Officials investigate inmate death at Ely State Prison

How many more people must die alone, unexplained, without medical care, after very long time inside Nevada’s prisons?

Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014, by Ana Ley, Las Vegas Sun

State corrections officials are investigating the death of an Ely State Prison inmate who was found unconscious inside his cell earlier this week.

Paul Skinner, 53, was discovered by prison staff on Tuesday. Medical personnel unsuccessfully tried to revive Skinner until paramedics rushed him to the William Bee Ririe Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

….

Read the rest here…

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Corrections department flouts new law requiring autopsies for inmates who die in custody

 In: Las Vegas Sun, Dec. 16, 2013
By: Ana Ley

Another inmate at Northern Nevada prison dies

Four deaths in one month, in a medical facility… It is high time Nevada’s people and chosen representatives demands oversight and an independent Ombudsman for its NDOC-run prisons!

From: LV Sun, Oct 26, 2013:

Another inmate from the Northern Nevada Regional Correctional Center has died, marking the prison’s fourth death this month.

Joseph Oxford-McArthur, 31, was found unconscious in his cell Monday and was taken to Carson Tahoe Regional Medical Center, where he died four days later. Oxford-McArthur had been behind prison bars since July, serving a one- to three-year sentence for domestic battery. His case originated in Churchill County.

Officials with the Nevada Department of Corrections said no other details about Churchill’s death were available Saturday.

Read the rest here

Two prisoners die in state prisons after being found in cells

From: KSNV MyNews

LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3) — Nov 17th 2012

Two prisoners have died over the past two days after being found unresponsive in their state prison cells.

Nevada Department of Corrections officials said in a news release today that John Biasi, 55, was found dead in his single cell at High Desert State Prison about 4 p.m. Friday.

Biasi was serving 10 to 25 years for second-degree murder and a consecutive term of 5 to 15 years for use of a deadly weapon. He was convicted in Clark County and had been in state custody since November 2011.

NDOC said today that Winston Kelly, 38, was found unresponsive in his single cell during the 11 a.m. head count at Ely State Prison. He was taken to William Bee Ririe Hospital in Ely and was pronounced dead at 12:12 p.m. He was convicted of first-degree murder, robbery and use of a deadly weapon in Elko County

Officials said both deaths are being investigated and no other information is available.

Another Death in Nevada’s graveyard: Ely State Prison

From a letter sent to us:
Rumor has it there was another death at Ely State Prison, on the date of August 17th, 2012. Allegedly, someone had choked their cellie to death. This supposedly took place in Unit 8, on the workers’ side this time. It remains to be seen if the wardens will completely close Unit 8 down, permanently. There was just a death in Unit 8, earlier this year, in march, on the non-workers side, which resulted in that wing of Unit 8 being locked down permanently.

Any time something like this happens at Ely State Prison, all of the prisoners are punished, whether they had something to do with it or not. This is called “Group Punishment,” and it really serves no significant purpose, other than to mete out more repression to the prisoners. It obviously does not stop more deaths from occurring.

Back in 2004, when someone allegedly got killed while on tier time in Unit 7, the warden locked Unit 7 down for good.

Back in 2005, when a prisoner allegedly threw jalapenyo juice in his cellie’s eyes and allegedly stumped him out to the point of hospitalization, the jalapenyos were taken away from the prisoners.

Back in 2002, when prisoners allegedly came out on tier time with chili cans tied up inside their laundry bags and allegedly whacked other prisoners over the head with the chili cans, in an alleged gang fight, that was the end of all canned foods. Now the prisoners buy all of their food in packages.

Back in 2006, when a prisoner allegedly used a metal rod from the inside of a typewriter (see  the exposé of Douglas Potter here), all the typewriters were taken away from all of the prisoners.

In some ways this makes sense, but at the same time, realistically speaking, this does not prevent prisoners from finding other things to use as weapons, or from finding more creative ways to attack, harm or kill, and as we have seen a couple times at E.S.P. now: when prisoners have no weapons they will use their tax hands to kill.

So, in all these cases (and believe me, there’s more), we see more acts of group punishment, but we don’t see how these acts of group punishment are stopping deaths from happening. How many times has someone killed their cellie at E.S.P.?  And out of all the times this has happened, when has the Administration ever said, “We are going to stop letting you have cellies!”? Never. In fact, most of the deaths that happen at Ely State Prison happen in the cells, by their cell mates, allegedly.

So wouldn’t it make sense to forbid the prisoners to be in a cell with other prisoners? Yes, of course it would make sense, but it is highly unlikely that this would ever happen, because the Administration needs to cell prisoners up with other prisoners, or else they would have no other place to put them. So Administration does what they need to do, to serve their interests, at the cost of other prisoners’ lives, and to shift the blame from themselves, they keep finding ways to take it out on all of the other prisoners that had no involvement, meanwhile, year after year, more prisoners die.

I can see why Ely State Prison is labeled “The Graveyard,” there are so many deaths there. It is a locked down, maximum security prison, all but half of one unit – the workers unit – which is on one side of Unit 8, incidentally the same place this recent death occurred. After perusing the article son Nevada Prison Watch’s website, seeing all of the atrocities that occur at ESP, and especially after reading Douglas Potter’s candidly written exposé, it definitely seems that the caseworkers have a role to play in many of these deaths, as they are the ones who approve of these bedmoves to occur, and choose who goes in what cell and with whom, but instead of taking any accountability themselves, they find ways to shift the blame on others. Well, you can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time, and I’m not buying it.
          The alleged author of this alleged report, allegedly chooses to remain anonymous. August 19th, 2012

See for references in this article the following posts:

See also:

Prisoner at Ely State Prison killed

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

We recently received this short observation:

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

Here is the AP newsitem in the Las Vegas Sun:

Ely State Prison inmate found dead with stab wound

The Associated Press

Friday, March 23, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read the rest here.

Nevada prison inmate dies in Las Vegas days after apparent suicide attempt in cell in Ely

Sad news from Ely, again someone died there:

From: The Republic:

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Last Updated: January 26, 2012 – 3:43 pm

LAS VEGAS — Authorities say a 44-year-old Nevada prison inmate has died at a Las Vegas hospital, days after he was found unconscious with a bed sheet around his neck in his cell in Ely.

The Clark County coroner said Thursday that William Ellis Jenckes Jr. was pronounced dead early Tuesday at University Medical Center. A cause of death is pending the results of blood toxicology tests.

State prisons spokesman Steve Suwe (SOO-ee) says Jenckes was found alone in his cell Jan. 15 and taken to a hospital in Ely before he was flown by medical helicopter about 250 miles to Las Vegas.

Jenckes was serving 20 years to life in prison on a murder with deadly weapon conviction in Clark County. He had been sentenced in December 1985.

Full link to story:
http://www.therepublic.com/view/story/d9a5d94f092441b98b15f6e1298cf712/NV–Prisoner-Death-Nevada/

Officials investigating Nevada prison inmate death

Another human being dies in prison, not of old age…
One of the latest people to subscribe to the Newsletter.
Rest in peace. Our condolences to Eric’s loved ones.

From: Reno Gazette Journal

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Nevada prison and sheriff officials are investigating after a 31-year-old inmate was found dead in his cell at Ely State Prison.

The state Corrections Department issued a statement Monday saying that Erik Houser was found dead about 2:20 p.m. Sunday during a routine prisoner check at the prison more than 200 miles north of Las Vegas.

Corrections spokesman Kevin Ingram says an autopsy was planned, and White Pine County sheriff’s and prisons officials are investigating.

Ingram couldn’t immediately confirm that Houser, then 28, was recaptured in Reno in February 2008 after walking away from a low-security prison camp in Elko County.

The rest here.

Ely State Prison: A Place of Depravity, Death and Despair

Ely State Prison is a place of death, stagnation, misery, pain, loneliness and indeterminate lockdown. If you were to take a walk on one of these depressing tiers back here in “the hole”, you would hear many disembodied voices ring out, yelling in anger and frustration, trying to tell you how bad it is for us in here, in between the isolated confines of steel and stone.

This is a maximum security prison, but not everybody here is a security risk, but if you were to ask these pigs that, they’d probably tell you otherwise, just to try to justify the fact they’re keeping us warehoused in here, whether we deserve it or not. With time things change, and usually for the worse. Deterioration is a normal occurrence in here. In fact, if you were to ask the prisoners around here if they think the conditions here will get better or worse, most of them will tell you things are only going to get worse. Pessimism and hopelessness permeate the minds and attitudes of the average prisoner in here. There’s nothing much to look forward to, besides the next meal, and maybe a letter in the mail, if you’re lucky.
Back in the day, ironically when E.S.P. was actually opened up (when we were allowed group yard, tier time, porters, etc.), the majority of the prisoners here were actually befitting of the status: maximum security. Back then, a man was sent to Ely State Prison for failure to adjust in another, less secure prison, violence, escapes and things of that nature. But even then, that could also mean he was disruptive, someone who organized other prisoners, led religious services, or filed too many legal writs or grievances.
Not every man at ESP is told why he’s here these days, and not every man here has committed a violent crime. Not every man here has done anything serious to even warrant maximum security status (like for example, I have a neighbour here in the hole with me right now who was transferred up here simply for contraband). A prisoner has no chance to appeal a transfer before being sent to ESP, and sometimes arrives in the middle of the night without warning. Brought into a world of darkness, locked into a cell, left to get stale and stagnant as he deteriorates, like a mouldy piece of bread.
Nobody belongs in a world where they’re buried alive, where they’re in a tomb for the dead, basically. And the police has total control, and many of them frequently abuse that control, either on a psychological level, or on a physical level. And over the days, weeks, months and years, a prisoner who is confined to this every day misery, begins to degenerate. I’ve seen it happen, over and over again. Nobody belongs in a world like this, where death permeates the atmosphere. Where pressure is applied so constantly that all it does is make these men hard and mean as time goes by.
Some of these guys in here feel they only have 2 or 3 choices now: escape, snitch or suicide. Nobody has escaped from here yet, but many turned into snitches, and many have committed suicide. And others have succumbed to psychotropic medications, which is a form of both escape and suicide. For so many of us in here, there’s nothing to strive for, no aim, no goals, no hope, no light at the end of their tunnel, and they just give up; give in. There’s no love here, just the artificial love that you’ll find in the gang culture of prison life. This is a terrible place to be, especially for someone who has to return back to society.
All you have to do is read a little psychology to figure out what’s going on, to understand what’s being done to us in here. They try to break us down, sever our family and social ties, dominate us, talk shit to us, treat us like children, going out to their way to try to keep us stagnant and ignorant, and always out to break our spirits. Needless to say, I pass around books, articles and notes on psychology, so that prisoners can get a deeper understanding about things. Not just about being in prison, but also about how our minds work, personality, emotions, why we act the way we act, and why we are the way we are. It’s very important to actually be able to come to an understanding of these things; to raise our level of conscious and to be able to elevate our thinking under these circumstances is very important in more ways than one, and it’s also necessary for our survival in here, where psychological warfare is being waged on us every day.
The depravity and despair in this graveyard continuously pushes men to death or insanity. I wrote an article on November 18th, 2009, about the mysterious death of death row inmate Timothy Redman. November 18th, 2009, was the day he died, and I was there when it happened. This is a prime example of the daily depravity that takes place in this hellhole. Approximately an hour after Redman allegedly tried to grab a correctional officer by the wrist and pull his arm through the food slot (apparently the pig had to struggle to free himself), an extraction team of officers was made up to physically and forcefully remove Redman from his cell, or at least to try. Redman refused to surrender and to be placed in handcuffs, and he did so by displaying a weapon. What’s cold about this whole thing is that the policy (administrative regulation) even states that any time a prisoner has a weapon in his cell, his water and toilet is to be shut off, an officer is to be stationed outside of his cell, and nothing is to come in or go out of his cell – not even meals, and this officer is supposed to stay stationed outside of his cell until the prisoner either gives the weapon up, or for 72 hours, and then they have to decide what to do from there, whether excessive force is to be used or not. Did this happen? No. These pigs refused to follow their own rules and a man died as a result.
I can tell you exactly what took place. After Redman refused to surrender, the pigs then proceeded to spray one can of pepper spray into his cell. After that the senior officer in the control bubble commenced to open Redman’s cell so the pigs could run in there on him and retaliate, and then remove him from his cell. But the cell door was jammed from the inside, and they couldn’t get it open. Obviously Redman was no dummy, he knew how to keep the pigs out, and he knew why it was so important to do so. That’s a situation that you usually don’t win. They come in and beat your ass, and after they’ve got you fully restrained, they beat you some more as they yell out “Stop resisting! Stop resisting!” So, over the course of two hours, the pigs emptied a total of 6 canisters of gas into Redman’s cell, and then sprayed a seventh canister one time. They would spray him, and then go hide out in the upper storage room, so that the gas wouldn’t affect them (Redman was housed in 3-B-48, right next to the upper storage room). When they were finally able to open Redman’s cell to get him out, he was dead. His face was purple, his body was blue and blood was coming out of his nose. His boxers were stained with feces and urine and he had what appeared to be a smile on his face. The nurses and doctors tried to revive him, but to no avail.
What’s mysterious about this whole situation was that when they pulled Redman out of his cell, there was no rope tied around his neck or anything. But they say he hung himself. They said it was a suicide. But did he really hang himself, or was he murdered by six cans of pepper spray? Was it a cover-up? People need to be concerned about this, and they should demand to see the video footage of the extraction, just to make sure, because the whole thing seemed mysterious to the majority of the inmates who saw the incident take place.
All seem to agree that Redman died from the pepper spray. They think he was murdered. Who knows what happened. All humans are capable of murder, and death row inmates have been murdered before under McDaniel’s administration. I know this much: a couple of hours after they carried Redman’s body out of the unit, 2 of the wardens, the coroner, and the investigator were all standing outside of Redman’s cell laughing, smiling and joking around, thinking it was funny, until a prisoner piped up and said, “What are you laughing at? If that was one of your own who died, you wouldn’t find it very funny, now would you?” They got quiet. But it seemed like they were happy to see Redman die. At dinner time, a guard who was on the extraction team came into the unit and yelled out loud, so everybody could hear, “Cell 48 said he doesn’t want his tray.” It just goes to show how much regard these pigs have for our lives. They have no love, no mercy for us. The whole scene was a blatant violation of the administrative regulations and a blatant disregard for Redman’s life. And the really cold, cold, part about it was, when the coroner asked the warden, on two separate occasions, “How should I decide this?”, “How do you think I should decide this, suicide or murder?” The warden looked around, seen that prisoners were standing alert at their doors and said, “I can’t decide that, that’s your job.” But what would even propel the coroner to ask such an odd question like that in the first place? It makes you wonder…
I knew Redman personally. He wasn’t really a friend of mine, but someone I talked to occasionally. I don’t know what set him off to go after the pig, but I do know this: Redman was a death row inmate who has had to endure 23-hour lockdown while on H.R.P. (High Risk Potential status: supermax custody level) for 16-17 years straight. I’ve heard him talking once about how year after year administration is stripping one privilege away from us each year. Tobacco, milk, scrambled eggs, hot lunches, food packages, clothing packages, etcetera, etcetera. They just take, take, take and keep you locked down in a cell with a death sentence hanging over your head. Oh yeah, and I know that they were messing with Redman’s mail too. He seemed to think that his wife left him due to this; because certain letters never got to her. So, I think it’s safe to say, with all these things taken into consideration, you have a man who has nothing to lose, and no hope in sight, who has basically been driven to a point where life doesn’t even matter anymore.
There’s a lot of people like that in here. They weren’t always like that though. They’ve deteriorated, and have been broken, and just stopped trying, stopped caring, with no one or nothing to help pull them through. It’s a sad, sad story, about depravity and despair. Some of us fight and struggle (psychological and spiritually), trying to make it through this, trying to better ourselves and better our positions in life, and some just give up all hope. It’s easy to give up in a filthy, foul-ass place like this, where nobody cares about what you’re going through, or about where happens to you, one way or another.
The guards that work here don’t care about us, they’re not trained to care about us, they are only trained to control us. Ely State Prison is an unproductive, unhealthy environment, even for these pigs. It has been documented that prison guards have the highest rates of heart disease, drug and alcohol addiction, divorce – and the shortest lifespans – of any state civil servants, due to the stress in their lives. Prison guard are in constant fear of injury by prisoners, and the fear of contracting diseases always lingers in their minds, since prisons are normally flooded with all kinds of diseases, from hepatitis C, tuberculosis, to AIDS.
From the first day in the academy these guards are trained to believe that they are taught to believe that they are the “good guys” and that prisoners are the “bad guys”, They are pretty much programmed into fearing and despising us – before they even come into contact with any of us! They are led to believe that all prisoners are manipulative, deceitful and dangerous, and that all prisoners are the scum of the Earth. So no, they don’t care about us, they are not even allowed to care about us. We are not even human to them. Needless to say, none of this leads to rehabilitation, but on the contrary, it only contributes to the everyday depravity here in this hellhole.
I’m writing about all of this for a reason though. I’m here to expose the abuse, the injustices, the disparity and hopelessness. I’m here to raise awareness about all of these things, and I’m here to help seek solutions. One of the things I’d like to help Nevada prisoners understand is that the situation for us out here is deplorable. There is a real problem with this whole system, and if we don’t recognize these problems, we will never find solutions, not to mention the possibility that we ourselves could even be contributing to many of these problems. Please believe, the way they’ve got us doing our time is not the way we’re supposed to be doing our time. This whole prison is “the hole”, there’s no general population here at E.S.P., there’s no incentive, no programs, no rehabilitation, nothing. We have way more coming to us than this! We are not supposed to just lay down and accept this, we have to start finding ways to come together, we have to start striving to make the necessary changes that will help better our positions in life, so that we don’t have to keep coming back to these dead ends.
Furthermore, like Ikemba always says, there’s no real level of activism in Nevada. Prisoners do not have any available resources, bookstores for Nevada prisoners, no prisoners’ rights advocacy groups, no solid help from the outside, whatsoever. In order to make changes on the inside, we need support from the outside. We must take it upon ourselves to build a proper support structure for Nevada prisoners, and we have to do this from the ground up!
So, if you’re a prisoner doing time in Nevada and if you have family/friends out here in Nevada – or anywhere else on the outs – I would like to encourage you to explain to them how bad the situation is for you/us in here. Let them know that we cannot expect any type of real rehabilitation from this system; explain to them that the administration is not going to do anything to help us further our growth and development, or push us close to becoming reformed, socially functioning individuals. We have to take it upon ourselves to do these things and we can’t do it without a proper support structure from people on the outside.
Talk to your families, talk to your friends, talk to your loved ones out there (show them this newsletter if you have to), see what they would be willing to do to start up programs for Nevada prisoners. Something needs to be done, but nothing will improve unless prisoners start taking the initiative. The guys who have to do life sentences, or who have to be here for the duration, I encourage you to start learning the law, use it as a tool to make changes for everybody; start stepping up to the plate, instead of waiting for others to do it for you. As long as we keep trying, sooner or later something has to give. It’s better to try than to do nothing, especially when we’re living like this! We can do anything we put our minds to, it all starts with a thought, and what we think about we become, so let’s get it cracking. 
Until then, we are just going to sit here, warehoused in this misery, as the years go by, more people losing their minds, more deaths and suicides, more repression, more rules being placed on us, making it harder on us, more restrictions, more losses of privileges and whatever else they want to take from us. We will sit here with sad looks on our faces, as anger and hatred eat us up inside. The despair will lead to depravity, and the depravity will do us in. Death is the only outcome tomorrow, for those that don’t start taking action today.
Solidarity and Respects
Coyote

Wrongful Death Lawsuit in case for Nolan Klein´s wrongful death

From Justicefornolanklein.com:

This Wrongful Death Suit will allow Nolan’s innocence to continue on.

One of the damages: Newly discovered evidence found in the Washoe County District Attorney’s file has been hidden since Nolan’s arrest.

Now a jury will hear the facts of Nolan’s criminal case and it will no longer be left up to the Courts that continue to protect the wrongdoings of the Washoe County DA’s office.

See here for the complete text of the suit.