Fighting Repression in PS Housing
On April 28, 2011 a complaint was made against two lieutenants and the associate warden of operations (AWO) at Lovelock Correctional Center (LCC) for threatening the entire Protective Segregation (PS) housing unit population with group punishment if the gambling, homosexual activity, tattooing, etc. continued, despite the fact that those who'd been caught were known and identified and/or already facing disciplinary procedures.
The same night, a number of individuals were caught gambling, and the following morning both PS housing units 3A and 3B were locked down. The lockdown was purportedly in response to the gambling incident.
On May 10, 2011 a minor altercation occurred between two prisoners in the LCC dining hall. These two individuals were placed in more secure housing where they received:
- telephone access
- law library access
- library access (i.e. book cart)
- cleaning supplies for cells
- full food portions in two hot meals per day
- yard access
- due process prior to loss of privileges and punishment
The remaining PS prisoners in 3A and 3B, having nothing to do with any of these incidents, received:
- lockdown for 6 days with showers on first and fourth days
- loss of cell visiting privileges (permanently)
- loss of open access to cells and toilet accommodations (permanently)
- no law library access
- no religious access
- no library access
- no telephone access
- no cell cleaning supplies
- no tier time/yard time
- refused grievances and "advised" not to "fly paperwork if we want off of lockdown"
During the lockdown a shakedown (described as getting the unit into compliance) was done resulting in the confiscation of appliances, which was later returned because "it should not have been taken in the first place."
Upon being let off of lockdown some of the population united around these and other issues long overdue for redress and formulated a complaint alleging several violations of civil and human rights which are embraced by the following acts and holdings among others:
22 USCA 6021 (9)
22 USCA 6401 (in toto)
42 USCA 1997a (CRIPA)
42 USCA 2000cl (RLUIPA)
Bounds v Smith 37SCT1491 430US817
Heck v. Humphrey 114SCT2364 512US477
Wolff v McDonnell 94 SCT 2963 418 US 539
Breenholtz v Nebraska 99 SCT 2100 442 US 1
Estelle v Gamble 97 SCT 285 429 US 97
Turner v Safley 102 CT 2754 482 US 78
All of which are US Supreme Court holdings which are binding upon Nevada (Nevada constitution article 1 Sec 2 Bargas v Warden NSP 482 P2d 317 87 Nev 30 91 SCT 1267 403 US 935 29 LED 715)
The complaint raises the following (and other) issues which are constant and pervasive conditions at LCC among PS prisoners:
- unsanitary/unsafe dining hall conditions
- inadequate food and medical treatment
- compulsory strip searches daily (to boxers) frequently done by females
- verbal abuse by staff in the form of derogatory racial, cultural and gender charged epithets
- abusive and retaliatory behavior toward adherents of non-traditional religions
- inadequate legal access and retaliation for accessing legal process
- coercion/harassment in the form of cell searches and theft/destruction of personal property as retaliation and for furtherance of personal agendas
- withholding/theft of mail, opening legal mail outside of prisoner's presence
- use of prisoners in supervisory capacity and as facilitators/teachers of rehabilitative and psych programs which impact earned sentence credits, parole board decisions and sentence duration
- fomenting hostility and animus between prisoners using confidential or otherwise sensitive information
- group punishment/threats of collective retaliation and punishments
The above is a summary of the mentioned complaint and does not contain much in the way of detail and specificity. However, it serves to articulate the overall conditions here (and elsewhere) and exemplifies the need for solidarity and presenting a united front against oppression. It should never be allowed to get this bad before action is taken, but it apparently must get bad enough to inspire action.
It is easier to keep what one has than it is to regain what one has already lost, but this is not a message which is widely understood by the new prisoner class.
In any event, if information concerning our struggle becomes available, it will be put "before the world."
MIM(Prisons) adds: We applaud prisoners coming together to fight repression in their housing units. In this case it is prisoners in protective custody, a place our prison comrades are fond of reminding us is rife with people who informed on other prisoners (often falsely) to save their own hides. We cannot often know who, in PC or general population, is a snitch, but we can judge prisoners by their actions and uphold the correctness of struggles against prison brutality wherever they arise.