From the Sparks Tribune (but not yet published online…) (click to see larger version).
From the Sparks Tribune (but not yet published online…) (click to see larger version).
Next Meeting of the Board of Prison Commissioners: Januari 12, 2010.
Write and send in your comments for the record. Maybe you have questions? Grievances? Unanswered questions? Complaints? Suggestions? This is your chance to submit the comments and if you are in the area, to read them out to the Board.
It may be that you feel not heard by the Board, but remember, if we do not tell them, they can always say the “did not know.” Now, they can not deny that there are abuses and extremely bad conditions in the prisons of Nevada. Because we told the Board about them. Witnesses from inside prisons, and family members, friends of prisoners, professionals like nurses testified of the bad state of the prisons in Nevada.
Should we care? Of course! Most prisoners will be free one day, living in the community again. Do we care about Human Rights? Well prisoners are humans too, even if you or I want to place all our anger, frustration on them. Human rights are not only for ´good´ people….
Investing in proper rehabilitation of prisoners is vital for the rest of the state and country. It costs more to incarcerate a person than to rehabilitate someone, because if it goes well, they will never return to prison. I am not sure whether the authorities want emptier prisons though….
Even better investment would be to start with good education and jobs. Not jobs in the guard/security incarceration industry I mean (although there is a shortage of personnel, leading to frustrations and stress at the workplace, where people are being incarcerated. Maybe also less long sentences would be a solution to create less stressful situations?), but jobs with dignity and respect. Rehabilitating prisoners, and preventing crime from happening by providing better education and help for families with children, and creating less criminal offenses would be a very important step.
Nursing homes with razor wire
Are elderly prisoners really a threat to public safety?
By David Fathi
December 23, 2009
Sometime in the 1970s, the United States began a love affair with incarceration that continues to this day. After holding nearly steady for decades, our prison population began to climb as criminal justice policy took a sharply punitive turn, with the massive criminalization of drug use, “three strikes” laws and other harsh sentencing practices. More people were going to prison, and staying there longer. By 2005, the prison population was six times what it had been in 1975.
One little-known side effect of this population explosion has been a sharp increase in the number of elderly people behind bars. According to the Justice Department, in 1980 the United States had about 9,500 prisoners age 55 and older; by 2008, the number had increased tenfold, to 94,800. That same year, the number of prisoners 50 and older was just shy of 200,000 — about the size of the entire U.S. prison population in the early 1970s.
People age 50 or 55 may seem a bit young to be classified as elderly. But because their lives have often been characterized by poverty, trauma and limited access to medical care and rehabilitative services, most prisoners are physiologically older than their chronological age would suggest, and more likely to have disabling medical conditions than the general population. One study cited by Ronald H. Aday in his 1994 article in Federal Probation concluded that the average prisoner over 50 has a physiological age 11.5 years older than his chronological age.
With 1 in 11 U.S. prisoners serving a life sentence — in some states, the figure is 1 in 6 — it’s no surprise that the number of elderly prisoners is skyrocketing. In 2007, the New York Times profiled then-89-year-old Charles Friedgood, a New York state prisoner who had served more than 30 years of a life sentence for second-degree murder. Although he had terminal cancer and had undergone several operations, including a colostomy, he had been denied parole five times before being released in 2007. Friedgood at least had the opportunity to apply for parole; in some states, parole has been abolished, and a life sentence means exactly that.
Being in prison is hard on anyone, but the elderly face special dangers, particularly if they are ill or disabled. Some have complex medical and mental health needs that prisons are ill-equipped to handle. Many prisons are not accessible to persons with mobility impairments; for them, bathing, using the toilet or even getting in and out of their cells can be a difficult, dangerous challenge. And older prisoners are more likely to be robbed, assaulted or otherwise victimized.
Some states have so many elderly prisoners that they have built special facilities to house them. Several years ago I visited the Ahtanum View Corrections Center, Washington state’s prison for the elderly. Everywhere I looked were aged, frail, disabled people, some of whom could barely move without assistance. The prison’s webpage helpfully points out that a volunteer clergy team is available to assist prisoners with “end-of-life issues.”
The main justification for incarceration is to protect public safety. But it’s hard to see the public safety rationale for keeping so many elderly people in prison.
It’s even harder to understand the economic justification. Incarceration is expensive — about $24,000 per year for the average prisoner, according to a 2008 Pew Center on the States report. Keeping someone over 55 locked up costs about three times as much. Given that criminal behavior drops off dramatically with advancing age, this is a major investment for very little return.
As the United States faces its worst fiscal crisis in decades, many states are taking a hard look at their prisons, which consume a large and increasing portion of state budgets. As part of this long overdue re-examination, lawmakers should ask whether so many elderly people really need to be in prison and whether the state should be in the business of operating nursing homes with razor wire.
David Fathi is director of the U.S. division at Human Rights Watch.
Copyright © 2009, The Los Angeles Times
December 16, 2009
Bill Would Reform Law That Denies Access To Courts For Victims Of Prison Rape And Other Abuses
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: (202) 675-2312 or email@example.com
WASHINGTON – Congressman Robert Scott (D-VA) introduced landmark legislation today that is aimed at reforming how prisoners can bring lawsuits defending their rights. Congressman Scott’s bill would reform the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) which was originally passed by Congress in 1996 as a way to stem the tide against what were thought to be frivolous lawsuits by prisoners. Since that time, the law has been used repeatedly to deny justice to victims of rape, assault, religious rights violations and other serious abuses. The American Civil Liberties Union has been fighting for necessary reforms to the PLRA on several fronts and lauded the introduction of Congressman Scott’s bill, H.R. 4335, The Prison Abuse Remedies Act of 2009 (PARA).
“The PLRA was passed to curb what were thought to be frivolous lawsuits but it has instead slammed shut the doors of the courthouse to our country’s prisoners who have suffered true and legitimate harm,” said Michael Macleod-Ball, Acting Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. “Prisoners can suffer torture, unsanitary conditions and degrading treatment and still not meet the requirements to file a lawsuit under the PLRA. Our nation’s prisoners should not continue to be further shackled when it comes to their legal rights.”
For over a decade, the ACLU has opposed certain provisions of the PLRA that prevent prisoners from bringing lawsuits about inhumane treatment and undermine constitutional protections. For example, the PLRA requires that prisoners exhaust the internal complaint process of their correctional institution before they can file a lawsuit. This requirement may sound simple, but in practice it allows prison officials to apply complex and often arbitrary rules that make it impossible for a prisoner to complete grievance processes, especially if the prisoner is mentally ill, illiterate or a juvenile. In addition, this requirement exposes prisoners to retaliation from guards, especially where prisoners are required to give their paperwork to the very guards who have abused them, leading to intimidation, more abuse and a culture where prisoners fear filing complaints because the consequences of standing up for one’s rights can ultimately make life in prison worse.
“For too long, prisoners have been impeded from seeking redress of their most fundamental constitutional and human rights in federal court,” said Amy Fettig, staff attorney with the ACLU National Prison Project. “It is imperative that the rule of law be returned to U.S. prisons and jails by restoring the ability of federal courts to hold them accountable for violating the Constitution.”
One of the worst requirements of the PLRA mandates that prisoners suffer a narrowly defined physical injury in order to get compensatory damages. Under this provision of the law, some courts have found that victims of sexual assault or prisoners who have had their right to religious freedom violated are denied relief under the law because they were not “physically injured” for purposes of the PLRA.
Application of the PLRA to youth is especially dangerous because children are even more vulnerable than adult prisoners to sexual abuse and other victimization, and many youth either do not know of or do not understand the grievance systems in their facilities, and many more fear retaliation for filing grievances. As a result, the PLRA effectively bars many incarcerated youths, their parents and advocates from being able to address serious problems with their conditions of confinement.
“The PLRA only worsens an already crippled criminal justice system,” said Macleod-Ball. “The new bill is more important than ever with more than one in 100 Americans behind bars, ever-shrinking state budgets and increasingly abusive conditions of confinement. We urge Congress to pass the Prison Abuse Remedies Act as quickly as possible.”
For more information on PLRA visit: www.aclu.org/prison/restrict/32803res20071115.html
This comes from our Allies at Arizona Prison Watch, who do a good job in creating consciousness in the Prison Industrial Complex. They also supply a creative and clear voice to protest the killing of AZ inmate Marcia Powell in an outdoor cage, on May 20th, 2009.
Protest on 12-18 at AZ DOC by SWOP and others. Open Letter from the Sex Workers Outreach Project and allies to Charles L. Ryan, Director of the Arizona DOC
When: Friday December 18th, 2009 NOON
Where: AZ Department of Corrections
1601 West Jefferson St.
Phoenix, AZ 85007
Sex Workers and allies are coming together in front of the AZ Department of Corrections on December 18th, as part of International Day To End Violence Against Sex Workers, an annual event to call attention to violence committed against sex workers all over the globe. Marcia Powell was a prisoner of the State of Arizona who collapsed and died from heatstroke last May after being locked in an outdoor cage and ignored for four hours in 107 degree heat.
What: Protest Rally: Marcia Powell’s death, AZ Department of Corrections.
You are invited to join us in Tucson, Arizona on December 17, 2009 (performance art/public installation and a candelight vigil) and in Phoenix, Arizona on December 18, 2009 (protest rally on the steps of the Arizona Department of Corrections).
Bring red umbrellas, to stand in solidarity! Signs are welcome.
Sex Worker Rights are Human Rights!
Open Letter from the Sex Workers Outreach Project and allies to Charles L. Ryan, Director of the Arizona Department of Corrections. Posted and delivered December 11, 2009.
December 17th is International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. This event was created by Sex Workers Outreach Project (SWOP-USA), a national social justice network dedicated to the fundamental human rights of sex workers, focusing on ending violence and stigma through education and advocacy.
In 2009, sex workers from around the globe met gruesome deaths and endured unspeakable violence. Some died at the hands of a solitary perpetrator; others were victims of serial “prostitute killers.” While some of these horrific stories received international media attention (Boston, Grand Rapids, Albuquerque, Tijuana, Hong Kong, Moscow, Great Britain, Cape Town, New Zealand), other cases received little more than a perfunctory investigation. Many cases remain unsolved, sometimes forever.
Today we are here for Marcia Powell, who was incarcerated for solicitation of oral sex and sentenced to over two years in prison – despite being found so mentally impaired at the time of sentencing that she had just been appointed a legal guardian. On May 19, 2009, after informing prison staff that she was suicidal, Marcia was placed in an uncovered outdoor cage at Arizona’s Perryville prison for women, where she would presumably be “observed” until she was transferred to a more appropriate location. Reportedly, that’s what they did with women who caused problems there: they put them in a cage and “waited them out”. The same cages were used for “recreation” and as waiting rooms for those needing medical attention: the prisons filled up so cages were erected in the yards to add more space. Putting someone in there was routine; women were left in there all the time beyond policy, so no one thought much about Marcia complaining – except the other prisoners. Four hours later – after her pleas for water were ignored or mocked by guard after guard – she was found, collapsed, in 107-degree heat, and died on May 20th in the custody of the Arizona Department of Corrections.
Marcia was the victim of dual forms of injustice, as a sex worker and as a prisoner. Sex Workers Outreach Project and other organizations are fundamentally opposed to criminalization of sex work. The prohibition of this work results in selective prosecution that puts some of the most vulnerable in our society at the mercy of a system that robs them of their basic respect and dignity. For decades efforts to curb sex work have not only failed to reduce incidences of prostitution, but they have corrupted our justice system resulting in selective enforcement, racial profiling and inhumane treatment of those who don’t have the financial resources to fight back. Violence against sex workers is epidemic and rarely taken seriously. The criminalization of prostitution legitimizes this abuse so that sex workers are the targets of violent crime with little recourse. Marcia was referred to – after her death – as a “biological serial killer” in an employee blog (The Lumley Vampire). That suggests that her degraded social status as a “criminalized” sex worker had a considerable effect on the way she was treated at the hands of ADC staff the day she was left to die. It also raises the question of her abuse being the result of bias against her for a disability she may have also had.
Women prisoners are also the victims of an unjust system, facing extreme medical neglect, sexual harassment and abuse. The women’s prison population in the United States has grown 800% in the past three decades, twice the rate of the male prison population. 2/3 of women in prison were incarcerated for non-violent offenses. (Institute on Women and Criminal Justice). As the death of Marcia Powell in the care of the Arizona Department of Corrections (ADC) shows, prison sentences can include the most extreme form of neglect and abuse.
We are here for Marcia and other prisoners, and sex workers, as we call for respect for human rights. As a result of an internal investigation, 16 people were disciplined. An investigation is currently underway to determine whether or not criminal charges should be filed in her death.
“It’s not enough to change a few people and policies. There is a culture embedded in the ADC that is pervasive throughout the prison system that reflects a disregard for the fundamental human rights of prisoners. There are exceptions to that, and the prisoners know who they are,” says Peggy Plews of Arizona Prison Watch.
No critical analysis of the institutional culture that contributed to this abuse has been made public, but that analysis is essential to ending state violence.
In response to the death of Marcia Powell while in the custody of the Arizona Department of Corrections, we expect the following:
1. The Arizona Department of Corrections has an influential role in shaping policy. We ask that leadership be provided by the ADC in exploring models of restorative justice and addressing strategies such as criminal code and sentencing reform, early release programs for low-risk prisoners, community support through harm reduction, and re-entry programs to stop the revolving door syndrome that traps so many people.
2. An analysis of violence against sex workers (both inside and outside the Arizona prison system) should be conducted and a plan should be developed for reducing violence against sex workers in Arizona.
– An analysis of violence against sex workers (including male and transgendered workers) should include victimization while in state custody, police brutality, and domestic and occupational violence.
– Efforts to reform the prisons must go deeper than investigations into individual responsibility for Marcia’s Powell’s death. An analysis of how the culture of the correctional system employees/officers contributes to violence against prisoners is crucial.
3. A community-organized process for oversight in the prisons should be recognized which includes the voices of prisoners and their families.
4. Grievance policies should be reviewed and strengthened.
5. Cages should never be used to hold prisoners or to address overcrowding, which is the current practice. Overcrowding must be addressed through reducing incarceration and recidivism rates.
6. Allocate sufficient resources to address the special needs of prisoners with psychiatric and physical disabilities, including education about complications of medications.
7. May 20th should be observed each year in memory of Marcia Powell and other prisoners who died in state custody. On that day ADC should prepare a report addressed to prisoners, families and community-based oversight groups on human rights violations that have occurred over the past year and actions ADC has taken in response. The report should also include the Department’s plan for the upcoming year to improve respect for human rights.
Sex workers around the United States are shocked to see this criminalization result in a death sentence for a prostitution crime. This is one of many cases in which we observe conditions that are abusive, degrading and dangerous ranging from rape and other violence, to extreme medical neglect. These conditions violate the human rights of all persons deprived of their liberty to be treated with humanity and with respect for the inherent dignity of the human person, and to be free from cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
The UN Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) should be applied to all individuals.
In the wealthiest country in the world, where taxpayers spend billions on the prison system, it is horrific that this justice system has led to a death sentence for someone arrested for prostitution. It’s been over 60 years since the UN Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) has been adopted. The Arizona Department of Corrections has been woefully negligent, in following the human rights protocol, which Eleanor Roosevelt, along with so many others, have developed. In less than a decade we’ve almost doubled the amount spent on our prisons in Arizona, and the Arizona Department of Corrections fails even the most basic requirement, to keep prisoners safe.
We ask that the Arizona Department of Corrections look at the 30 articles in the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights and review the treatment of individuals in the prison system in the light of these principles. Every ADC employee/correctional officer should have training in human and prisoners’ rights principles and practices. ADC should provide leadership that demonstrates a respect for human rights.
We look forward to the day when prisons are no longer used to address our most pressing social problems. As social justice activists we challenge the discrimination that leads to criminalization and incarcerations. We promote human rights for all, as well as specific law reform. Recently enacted by the Arizona legislature, felony charges should be rescinded for prostitutioni charges. Although the ADC does not have jurisdiction over many aspects of these injustices, ADC does have great deal of influence in many of these matters and ADC is also directly responsible for how prisoners are treated within this system. Sex Worker Outreach Project, in tandem with Arizona Prison Watch and Friends of Marcia Powell expects that the ADC establish real justice in the death of Marcia Powell.
Sex Workers Outreach Project
Arizona Prison Watch
Friends of Marcia Powell
Best Practices Policy Project
Prison Action News (Boston Anarchist Black Cross)
Ely State Prison Dec 8, 2008
I am in a maximum security lock up in Ely, Nevada. The event I want to
write you about was a group event, but I would like to mostly write about
my personal action and not others’ involvement.
On March 15th, 2007, in the maximum lock up unit we (inmates) were
notified that we would have to now go by a new rule which was
implemented due to just a couple of inmates actions. The new rule was
that we would have to put on our orange jumpsuits before correctional
officers would open our food slots to serve us our meals, but that we
would have to take our jumpsuits off again before being placed in
handcuffs. This rule was implemented due to a few inmates
masturbating in front of female guards when they would look into cells.
Which most of us do not do or agree with being done, and I personally
would not ever do. The point of what I’m saying is they were trying to
punish us and have us acting like their puppets just for a few inmates’
On March 15th, 2007, I began to refuse my food trays. But, what I would
do is refuse to put on m jumpsuit so they would refuse to open my slot to
give me food. I would tell them I wasn’t refusing my meal but just
refusing to put on my jumpsuit. Then I would file an emergency
grievance for being denied food. I did this for the 3 meals on the 15th.
On March 16th, 2007 I continued this form of food strike. Also, on the
morning of the 16th I pushed a lot of paper out under the door and lit it
on fire, in turn lighting my door on fire. On March 16th at 6:30 pm
count I was sure to cover my window for count (and had my cell set up
so I could fight correctional officers if they came to do a cell extraction.)
A correctional officer opened my slot to look in for count, but could not
see me due to a sheet hanging across the cell. I happened to have a 4
inch piece of sharpened metal in my hand, at which time I rushed around
the sheet and tried to stab the correctional officer in the face, but he had
heard me a second earlier and jumped back as my hand came out of
the slot. The c/o ran to tell the senior, at which time I threw baby oil all
over the tier outside my door – so when the cell extradition team arrived
it would get on the bottom of their boots and I’d have a better chance at a
fight. And yes, I had a weapon, but they also came with eight officers,
chemical agents, tasers, taser shields – so you have to be cunning to
outwit them for a good fight. Well, the cell extraction team came and
with chemical agents (strong pressurized pepper spray) so I got to the
back of the cell up on the bunk, hunched low, with a wet towel over my
nose and mouth, and my shank in the other hand. So, they gave me
commands to cuff and I didn’t say anything so they sprayed an issue of
chemical agents. After ten minutes they opened my slot again and
commanded me to cuff up. I didn’t say anything, so they sprayed more
chemical agents into my cell. But they refused to come into my cell
because I had a weapon, and they didn’t want anything close to a fair
fight. So they posted a CO outside my door on a bucket so my weapon
can’t get out of the cell, and alert the other COs not to open my slot. All
night COs were coming on my intercom speaker talking shit to keep me
awake, and after 6:00 am on March 17th, they started hitting my door to
try to keep me awake. (March 17th 6:00 am I must say changed their
minds and took away and vanquished the new rule). So everybody got
breakfast except me and at this point I had not eaten for 2 1/2 days. But I
still refused to give up my weapon because I wanted a fight. At about
10:00 am the corrections response team was conducting cell searches on
Well at this point I’d had it and took down the window covering and told
the c/o’s to come in, and they said they would not as long as I had a
weapon, so I gave them the weapon and told them to come in. They
requested me to take down the sheet covering half of my cell and
uncover and turn on the light. So I did all of this, and they still refused to
perform a cell extraction. The cowards didn’t have the heart to come in
on one unarmed man with any number of them and their gadgets. They
needed to search my cell, but all they would do is keep spraying me with
chemical agents and not come in. Well I figured our fight was won- due
to them taking the rule away and I personally made them show and show
all their cowardly ways in front of everyone. I stripped out, cuffed and
went to shower to wash chemical agents from my body. I wanted to
write about this because it involved many people to stand up on a
combined effort to let them know we wouldn’t stand for something.
And it was a rarity because they actually changed something we wanted
changed. I was just one of many in this fight.
Robert McGuire #83383
Ely State Prison
Ely, NV 89301
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.
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.
From: Nevada Appeal:
Monday, December 7, 2009
Prison officials are investigating the death of an inmate at Northern Nevada Correctional Center over the Thanksgiving weekend.
Director of Corrections Howard Skolnik said inmate Jamie Kline’s death while he was in the prison Regional Medical Center is under investigation.
Skolnik said Kline habitually refused to take his psychotropic medicines which meant the medical staff had to make him take them.
“We had an individual who we have repeatedly had to give forced meds,” Skolnik said. “Apparently the last time we forced his meds, he died.”
He said the preliminary autopsy showed no bruising on the inmate’s body. He said a full autopsy including chemical testing will be conducted to determine the cause of death along with an investigation of the circumstances that led to his death.
Kline, 45, was serving a maximum 15 year sentence for a burglary and grand larceny conviction. He arrived at the prison in May 2007.
Note: what would an investigation done by the prison officials themselves be worth?
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.
Minds evaporate in these prisons, life becomes redundant after sitting in these cells day in and day out. Doing the same thing over and over again, your brain begins to deteriorate. We are like water in a pond; there´s no flow in our lives, so we slowly become stagnant, and just like stagnant water we build up with all kinds of bacteria and we become poisonous. We need to flow, we need to stay active, we need to stay productive, or else we become stagnant and poisonous; we become dull and senseless and our lives become miserable and pointless.
Stagnation is misery and in these conditions, misery is death. Feed your mind, tune your intellect, read, study, and learn new things. Apply yourself, apply the new knowledge you learn. Grow, develop create and transcend. Rise above the dirty pool of stagnant water, breathe, let your mind flow until it develops into a beautiful mind, a dangerous mind, a brilliant mind, a powerful mind. Let your mind flow.
Ely State Prison
(Sent to NPW directly from the author on October 27th, 2009)