Nevada Department of Corrections Director Greg Cox quits

This is from the Las Vegas Review Journal, Sept 14th, 2015:

Embattled Nevada Department of Corrections Director Greg Cox resigned abruptly Monday under unknown circumstances.
Gov. Brian Sandoval said in a statement he accepted Cox’s resignation and appointed E.K. McDaniel to serve as interim director of the department, which has come under scrutiny for use-of-force issues leading to inmate injuries and one prisoner fatality.
“I would like to thank Greg for his service to our state and I appreciate his hard work serving the people of Nevada,” Sandoval said.
No reason was given for the Cox’s resignation, but John Witherow, head of the NV Cure prison reform organization, has a laundry list of problems with the way the department treats inmates.
“I don’t know why he resigned, but I suspect it was his inability to control his subordinates,” he said.
NV Cure had met with Cox to discuss retaliation against prisoners who file formal grievances against the department. Witherow said Cox told him he would not tolerate that kind of treatment.
“The retaliation did not, in fact, stop. It increased,” Witherow said.
Cox’s resignation follows months of high-profile conflicts at Nevada prisons, beginning with a fatal inmate shooting in November at High Desert State Prison, just outside of Las Vegas, that wasn’t revealed until four months later when the Review-Journal discovered the Clark County coroner’s office had ruled it a homicide.
Inmate Carlos Manuel Perez, 28, died Nov. 12, 2014. [link added by NV Cure] A second inmate, Andrew Arevalo, was injured.
More recently, seven inmates were injured in August at Warm Springs Correctional Center in Carson City when a fight broke out during dinner and guards opened fire with rubber pellets. One inmate who was not identified was flown to a Reno hospital, though details of his injuries remain undisclosed.
In July, three inmates suffered minor injuries when guards fired rounds to break up a fight at Lovelock Correctional Center. One inmate at Ely State Prison was taken to a hospital in Las Vegas in April after he was shot by a guard during a fight. Eight other inmates were injured.
Cox’s resignation came the night before he was expected to present the findings from a study on the department’s use of force at Tuesday’s Board of State Prison Commissioners in Carson City. The prison board, comprised of the governor, Attorney General Adam Laxalt and Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske, requested the study at the last meeting after Perez’s death led to controversy.
On Monday, an unnamed spokesman for the department told the Review-Journal “there is no final report as of yet” in the study conducted by the Association of State Correctional Administrators.
Read the rest here.

Is Poor Medical Care Killing Nevada’s Prison Inmates?

This comes from Nevada Public Radio, and was transmitted on tuesday 7/7/15. John Witherow, director of Nevada-Cure, is one of the people who were interviewed.

knpr

Is Poor Medical Care Killing Nevada’s Prison Inmates?

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jail cell

The number of inmate deaths at Nevada prisons is raising questions.
In Nevada’s state prisons, four inmates die every month, on average.
But in May and June of this year, 12 inmates died. And in the last year, the number who died in Nevada prisons is just under 50.
That compares to an average of 31 deaths per year in Nevada prisons from 2001 to 2012, according to the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics.
Nevada’s prisons aren’t places we hear much about. Media access is severely restricted. Family members don’t always want to talk about a brother or father in prison. And, frankly, many Nevadans don’t care – out of sight, out of mind.
But some states, such as Ohio, are being sued for substandard prison medical care. And it’s no secret that many Nevada inmates die from medical conditions.
Between 2001 and 2012, 80 percent of 379 prison deaths were due to medical problems.
John Witherow knows firsthand how difficult it is to get medical care in Nevada prisons. He spent 26 years in prisons across the state, after being convicted of attempted robbery in Reno. His sentence included a habitual criminal enhancement, which adds years to the sentence of people who have been convicted of another crime.
“Getting medical care within the NDOC is an extremely difficult job,” Witherow told KNPR’s State of Nevada, “The few instances I had with the medical department were terrible.”

Read the rest here.

NDOC: Forty Five (45) Prisoner Deaths in One (1) Year

On Tuesday, July 7 at 9 am. NV-CURE President John Witherow will be interviewed on Nevada Public Radio 88.9 FM on this subject. 

This comes from our Informational Bulletin nr 12, 2015:

Forty five people have died in custody in Nevada’s prison facilities since August, 2014. Four committed suicide.

One was shot by a prison guard. One died of cardiovascular disease and the rest are either deaths caused, according to NDOC, by “medical condition”, unknown”, “natural”, or “prolonged illness”. We want to know the causes of death and whether any of these deaths are attributable to the Hepatitis C virus.

This information was provided to NV-CURE by an NPR Senior Producer Joe Schoenmann and former Correctional Officer Mark Clarke, whom we thank for their time and efforts regarding this matter.  We hope that further investigation will reveal the facts regarding each of these
deaths.

Not one noted death is from hepatitis C, even though we know that the prevalence of that disease is much higher than in the population at large and we know that NDOC gives very little treatment for this very treatable disease. Allegedly, many of these deaths are “under investigation”, and NV-CURE finally has volunteers willing to keep track of each death, order the coroner’s report, which is a matter of public record, if necessary, and log the deaths on a spreadsheet, making sure that the media, legislators and the US DOJ are made aware of the high number of deaths due to disease. It is estimated that 12-35% of prisoners nationwide are infected with the Hep C virus. We will never know exactly how many prisoners are infected with the disease, until we have testing, which the Nevada legislature and the NDOC refuse to provide.

NDOC claims that they are investigating the potential of providing hospice care, but we have seen no action yet on that claim.

On Tuesday, July 7 at 9 am. NV-CURE President John Witherow will be interviewed on Nevada Public Radio 88.9 FM on this subject. A recording of the program will be posted on our website, Nevaacure.org.  Thank you for your attention to this problem.

[Another!] Nevada inmate dies, at Summerlin Hospital

From Las Vegas Sun, Nov. 13th, 2014, comes this sad news:

“A Nevada inmate died last month at Summerlin Hospital of a medical condition, according to Corrections Department officials.

Officials said they could not locate any next of kin for Denise Leeellen Carlson, 58, who died Oct. 30.”

Read more here.

If you are a journalist, please try to find out if there is a lack of medical care, or a reason why so many people in Nevada’s prisons die of medical conditions. Thank you.

Why is Tyrend Goins, Sr still in prison after it was ORDERED that he is immediately released from custody?

We received documents from Tyrend Goins, who has been in Nevada’s prison system for 17 years on a charge which was recently nullified due to newly discovered evidence, exculpating him from the original charge against him.

Tyrend is however still in prison! This cannot be right! Nevada is holding a man whose charge was nullified. Surely NDOC should not let this injustice and this costly situation remain as it is! The Judge even granted Tyrend’s Amended 28 U.S.C. par 2241 Motion in September of 2014, and orders that he is immediately released from custody prison.

Here is what Tyrend wrote that was posted on the SF Bay View website on May 27th, 2014:

“The truth is out that I did not kill Melvener Winston. MRSA was the cause of her passing. I want my mother’s side to know the truth. My six children and five grandchildren want to meet their relatives.
My grandfather is Joseph Dillion. My grandmother is Kay Francis. They lived in the San Francisco area. My mother, Brenda, was the first of their eight children, who were born between 1957 and 1969 in San Francisco General Hospital. The only other names I remember are Nadeen and Darlene.
I’m waiting to go back to court to be vindicated and released. If you can help us find our family, please email tashyiabrown@yahoo.com or write to me: Tyrend Goins, Sr., 59050, NNCC, P.O. Box 7000, Carson City, NV 89702.”
Below are the documents as hyperlinked above. We ask those in power to investigate this injustice and to not allow an innocent man to be incarcerated one day longer!

April 11th, 2014 Tyrend Goins: evidence withheld for 17 years clears him from homicide-doc 1
April 11th, 2014 Tyrend Goins: evidence withheld for 17 years clears him from homicide- doc 2
April 11th, 2014 Tyrend Goins: evidence withheld for 17 years clears him from homicide- doc 3

Tyrend Goins Letter to Public Defender Evie Grosenick, Reno, Nevada, June 19th 2014 on filing a federal 28 U.S.C. paragraph 2241 Motion.
Tyrend Goins filing his federal 28 U.S.C. paragraph 2241 Motion Challenging Confinement on Constitutional Grounds and Demanding a Habeas Corpus Hearing, September 2014.
Tyrend Goins’ federal 28 U.S.C. paragraph 2241 Motion granted, September 2014 ORDERED that Plaintiff is immediately released from custody prison.

All prison systems should have an independent monitor or ombudsman

This is from a text from the American Bar Association (ABA) Criminal Justice Section, in a recommendation to the House of Delegates, concerning effective monitoring of prisons

It was written in 2008, and Nevada Cure thinks that this should be implemented in Nevada and everywhere else.

This type of MONITORING is exactly what is needed in Nevada.  We believe the independent ombudsman would serve this purpose. Please pass the Ombudsman Bill introduced by Senator Segerblom.

Here you can find Minutes of the Advisory Commission on the  Administration of Justice Meeting of May 1st, 2014, in which NV-Cure Director John Witherow explained the need for an Ombudsman to monitor NDOC. 

Alternatively, make NV-CURE an Independent Monitor and give us the power, money and staff that can do the job that needs to be done.  Thank you.
 
KEY REQUIREMENTS FOR THE EFFECTIVE MONITORING
OF CORRECTIONAL AND DETENTION FACILITIES

1. The monitoring entity is independent of the agency operating or utilizing the correctional or detention facility.

2. The monitoring entity is adequately funded and staffed.

3. The head of the monitoring entity is appointed for a fixed term by an elected official, is subject to confirmation by a legislative body, and can be removed only for just cause.

4. Inspection teams have the expertise, training, and requisite number of people to meet the monitoring entity’s purposes.

5. The monitoring entity has the duty to conduct regular inspections of the facility, as well as the authority to examine, and issue reports on, a particular problem at one or more facilities.

6. The monitoring entity is authorized to inspect or examine all aspects of a facility’s operations and conditions including, but not limited to: staff recruitment, training, supervision, and discipline; inmate deaths; medical and mental-health care; use of force; inmate violence; conditions of confinement; inmate disciplinary processes; inmate
grievance processes; substance-abuse treatment; educational, vocational, and other programming; and reentry planning.

7. The monitoring entity uses an array of means to gather and substantiate facts, including observations, interviews, surveys, document and record reviews, video and tape recordings, reports, statistics, and performance-based outcome measures.

8. Facility and other governmental officials are authorized and required to cooperate fully and promptly with the monitoring entity.

9. To the greatest extent possible consistent with the monitoring entity’s purposes, the monitoring entity works collaboratively and constructively with administrators, legislators, and others to improve the facility’s operations and conditions.

10. The monitoring entity has the authority to conduct both scheduled and unannounced inspections of any part or all of the facility at any time. The entity must adopt procedures to ensure that unannounced inspections are conducted in a reasonable manner.

11. The monitoring entity has the authority to obtain and inspect any and all records, including inmate and personnel records, bearing on the facility’s operations or conditions.

12. The monitoring entity has the authority to conduct confidential interviews with any person, including line staff and inmates, concerning the facility’s operations and conditions; to hold public hearings; to subpoena witnesses and documents; and to require that witnesses testify under oath.

13. Procedures are in place to enable facility administrators, line staff, inmates, and others to transmit information confidentially to the monitoring entity about the facility’s operations and conditions.

14. Adequate safeguards are in place to protect individuals who transmit information to the monitoring entity from retaliation and threats of retaliation.

15. Facility administrators are provided the opportunity to review monitoring reports and provide feedback about them to the monitoring entity before their dissemination to the public, but the release of the reports is not subject to approval from outside the monitoring entity.

16. Monitoring reports apply legal requirements, best correctional practices, and other criteria to objectively and accurately review and assess a facility’s policies, procedures, programs, and practices; identify systemic problems and the reasons for them; and proffer
possible solutions to those problems.

17. Subject to reasonable privacy and security requirements as determined by the monitoring entity, the monitoring entity’s reports are public, accessible through the Internet, and distributed to the media, the jurisdiction’s legislative body, and its top elected official.

18. Facility administrators are required to respond publicly to monitoring reports; to develop and implement in a timely fashion action plans to rectify problems identified in those reports; and to inform the public semi-annually of their progress in implementing
these action plans. The jurisdiction vests an administrative entity with the authority to redress noncompliance with these requirements.

19. The monitoring entity continues to assess and report on previously identified problems and the progress made in resolving them until the problems are resolved.

20. The jurisdiction adopts safeguards to ensure that the monitoring entity is meeting its designated purposes, including a requirement that it publish an annual report of its findings and activities that is public, accessible through the Internet, and distributed to the media, the jurisdiction’s legislative body, and its top elected official.

Respectfully submitted,
Stephen J. Saltzburg
Chair, Section of Criminal Justice
August 2008

Over 72 Hours – NO WATER at Lovelock Correctional Center

On August 31st, Nevada-Cure received a call from someone confined at Lovelock Correctional Center (LCC) who told us they’d had NO water for 24 hours. None. And there was no one to call before today, Tuesday (9/2). This is dangerous and unsanitary. No water!

NV-CURE, and many others, would like to know WHY there is no water for drinking, toilets or showers at the Lovelock Correctional Center (LCC) and why the problem has not been fixed for over 72 hours.

This is the problem of which the public should be aware.  Is there any reporter out there who will check into the matter, find out the problem, find out why it is taking so long to fix and what out what is going to be done to prevent problems like this in the future?

Press Release: First 200 Documents of Prisoner Abuse Letters-Project are online

Press Release:

April 26, 2014

The first 200 documents of the Nevada-Cure Prisoner Abuse Letters-project are online.

These are documents sent to Nevada-Cure. These documents contain affidavits, grievances or other statements written and shared with permission of the writer. NV-CURE has posted them on our website. 

To view the list of complaints, with the documents hyperlinked to each complaint, visit these three tabs on the Nevada-Cure website:

Page 3: Again with intro, and Documents 121-200:
http://www.nevadacure.org/p/blog-page_13.html

This is an ongoing project, that involves educating the prisoners on the project, receiving their documents, scanning them and documenting them on Excel sheets, and uploading the documents with the annotations onto the website. The documents have been used to discuss with the Director of the NDOC the patterns of abuse, the people who commit abuses and what NDOC plans to do to stop these from occurring. This material can also be used as research material for press, attorneys, students and other researchers as well as family, friends and the human rights defense community. These documents reflect hundreds of hours of work by NV-CURE volunteers and reflect our interest in educating the public on events transpiring behind NV prison fences.

NV-Cure keeps the documents as an archive of abuses, which can also be used when necessary, if the Special Litigation Unit of the DOJ needs to have insight into the abuses occurring in the Nevada Department of Corrections prisons. 

Please help support NV-CURE in these efforts with your tax free donations to our organization – and keep this project alive.  Thank you.

Nevada-Cure

Contact:
Nevada-CURE
540 E. St. Louis Ave.
Las Vegas, NV 89104
 
Email: Nevadacure@gmail.com
Website: Nevadacure.org
Tel.: 702.347.1731

Twitter: @NevadaCure

Suicide at HDSP because of Lack of Medical Care for Chronic Pain

We received this letter anonymously, which shows an alarming issue: 

Truman Walker asphyxiated himself by hanging, on Friday November 8th 2013, in High Desert State Prison (HDSP), Nevada, because he was afforded no proper medical care, that is supposed to be necessitated by the State of Nevada (Nevada Department of Corrections (NDOC).

According to a written noteleft behind explaining his medical situation and supposedly now in State’s evidence, Truman Walker was in such physical pain that he was forced to take his own life.

The most common response inmates receive from medical doctors, nurses and staff is that there is no treatment offered for chronic pain. Furthermore, HDSP does not even diagnose the cause and/or source of the pain.

In the past ten years this complete indifference to medical attention has been ignored year after year, death after death, with no accountability.

Anything you could do to assist Truman Walker’s family in knowing the truth of his situation would be greatly appreciated. 

See here for the original letter.