More sad news from Nevada´s prisons…
By F.T. Norton, Dec 23rd 2010
A man awaiting trial on sexual assault charges was found dead in his jail cell on Wednesday night.
Carson City Sheriff Ken Furlong said Rodrigo Enrique Romero, 20, who pleaded not guilty earlier this week to sexual assault, kidnapping, destruction of property and battery with intent to commit sexual assault, was found in a segregated cell about 7:30 p.m. unconscious with part of a sheet around his neck. The other end of the sheet was attached to the bed, said Furlong.
Jail staff and paramedics tried unsuccessfully to revive Romero.
Furlong said according to the preliminary investigation, Romero was last seen alive by detention staff some 15 minutes before he was found unresponsive.
He said Romero had been having issues with other inmates which was why he was in a segregated cell.
Read the rest here.
This my first time writing to the NPN. I felt it was vital for me to talk to all the young rads throughout the Nevada system. I want them to know that it´s time to open our eyes and wake up. We must grow up and put all childish behaviors to the side and move as one unit, because right now all we´re doing is giving the pigs what they want which is separation and division. With this we can not make a change or better our situation. To all my young rads through the system I encourage you to turn off the TV´s , put up the radios and begin to Educate Yourself. Read and Study for 2 hours a day. You can progress in this as time goes by but you have to start somewhere.
By John Dewar Gleissner, Esq
Pretty bad. From 1987 to 2007, the U.S. prison population nearly tripled. The American prison population in 2004 was eight times larger than it was in 1954. In 2008, it was 40 times greater than it was in 1904. On a per capita basis, there were 15 times more sentenced prisoners in 2008 than in 1904. At the beginning of 2008, 2,319,258 Americans were in prison or jail, more than in any other country in the world, and a greater percentage of our population is in prison or jail than in any other country in the world. At the start of 2009, the total incarcerated population in the United States was 2,424,279. That is just the number behind bars, four times more people than are in the U.S. Army, more than Utah in the last census. “The United States incarcerates more people than the Russian Federation, South Africa, Mexico, Iran, India, Australia, Brazil, and Canada combined.” With 5% of the world’s population, the United States has 25% of the world’s prisoners. As U.S. Senator Jim Webb of Virginia put it: “With so many of our citizens in prison compared with the rest of the world, there are only two possibilities: Either we are home to the most evil people on earth or we are doing something different – and vastly counterproductive.” In 2010, more Americans are serving life sentences than ever before. Prisoners now have their own inspirational lifestyle publication, Prison Living Magazine.
In 2007, the entire U.S. correctional population, which includes jail and penitentiary prisoners plus those on probation and parole totaled 7,328,200. By the end of 2008, the number of probationers and parolees rose again. Add in ex-convicts who have completed sentences, parole, or probation, and all who are slaves to their addictions, and the number of living Americans who are now or have ever been enslaved exceeds 10,000,000. “Over the course of a year, 13.5 million people spend time in jail or prison, and 95% of them eventually return to our communities.” Reducing the number behind bars does not directly decrease the correctional population. Over two-thirds of the correctional population is outside prison, on probation, on parole or awaiting trial. When the prison population peaks and then declines, it will probably just mean more offenders are on the outside.
The hyper-incarceration statistics for African-American males are much worse. We incarcerate one in nine African-Americans between the ages of 20 and 34. In 2003, it was calculated that “At current levels of incarceration newborn black males in this country have a greater than a 1 in 4 chance of going to prison during their lifetimes, while Hispanic males have a 1 in 6 chance, and white males have a 1 in 23 chance of serving time.” By 2007, just four years later, the U.S. Department of Justice estimated that African-American males have a 32% chance of going to prison or jail – becoming slaves – in their lifetimes. Young black male high school dropouts are almost 50 times more likely to wind up behind bars than the average American, and 60% of that demographic cohort eventually goes to prison.
“Prison costs are blowing holes in state budgets but barely making a dent in recidivism rates.” The total cost exceeded $49,000,000,000.00 in 2007, and fairly recent figures show a national per prisoner operating cost of $23,876.00 per year. One study pegged the total costs at over 60 billion dollars. Costs are still rising, taking ever-larger shares of state general funds and crowding out other priorities. “The national inmate count marches onward and upward, almost exactly as it was projected to do last year. And with one in 100 adults looking out at this country from behind an expensive wall of bars, the potential for new approaches cannot be ignored.” Forward thinking criminologists, recognizing the lack of good answers in penology, actively seek new evidence-based techniques from other disciplines. The State of California pays $49,000 per prisoner per year according to its governor at mid-year 2009, who also said the national average is now $32,000 per prisoner per year. With more inmates serving life-without-parole and longer sentences, incarceration costs continually increase due to rising health-care expenses for older convicts.
Read the rest and the notes here.
From: Las Vegas Sun
By Steve Green
Dec. 16, 2010
The city of North Las Vegas along with police and jail officials were sued Wednesday over the 2009 killing of a jail inmate whom attorneys say was at risk of assault by other prisoners because he was suspected of a sex crime involving children.
Sergio Morales, father of Sergio Hugo Morales-Paredes and administrator of his estate, filed suit in U.S. District Court for Nevada over the death of his son, allegedly at the hands of another prisoner.
The suit charges wrongful death, negligence and that the civil rights of Morales-Paredes were violated when Morales-Paredes was placed in a cell in the North Las Vegas Detention center with his alleged killer, Armando Munoz-Ornelas, 25 at the time of the incident and whom the lawsuit described as a “violent detainee.”
Attorneys for the father and estate of Morales-Paredes, 31 at the time of his death, said in the lawsuit Morales-Paredes was a pre-trial detainee incarcerated as a misdemeanor offender and that he was the victim of an “execution/murder” at the jail.
Read the rest here.
New York Times
By SARAH WHEATON
Published: December 12, 2010
The prison protest has entered the wireless age.
Inmates in at least seven Georgia prisons have used contraband cellphones to coordinate a nonviolent strike this weekend, saying they want better living conditions and to be paid for work they do in the prisons.
Inmates said they would not perform chores, work for the Corrections Department’s industrial arm or shop at prison commissaries until a list of demands is addressed, including compensation for their work, more educational opportunities, better food and sentencing rules changes.
The protest began Thursday, but inmates said that organizers had spent months building a web of disparate factions and gangs — groups not known to cooperate — into a unified coalition using text messaging and word of mouth.
Officials at the Georgia Department of Corrections did not respond on Sunday to phone and e-mail messages seeking comment.
Smuggled cellphones have been commonplace in prisons for years; Charles Manson was caught with one in a California penitentiary this month. Officials worry that inmates will use them to issue orders to accomplices on the outside or to plan escape attempts.
But the Georgia protest appears to be the first use of the technology to orchestrate a grass-roots movement behind bars.
Reached on their cellphones inside several prisons, six participants in the strike described a feat of social networking more reminiscent of Capitol Hill vote-whipping than jailhouse rebellion.
Conditions at the state prisons have been in decline, the inmates said. But “they took the cigarettes away in August or September, and a bunch of us just got to talking, and that was a big factor,” said Mike, an inmate at the Smith State Prison in Glennville who declined to give his full name.
The organizers set a date for the start and, using contact numbers from time spent at other prisons or connections from the outside, began sending text messages to inmates known to hold sway.
“Anybody that has some sort of dictatorship or leadership amongst the crowds,” said Mike, one of several prisoners who contacted The New York Times to publicize their strike. “We have to come together and set aside all differences, whites, blacks, those of us that are affiliated in gangs.”
Read the rest here.
We received this comment:
One way to start downsizing the prison-industrail complex is to call for an Intermediate Sanctions Bill (BDR 509) in the 2011 Legislature. The plan could reduce the prison population by 400 people next year. Please email Assembly Judiciary Chairman William Horne at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell him to support the Bill. Or better yet, call him at (702) 457-6963.
(sent in by Dahn Shaulis)
Here are the demands of the Georgia Prisoner Strikers:
A LIVING WAGE FOR WORK: In violation of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution prohibiting slavery and involuntary servitude, the DOC demands prisoners work for free.
· EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: For the great majority of prisoners, the DOC denies all opportunities for education beyond the GED, despite the benefit to both prisoners and society.
· DECENT HEALTH CARE: In violation of the 8th Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishments, the DOC denies adequate medical care to prisoners, charges excessive fees for the most minimal care and is responsible for extraordinary pain and suffering.
· AN END TO CRUEL AND UNUSUAL PUNISHMENTS: In further violation of the 8th Amendment, the DOC is responsible for cruel prisoner punishments for minor infractions of rules.
· DECENT LIVING CONDITIONS: Georgia prisoners are confined in over-crowded, substandard conditions, with little heat in winter and oppressive heat in summer.
· NUTRITIONAL MEALS: Vegetables and fruit are in short supply in DOC facilities while starches and fatty foods are plentiful.
· VOCATIONAL AND SELF-IMPROVEMENT OPPORTUNITIES: The DOC has stripped its facilities of all opportunities for skills training, self-improvement and proper exercise.
· ACCESS TO FAMILIES: The DOC has disconnected thousands of prisoners from their families by imposing excessive telephone charges and innumerable barriers to visitation.
· JUST PAROLE DECISIONS: The Parole Board capriciously and regularly denies parole to the majority of prisoners despite evidence of eligibility.
Prisoner leaders issued the following call: “No more slavery. Injustice in one place is injustice to all. Inform your family to support our cause. Lock down for liberty!”
Also see this website run by Thousand Kites: Support Georgia Prisoners and this interview on DemocracyNow.org with Elaine Brown, co-ordinator:
Here is a follow up on the website of Change.org.
Authorities announced Friday they were investigating a slaying at High Desert State Prison.
An inmate at the prison was killed at 7:30 p.m. Thursday night during a fight with another inmate, Nevada Department of Corrections officials said.
The name of the victim is being withheld pending notification of family. The prison is located at 22010 Coldcreek Road in unincorporated Clark County near Indian Springs.
The Department of Public Safety is leading the investigation and the Department of Corrections is assisting.
Officials said the cause of death is yet to be determined.
Dahn Shaulis said:
The murder of the prisoner at HDSP last week gives NDOC another rationale to make HDSP the max. While the murder may appear to be a security failure, and it was, it is also a victory for higher-level state officials.
As I previously mentioned to Nevada Prison Watch, officials for years have had a plan to make HDSP the max prison (to include a new death chamber). The idea actually precedes Howard Skolnik’s administration. I was in a meeting at HDSP when Interim Director Glen Whorton briefly discussed the plan.
The recession is the only thing that delayed some of the plans for “prison city”, the center of the prison-industrial complex in Nevada.
10 U.S. Prisons With Impressive Libraries
December 5th, 2010
Prison is not a fun place to be: it’s turned hardened criminals into scared submission, and the daily grind of just sitting in a cell — either by yourself or with a “roommate” you can’t stand — can play tricks on your mind that no nightmare can touch. But a lot of prisoners around the country are allowed very small indulgences, and with the participation of gracious volunteers and many public library systems, getting access to books, computers and legal resources is possible, even for those sitting behind bars. Prison libraries range from institutions that are open every day to books-by-mail programs, but these 10 U.S. prisons are well-known for their contributions to literacy, education, and rehabilitation. Or at least they should be.
1. Racine Correctional Institution: This Wisconsin correctional facility and reformatory school focuses on using education and positive influences to rehabilitate young people, and encouraging the inmates to experiment with the arts is part of that mission. In 2006, the Racine Correctional Institution Library hosted a poetry slam and competition, and a blog was kept to track the progress of the institution’s Shakespeare Project. Fifteen to twenty inmates studied and rehearsed Shakespeare plays for nine months, working with theater artists and preparing to perform for the other prisoners and for the community.
2. Maryland Pre-Release Prisons: Prisoners awaiting release in Maryland can now access well-equipped libraries full of career-planning resources to help them transition into a responsible, productive life in the real world. In 2007, the Maryland Correctional Education Libraries acquired two bookmobile units that travel to each pre-release library, providing prisoners with access to forty-inch smart screens, computers, wireless access, as well as databases and books.
3. Folsom State Prison Library: This legendary prison also has an impressive library overseen by the the California Department of Corrections. Boasting a law library and library focused on educating inmates, the Folsom State Prison Library also offers a vocational-intern program to prepare certain inmates for the working world outside of jail. The law library has a Paralegal Studies Program which trains inmates in research skills and helps them find forms and legal resources around the library.
4. Colorado Correctional Libraries: The Colorado State Library’s Institutional Library Services unit oversees twenty-three libraries in its Department of Corrections, and the librarians stationed at each prison can feel pretty isolated, overwhelmed, and even abandoned. But in 2006, a unit-wide intranet was created to unite the librarians and offer them support and resources, making it easier for them to share ideas and create helpful tutorials and other materials to their inmates and patrons.
5. National Institute of Corrections Online Library: The correctional agencies and librarians of the National Institute of Corrections have created a user-friendly, highly educational e-library here. It’s a resource center for corrections agencies at all levels who want to find tutorials, training, technical assistance, program development assistance, and research studies to improve their facilities.
6. Main Prison Library, Angola: Angola, also called “The Farm,” is the country’s largest maximum-security prison, and many of the prison staff and their families live and play on the premises, too. The Main Library was dedicated in 1968, but there are actually four other branches that serve Angola inmates as well, called Outcamp libraries. Cooperating with the State Library of Louisiana, the Angola libraries participate in an inter-library loan program. In addition to the library system, certain inmates who don’t have a GED or high school diploma, as well as inmates scoring low on the Test of Adult Basic Education are allowed to take classes in vocational subjects like automotive technology.
7. Illinois State Prisons: The Urbana-Champaign Books to Prisoners project aims to educate the inmate population of local state prisons by providing them with as many books as possible, mostly lent out by individual libraries and regular volunteers from around Illinois. As an avenue for also educating Illinois residents about the state prison system, prisoners and volunteers interact regularly, and many of the inmates’ own writings and art pieces are published. Lending libraries have been set up in the two local jails, and the program also offers books by mail to all Illinois inmates.
8. Norfolk County prison: This Massachusetts prison once inspired Malcolm X to turn himself into a voracious reader and research everything he could about the Muslim religion and Nation of Islam. He wrote articles for the inmates’ newsletter, participated in weekly debates at the prison, and holed up in the prison library, copying an entire dictionary to learn new words. Today, the prison still provides education programs to inmates in the culinary arts, computer technology, HVAC, college transition, ESL, reading enrichment, and getting a GED.
9. Bucks County Prison Library: Pennsylvania’s Bucks County Correctional Facility works with the local Lions Club to produce reading material for the blind. In fact, the inmates are the ones who actually “translate” the books and reading material into Braille.
10. The “standing library” at Rikers: This sprawling New York City jail houses around 14,000 inmates at any given time, ten different jails, schools, gyms, a track, barbershops, grocery stores, and a car wash, among other amenities. The New York Public Library provides all kinds of library services and volunteer projects in conjunction with the Department of Corrections, but a new weekly program — called “the standing library” — operates a bit like a book fair, hosted in one of Rikers’ gyms. Inmates are taken down to the gym in groups and are allowed to pick books off the shelves and sit and read for a while. Books are also taken around to prisoners in solitary confinement, who are allowed one extra book to read.
When, after reading this, you think: ´Let´s make Ely State Prison the nr 1 prison library in the country!´Or even in the State, well here is your chance:
The Ely State Prison Bookdrive is happening now! Any book that you think would be uplifting, educational, or inspirational to prisoners, please send them to:
White Pine County School District
Mountain High School
1135 Avenue C
Ely, Nevada 89301
Attention: Ms. Thiel / E.S.P. Library Donations
Please make sure to go through all of your books, removing money, papers or anything that you may have left inside of your books, because the officers will thoroughly inspect each book before they are inducted into the E.S.P. Library.
Please talk to your friends, family, co-workers and classmates, ask them if they have any old books that they don’t want or need any more. We really want you to help us turn the E.S.P. library into a real library. Help us bring meaning and positive change to these prisoner’s lives.
There is no rehabilitation, no programs, no real educational/vocational opportunities for these guys incarcerated at Ely State Prison. We want you to help us give them that opportunity, we want you to help us help them. We want you to help us liberate these prisoners’ minds and transform their lives through knowledge, education and higher learning. Please get involved in this life-changing project. There’s nothing more empowering than knowledge! Thank you for your time and concern.
Check here for a list of the type of books most wanted. Thank you! Even one book may change someone for the better and give them a new chance…
By Cy Ryan – Las Vegas Sun
Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2010 | 10:18 a.m.
CARSON CITY – After 45 years in corrections, Howard Skolnik is going to call it quits as director of the Nevada Department of Corrections.
Skolnik, 66, said he will retire by Jan. 3 from the job of overseeing nine prisons.
Read the rest here.