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.

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Is Poor Medical Care Killing Nevada’s Prison Inmates?

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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.

Concern about the high number of deaths in the NV Department of Corrections: a letter to ACLU-NV

This is the text of a letter that a member of Nevada Cure sent to the ACLU in Nevada about the high number of deaths in the custody of Nevada Department of Corrections (NDOC). Their response: just fill out their form. We have been gathering so much documentation on medical neglect since the class action lawsuit that ACLU settled with NDOC! 
We would like to see some more answers and pushes to real change, more transparency from ACLU and NDOC in this matter. The electorate and the taxpayers, but most of all, the people in prison have a right to know why so many people die inside of medical neglect or inadequate medical care, and what is being done to address this.

Nov. 15th, 2014:
Dear NV ACLU:
I am writing about my concern about the high number of deaths in the NV Department of Corrections.  Since I moved here 15 months ago, there have been 20+ deaths reported in the media with little or no information as to the cause of death.  As a matter of fact just today, I saw in the media that a 55 year old woman at FMWCC and a 28 year old man at High Desert both died!
It is well known that the NDOC does not treat hepatitis and perhaps many of these deaths are a result of painful deaths due to this disease? While I realize that HIPPA laws prohibit an individual’s medical conditions to be revealed publicly, our state government is charged with the health and welfare of it’s incarcerated population, no matter what.  
I moved here from Illinois where the IDOC was carefully and routinely monitored by the John Howard Association in Chicago who visited each facility over the course of every two years and distributed their findings publicly and to the state legislature about the conditions and problems at each facility. They have no authority over the IDOC but their public reports definitely have an impact on needed changes that are always found as a result of the tours and interviews with the staff and the inmates.  
Is anyone monitoring the NDOC, especially when it comes to the number of deaths among the inmates here?  I note that most of the deceased inmates are NOT old men/women but younger or middle age and not likely to be dying of “natural causes” that are associated with old age.  My husband is currently incarcerated with the NDOC and I am concerned for his welfare as well as the other American citizens who are not getting proper medical care.  
How can we as citizens of this state, get this critical issue addressed in Nevada?  
Thank you for your attention and I hope to get a response.
[G.A.]

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.