musashi

Devastation sets deep in my aching heart as I continuously see all of these young faces coming through these decrepit doors of prison madness; 15- and 16-year-olds, and sometimes younger. With no true guidance and no true leadership, they are locked up and thrown to the wolves, learning quickly to fend for themselves, follow others, or fall off, and got lost in a dark, dreary world of misery, anguish and pain. They look for strength, knowledge and counsel in their older homeboys, but it doesn’t take long for them to realize that all of these years most of their older homeboys have been in these dungeons wasting away, deteriorating, on some straight nonsense, not really trying to do anything useful or productive with their time.
Many of these older cats have neglected to take true strides to better themselves, or to elevate their positions in life, let alone their thinking… And so, therefore they really don’t have nothing good to say, or to give these youngsters, and so a lot of these youngsters are coming through here, and they see this and many of these youngsters – the ones with any sense, that is – quickly begin to lose respect for these so-called O.G.’s and they start to look at them differently, and usually with a disdainful eye.

The ones that don’t have much sense, that’s a different story… They don’t know any better, and don’t have anyone to show them or to teach them, so they get caught up in all of the madness and degeneration, and usually they end up becoming degenerates themselves, and that’s all bad.

Yet, amazingly, I often come across many sharp youngsters in here, who have been eager to learn and to really take their thinking and their lives to a new level, and I’m always impressed at how sharp some of these youngsters are, and yet a bit saddened whenever they confide in me that they wish their older homeboys were more on point, sharper, brighter and more on top of their game when it comes to passing down strong, useful knowledge.

They talk about how they wish their older homeboys would take the time to give them literature or put a book in their hand, discussing real shit with them and trying to teach the, something new, or something with true significance and applicable value. I once asked one of these youngsters – whom I couldn’t help but notice was extremely sharp and really on top of his game for only being 21 years old – what does he look for when he needs someone with an “O.G.” Status? And this is what the little dude told me:

“When I meet someone with an “O.G.” status I look for someone who carries themselves in a manner that one can look up to, I feel he’s supposed to be able to teach you things and show you things you need to know of what’s to come in this lifestyle; he should give you the history of what you represent and why certain things are the way they are, he should encourage you to educate yourself and push you to want to be something better in life, and as a person, he should be a rider “still”, he should want to help you and not just use you, he should teach you about war and what’s worth and not worth going to war over; he should help build you up and make sure you stay the best you can be… I had an “O.G.” homie who once made me read a dictionary because he said I said “cuzz” too much and I needed to expand my vocabulary. An “O.G.” should always want to see you do something with yourself and not just always want to see you in some bullshit in the name of “da set”… “

These are words coming from a young warrior that I quickly became very fond of, and I assure you that his words are definitely a reflection of precisely how many of these youngsters feel, as they can’t help but notice the evident deterioration around here and the lack of true leadership from many of their so-called o.g.’s.

Me and this youngster had a couple of good sessions, I taught him the difference between Honor and Dignity, I passed him some good literature to read and we chopped it up about that, I helped him write an article about the psychological warfare tactics that these pigs use on us in here. His writing skills were already on point, and he wrote the whole article by himself, actually, I just gave him some advice on how to tighten it up a little and he took my advice and redrafted it and it came out hella good.

I told him what he said about what he looks for in someone with an “O.G.” status was definitely on point, but not to forget to look at things from both sides and also realize that there’s a lot of youngsters who come through here who think they know it all and who you just can’t tell ‘em shit. He said he knew what I was talking about and that he used to be like that too. The fact that he’s not like that anymore and that he’s eager to learn, tells me a lot about his character and his potential, and it’s youngsters like him that I’m eager to embrace, because I recognize that determination and that fire and strength and that passion that resides inside of them and burns so fiercely in their young warrior hearts. I only had a couple of weeks to kick it with this particular youngster before they moved me to another unit, but I hope the impact I had on him was as strong as the one he had on me.

I don’t look at people in regards of rank, status, or class, as long as they’re solid and they have something good to share, then I’m as much as their pupil as I am their teacher. We each grow and learn and get stronger from each other. This youngster taught me something and showed me lots of things that I’ll never forget, so as far as I’m concerned, he’s as much as a leader as those he refers to as “O.G.’s.”

Since then, I’ve come across many other youngsters like him who wanted to learn and who were looking for realness and truth in their lives, and who also had things to show me, and who have taught me things I’ll never forget… I came across one young, twenty-year-old cat who came up with an acronym to describe some of these older cats around here who just lie around like dead weight. He calls them “Dead P.O.S.S.O.M.S.,” which is an acronym for: Pile of Shit Sorry Old Man. When I look at things through these youngsters’ eyes, I’m surprised at how clearly I can see where they’re coming from, and how right they are about so many things.

I can’t help but to acknowledge the fact that there are a lot of piece of shit individuals in here; I’m talking about people who are foul in character and deed, and who loathe change and despise growth and all they know is to be foul. I avoid people like that, because there’s not much you can do for them, and really nothing they can do for you! It’s the youngsters with the potential, the eagerness to learn and the ones who refuse to stay at the same stage in their lives that I’m always trying to reach. I want them to really be able to see and recognize that the state has thrown them in prison and given them this time, not to help them but to destroy them, and that’s exactly why they have to be strong and wise, and use this as an opportunity for growth and prominent change. I want these youngsters to see and sincerely understand that there’s more to life than “the set;” than to be gangsters, a predator, thug, criminal, etc.

They can still be strong, and they can still be warriors, but I want to encourage them to be strong, sharp warriors so that they can fight the right fights, not the wrong ones.

I tell them that when I came to prison I was 19 years old, I came in with a hardcore gangbang mentality, maxed out on all of my sentences, caught more time in here, and now I’m 33 years old, close to the gate. What the fuck do I look like, 33 years old, getting out of here and going back to the same shit I was doing when I was 18 years old?? That would make absolutely no sense at all… and when I tell them this, they feel me, and they begin to look at their own lives and they start to think about it a little more, and once they begin to understand this, and the true, beastly nature of the State, and once they become aware of the truth behind poverty, oppression and racism and see that the true design of these prisons is to crush us as a classless people, then that’s when they begin to take serious strides to build themselves up as a man and a human being in life, so that they can do good things, make a positive impact and help the youngsters that come after them. And with all of this, I’ve noticed that once these youngsters truly begin to understand that being on some bullshit is only going to lead to more bullshit, they begin to reevaluate their priorities and the course of action that they’re going to take in life, and once they see that the bullshit does not really lead them anywhere good in life, then “change” starts to look like the best thing going!

I’ve noticed that a lot of older cats, especially some of the ones who have been doing time for a long time, think that because they’re older and that they’ve done time longer, that that automatically gives them the right to assume some type of position of seniority over you where they think they can just freely meddle in your affairs, telling you what you should and should not do, talking about “how back in the old days…” and always talking about racial separation and shit like that… and yet, some of the advice these cats try to give, instinctively I know that if I were to follow their advice, I’d have been dead a long time ago! If not in the physical sense, well then, I’d be one of these walking-dead zombies that you see so much of around here, because all of the things that are true to me now, and that I know are right and real, the things that make me who I am, all of these things would fade away, and I’d be nothing, man, I’d be dead inside…

I was living next to some older dude who has been doing time – in and out of prison – since 1983. This is a cat who got out and supposedly robbed all kinds of taxi cabs so that he could use the money to score dope and get high. He got caught and they sentenced him to 50 years! He was willing to trade 50 years of his life just to go out and get high for a couple of months, and now he’s living next to me, and his whole life now consists solely of how he’s going to score his next shot of mud, he does not read, he hasn’t even tried to strive for any real change in the whole 14 years that he’s been down, all he does is gamble, drink coffee, work-out, talk shit and watch the “idiot-box” – all day… and so when he tries to give me all of his advice about “prison life” and all that shit, I kindly tell him, “look man, I’m close to the house, my mind ain’t on none of this bullshit that goes on around here.” So then he switches up his tact and tries to give me advice about the streets, so I had to break it to him as gently as I could, and I told him, “Look, with all due respect, I appreciate what you’re trying to say and all that, but look at you man, you’re somebody who exchanged 50 years of your freedom for a few months of getting high, and now I’m supposed to be listening to you? Don’t you see the irony in that?” Now, maybe if I hadn’t immediately peeped out that he only had ulterior motives for associating with me in the first place, then I might’ve taken more time to pay attention to what he had to say… But I doubt it. Thinking about cats like these reminds me of what my young comrade said about “dead possums”… But the thing to consider is all of the many younger and naïve cats who have come through these doors and have fallen prey to the designs and manipulations of these wolves in sheep’s clothing.

In my opinion, there are indeed a few things from the past that are definitely still worth preserving and handing down to the next generation of “convicts”, but I think there’s also a lot of things from the past that need to be put to rest once and for all. The enforcement of these silly racist policies and ideas of racial separatism, the senseless ongoing gang warfare; the disunity that comes with all of these things, in my opinion, are amongst some of the things that need to go…

Also, another thing I want to point out, just because someone is older, or they’ve been doing time longer, doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re worthy of being leaders or teachers. It wouldn’t hurt to actually sit back and listen to some of these youngsters and listen to their ideas, and what they have to say, and to invite change into their lives, let evolution take its course, because those who hold on to the past are only holding on to old, ineffective, outmoded ways, that can’t and shouldn’t be applied in these times, under these circumstances… Not only that, but when it comes to being a leader and being someone who passes down knowledge it is sad to say, but the truth is, I’ve only come across a select few in this foul ass system, who actually have the pedigree to lead and teach, on an effective level. That’s just something to think about…

If you call yourself an “O.G.”, a leader, etc., and yet you don’t have anything good, or real, or meaningful to give to these youngsters, something that they can go through life with – even if it’s just one thing – then maybe you might want to reevaluate your position and “status” in life. Anybody can preach and talk and make their words sound real colorful and pretty and glorified, but talk has always been cheap, and it’s getting even cheaper by the day. I think you really have to ask yourself, as a leader, why would someone want to follow you? What would really make someone want to listen to you? Look at yourself, listen to how you sound when you talk, your character, your conduct, your actions, the way you present yourself, if all of that doesn’t match what you say, then ain’t nobody gonna think twice about anything you’re talking about, and in effect, all you’re doing is making noise. The change you want to see elsewhere has to start within you first.

Once consciousness has been raised, then things start to move in a different direction. The thing that I’m trying to convey here is that there’s flourishing and decline in everything in life, things can’t always stay the same forever, and they shouldn’t! Especially when you look at the way things are right now; ain’t none of this shit real, ain’t none of this shit right. It’s time to reevaluate, it’s time to raise the stakes. These youngsters are beginning to see what we’ve failed to see long ago. They know that if a little bit of freedom is a good thing, then a lot of freedom is a great thing. If a little bit of pleasure is nice, then a lot of pleasure is glorious. They are not content to settle for whatever left-over scraps of self-determination and joy come their way under the system that subscribes their lives today, and I do not blame them!

I feel that if you don’t have nothing good to give, or to share, then you need to move over, get out of the way, ‘cuz all you’re doing is muddying this shit up. I’ve seen a lot of these so-called shot-callers who have let that shit go to their head, they demand all kinds of respect that they don’t even deserve, they rule through fear and not through love; they’re all about themselves, not about their people, they’ll go to war over some bullshit and are putting their people at risk over some bullshit, but won’t stand up to the real enemy over some real shit. These type of people don’t impress me, and I have no respect for that shit.

That’s why I’m about what I’m about and do what I do, and I’m starting to look at all this shit differently. I see that a lot of people are motivated by their own jealousies and hate, and their own personal feelings, but I’ve come to find that wisdom lies in being able to see things objectively, not subjectively. I have nothing but respect for warriors of all types, and I respect the old warriors of this system (Nevada) who have been putting it down way before I even came to this disgusting place; (15 years ago) when I came to prison, those old warriors were my mentors. I’ve learned many good things from them, and I’ve learned a lot of good things from my own experiences too. I don’t waste my time trying to explain myself – my ideas, my standards, views, etc. – to people who I know aren’t going to understand. Nor do I have time to entertain other people’s old, tired-out, detestable ways and ideas. Indeed, it is good to learn from others, but if all they’re trying to teach me is how to become obedient and complacent, then they can’t really teach me nothing. Obedience is what got us in this situation we’re in now, and complacency is what’s keeping us here. When there’s nothing to respect, there’s nothing to obey, and if you take a good, square look around you, and if you’re honest with yourself, then you can see that there ain’t nothing respectable around here! Not a damn thing. So there’s no lesson for me in obedience, no lesson for me in complacency, so please miss me with all that; thank you very much, but no thanks!

While I’m still here, I’m going to keep trying to help others, no matter their age or race, and I’m going to keep reaching out to these youngsters, teaching them how to become leaders, so that they can do the shit that needs to be done and keep the good shit going, when there ain’t no one else around to teach them or to show them. I’m here to pass the torch and to keep this fire of resistance burning strong until it ignites everybody, and then we will come together and use that fire to burn this shit down!!! These pigs and this administration can keep trying to come down on me, they can try to suppress me all they want, I don’t give a fuck! Because I know what I’m doing is right and I know it’s what needs to be done. They can put me in the infirmary, behind double doors, isolate me, or whatever they want to do – they’re always trying to present some weak shit to strong individuals – but it doesn’t matter, ‘cuz I’m still going to find a way to do what I do!

These youngsters get snatched up and thrown into these cesspools of inhumanity before they can even learn how to think for themselves, and the ones who do the thinking for them, rarely have their best interests at heart. That’s why I use the expression of them being “thrown to the wolves.” The nature and the design of these prisons and these cells is to annihilate our youth, to break and destroy them, just like you see all if these older cats who have been broken and destroyed, with no fight in them, no life, no passion, no determination, and nothing good to hand down to the next generation of the young, free-spirited men that unwillingly get shoved through these unrefined doors of misery and hopelessness. So many times have I seen these youngsters come into this scandalous world of deprivation and perversion, and when they have become subjected to all of this foulness that has been laid out in front of them, they quickly absorb this shit and assume these foul, degenerate ways themselves, and that really ain’t cool.

It’s on us to start taking the time to elevate ourselves and re-educate our youngsters around real concepts of struggle and unity and growth, and we have to organize around the issues we are faced with in life, every day – the things that are right in our faces – rather than what race we are, or what region we come from. That shit hardly matters when we’re all going through the same shit. Oppression, poverty, capitalism, racism, gangsterism, this shit has an ill-effect on us all. We should take it upon ourselves to start igniting the flames of revolution in these youngsters’ hearts and in their minds, giving them something better to strive for and something real. We should find ways to give them real-life lessons that they will learn and gain from, taking these young minds filled with fantasies of gangsterism and helping them transform their thinking into guerilla warfare strategies to hopefully one day be used on any and all establishments of oppression. Because, from what I’ve seen, all of these bullshit racial policies that prisoners are forced to live by – by other prisoners, nonetheless – and all of the madness we see now, doesn’t do anything other than keep us all divided – and therefore conquered.

Those of us in this situation are all an oppressed people and we are all under the same gun. We have to stop emulating the ways of the pig – the oppressor – and start finding ways to uplift ourselves until we have the power we need to control our own lives.

We want change, we want truth, we want freedom, we want everything. We want complete control over every aspect of our lives; we want to taste the sweetest happiness and the most exhilarating liberty this existence has to offer. We don’t want to be slaves no more, we don’t want to be robots; we want to lead lives that are as adventurous, as magnificent as any we could read about in books. We want high stakes: we don’t want to just let our lives pass us by, mediocre and tiresome, stale and stagnant, as so many others have before us.

We see these cats who don’t have no life in them, no spark in their eyes, grouchy and miserable, no fire, no soul, and we don’t want to be like that. We want to live lives that mean something. For this, we are willing to risk anything; for this, we are willing to fight.

Things are changing and moving in a new direction now, more people are waking up, and soon enough we will start to see radical and revolutionary prison groups, chapters, movements and collectives sprouting up in Nevada, and in prisons everywhere. These collectives will be designed to give prisoners strength, solidarity, and will show them how to rise above oppression, not to mimic the ways of the oppressor, not to stay stagnant and stuck in a perpetual state of misery and despair and domination, but to challenge it, fight it, and to defeat it all together! Things are changing, we can look at what’s been going on in prisons in other states these last few years, not only for examples, but also for evidence that the prison struggle continues. A prison was burnt down in Kentucky a few years ago, then we’ve seen the biggest American prison strike in Georgia, followed by a successful hunger strike in Ohio – which was, in fact, kicked off by 3 of the Lucasville 5 – and now we have just seen the largest hunger strike ever, in California.

When we see these things we see the power of Unity in full effect. More prisoners are resisting, more people are coming together to challenge the injustices and to seek solutions. These are definite signs that change is about to come. It’s time for us to start making new history.

Until then, the devastation in my heart remains as I continue to bear witness to these young men being shuffled inside of this perpetual death-trap. But while I’m here, I will do all I can to try to bring forth greatness in every youngster that I come across, and one day, rather than desperately trying to seek knowledge and strength in their older comrades, they will begin to look for these things within themselves.

Resistance, Solidarity and Strength

Comrade Coyote
Anarchist Black Cross – Nevada Prison Chapter
Black August 2011
Ely State Prison, Nevada

Note: At the time of this writing, these pigs have snatched me up and moved me to the infirmary to try to isolate me and keep me separated from comrades and peers; they said that I was trying to organize. And [ass. warden] Brooks (no longer here! Hooray!) had to come in to 4-A, along with Lt. peck to feed us our dinner; ‘cuz the pigs were too scared to come onto the tier to feed us! Later that night, they came and got me and took me to the infirmary. I stayed there for a month, then they moved me to 3-B, where I’m at now.

This is an ad.-seg. [administrative segregation] unit, but I’m on D.S. [disciplinary segregation]. I got kicked out of the hole! (the first person in ESP history to ever get kicked out of the hole!). I’m doing my D.S. time on this unit now, because there’s no youngsters on this tier, no comrades. They’ve got me here not only to isolate me, but also to pacify me. The atmosphere on this unit is way different and more mellow, the mentality of the prisoners here is nothing like what I’m used to seeing in the hole, everything’s quiet and still and the pigs don’t go out of their way to fuck with none of us over here.

The conditions on the unit are a little better than the deplorable conditions you see in the hole… I guess they don’t like it when someone goes from tier to tier bringing all of the youngsters and all of the convicts together to stand up and resist the disdainful conditions of the hole. They see that unity and they fear it, so they try to do everything they can to keep us stymied and separated, everything that is, but what they’re supposed to do!

For a more immense and more intense version of this article, send a stamp to:

S. Chicago ABC Zine Distro
P.O. Box 721,
Homewood, IL 60430
And ask them to send you a copy of “Thrown to the wolves”- by Coyote

Trouble speaks

This my first time writing to the NPN. I felt it was vital for me to talk to all the young rads throughout the Nevada system. I want them to know that it´s time to open our eyes and wake up. We must grow up and put all childish behaviors to the side and move as one unit, because right now all we´re doing is giving the pigs what they want which is separation and division. With this we can not make a change or better our situation. To all my young rads through the system I encourage you to turn off the TV´s , put up the radios and begin to Educate Yourself. Read and Study for 2 hours a day. You can progress in this as time goes by but you have to start somewhere.

Why do you think programs and things to better ourselves are limited? The reason is they are trying to control our minds by keeping our minds stagnate and keeping us dumb. These pigs have our bodies, let´s not give them our minds too. We have to take action and transform our ways of thinking. We must educate ourselves. We can´t wait for knowledge to come knocking on our doors, we must seek it. The most important thing before going into battle is preparation. Know what your rights are. Know what these pigs can & cannot do to you. A lot of young rads are getting taken advantage of. One reason is because a lot of the older rads have laid down and they´re not living by an important rule which is Each One Teach One.
Second reason is we can not wait to be schooled by older cats. We see through previous years that has gotten us nowhere and Thirdly we refuse to do something as simple as pick up the AR and learn our rights from one young rad to another we must take action now. Because each day that goes by that we don´t stand up together is another day one of our rads will be getting beat, stripped of his property or even killed. If no one cares about us we have to care about ourselves.
Bulletproof respect,
Trouble AKA Mashaka i Afua.
Transformation
Redemption
Overcoming Obstacles
Unity
Building Character
Leadership
Educate

Will Nevada´s prisons become one of the 10 U.S. Prisons With Impressive Libraries?

10 U.S. Prisons With Impressive Libraries
(from: Onlineuniversities.com/blog)

December 5th, 2010

Prison is not a fun place to be: it’s turned hardened criminals into scared submission, and the daily grind of just sitting in a cell — either by yourself or with a “roommate” you can’t stand — can play tricks on your mind that no nightmare can touch. But a lot of prisoners around the country are allowed very small indulgences, and with the participation of gracious volunteers and many public library systems, getting access to books, computers and legal resources is possible, even for those sitting behind bars. Prison libraries range from institutions that are open every day to books-by-mail programs, but these 10 U.S. prisons are well-known for their contributions to literacy, education, and rehabilitation. Or at least they should be.

1. Racine Correctional Institution: This Wisconsin correctional facility and reformatory school focuses on using education and positive influences to rehabilitate young people, and encouraging the inmates to experiment with the arts is part of that mission. In 2006, the Racine Correctional Institution Library hosted a poetry slam and competition, and a blog was kept to track the progress of the institution’s Shakespeare Project. Fifteen to twenty inmates studied and rehearsed Shakespeare plays for nine months, working with theater artists and preparing to perform for the other prisoners and for the community.

2. Maryland Pre-Release Prisons: Prisoners awaiting release in Maryland can now access well-equipped libraries full of career-planning resources to help them transition into a responsible, productive life in the real world. In 2007, the Maryland Correctional Education Libraries acquired two bookmobile units that travel to each pre-release library, providing prisoners with access to forty-inch smart screens, computers, wireless access, as well as databases and books.

3. Folsom State Prison Library: This legendary prison also has an impressive library overseen by the the California Department of Corrections. Boasting a law library and library focused on educating inmates, the Folsom State Prison Library also offers a vocational-intern program to prepare certain inmates for the working world outside of jail. The law library has a Paralegal Studies Program which trains inmates in research skills and helps them find forms and legal resources around the library.

4. Colorado Correctional Libraries: The Colorado State Library’s Institutional Library Services unit oversees twenty-three libraries in its Department of Corrections, and the librarians stationed at each prison can feel pretty isolated, overwhelmed, and even abandoned. But in 2006, a unit-wide intranet was created to unite the librarians and offer them support and resources, making it easier for them to share ideas and create helpful tutorials and other materials to their inmates and patrons.

5. National Institute of Corrections Online Library: The correctional agencies and librarians of the National Institute of Corrections have created a user-friendly, highly educational e-library here. It’s a resource center for corrections agencies at all levels who want to find tutorials, training, technical assistance, program development assistance, and research studies to improve their facilities.

6. Main Prison Library, Angola: Angola, also called “The Farm,” is the country’s largest maximum-security prison, and many of the prison staff and their families live and play on the premises, too. The Main Library was dedicated in 1968, but there are actually four other branches that serve Angola inmates as well, called Outcamp libraries. Cooperating with the State Library of Louisiana, the Angola libraries participate in an inter-library loan program. In addition to the library system, certain inmates who don’t have a GED or high school diploma, as well as inmates scoring low on the Test of Adult Basic Education are allowed to take classes in vocational subjects like automotive technology.

7. Illinois State Prisons: The Urbana-Champaign Books to Prisoners project aims to educate the inmate population of local state prisons by providing them with as many books as possible, mostly lent out by individual libraries and regular volunteers from around Illinois. As an avenue for also educating Illinois residents about the state prison system, prisoners and volunteers interact regularly, and many of the inmates’ own writings and art pieces are published. Lending libraries have been set up in the two local jails, and the program also offers books by mail to all Illinois inmates.

8. Norfolk County prison: This Massachusetts prison once inspired Malcolm X to turn himself into a voracious reader and research everything he could about the Muslim religion and Nation of Islam. He wrote articles for the inmates’ newsletter, participated in weekly debates at the prison, and holed up in the prison library, copying an entire dictionary to learn new words. Today, the prison still provides education programs to inmates in the culinary arts, computer technology, HVAC, college transition, ESL, reading enrichment, and getting a GED.

9. Bucks County Prison Library: Pennsylvania’s Bucks County Correctional Facility works with the local Lions Club to produce reading material for the blind. In fact, the inmates are the ones who actually “translate” the books and reading material into Braille.

10. The “standing library” at Rikers: This sprawling New York City jail houses around 14,000 inmates at any given time, ten different jails, schools, gyms, a track, barbershops, grocery stores, and a car wash, among other amenities. The New York Public Library provides all kinds of library services and volunteer projects in conjunction with the Department of Corrections, but a new weekly program — called “the standing library” — operates a bit like a book fair, hosted in one of Rikers’ gyms. Inmates are taken down to the gym in groups and are allowed to pick books off the shelves and sit and read for a while. Books are also taken around to prisoners in solitary confinement, who are allowed one extra book to read.

When, after reading this, you think: ´Let´s make Ely State Prison the nr 1 prison library in the country!´Or even in the State, well here is your chance:

The Ely State Prison Bookdrive is happening now! Any book that you think would be uplifting, educational, or inspirational to prisoners, please send them to:

White Pine County School District
Mountain High School
1135 Avenue C
Ely, Nevada 89301
Attention: Ms. Thiel / E.S.P. Library Donations

Please make sure to go through all of your books, removing money, papers or anything that you may have left inside of your books, because the officers will thoroughly inspect each book before they are inducted into the E.S.P. Library.

Please talk to your friends, family, co-workers and classmates, ask them if they have any old books that they don’t want or need any more. We really want you to help us turn the E.S.P. library into a real library. Help us bring meaning and positive change to these prisoner’s lives.

There is no rehabilitation, no programs, no real educational/vocational opportunities for these guys incarcerated at Ely State Prison. We want you to help us give them that opportunity, we want you to help us help them. We want you to help us liberate these prisoners’ minds and transform their lives through knowledge, education and higher learning. Please get involved in this life-changing project. There’s nothing more empowering than knowledge! Thank you for your time and concern.

Check here for a list of the type of books most wanted. Thank you! Even one book may change someone for the better and give them a new chance…

E.S.P. Book Drive

You can help change someone’s life! There is nothing more invigorating, nothing more liberating than knowledge! Books can definitely change people’s lives, and who needs help with changing their lives more than the people in prison? It has already been proven that education is the most powerful tool against recidivism, yet prisoners sit in their cells going mentally numb, getting more aggressive and deteriorating intellectually, spiritually and physically, just wasting away behind steel and stone, until the day they are released and returned back into our communities!

This is a chance to make a difference; to have an impact on someone’s life. This is a chance for people out there to really get involved in something significant. We need you to help us bring meaning and productivity to these prisoners lives! Please, help us do something positive; something that will definitely make a difference. Help us give these prisoners something important to think about, help us raise their level of consciousness and break them from the shackles of the gangster, pimp and criminal mentalities that confine them to self-destruction and perpetual misery.

Help us get books together for these men who sit in their cells staring at the walls all day. People throw books away every day. We need those books. We want you to help us donate those books to the Ely State Prison library; we want you to help us help these people who will be returning back to society. We want you to help us help these people who deserve a second chance. Help them realize they deserve a second chance! We can do that by bringing hope, meaning, and knowledge into their lives through books. we need you to help us with this possible life-changing project!

Any book you can donate will be appreciated, and put to good use, no matter what kind of book it is. Our mission here, however, is to turn the E.S.P. library into a real library. The E.S.P. library already has lots and lots of horror novels, sci-fi novels, fantasy and romance, but lacks anything of real educational value. So, we want you to help us provide any type of book that will allow prisoners to think and comprehend things on a higher, or deeper level.

We want educational books; anything that has some type of educational value, or that will provide real intellectual stimulation. All books will be accepted and appreciated, and books that we are particularly looking for are basically any type of books on:

• History
• Any type of self-help book
• Dictionaries, thesaurus, encyclopedias, almanacs, vocabulary builders, etc.
• Philosophy
• Psychology and/or sociology
• Anthropology
• Text books of all kinds
• Non-fictional books, true stories, current events, etc.
• Books on business, economics, law, etc.
• Poetry, classics, literature, etc.
• Autobiographies, memoirs and biographies
• Books on science (any branch of science, from astronomy to palaeontology, whatever)
• Good fiction novels that could possibly have a life-changing impact on a prisoner’s mind
• Books about prison, or written by prisoners, who have changed their lives while in prison (these stories are always inspirational and helpful for those incarcerated)
• Any books on politics, revolutionary science, prominent figures and leaders
• Cultural studies: Latino, African American, Native American, Asian, The Celts, The Romans, The Greeks, The Egyptians, Aztecs, Mayans, etc.
• Political books (on anarchism, communism, socialism, etc.)
• Theology, Theosophy, etc.
• Books on different languages
• Geography
• Best sellers, Pulitzer prize winners, etc.
• Esoteric studies, masonic literature, symbolism, etc.
• Health, medical encyclopedia, physical fitness, etc.

Any book that you have, that you don’t want, or need any more, any book that you think would be uplifting, educational, or inspirational to prisoners, please send them to:

White Pine County School District
Mountain High School
1135 Avenue C
Ely, Nevada 89301
Attention: Ms. Thiel / E.S.P. Library Donations

Please make sure to go through all of your books, removing money, papers or anything that you may have left inside of your books, because the officers will thoroughly inspect each book before they are inducted into the E.S.P. Library.

Please talk to your friends, family, co-workers and classmates, ask them if they have any old books that they don’t want or need any more. We really want you to help us turn the E.S.P. library into a real library. Help us bring meaning and positive change to these prisoner’s lives.

There is no rehabilitation, no programs, no real educational/vocational opportunities for these guys incarcerated at Ely State Prison. We want you to help us give them that opportunity, we want you to help us help them. We want you to help us liberated these prisoners’ minds and transform their lives through knowledge, education and higher learning. Please get involved in this life-changing project. There’s nothing more empowering than knowledge! Thank you for your time and concern.

Solidarity and Respects
From Someone Who Cares

ps if you plan to send in any books, please if possible let us know via email (Nevadaprisonwatch at gmail.com) which books you donated, because the person who organized this would like to know if all the books are indeed going to the library.

Education: College Guild discontinues…

In our newsletter to the prisoners, we featured the College Guild as one of the small organizations that makes free non-traditional correspondence courses for prisoner students. Unfortunately, although this was not written on their website (visited again today, July 15 2010), they are not sending out courses anymore at this moment.
We are sorry to hear that!
Here is the email we received:

To the Nevada Prison Watch:

College Guild provides free non-traditional correspondence courses to prisoners throughout the United States and feature on your web site. We are getting many inquiries from prisoners in the State of Nevada. Unfortunately at the present time we are unable to accept any more students into our program and would be grateful if you could publish a note stating this. We hope the position might change in the new year.

Thank you.

CG Admin.

We received a very good explanation about this discontinuement later on:

“We are running out of funds. Everything we do is dependent on fund raising. We have a long wait list and hope to be able to accommodate those already on it. Maybe in the new year we will be able to take on more students.

We would love to be able to expand College Guild to cover everyone who would like to participate. We are looking for some major funding and have a few contacts out there. Any help or ideas you can offer would be gratefully received.”

So if you have ideas, money, etc, please contact the College Guild!

Mass Incarceration in Nevada Is a Failed Strategy/SB398

This was read out at the April 2010 Meeting of the Board of Prison Commissioners:

Nevada Prison Commissioners Meeting, April 20, 2010

Dahn Shaulis, Ph.D.

Mass Incarceration in Nevada Is a Failed Strategy/SB398

My name is Dahn Shaulis. I am an instructor at the College of Southern Nevada, a former Nevada correctional employee, and an attender of the Las Vegas Friends Worship Group—the Quakers.

My purpose for being here again is to discuss Nevada’s justice options for the future. In discussing these options, we need to examine where we are and were we have come from in terms of justice and prisons. When I speak of justice it’s about a justice much broader than many people perceive.

The State of Nevada is in crisis, socially, economically, and spiritually. Unemployment in Nevada has been in the double digits for months and has approached 14%. For people of color and the working-class, their struggles for opportunities, including decent and humane housing, education, employment and justice have taken longer. Nevada’s unemployment rate for African Americans is estimated at 20%, but that does not even include discouraged workers and those part-time workers who are seeking full-time work. Unemployment rates for Latinos are not much better and I suspect rates for indigenous peoples are also above the average.

As I mentioned at the January 2010 Prison Board meeting, Nevada has heavily invested in a Prison-Industrial Complex (PIC) for more than four decades. Prison expansion began in the mid-1960s and has continued into the 21st century. Since the 1970s, the State has also chosen to mass incarcerate youth, giving NDOC more potential recruits for prison. Even as index crime rates began to drop in this State in the early 1980s, Nevada continued on the path of mass incarceration. Conditions were so deplorable in Elko that the youth facility required federal oversight. Nevada has also chosen to jail and imprison many women, rather than find alternatives to incarceration or to remedy the situation by understanding the etiology of crime.

Tough on crime legislation has been tough on society, as Nevada leaders chose for decades to disregard human needs: underfunding education, mental health treatment, drug treatment, and decent affordable housing. The State chose to increase sentence structures and to punish probation and parole violators, at the expense of long-term social and economic costs. Prisons in Nevada were supposedly constructed to save rural economies, but they also provided low-wage convict labor–reminiscent of the racist South after the Civil War. Prisons may bring work for some, but the work is often inhumane—it bleeds into all those who are near it.

From the 1980s to the present, Nevada followed the most dysfunctional aspects of the California prison system, and built Golden Gulags, facilities that cost hundreds of millions of dollars to construct, staff, and maintain. Limited efforts were made to rehabilitate prisoners despite increasing knowledge about what works in correctional treatment. Recent attempts to privatize prisons and prison services at Summit View, the women’s prison in Southern Nevada, and the medical services at Ely State Prison (ESP) have been huge failures—yet Governor Gibbons continues to push for more privatization.

In 2007, Governor Gibbons proposed $1.7 billion in new prison construction to include a new death chamber—because he saw no other alternatives. Only a budget crisis and unforeseen drops in crime prevented the Governor and Director Howard Skolnik from continuing this mass incarceration master plan.

So here’s the picture in 2010. According to the US Census, Nevada ranks 2nd in prison spending per capita and 48th in education spending. The State has chosen a path of mass incarceration and a system that promotes violence and ignorance rather than a path of education and innovation. In April 2010, Nevada has been labeled as the most place dangerous state in the US. But this is a pyrrhic defeat for the Nevada prison system, which profits from crime and the fear of crime.

Prisons today function inadequately as drug treatment and mental health facilities, as “the new asylums.” They also serve inadequately as high schools, work houses, and as high-cost warehousing of throw-away people. Nevada’s prisons, frankly, serve as graduate schools and network hubs for organized interstate crime and White Supremacist hate groups.

Little effort is made to help prepare prisoners for work and independent living after they leave the facilities. One of Governor Gibbon’s recent strategies to cut the budget included closing Casa Grande, the state’s transition facility; Mr. Skolnik did not protest the plan to cut Casa Grande. This plan to close Casa Grande should be understood in the context that the Nevada Department of Corrections wins when it receives “repeat customers.” NDOC is an agency that grows in proportion to its failures.

When I publicly made statements two years ago, that NDOC officials were morally corrupt, and reported my experiences in the Justice Policy Journal, prison officials told the media I was fabricating information. They refused to comment on the record, however, because they knew I was telling the truth about prison conditions and the state of justice in Nevada. As a payback perhaps, Mr. Skolnik denied me access into NDOC facilities to teach college courses or to volunteer.

As UNLV criminal justice Professor Randall Shelden will tell you, our prison system is a failed system. Mass incarceration is a drain on society and it’s a dysfunctional strategy to improve public safety. In terms of economic opportunity costs, money spent on prisons means less resources for education, drug treatment, mental health care, and community redevelopment.

So what are our options?

Privatizing prisons does not work. They are not even an adequate short-term fix. No other civilized nations use this failed strategy of punitive justice to this extreme. Our only reasonable option is to think long-term and to think holistically. We need to recognize that resources are limited and that there are opportunity costs. Even US Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, a Reagan appointee, questioned this approach as early as 2004.

One of the most obvious short-term solutions would be to pass Senate Bill (SB) 398. This program would divert hundreds of nonviolent offenders from prison and into treatment. The SAGE Commission has estimated a savings of $280 million over a 5-year period—savings that could be used to invest in people rather than in concrete shrines to man’s ignorance and greed.

The ideal situation would be to take the savings from this diversion program to reinvest in communities hardest hit by mass incarceration, “million-dollar blocks,” to be spent on prevention and reentry. Good Pre-K programs, for example, reduce crime in the long run. The Rand Corporation and others have ideas of what programs would be most effective.

I would like to have your support today and am asking that you promise to promote SB 398 immediately–with the courage to promote it publicly. I would also ask you to encourage educators and working-class communities to support this bill.

In my January 2010 statement to the Board I explained several sources to safely plan for the downsizing of prisons—and for long-term community investment that reduces crime. These sources include legitimate authorities: Michael Jacobson and the Justice Center of the Council of State Governments. We also need to train and retrain workers so they don’t have to resort to prison work, as I did, for a decent paycheck. In the long-term, we need to mature as a State, divest ourselves from prisons and sources of crime such as casino gambling, while investing in the People.

In Nevada, "mandatory" parole release is really just a suggestion

Lock ’em up and throw away the key
by AMY KINGSLEY
In: Las Vegas City Life
May 13, 2010

The southern half of the Nevada Parole Board meets in a conference room in east Las Vegas — where they sit behind a long table, addressing a high definition flat screen.

Video technology and the Internet allow them to order up cases from across the state. Today, the television is tuned to the Northern Nevada Correctional Center, a medium-security prison in Carson City.

Gerald Hudson shuffles to a chair in the center of the screen. The 40-year-old inmate holds a jumbo envelope containing the last two years’ accomplishments. He recites its contents: GED, high school diploma, another diploma from a substance abuse program and a completion certificate from victim awareness. He pauses and addresses his crime. “I’ve lost so many years for this,” Hudson says. “Alcohol caused me to act on impulse. I’ve had time to think about the consequences and the people I hurt.”

Hudson is appearing before the board for his second and final time, after serving more than three years for his first felony offense — endangerment and inflicting mental harm on a child. This is his mandatory parole release hearing, which is required by state law.

The goal is to give offenders with sentences of three years or longer one final shot at supervised release. Inmates are supposed to go before the board four months before the final year of their sentence. Good time credits for education and substance abuse treatment usually move the release date closer to six months before the end of the sentence. It’s part of an effort to get more prisoners out of prison and into some kind of community supervision. Ideally, these inmates will have used their time behind bars to better themselves and reflect on their crimes. Parole gives them the opportunity to prove they’ve learned their lesson, with consequences for failure.

Otherwise, inmates finish their sentences inside. They get “dumped,” in prison parlance. When their sentences end, they leave with $21 and a bus ticket. They go back to the streets, with no supervision and no structure. Hudson seems like a model candidate for parole release. After he was denied in his first parole hearing, the inmate turned over a new leaf. His release plan is so detailed it even includes the specific psychiatric center where he plans to continue counseling.

But it’s not necessarily a slam dunk. The parole commissioners determine that Hudson is a moderate risk to re-offend due to the nature of his crime. And they’re charged with making sure he doesn’t — at least not on their watch. Whatever decision these three commissioners make will be sent to the full board for ratification. At least four votes are required for parole.

“Regardless of what we do here today, you are going to get out,” says Commissioner Michael Keeler. “And our primary concern is public safety.”

Hard case

Nevada has always been a tough place for felons. The state has some of the stiffest sentences in the country, and one of the lowest rates of granting parole. The combination fueled explosive growth in the prison population during the late ’90s and early ’00s, a period when the violent crime rate actually dropped.

Even when the state had money, it couldn’t keep up with the demand for prison beds. So legislators decided to do something about it. They created an expert panel on sentencing, and concocted a few solutions. One of them, Assembly Bill 510 in the 2007 Legislature, increased the amount of credit inmates received for completing education and other programs. Before the bill, the parole board had a lot of leeway to count credits — and could take them away if parole was denied. That caused a great deal of angst among inmates, who never knew whether the board would honor their efforts to improve.

“There was a certain degree of morale factor with inmates who had gotten diplomas or GEDs,” said state Sen. David Parks, who was an assemblyman in 2007 and chairman of the committee that introduced AB 510. “They wouldn’t get their good time credits. We wanted to make it so once you earn them, you don’t get to lose them.”

Legislators like Parks wanted to encourage inmates to get an education. And they also wanted to ease the strain on prisons. The law had its intended effect. After its passage, the prison population leveled off, and even began to shrink. Members of the parole board said it hasn’t had any effect on recidivism. Most of the inmates paroled under the new guidelines fare as well as those released under the old, subjective system.

Read the rest here.

See also: The Crime Report (May 26, 2010)

Offender Reeducation Program

We received this interesting plan for starting up a reeducation program for prisoners based on a low budget and with a lot of good ideas:

Offender Reeducation Program

Mission Statement:

The reeducation of offenders, would-be offenders, and Security Threat Group (STG) members on how to best serve time, rehabilitate and successfully transition back into society as productive citizens.

1. To curtail STG recruitment and activities in the Department of Corrections.

2. To substantially reduce disciplinary rule violations by those who successfully
complete the program.

3 To reeducate offenders on the importance of participating in educational and
vocational programs.

4. To initiate volunteer style exercises for young offenders to instill a civic duty of volunteerism prior to release.

5. To teach those social skills most offenders lack, i.e.:

a.) How to interview successfully for gainful employment;
b.) How to manage finances such as balancing a checking or credit account,
paying monthly bills, planning a grocery budget and shopping; and a prioritization of living needs; and
c.) Dealing with confrontation and stress in socially acceptable ways,

6. Certified classroom and in-cel1 programs for abusive behavior and personality
disorders, i.e.:

a.) Drug and alcohol abuse/addiction;
b.) Domestic violence/abuse;
c.) Materialistic abuse/addiction;
d.) Self-destructive behaviors; and
e.) Nutrition and exercise for healthier living.

7. To establish and coordinate pre-release and parole planning, post release housing, and community resource availability.

8. Post-incarceration follow-ups to gauge success / failure rates, and offer support
counsel for those failing.

9. Post-incarceration volunteer programs to allow offenders to give back to their communities.

Staffing: Requirements:

l. Custody:

No more than one (1) correctional officer will be required to act as custody supervision during classroom sessions.

2. Free Staff:

It is the goal of the program coordinators to get volunteers from both mental health and education to assist in the drafting and input of the programs text and curriculum.
Conversations with these free staff concludes they find the program to be a worthy
endeavor and would volunteer time and knowledge.

The program coordinators further intend to obtain volunteers specialized and accredited in the subjects listed herein from educational and medical departments in society.

Program Participants:

It is the coordinators’ goal to enlist both direct and indirect participation from members of the state legislature, state and federal judiciary, Nevada parole and probation, adult and juvenile corrections, college students majoring in criminology, the Nevada State Bar-, and state and federal law enforcement.

Program Benefits:

Upon successful completion of this program offenders will receive the following:

1. Meritorious credits. Any offender who successfully completes the program will be awarded thirty (30) days meritorious time.

2. Certificate of completion shall be placed in the offenders I-File for consideration by institutional classification and the Board of Parole and Probation.

3. Security Threat Groups Due Process Consideration.

Program Coordinators:

Nicholas Neff # 54214
El y State Prison
P.O. Box 1989
Ely, Nevada 89301

Richard Carmichael # 27850
Ely State Prison
P.O. Box 1989
Ely, Nevada 89301

Educate, support, and unite!

Article received on May 3rd 2010

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Greetings families and friends of those incarcerated within the NDOC, as well as to those who may not have loved ones residing in the NDOC but are prison advocates and/or concerned citizens. I am an inmate that has been imprisoned at Ely State Prison for the past 10 years. Throughout this tenure, I have experienced and witnessed the demise of education, programs, inmate health, humanity, and integrity. Unfortunately inmates’ morale has abated as well, while the prison guards´ sadist acts have risen.

ESP is operating as a de facto (illegitimate but in effect) Super Max facility. ESP was not designed to be double celled nor to operate as a super max, but for the past six years it has been and only has one worker unit. Inmates have become so accustomed to this lockdown living that most don’t exit their call for shower or yard time. Now, during the Spring and Summer (warmer seasons) more inmates go to the outside miniature recreation yard but because only one cell per hour is allowed on this yard, not everyone can receive yard time daily during day light hours. We have no indoor out of the cell free time, meaning that during rain, snow and the freezing Ely weather you can either go outside or remain in your cell for 24 hours. I’m not on my soap box about prison living, per se (for there is another time for that) but I am bringing to your attention the repercussions of this 23/1 indefinite lockdown.

These Gestapo tactics have broken inmates down to debrief (lying about others and/or becoming prison informants which are used up by administration and discarded like a piece of gum after losing it’s flavor), they lose their social communication skills, develop paranoia, OCD, severe depression, lack of discipline, become obnoxious and lose touch with reality. These are the people (American citizens) who will be coming back to your communities.

What is the Nevada Department of Corrections correcting? Yes, ESP provides high school education via correspondence materials being delivered to an inmate’s cell where he does the assignments (if he can) but there is no classroom atmosphere and no teacher support. How much better would it be for inmates to get up in the morning, go to class, ask and discuss the assignments so to show an understanding and develop confidence? That sounds like a start to correction. ESP provides no post high school education; hence, if you already have a diploma you receive no education whatsoever. Inmates that are fortunate enough to pursue and obtain a college education and degree with their personal funds (via outside correspondence schools) receive no good time credits (as outlined per NRS 209.4465) nor recognition from the parole board. Instead they are considered a “non-programmer”. Inmates have no incentive to be good since good behavior is not lifting the lock down. Those inmates being rewarded are lying on other inmates.

Do Nevada tax payers know that they are paying a correctional officer’s salary of roughly $18/hour and up, to prepare and pass out food trays, sweep/mop the floor and clean the units? A job an inmate would do for free. ESP has been locked down for years but claims they need more staff. Did you know that more inmates have been killed and/or died since the lockdown AND more inmates have been assaulted by staff? I, a person of common intelligence, would believe that the objective to locking down a prison is to quell the problems, not to cause more. How much is enough?

You have probably read in the newspapers and/or know that the states have become dependent on prisons to provide employment and revenue to the counties and state. In addition to this, prisons contract other businesses to supply materials or provide services which turn a profit. Once prisons started turning a profit it became a business. A business solely exists to make money. I pay $16.90 to make a collect call to California for 15 minutes, 34 cents for a Top Ramen, $275 for a flat 13” screen TV, $6.80 for an 8oz bag of Keefe coffee and the list goes on. The state doesn’t provide inmates with deodorant, thermals, beanie, or gloves if they have money on their account. The inmate has to buy everything on canteen. Indigent inmates are not provided these items period. Those familiar with Ely know about the freezing weather months on end.

Correctional officers prepare the inmate trays on the unit failing to distribute adequate food proportions. 90% of our fruit is canned (we receive an occasional orange or an apple) and 75% of it is rotten! The most disturbing issue here is inmates giving up and accepting all of this. Guys are starting to take psychotropic medication and lay down in fear of losing their TV, canteen and phone privileges. I know you want your loved ones to not get into trouble and you worry for their safety. When a majority of these guys get released they are only going to want to lay around on the couch all day because that is all they know. What we need is your support. Inmates need to be encouraged to learn their prisoners rights, demand more educational programs, vocational training, fresh fruits and vegetables, affordable telephone rates and canteen, mental health and drug addiction resources, desegregating of inmates, better training of staff, programs to assist inmates upon release to name just a few.

You can help by contacting and/or petitioning to the Governor, Department of Corrections, Prison Commission and State Representatives. Inmates must do their part by filing grievances and stopping the knit-picking amongst themselves-that administration orchestrated in the first place. Please do not allow your loved ones morale to evaporate. Not only are they oppressed in prison but inmates´ families give up on them too and that is what the prison wants since it is designed to keep us from the public. DO NOT ALLOW THIS TO TAKE PLACE. Encourage your family and friends to keep in touch so that inmates can build and maintain relationships with their children, parents and spouses. Love is unconditional and your outside support is needed.

The recidivism rate is out of control and it is because of the failing prison system. America has the largest prison population in the world so it is evident that what they have been doing is not working. You pay taxes and are an American citizen, thus, you have the power to be heard and can bring about change. Let us on this inside and you on the outside unite our forces… for together we can achieve anything we set out to do!! Educate, support, and unite.

Respectfully,
Liberator

If you have coments about this article, you can email: contactliberator@yahoo.com