Mission Statement Occupy Las Vegas

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


Mission Statement: Occupy Las Vegas

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

They are good questions that should be answered.

WHO are we?

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

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

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

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

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

We come from all backgrounds, races, and religions.

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

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

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

WHAT do we want?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Bill would create ombudsman in Nevada AG’s office to hear inmate’s complaints

By: Deb Weinstein, Associated Press, in: The Republic (Columbus, IN)
March 08, 2011

CARSON CITY, Nev. — A state Senate committee heard testimony Tuesday favoring the appointment of an ombudsman to hear complaints from prison inmates, though some questioned whether it’s affordable given Nevada’s budget crisis.

Citing class-action lawsuits and accounts of abuse within the state prison system, Sen. David Parks, D-Las Vegas, and Rebecca Gasca from the American Civil Liberties Union spoke in favor of SB201 at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.

The proposal would empower an independent ombudsman within the Nevada attorney general’s office to vet inmate complaints and determine whether they should be pursued or disregarded. It would protect prisoners from retaliation for filing complaints and require the ombudsmen to report regularly on the complaints received and reviewed.

Parks said such accountability would lift the cloud that seems to hang over the Department of Corrections concerning allegations of abusive treatments and other accusations. He noted costly lawsuits and settlements, such as a recent lawsuit over inadequate medical care at Ely State Prison that cost over $800,000.

Gasca said the ACLU supports the measure because of a history of lawsuits and what she called an overwhelming number of requests from inmates for help.

She said an ombudsman charged with ensuring proper medical and dental care could also drive down medical costs by keeping inmates healthy.

Although the concept of an ombudsman received support from Sens. Don Gustavson, R-Sparks, and Allison Copening, D-Las Vegas, questions about the budget dominated concerns from opponents.

Greg Cox, acting director of the Department of Corrections, said he opposes the bill because it would require the state to meet costly standards that would have a huge fiscal impact.

Read the rest here.

——————
We hope it is still possible to call the legislators about passing the Bill. Or does Nevada really want to be known for its inhumane prison conditions and suffering? Is there no money for human rights?

Report ACLU: Nevada’s Prisons in Crisis: Not fit for Human Consumption or Habitation

Well done ACLU, we are glad you did not abandon the prisoners after that lawsuit about medical care.

Via 8 News Now, on March 4th, 2011

LAS VEGAS — Inmates forced to eat meat labeled “not for human consumption” and pregnant prisoners being shackled. Those are just two of the claims made in a report by the American civil liberties union which describes Nevada’s prisons as being in crisis. The Nevada Department of Corrections is calling the allegations offensive.

The Nevada Department of Corrections disagrees with the claims made in a new report by the ACLU on Nevada’s prisons.

It says federal and state courts have determined many of these claims made by prisoners are frivolous and without merit. But the ACLU of Nevada still maintains people doing hard time in Nevada are forced to stay in crisis conditions.

Overcrowded, understaffed and under funded. That’s the way the ACLU of Nevada describes Nevada’s state prisons.

“You either need to provide them their basic need, which is going to cost money, or start reducing the prison population,” said Rebecca Paddock, author of the ACLU-NV Report.

At the William Boyd S. School of Law Thursday evening Paddock presented her paper.
Paddock reviewed laws, analyzed government audits, visited prisons, met with inmates, and read stacks of prisoner complaints. The report found inmates are locked up too long and conditions in Nevada prisons violate state, federal, and international human rights laws.

“We’re not saying that inmates are entitled to some high standard of living. What we’re talking about, basic human needs, just the bare minimum, and right now, those needs aren’t being met,” said Paddock.
Described in the report are unsanitary medical areas, dirty cells and showers.

“When I went to visit the women’s prison, they were talking about how the showers are rampant with black mold,” said Paddock.

A shocking claim found in the report inmates at all the facilities claim the label on meat served in prisons said “not for human consumption.” Also alleged was the shackling of pregnant inmates.
“The department has said that they don’t engage in the practice, but we’ve received complaints and heard anecdotal stories from women in prison that this happening, and that’s a serious concern,” said Maggie McLetchie, Legal Director, ACLU of Nevada.

They hope the state legislature changes the law to improve life behind bars.

“No one is saying that we expect prison to be the Waldorf Astoria, but under the constitution and international human rights standards, we do have to provide people with decent basic standards of living,” said McLetchie.
Among the policy recommendations made to reduce Nevada’s prison population by releasing non-violent offenders, and also oversight of the department of corrections. To read the full ACLU-NV report click here.

The Nevada Department of Corrections strongly disagreed with the report in a statement sent to 8 News Now Thursday night. “We disagree with the conclusions of this presentation and are quite skeptical as to the basis of these allegations. It appears much of the data the ACLU relies on is skewed and anecdotal which presents a distorted view of the NDOC,” said spokesperson for the Nevada department of corrections.

The statement goes on to say, “The NDOC is not committing human rights violations and it is offensive to suggest otherwise. The NDOC is continually working to provide constitutional care to over 12,000 inmates on a daily basis.” 

Report ACLU: Nevada’s Prisons in Crisis: Not fit for Human Consumption or Habitation

Well done ACLU, we are glad you did not abandon the prisoners after that lawsuit about medical care.

Via 8 News Now, on March 4th, 2011

LAS VEGAS — Inmates forced to eat meat labeled “not for human consumption” and pregnant prisoners being shackled. Those are just two of the claims made in a report by the American civil liberties union which describes Nevada’s prisons as being in crisis. The Nevada Department of Corrections is calling the allegations offensive.

The Nevada Department of Corrections disagrees with the claims made in a new report by the ACLU on Nevada’s prisons.

It says federal and state courts have determined many of these claims made by prisoners are frivolous and without merit. But the ACLU of Nevada still maintains people doing hard time in Nevada are forced to stay in crisis conditions.

Overcrowded, understaffed and under funded. That’s the way the ACLU of Nevada describes Nevada’s state prisons.

“You either need to provide them their basic need, which is going to cost money, or start reducing the prison population,” said Rebecca Paddock, author of the ACLU-NV Report.

At the William Boyd S. School of Law Thursday evening Paddock presented her paper.
Paddock reviewed laws, analyzed government audits, visited prisons, met with inmates, and read stacks of prisoner complaints. The report found inmates are locked up too long and conditions in Nevada prisons violate state, federal, and international human rights laws.

“We’re not saying that inmates are entitled to some high standard of living. What we’re talking about, basic human needs, just the bare minimum, and right now, those needs aren’t being met,” said Paddock.
Described in the report are unsanitary medical areas, dirty cells and showers.

“When I went to visit the women’s prison, they were talking about how the showers are rampant with black mold,” said Paddock.

A shocking claim found in the report inmates at all the facilities claim the label on meat served in prisons said “not for human consumption.” Also alleged was the shackling of pregnant inmates.
“The department has said that they don’t engage in the practice, but we’ve received complaints and heard anecdotal stories from women in prison that this happening, and that’s a serious concern,” said Maggie McLetchie, Legal Director, ACLU of Nevada.

They hope the state legislature changes the law to improve life behind bars.

“No one is saying that we expect prison to be the Waldorf Astoria, but under the constitution and international human rights standards, we do have to provide people with decent basic standards of living,” said McLetchie.
Among the policy recommendations made to reduce Nevada’s prison population by releasing non-violent offenders, and also oversight of the department of corrections. To read the full ACLU-NV report click here.

The Nevada Department of Corrections strongly disagreed with the report in a statement sent to 8 News Now Thursday night. “We disagree with the conclusions of this presentation and are quite skeptical as to the basis of these allegations. It appears much of the data the ACLU relies on is skewed and anecdotal which presents a distorted view of the NDOC,” said spokesperson for the Nevada department of corrections.

The statement goes on to say, “The NDOC is not committing human rights violations and it is offensive to suggest otherwise. The NDOC is continually working to provide constitutional care to over 12,000 inmates on a daily basis.” 

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
ESP
PO Box 1989
Ely, NV 89301

From the Bowels of Nevada – Til Now

Article submitted by John Neff, Ely State Prison



In a place once considered rehabilitative and efficient in recognizing that the most humane way is usually the hands-off approach where the adage, “Don’t fix what is not broken” can be said, a lot has changed and corroded over the years. There was a time when this place was a relatively quiet little known crease in the system with only the mundane murmurs of prison life. Nothing really unusual; just the atmosphere of incarceration. It was a state of business that ran itself where society knew nothing and prisoners didn’t have to seek redress outside the walls. When prisoners could settle grievances, they did not have to lean on a crooked, over-taxed system. Discipline then was more fair and with better justification. A case built on resistance rarely had a reason to be born and once quelled, the discontent would fade with a resolution. There was a place for everyone once and a balance in the harsh realities of what incarceration achieved.


Hope had been a companion when society’s worst always had an opportunity to live peacefully and even when life was bad, it was at least manageable. Tomorrow brought a new day with short memories from the nightmare of yesterday. Survival was easy or as hard as one wished to make it. It roamed at an acceptable pace catering to both captors and captives as their roles dictated. The lines were clean and rarely blurred. And yet, an unprecedented storm moved steadily and quickly from the horizon to reward the times even though human rights were still supposed to be a stout army. It wasn’t and so was summarily trampled without remorse as the new breed of prison “ideas” with its pioneers of punishment cast their webs to “crack down”. That is what happened and torturous, malicious shadows darkened what prison is…To appease a world that does not understand.


Slowly, men were broken as prison collapsed on them completely to suffocate them under the weight of authority and the light that often provided a glimpse of opportunity was doused with oppression. The cycle continues now to sop the will to be rehabilitated or to change “patterns” long learned.



Prisoners are trapped in their mistakes where “no tolerance” means lockdown all the time without a system to reward good behavior or provide any incentive to try. Nevada has made people want to fight them however they can but there are no resolutions anymore.



No one cares as the system doles out more punishment or cuts more from the budget to bury prisoners in infamy. In the end, no one has learned any lessons or saved a dime and the anger festers into hatred that often can only be given relief through violence.



It is a shame what men are forced to become because of their environment; what they must do to survive the multitude of situations in a place that is always out to get them.



Prisoners are trained to be animals with all the gimmicks of their confinement and often treated with the cruelty of being rabid instead of with a bit of civility so it cannot be a surprise to find that a lot of prisoners embrace the savage sides of their nature to become animals when humanity has abandoned them. It is not fair that a system now breeds hatred instead of a positive existence. It forces men to become disgusted or fed-up with enduring everything when the ugliest realities keep getting shoved down their throats.



The thought of making people better or giving them a reason to smile is beyond this new warehouse of horrors.



The times of preparing or learning to be a part of society and being a good person outside of prison are gone. It has reneged on its promise of justice. It’s all about money now and prison has thrown away the tools to rehabilitation and replaced them with thoughts of retribution and anger without an outlet.



Everything has been ripped away so prisoners are left with themselves to make do; it is mostly bad then because even complacency can’t solve the problems or extinguish the seeds of hatred left to mature. It becomes a life-long grudge against all authority and fellow man.



It is a sad life now that society has allowed the system to subject human beings to.


Eyes should focus on Ely, Nevada where the endless desert swallows the souls of men every day and the system shrouds its prison from the minds of society. Here is a hell there to be seen, though. It is a miserable, desolate place, devoid of any compassion with only thoughts of punishment through any forum – food, personal, safety, comforts, human rights, lockdown, sanity and any other way it can think of to make imprisonment harder than it needs to be.



Enemies are constantly pitted against enemies as animosity is the atmosphere this prison likes to create so that a maelstrom is always on the verge of erupting here. It is this environment’s fault that men cannot find peace anymore and it is unforgiving about the price it exacts. Its culpability is often excused by being in the middle of nowhere; out of sight and out of mind…and yet, here, the lives of men always stand perched at the edge of an abyss.



There is a story here to be told that began on the day of January 31st, 2010 that should be a glaring blemish to the face of Ely State Prison and has only been partially told and discredited by the accounts of the system, but it happened.



One this day, even under lockdown circumstances, men banded together to fight the oppression and expose it for what it is. These men bled for conditions imposed on them; for the wrongs slapping them in the face daily and for the right to be treated humanely. The end result: Nothing changed, two officers were fired of the dozen or so that were involved and any investigation into the wrongs at Ely were stymied as it swept its actions under a rug.



Only prisoners, physically injured, are left to tell of that day as it truly happened.



A ranked officer on probationary employment and his entourage had the swagger of uncaring, modern day gunslingers without a thought of consequences or that laws actually governed them. They dared anyone to challenge their authority over and over. It had actually been an action begun way before the day in question so this wasn’t the first time. Yet no investigation took place until fourteen prisoners decided it was time to make a stand. They had just witnessed another inmate beaten bloody during a cell extraction where no resistance was offered and his blood smeared in a swath across the plexiglass window of the sally-port. At that moment, a line was crossed and a cause had been born without a face.



No other way existed for prisoners to keep a measure of dignity except force the actions of the free-roaming cavaliers of injustice to target them. It was past time; a day of reckoning was set.



In a twist of fate, after just eight brutal, bloody extractions that included a stabbed officer and a verbal threat suggesting that blood would flow all night, the stamina of prison staff was expelled. They wanted no more problems and decided to use chemical agents to finish their extractions. Opposition had changed their mind, It should be known that no emergency situation actually existed to require physical extractions when inmates were locked securely in their cells.



The arrogance of Ely State Prison forced the actions of January 31st, 2010. At the end, eight prisoners bloodied; some hospitalized. Many were left in bare cells without necessities and bleeding from their wounds while little or no medical attention was offered. No true resolution was received and the actions of Ely State Prison have not ceased while prisoners wear the scars of resistence.



Nothing has changed here; no quarter was given or spared. The days become a grind and a test against the will to stay strong or remain sane. The courts and system in Nevada are taxed beyond capabilities so they refuse to do more than sit on technicalities and talk nice to the public. Even now, their lies stink of corruption.



Prison is a game in Nevada that is ignored and no one cares to look beyond the dilapidated veneers of control. It is oppression. A torturous cycle that will return to destroy another prisoner and leave acceptable excuses in its wake. It must STOP!



Voices can be heard and actions can be taken but it starts outside these walls with any who care enough to see an upside down system set right again through reform. One day a prisoner’s life may depend on a helping hand that may not be there leaving blood on another’s hands, so reach out…



Contact the Powers That Be, contact the NDOC and try to affect change. Don’t let them continue to wiggle off of the hook…



Feel free to write to:

John Neff # 54213

P.O. Box 1989

Ely, NV 89301

Riot at Ely State Prison: It was a battle!

Source: SF Bay View

There was a riot here at Ely State Prison that took place in the most restricted unit, 4B and 4A. It lasted from Jan. 31 to Feb. 1. It was a battle!

There has been a lot of changes here at ESP that all started on Nov. 23, 2009. Rather than giving us anything to look forward to or any real incentive by implementing any constructive or productive programs, the administration has maliciously taken things away. Canteen privileges, appliances (radios, TVs, CD players and the like) and visits have all been stripped away from us so they can hold these things over our head and use them as a control method.

On Nov. 23, 2009, all of the prisoners who are serving “Disciplinary Segregation” were moved and placed in Unit 4, A Wing and B Wing, and Unit 3B. They intentionally made 4B the worst tier in this prison by strategically placing protective custody inmates and mentally ill inmates all around us on this tier, while taking appliances away, so that we have no choice but to be subjected to the everyday torture, sensory deprivation and psychological warfare deliberately placed on us by these PCs and mentally ill inmates, who constantly scream, bang, verbally assault other prisoners, snitch and inform on us and several other tactics they do to make us miserable that I cannot explain.

Not to mention the guards on this unit are the most strict, the most petty, spiteful, vindictive and retaliatory guards in this prison. These guards have intentionally gone out of their way to provoke us on several different occasions. They have taken appliances, including mine, away from inmates who committed rule violations prior to Nov. 23, 2009 – which is against policy – and prisoners who have been found guilty of minor and general write-ups have had their appliances confiscated, and even prisoners who were found not guilty of minor write-ups had their appliances taken away!

To top that off, prisoners who have gone two months without their appliances still have not had their appliances returned to them in spite of what the policy states, and the staff are not answering kites (written messages) or making any efforts to try to get the appliances returned to these prisoners.

Year after year it is take, take, take, and it has gotten to the point where we got fed up with this. We have said enough is enough. We needed to get things off of our chest!

Prisoners on 4B, including myself, kicked off a riot by flooding, burning, capturing food slots, popping sprinkler heads, forcing the guards to gear up and extract us from our cells so that we could fight with them! At least eight guards dressed in full riot gear and helmets would line up and run in our cells, trying to beat us into submission.

We fought hard and we took it to them. Many of us were successful at disarming them of their electrical shield, making sure to get our hits in before they wrapped us up and beat us down. One prisoner even got out of his cell and hit a guard so hard in the helmet that the face guard broke off!

When it was all said and done, there were over 16 cell extractions on both wings, totally three prisoners were sent to the infirmary, one of those prisoners was sent to the hospital outside of the prison because of head trauma, but the other two were returned back to their unit two days later. There was so much blood everywhere – in the cells, on the tier, in the sally port, in the hallway and on the walls – it was crazy! It was a battle!

Every guard that was on the extraction team received some type of injury. Each one had to see the nurse about something. One guard, allegedly, got stabbed during a cell extraction. He was laid out in the sally port being operated on by the nurses for about 45 minutes before he was carried out on a stretcher. After that, the guards’ spirits were deflated and they refused to run in on anybody’s cell. They showed their fear and defeat by their use of chemical agents from here on out.

We battled hard! Whites and several Latino prisoners from different factions all came together, successfully building an army in 20 minutes to fight together and take a stand! Guys that normally would not even talk to each other came together to take it to these swine.

Every one of us who got extracted received a black eye, bloody nose and many lumps and bruises, but we are proud of these battle wounds! At least I’m proud of mine! There were many foul and unprofessional acts done by the guards that directly violate the policies of the institution, and an investigation is being pursued. We are taking this as a victory.

The guards bowed down before we were ready to stop fighting. They extracted me from my cell. I quickly disarmed them of their electrical shield and got a few licks in before they wrapped me up. When they brought me back to my cell, Latinos, Whites and Blacks were all chanting my name and cheering me on. It felt good.

This is not my first riot but it was definitely the best. It’s so good to see solidarity in action, to see prisoners of different races and factions coming together like this. We need more solidarity before we can really start making positive changes in this system!

Resistance and sacrifice,

Coyote
ABC-Nevada Prison Chapter, Ely State Prison

10 December: Human Rights Day

10 December marks Human Rights Day, which commemorates the founding of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

This year, Human Rights Day will celebrate the first few famous words of the declaration “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights” with the thematic focus of non-discrimination.

May these words find their way into the hearts and minds of those who are paid to work for the prison system in Nevada and elsewhere. May the people working in the prisons always be reminded of the dignity of every creature. May prisoners realise that they too have a responsibility towards each other and the staff. Due to inequality between those locked up and those who lock others up, this is not easy. Therefore, may we all, the humans living in the world, support and help all those working and living inside the prison walls. Because we are all born free and equal in dignity and rights.

With these thoughts in mind, we can only think that prisons are evil things that create inequality and more discrimination. So the best way forward would be to diminish the amount of prisons and to create jobs that help build up a safer and better society for all.

UN Principles for detention or imprisonment

Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment .
See also: Standard Minimum Rule for the Treatment of Prisoners.

Adopted by General Assembly resolution 43/173 of 9 December 1988
Scope of the Body of Principles.
These principles apply for the protection of all persons under any form of detention or imprisonment.

Use of Terms
For the purposes of the Body of Principles:

( a ) “Arrest” means the act of apprehending a person for the alleged commission of an offence or by the action of an authority;

( b ) “Detained person” means any person deprived of personal liberty except as a result of conviction for an offence;

( c ) “Imprisoned person” means any person deprived of personal liberty as a result of conviction for an offence;

( d ) “Detention” means the condition of detained persons as defined above;

( e ) “Imprisonment” means the condition of imprisoned persons as defined above;

( f ) The words “a judicial or other authority” means a judicial or other authority under the law whose status and tenure should afford the strongest possible guarantees of competence, impartiality and independence.

Principle 1
All persons under any form of detention or imprisonment shall be treated in a humane manner and with respect for the inherent dignity of the human person.

Principle 2
Arrest, detention or imprisonment shall only be carried out strictly in accordance with the provisions of the law and by competent officials or persons authorized for that purpose.

Principle 3
There shall be no restriction upon or derogation from any of the human rights of persons under any form of detention or imprisonment recognized or existing in any State pursuant to law, conventions, regulations or custom on the pretext that this Body of Principles does not recognize such rights or that it recognizes them to a lesser extent.

Principle 4
Any form of detention or imprisonment and all measures affecting the human rights of a person under any form of detention or imprisonment shall be ordered by, or be subject to the effective control of, a judicial or other authority.

Principle 5
1. These principles shall be applied to all persons within the territory of any given State, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion or religious belief, political or other opinion, national, ethnic or social origin, property, birth or other status.

2. Measures applied under the law and designed solely to protect the rights and special status of women, especially pregnant women and nursing mothers, children and juveniles, aged, sick or handicapped persons shall not be deemed to be discriminatory. The need for, and the application of, such measures shall always be subject to review by a judicial or other authority.

Principle 6
No person under any form of detention or imprisonment shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. 1 No circumstance whatever may be invoked as a justification for torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Principle 7
1. States should prohibit by law any act contrary to the rights and duties contained in these principles, make any such act subject to appropriate sanctions and conduct impartial investigations upon complaints.

2. Officials who have reason to believe that a violation of this Body of Principles has occurred or is about to occur shall report the matter to their superior authorities and, where necessary, to other appropriate authorities or organs vested with reviewing or remedial powers.

3. Any other person who has ground to believe that a violation of this Body of Principles has occurred or is about to occur shall have the right to report the matter to the superiors of the officials involved as well as to other appropriate authorities or organs vested with reviewing or remedial powers.

Principle 8
Persons in detention shall be subject to treatment appropriate to their unconvicted status. Accordingly, they shall, whenever possible, be kept separate from imprisoned persons.

Principle 9
The authorities which arrest a person, keep him under detention or investigate the case shall exercise only the powers granted to them under the law and the exercise of these powers shall be subject to recourse to a judicial or other authority.

Principle 10
Anyone who is arrested shall be informed at the time of his arrest of the reason for his arrest and shall be promptly informed of any charges against him.

Principle 11
1. A person shall not be kept in detention without being given an effective opportunity to be heard promptly by a judicial or other authority. A detained person shall have the right to defend himself or to be assisted by counsel as prescribed by law.

2. A detained person and his counsel, if any, shall receive prompt and full communication of any order of detention, together with the reasons therefor.

3. A judicial or other authority shall be empowered to review as appropriate the continuance of detention.

Principle 12
1. There shall be duly recorded:

( a ) The reasons for the arrest;

( b ) The time of the arrest and the taking of the arrested person to a place of custody as well as that of his first appearance before a judicial or other authority;

( c ) The identity of the law enforcement officials concerned;

( d ) Precise information concerning the place of custody.

2. Such records shall be communicated to the detained person, or his counsel, if any, in the form prescribed by law.

Principle 13
Any person shall, at the moment of arrest and at the commencement of detention or imprisonment, or promptly thereafter, be provided by the authority responsible for his arrest, detention or imprisonment, respectively with information on and an explanation of his rights and how to avail himself of such rights.

Principle 14
A person who does not adequately understand or speak the language used by the authorities responsible for his arrest, detention or imprisonment is entitled to receive promptly in a language which he understands the information referred to in principle 10, principle 11, paragraph 2, principle 12, paragraph 1, and principle 13 and to have the assistance, free of charge, if necessary, of an interpreter in connection with legal proceedings subsequent to his arrest.

Principle 15
Notwithstanding the exceptions contained in principle 16, paragraph 4, and principle 18, paragraph 3, communication of the detained or imprisoned person with the outside world, and in particular his family or counsel, shall not be denied for more than a matter of days.

Principle 16
1. Promptly after arrest and after each transfer from one place of detention or imprisonment to another, a detained or imprisoned person shall be entitled to notify or to require the competent authority to notify members of his family or other appropriate persons of his choice of his arrest, detention or imprisonment or of the transfer and of the place where he is kept in custody.

2. If a detained or imprisoned person is a foreigner, he shall also be promptly informed of his right to communicate by appropriate means with a consular post or the diplomatic mission of the State of which he is a national or which is otherwise entitled to receive such communication in accordance with international law or with the representative of the competent international organization, if he is a refugee or is otherwise under the protection of an intergovernmental organization.

3. If a detained or imprisoned person is a juvenile or is incapable of understanding his entitlement, the competent authority shall on its own initiative undertake the notification referred to in the present principle. Special attention shall be given to notifying parents or guardians.

4. Any notification referred to in the present principle shall be made or permitted to be made without delay. The competent authority may however delay a notification for a reasonable period where exceptional needs of the investigation so require.

Principle 17
1. A detained person shall be entitled to have the assistance of a legal counsel. He shall be informed of his right by the competent authority promptly after arrest and shall be provided with reasonable facilities for exercising it.

2. If a detained person does not have a legal counsel of his own choice, he shall be entitled to have a legal counsel assigned to him by a judicial or other authority in all cases where the interests of justice so require and without payment by him if he does not have sufficient means to pay.

Principle 18
1. A detained or imprisoned person shall be entitled to communicate and consult with his legal counsel.

2. A detained or imprisoned person shall be allowed adequate time and facilities for consultation with his legal counsel.

3. The right of a detained or imprisoned person to be visited by and to consult and communicate, without delay or censorship and in full confidentiality, with his legal counsel may not be suspended or restricted save in exceptional circumstances, to be specified by law or lawful regulations, when it is considered indispensable by a judicial or other authority in order to maintain security and good order.

4. Interviews between a detained or imprisoned person and his legal counsel may be within sight, but not within the hearing, of a law enforcement official.

5. Communications between a detained or imprisoned person and his legal counsel mentioned in the present principle shall be inadmissible as evidence against the detained or imprisoned person unless they are connected with a continuing or contemplated crime.

Principle 19
A detained or imprisoned person shall have the right to be visited by and to correspond with, in particular, members of his family and shall be given adequate opportunity to communicate with the outside world, subject to reasonable conditions and restrictions as specified by law or lawful regulations.

Principle 20
If a detained or imprisoned person so requests, he shall if possible be kept in a place of detention or imprisonment reasonably near his usual place of residence.

Principle 21
1. It shall be prohibited to take undue advantage of the situation of a detained or imprisoned person for the purpose of compelling him to confess, to incriminate himself otherwise or to testify against any other person.

2. No detained person while being interrogated shall be subject to violence, threats or methods of interrogation which impair his capacity of decision or his judgement.

Principle 22
No detained or imprisoned person shall, even with his consent, be subjected to any medical or scientific experimentation which may be detrimental to his health.

Principle 23
1. The duration of any interrogation of a detained or imprisoned person and of the intervals between interrogations as well as the identity of the officials who conducted the interrogations and other persons present shall be recorded and certified in such form as may be prescribed by law.

2. A detained or imprisoned person, or his counsel when provided by law, shall have access to the information described in paragraph 1 of the present principle.

Principle 24
A proper medical examination shall be offered to a detained or imprisoned person as promptly as possible after his admission to the place of detention or imprisonment, and thereafter medical care and treatment shall be provided whenever necessary. This care and treatment shall be provided free of charge.

Principle 25
A detained or imprisoned person or his counsel shall, subject only to reasonable conditions to ensure security and good order in the place of detention or imprisonment, have the right to request or petition a judicial or other authority for a second medical examination or opinion.

Principle 26
The fact that a detained or imprisoned person underwent a medical examination, the name of the physician and the results of such an examination shall be duly recorded. Access to such records shall be ensured. Modalities therefore shall be in accordance with relevant rules of domestic law.

Principle 27
Non-compliance with these principles in obtaining evidence shall be taken into account in determining the admissibility of such evidence against a detained or imprisoned person.

Principle 28
A detained or imprisoned person shall have the right to obtain within the limits of available resources, if from public sources, reasonable quantities of educational, cultural and informational material, subject to reasonable conditions to ensure security and good order in the place of detention or imprisonment.

Principle 29
1. In order to supervise the strict observance of relevant laws and regulations, places of detention shall be visited regularly by qualified and experienced persons appointed by, and responsible to, a competent authority distinct from the authority directly in charge of the administration of the place of detention or imprisonment.

2. A detained or imprisoned person shall have the right to communicate freely and in full confidentiality with the persons who visit the places of detention or imprisonment in accordance with paragraph 1 of the present principle, subject to reasonable conditions to ensure security and good order in such places.

Principle 30
1. The types of conduct of the detained or imprisoned person that constitute disciplinary offences during detention or imprisonment, the description and duration of disciplinary punishment that may be inflicted and the authorities competent to impose such punishment shall be specified by law or lawful regulations and duly published.

2. A detained or imprisoned person shall have the right to be heard before disciplinary action is taken. He shall have the right to bring such action to higher authorities for review.

Principle 31
The appropriate authorities shall endeavour to ensure, according to domestic law, assistance when needed to dependent and, in particular, minor members of the families of detained or imprisoned persons and shall devote a particular measure of care to the appropriate custody of children left with out supervision.

Principle 32
1. A detained person or his counsel shall be entitled at any time to take proceedings according to domestic law before a judicial or other authority to challenge the lawfulness of his detention in order to obtain his release without delay, if it is unlawful.

2. The proceedings referred to in paragraph 1 of the present principle shall be simple and expeditious and at no cost for detained persons without adequate means. The detaining authority shall produce without unreasonable delay the detained person before the reviewing authority.

Principle 33
1. A detained or imprisoned person or his counsel shall have the right to make a request or complaint regarding his treatment, in particular in case of torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, to the authorities responsible for the administration of the place of detention and to higher authorities and, when necessary, to appropriate authorities vested with reviewing or remedial powers.

2. In those cases where neither the detained or imprisoned person nor his counsel has the possibility to exercise his rights under paragraph 1 of the present principle, a member of the family of the detained or imprisoned person or any other person who has knowledge of the case may exercise such rights.

3. Confidentiality concerning the request or complaint shall be maintained if so requested by the complainant.

4. Every request or complaint shall be promptly dealt with and replied to without undue delay. If the request or complaint is rejected or, in case of inordinate delay, the complainant shall be entitled to bring it before a judicial or other authority. Neither the detained or imprisoned person nor any complainant under paragraph 1 of the present principle shall suffer prejudice for making a request or complaint.

Principle 34
Whenever the death or disappearance of a detained or imprisoned person occurs during his detention or imprisonment, an inquiry into the cause of death or disappearance shall be held by a judicial or other authority, either on its own motion or at the instance of a member of the family of such a person or any person who has knowledge of the case. When circumstances so warrant, such an inquiry shall be held on the same procedural basis whenever the death or disappearance occurs shortly after the termination of the detention or imprisonment. The findings of such inquiry or a report thereon shall be made available upon request, unless doing so would jeopardize an ongoing criminal investigation.

Principle 35
1. Damage incurred because of acts or omissions by a public official contrary to the rights contained in these principles shall be compensated according to the applicable rules or liability provided by domestic law.

2. Information required to be recorded under these principles shall be available in accordance with procedures provided by domestic law for use in claiming compensation under the present principle.

Principle 36
1. A detained person suspected of or charged with a criminal offence shall be presumed innocent and shall be treated as such until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.

2. The arrest or detention of such a person pending investigation and trial shall be carried out only for the purposes of the administration of justice on grounds and under conditions and procedures specified by law. The imposition of restrictions upon such a person which are not strictly required for the purpose of the detention or to prevent hindrance to the process of investigation or the administration of justice, or for the maintenance of security and good order in the place of detention shall be forbidden.

Principle 37
A person detained on a criminal charge shall be brought before a judicial or other authority provided by law promptly after his arrest. Such authority shall decide without delay upon the lawfulness and necessity of detention. No person may be kept under detention pending investigation or trial except upon the written order of such an authority. A detained person shall, when brought before such an authority, have the right to make a statement on the treatment received by him while in custody.

Principle 38
A person detained on a criminal charge shall be entitled to trial within a reasonable time or to release pending trial.

Principle 39
Except in special cases provided for by law, a person detained on a criminal charge shall be entitled, unless a judicial or other authority decides otherwise in the interest of the administration of justice, to release pending trial subject to the conditions that may be imposed in accordance with the law. Such authority shall keep the necessity of detention under review.

General clause
Nothing in this Body of Principles shall be construed as restricting or derogating from any right defined in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

1 The term “cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment” should be interpreted so as to extend the widest possible protection against abuses, whether physical or mental, including the holding of a detained or imprisoned person in conditions which deprive him, temporarily or permanently. of the use of any of his natural senses, such as sight or hearing, or of his awareness of place and the passing of time.

Losing our minds…

…Every day here one or another person breaks down, begins to scream out uncontrollably, banging on the walls, overcome with rage. They´ve lost their minds. The other prisoners yell and curse at them “Shut the f. uuup”… After so many years of this shit I´ve learned to block it out. But often I wonder if one day it´ll be me the other prisoners are cursing at..