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

More news on Timothy Redman in WV media

Our friends from Arizona Prison Watch noted the following:

I’m not entirely sure what to make of this article, except perhaps that it’s good the “mainstream media” has acknowledged other voices (and witnesses) weighing in someplace, and is picking up that the Nevada activists are calling for a federal investigation. The rest of the story is kind of pointless – they don’t even report what the letters from prisoners have been saying – in fact the reporter seems to almost justify Redman’s demise.

Redman’s crimes should be irrelevant to the way he was reportedly tormented in his final hours: we have minimal standards of humanity by which we treat even the worst among us, or else we become too quickly like them. But his history there explains why the guards would be so contemptuous of him – making the version of his death told by prisoners even more credible. Clearly there are a lot of folks in the Ely area who disagree with that notion and think Redman got what was coming to him; I guess they’d have to in order to fully embrace the prison culture that so clearly degrades them. Sounds like everyone with a badge and uniform in Ely has already been acquitted, and the “investigation” is hardly even underway.

The feds should be in on this one – no sign so far. Guess they have too many migrants to round up.

Ely State Prison, Nevada Department of Corrections
October, 2009.

Prison reform groups call for federal investigation after former Ripley man’s suicide in his Nevada death row cell
By Greg Matics
The Jackson Star-News
Thu Dec 10, 2009, 12:13 PM EST

Ely, NV –

Prison reform groups are calling for a federal investigation in the aftermath of a former Ripley man’s suicide in his death row cell at a Nevada prison.

Timothy L. Redmen (AKA Timothy Lee Redman), 45, hanged himself with his shoelaces in his cell at Ely State Prison on November 18 to culminate a standoff with guards.

Reports allege Redmen had barricaded and jammed his cell door preventing its opening and brandished a “shank (a homemade weapon composed of a sharpened metal rod with a bedsheet handle)” in an altercation with guards.

However, additional reports published online by prison reform groups on web-sites like Prison Abolitionist, Make the Walls Transparent, Nevada Prison Watch and Nevada Prison Voice claim information received from fellow inmates at the maximum security prison at Ely, Nevada, alleging that prison guards emptied several canisters of chemical mace into Redmen’s cell over a two-hour period of “torture” prior to him taking his own life and further allege they did nothing to prevent his suicide.

In the aftermath, the cell door had to be removed by maintenance workers for a cororner to get to Redmen and for his body to be removed from the cell.

An autopsy was ordered performed and an investigation initiated.

A three-judge panel sentenced Redman to death in 1990 for the brutal murder of former West Virginian Max Biederman, then of North Carolina. Biederman was vacationing in Las Vegas when his path fatally crossed that of Redman.

Biederman was shot by Redman near a low budget motel. Redman was preparing to flee the scene when he discovered Biederman still alive. He then fired more bullets into his victim, mutilated his face, pried out teeth and cut off his hands. Investigators believed Redman brutalizing the corpse was an attempt to conseal the identity of his victim.

Biederman’s severed hands were later found along a highway to Idaho where Redman and a junvenile female companion were pulled over for speeding in Biederman’s stolen motor home.

Redman was arraigned on charges of first degree murder, robbery and a use of a deadly weapon enhancement in Clark County, Nevada, District Court on March 21, 1990. He was convicted of all charges on November 28, 1990 after a jury tial, A three-judge panel sentenced Redman to death by lethal injection for the murder and added two, 15-year prison terms—one each for for robbery and for the use of a deadly weapon enhancement.

Former Jackson County Deputy Sheriff Paul Clark remembers Redman all too well. Clark was a Jackson County Jail corrections officer and deputy when he was assaulted and beaten by Redman and two other jail inmates during an escape from the courthouse lockup. Redman was in jail for breaking and entering at the time of the escape.

Clark was moving the prisoners from one side of the jail to the other when the trio jumped him.

Clark said Redman had a knife he had made from a Bic pen and a razor blade from a disposable razor. After beating him, the inmates dragged Clark into a small air conditioning room, took his keys and escaped.

Redman was the last of three to be recaptured. He was returned to the jail three days after the escape by a family member.

Clark was one of the Jackson County witnesses who testified about Redman’s violent past at his murder trial and again at his sentencing hearing.

Redman had a considerable list of criminal activity in Jackson County aside from his jail break. He was charged with assault and/or battery and carrying or concealing a dangerous weapon on four occasions.

Redman’s direct appeal of his death sentence was denied by the Nevada Supreme Court in March, 1992. A subsequent federal appeal was denied in in October, 1992.

Since then, Redman was charged with beating two prison guards with a deadly weapon in March, 1993. He was tried, convicted of two counts of battery by a prisoner with a deadly weapon and sentenced to two more consecutive 20-year prison terms.

Subsequent appeals of his convictions and death sentence were denied—the last one by the Nevada Supreme Court this summer.

New Blog Spartacus Project of Nevada comments on Timothy Redman´s violent death

We have a new website in our midst of Nevada prisoner advocates and human rights abuse watchers:

The Spartacus Project of Nevada has joined the ranks, and is now online at this address:

<a href="http://spartacusprojectofnevada.blogspot.com

Following the terrible news of the violent death of Timothy Redman in Unit 3 of Ely State Prison on November 18th, 2009, The Spartacus Project of Nevada`s Director Don Hinton wrote the following comment:

It is time for this abuse and foolishness to stop!

I have corresponded with Mr. Redman in the past. His crime was terrible, but he deserved better than what he got from Ely State Prison and E. K. McDaniel, warden of that sump hole prison. Mr. Redman’s treatment is pervasive throughout the Nevada Prison System, and there are many examples to show this treatment is extensive. Revert back for a moment to the Report of Doctor Noel on Ely State Prison’s medical treatment of prisoners–that were left to literally rot to death, because the prison’s medical staff, and the warden, refused to give medication to prisoners.

Tim Redman was a young man when his crime was committed and received no help while in prison. Tim needed psychiatric help, not murdered by the hands of his keepers. His death was calculated and preventable. This is what Nevada has to look forward to today and in the future: “Murdered in Nevada’s prisons by Nevada Department of Corrections guards and administrators”.

Nevada’s Department of Correction, their employees and their director is beyond disgraceful–they are pathetic, and Nevada’s voters are permitting this behavior to continue. Aren’t we all so proud? OK, Nevadan’s, remember this: “Paybacks are a bitch”.

The picture we display of Mr. Redman, where the side of his face is torn off, was obtained by Ms. Mercedes Maharis, of the Spartacus Project of Nevada–from the district court in Ely, Nevada. This photo was labeled by Warden, E.K. McDaniel, of Ely State Prison: as “a trophy photograph”.

Way to go State of Nevada! Aren’t we the proud Nevada Citizens to have such great wardens and employees of the Department of Corrections? One could almost wonder how these men, Nevada’s correctional guards and wardens, treat their wives and families–couldn’t one? We know how they treat Nevada’s prisoners.

Does any citizen believe this type treatment towards prisoners is going to make them safer from the prisoners scheduled for release–when they are released from prison, with $20.00 in their pockets to start their lives over? Wake up Nevadan’s–this is your tax dollars going down into the pockets of the Department of Correction’s pay checks. You are not getting a good return on your dollars.

The harsh reality of life is the example you see everyday. Do you want this same treatment the prisoners receive from Nevada’s prisons to be brought home to your parents, grand parent and/or children, and possibly–YOU? Only you can stop this abuse, before it is at your door step, thanks to the department of corrections. You might want to think about this for a minute–it is just a heart beat away. It is time to get this Idiot Governor to wake up to the reality of what is being done to Nevada’s prisoners by way of “Legal Rehabilitation”. He needs to fire the entire department of correction’s administrators and many guards, and start over with decent human beings as “keepers of Nevada’s errant ones”. If not, do not expect things to get better and your tax dollars going to more deserving programs.

It is time for this abuse and foolishness to stop!

Donald Hinton. Sr., Director
Spartacus Project of Nevada