Remembering Natalie Smith

On May 24th, 2021, our comrade, friend and former Nevada Cure Director (Secretary) Natalie Smith passed away from breast cancer.


I wanted to write about Natalie, because she meant so much to so many. She was a teacher and some called her a mentor, she was a fierce advocate and she was a writer. She was so much more than what we can write, and her energy lives in all the people and issues she touched.

Natalie once wrote: “My career was spent teaching high school in the 2nd biggest high school in Los Angeles, where I advocated for my poor/working class/immigrant students when they were being abused as well. Yes, that work made life a little harder than if I would have just sat back and watched the abuse. But it was worth it.”

I remember Natalie as an enthusiastic and driven person, giving all her strength to combating injustices, fighting for and with people who are marginalized. I got to know Natalie in 2009, when we were both fighting – together with prisoners and others – to get the dreadful and inhumane, cruel lack of medical care inside Nevada’s prisons to the attention of those who are supposed to represent the people. It was an ongoing fight.

In 2011, after John Witherow was released on parole, Nevada Cure was re-established by John and Natalie, with a new board of directors, organized to challenge the many human rights abuses that we also started gathering and disseminating on our website.

Natalie among many correspondences and other activities, transcribed many hundreds of testimonies of misuses of power, abuses, violence of guards to prisoners, which were published on the website, testifying what is actually going on inside the prisons.

There are many people Natalie reached out to, and so many things she undertook in her life, I can only write about my own experience with her, for me this means they were good and just things, brought to the world with her passion for justice.

In 2016 we met for the first and last time, when I was invited to stay at Natalie and John’s house. It was a wonderful time, she loved the California national wildlife parks, and the beautiful house and surroundings.

And I was lucky to experience her enthusiasm firsthand. She was also very proud of her children and grandchildren.

Natalie’s memory resides in power and strength.

Annabelle Parker

NV-CURE Needs Your Help to Exist

By: John Witherow, NV-CURE President

NV-CURE is a non-profit organization. All donations to us are used for the activities of our organization to make constructive changes to the NV prison and parole systems. All of our people are volunteers and none of us get paid for our activities on behalf of the organization – EXCEPT the Directors, who receive $1.00 per year for their activities, which each donates back to the organization.

We spend our own money in various NV-CURE activities – when we should actually be reimbursed for our expenses, at the very least, for our time and efforts on behalf of NV prisoners, We do what we can with what we have donated to us.

Unfortunately, it costs money to do what we do. The more money we have, the more we can do; the less we have the less we can do. None of us are wealthy and all of us scramble to pay the bills every month. We devote a great deal of time and effort to the “cause” – because we believe in what we do. Regretfully, we cannot do more.

In addition to our voluntary efforts, we currently have eight (8) Members that donate financial resources to our organization every month, 1 person donates $3.00, 3 donate $5.00, 3 donate $10.00 and 1 donates $45.00. That equals $98.00 per month.

We were lucky to have some large donors in the past that helped to keep our bank balance over $10,000.00. However, we have not had that in the recent past and our bank account has gone down steadily to a very small amount. We cannot do what we do with what we have.

Without your help, NV-CURE may cease to exist. We know that times are very tough for many of us during this pandemic, however, now more than ever, our efforts and activities must continue.

Please, donate the amount you are able on a monthly basis to help keep our organization operating. 100 people donating $10.00 a month on an ongoing basis would allow us to continue our efforts and, perhaps, expand them.

We need your help – or we will be gone.

Thank you

Latest Newsletter – please help distribute it!


Attached is the NV-CURE Newsletter, No. 44, for June 2020. Download and read the first 3 articles. Important.

As indicated, NV-CURE resources are limited and we are no longer publishing our Newsletter in Res Gestae Magazine. We need your help in getting our Newsletter to our over 400 prisoner Members. You may donate to us and we will print and mail, OR, you can agree to print (10 pages printed on both sides of a page – 5 pages, 1 stamp) and mail to a given number of prisoners.

If you agree to help by printing and mailing, please send an email to our Secretary, Caanen Clegg, and ask her for the name, number and institution of the prisoners you will print and mail to.
Thank you for your help.


Letter from the Editor

COVID-19 is the big news of the day. Unfortunately, there are multiple articles on the subject every day and the situation changes every day. Therefore, we will be unable to bring you the latest news and information on relevant developments. We will do the best we can.

NV-CURE joined with the ACLU and other organization requesting the NV Governor take action for the release of various groups of prisoners, including those at high risk (over 55, heart problems, asthma, A-fib, COPD, etc.), short timers, and people with over 30 years of incarceration. We sent a copy of the letter to a few prisoners all major NDOC facilities requesting the information be shared with others.

The Governor sent [it] to the Sentencing Commission (SC) for their consideration. A hearing was held on the April 13, 2020, and the SC declined any action except returning to the Governor with a recommendation to convene the Pardon Board for further action deemed appropriate. We will see what comes next, which we should know before publication and will advise anyone that telephones us on the matters.

There is a problem with the prisoner protective measures the NDOC has taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19 within the prison system we would like to see addressed. These protective measures are designed to stop NDOC employees from bringing the virus into NDOC facilities and include, but are not limited to, taking employee temperatures when entering the facility and wearing rubber gloves and face masks when interacting with prisoners. The wearing of rubber gloves and face masks is discretionary and the individual employee has the option of wearing or not wearing the face masks and rubber gloves.

Our problem is with the discretionary use of these safety procedures. This safety precaution should NOT BE DISCRETIONARY! Preventing COVID-19 from coming into the prison is the purpose of the gloves and masks and these safety measures should not be up to an individual NDOC employee to decide.

NV-CURE has raised the safety issue of masks with NDOC Director Daniels and we hope that prisoners at every institution will use available procedures to insure it is mandatory for all NDOC employees to wear masks and gloves when interacting with prisoners.

Please keep us advised by telephone or mail of any and all incidents related to any problems associated with COVID-19 and call us with relevant information. Thank you.

From: Nevada Cure IB Newsletter No. 43, May 2020

Change of Address Information:

NV-CURE has a new address.

P.O. Box 231953
Las Vegas, NV 89105

You MUST INCLUDE ‘NV-CURE’ as the addressee or the mail will NOT BE DELIVERED. After NV-CURE you may write: Attn: (and the name of the person you are writing to). Our telephone number will remain the same. Spread the information to prevent the Postman from returning your mail. Thank you.

Our latest Info-bulletins available for printing and online reading

Edit May 12: better version of the newsletter 42, and also added no. 43 (May 2020.

NV-CURE and Res Gestae have dissolved their relationship for publication of our newsletter based on editorial differences and that we will attempt to continue the publication of our Informational Bulletin on a monthly basis IF we are able to determine a new method of distribution or secure sufficient funding.

So for now, we have decided to continue to publish our IB for Nevada Cure’s many members inside and outside prisons. Unfortunately we lack the funds to print it and send it in to the hundreds of members.

Therefore if you have a family member inside, who would like to read the latest Informational Bulletin, please print it out and send it to them!

Here is the IB 42 (April 2020) version as an online PDF.

IB no 43 (May 2020) (PDF)


Editor’s Letter
Governor’s Sentencing Policy
NV-CURE Suggestions Regarding Sentencing Policy
Making Assembly Bill 236 Retroactive
UA Inconclusive Disciplinary Report
Meeting With NDOC Director Daniels
NDOC Temporarily Closes Visiting
NV Right to Vote When Released From Prison
Prisoner Attorney-Client Telephone Calls
News from the press
Guard and Prisoner Relationships
Health Care News

Action demanded to protect inmates from coronavirus

The Nevada Dept. of Corrections (NDOC) has a press release about how they are conducting the prison system during the COVID-19 pandemic. You can find it here.

Meanwhile, the ACLU Nevada has taken action to draw more attention to the people in prison, who are in a vulnerable position right now because of the contageousness and potential deadlyness of the disease. Nevada Cure was among the groups who endorsed the letter sent to Governor Sisolak and other officials on March 27th. In the letter special actions are mentioned that can be taken “to reduce the COVID-19 exposure of government officials, those in the care of our prisons and jails, and the entire state.”

The press release can be found here:

State Leaders Must Act to Protect Incarcerated Nevadans from COVID-19 (3-27-2020) (this is the press release by ACLU, NV Cure, et al.)

It was taken over in the Pahrump Valley Times, April 3rd, 2020:

The American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada is one of six organizations that sent a letter to Gov. Steve Sisolak and other leaders outlining specific actions that should be taken to reduce the COVID-19 exposure of those in the care of our prisons and jails.

Organizations that joined the ACLU in signing onto the letter include the NAACP, Nevada Attorneys for Criminal Justice, the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada, Nevada CURE and the Arriba Las Vegas Workers Center.

Read more here.

Read more from the ACLU about the COVID-19 pandemic in Nevada’s prisons here:

Don’t Neglect Nevada’s Incarcerated Youth in COVID-19 Response (3-26-2020)

Living with COVID — in an Immigration Jail (3-25-2020)

The Prison Policy Initiative has an article on “Five ways the criminal justice system could slow the pandemic” (3-27-2020)

The Justice Collaborative is tracking the “Impact of Covid-19 on our criminal legal and immigrant detention systems“. In this comprehensive report they also include a factsheet for Practices for Prisons and Jails, as well as Decarceral Guidelines.

Change of Address for NV-CURE

Logo Nevada Cure Hawk-Black CrowPlease note the Change of Address for NV-CURE.
Our new address is:

P.O. Box 231953
Las Vegas, NV  89105

Our telephone number will remain the same.

Be sure to include NV-CURE first in any letter addressed to us – not just the name of a person.  Any mail that does not have NV-CURE first in the addressee may be rejected by the Post Office.

Additionally, our meeting place on the last Wednesday of every month at 6:30 PM has also been changed.  Our meetings will now be held on the last Wednesday of every month at 6:30 PM at:

Community Center
401 S. Maryland Pkwy,
Las Vegas, NV  89101


New Style for NV-CURE Newsletter

The NV-CURE IB Newsletter No. 40 will come out in a new style in February of 2020.

Due to financial concerns, we have had to go to a new magazine style for our Newsletter with the assistance of a magazine publisher. All NV-CURE Members will continue to receive our Newsletter as part of their Membership in our non-profit organization. This Magazine Newsletter will be published on a monthly basis.

The new publisher will print all of our articles in a magazine style and will be paid for by advertisers in the magazine. The magazine with our articles and advertisements will be sent to all of our members, including those in the community, and to various other persons and organizations involved in the criminal justice reform movement. We are awaiting approval to have copies of the magazine sent to the libraries at all NDOC facilities. It is a work in progress and we will all see how it goes.

We realize how important our news is to our members, particularly those on the inside. Be patient and we will see how it goes.