The Nevada Department of Corrections, under Director Charles Daniels and his pet warden, Calvin Johnson, at High Desert State Prison, have, since their arrival, waged an all out war against Nevada’s prisoners. This includes illegal theft and misappropriation of prisoners’ money under the guise of Marsy’s law (money which is still unaccounted for), to the ban on prisoners’ access to visits, chapel, yard, law library, or tier, under the premise of safety concerns over COVID-19. Meanwhile prisoners are still required to work in unsafe and crowded warehouses, kitchens, etc. as if COVID-19 does not target workers.
These same criminals also committed the crime of biological warfare when they knowingly ordered prisoners to work while 15 of them had recently tested positive for COVID-19 but were left unaware of their status. This was used as a way to spread COVID-19 throughout the prison more quickly. This was, by definition, a criminal act!
And now, while prisoners are fighting to get access to visits, chapel, yard, law library, and tier (since the only time they are out of their cell is when working, or their 30 minutes to shower or use of the kiosk, or phone when permitted) these criminals have taken another action to attack prisoners’ rights.
Starting 1 February 2021, High Desert State Prison will implement O.P. 750 mail procedure as outlined in Warden’s Bulletin #21-07. This revised operational procedure is an unconstitutional attack against our right to communicate and be informed.
In effect this new operational procedure mandates the following.
- All incoming mail must be in a 4" x 9.5" white envelope written in black or blue ink only. If the mail received is not written in black or blue ink on the envelope, the mail will be returned to sender.
- All letters and correspondence within the envelope must be written in black or blue ink. Any other colors will be returned to sender.
- Any mail or correspondence received that is scented with perfume and oils will be returned to sender.
- Any letter received with drawings and markings that is not from the letter manufacturer will be returned to sender.
- Any letter received that are stained or discolored will be returned to sender.
- Greeting cards will not be accepted. All greeting cards received will be returned to sender.
- Inmates will not receive the original copy of letters and envelopes being received with the exception of legal mail. All letters and envelopes received will be scanned and handed out to the appropriate inmate. Note: the legal mail procedure will remain the same.
- If the inmate name is not properly spelled, the inmate identification number is not noted, the senders name/address is missing, the mail will be returned to sender.
- If there is writing on the back of a photo sent through mail, the writing must be written in black or blue ink.
- After all mail is scanned and distributed to the inmate population, the mail will be properly disposed of.
- All magazines and newspapers received must come from an established approved publisher.
- Pamphlets and anything copied off the internet will be rejected with the exception of pamphlets received through religious services.
This new operational procedure (O.P.) is the latest in a long line of attacks against prisoner rights and protections since Director Daniels and Warden Johnson have taken on their duties. This O.P. is unconstitutional and deserves challenge.
First, in order to restrict prisoners’ Constitutional rights, the state must show how the restriction is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest. We do not believe that they can. The fact that prisoners are not receiving the physical letters/envelopes themselves, any act or restriction that bars or bans letters for scent, markings, drawings, stains, etc. cannot be in furtherance of a legitimate concern. Thus, we believe a legitimate argument can be made that these restrictions are arbitrary and unconstitutional.
Second, both the sender and receiver of mail/publications must be notified that censorship occurred as well as the reason censorship occurred. They must also give each party a chance to challenge the censorship. This is a very clear due process issue.
Third, we believe that a reasonable argument against the disposal of mail without due process is that the mail itself is the prisoner’s property, thus protected by due process.
Fourth, denying all pamphlets and internet copies have already been ruled unconstitutional.
Fifth, restricting all magazines and newspapers to established approved publishers poses a serious threat as it will ultimately be used to ban inmates access to materials and publications that the prison does not wish to enter the facility, such as Turning the Tide, Revolution, The Abolitionist, Black and Pink, Prison Legal News, Under Lock and Key, and other such publications. While “publisher only” restrictions have been upheld, rules which outright ban or deny publications have been ruled unconstitutional.
We are fighting this new attack, as we are fighting others. We are calling on all prisoners within the NDOC to fight for their families and friends, abolitionists, prisoner rights groups, and others, to stand up for NDOC prisoners and call for the resignation or firing of Director Charles Daniels and Warden Calvin Johnson.
Prisoners must utilize the grievance process, friends and families, or anyone else who wishes to help must call or write Governor Steve Sisolak or write Director Daniels - 5500 Snyder Rd. Carson City, NV 89702, and or Warden Johnson P.O. Box 1050 Indian Springs, NV 89070.
All Power to the People.
Let your voices be heard.
MS1 and MS26 - Revolutionary Front - NV
Caselaw: Turner v. Safley 482 U.S. 78.89. 107 S.Ct. 2254(1987) Lindell v. Frank 377 F.3d 655 659-60 (7th Cir 2004) Allen v. Coughlin 64 F.3d 77. 80 (2d Cir 1995) Williams v. Brimeyer 116 F.3d 351 (8th cir 1997) Procunier v. Martinez 416 U.S.396. 94 S.Ct 1800 Krug v. Lutz 329 F.3d 692.696-97. (9th cir 2003) Thornburgh v. Abbott 490 U.S. 401, 414-19 (1989) Juchlovich vs Simmons 392 F.3d 420 (10th Cir 2004) Montcalm Publ’g Corp. v. Beck, 80 F.3d 105, 109-110 (4th Cir 1996) Murphy v. Missourri Dep’t of Corr. 372 F.3d 979, 986 (8th Cir 2004) Clement v. California Dep’t of Corrections 364 F.3d 1148 (9th Cir 2004) Prison Legal News v. Lehman 397 F.3d 692. 699-700 (9th Cir 2005) Green v. Ferrell 801 F.2d 765, 772 (5th Cir 1986) Mann v. Smith 796 F.2d 79 82-83 (5th Cir 1986) Van Cleave v. U.S. 854 F.2d 82, 84 (5th cir 1988)