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.

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.