I blogged earlier about the unimaginable power the Nevada Department of Corrections has to increase prison time, to punish inmates beyond a judge’s sentence, and I wanted to give a bit more detail.
First, let me start by saying that I never thought I would be in the position to be writing such a blog, or about any such subject matter – because I simply had no idea that things like this went on. All three of my siblings have been incarcerated at one time or another, mainly for drug-related crimes, but I had no idea how serious and severe the miscarriage of justice is – and it is ongoing.
Tonight, I talked to my sweetheart. He has been under an extreme amount of stress lately because of a turn of events at the prison. If you’ll recall from my earlier blog, he and several other inmates are being punished for having graduated high school; inmates cannot attend Vocational Education if they have a high school diploma. Therefore, those who were enrolled in the program (including my man) and who had already earned meritorious credit for such, which would have decreased their time in prison – but only if they complete the program, have LOST that time.
To exacerbate this problem is the additional bombshell for my babe that if he does not get a job IMMEDIATELY, he will be dropped to Level 2. That is a tremendous punishment, in that it means being locked in his cell for more than half the day, having extremely limited phone time, and time ADDED to his sentence. Yes, that’s what they will do.
Now, if this next bit wasn’t so horrific, it would be funny: my man cannot have a job (he has repeatedly tried and been denied) because he has a leg injury – WHICH THE PRISON WILL NOT TREAT HIM FOR, as well as high blood pressure – WHICH THE PRISON WITHHELD HIS PRESCRIPTION MEDICATION FOR UNTIL I CALLED THE NDOC AND COMPLAINED. That same evening, after 7 weeks of going without it, he was finally given his medication – but only part of it; he needs two prescriptions, but was given only one.
This is the same bullshit that the Parole Board did to him when he went before them in June. He was punished for not having attended any “programming,” yet “programming” is not offered to him because he is in Medium Security. He asked for an in-cell study program, but was refused. He asked for a “classification reduction” but was again refused. He challenged his classification but was told by his caseworker that he cannot challenge unless his sentence gets reduced, or some other bullshit.
On top of all of this, the PSI report (Pre-Sentence Investigation report) that was used when he was sentenced is INCORRECT; this is not something you, dear reader, will be unfamiliar with, if you have spent any time reading blogs regarding PSI reports. They are notoriously full of errors, yet prisoners are essentially powerless to do anything about them or to have them changed. Even getting your hands on a copy of one seems to be an insurmountable obstacle.
What causes so much grief for me about this whole situation, aside from the obvious, is that people know this stuff is going on. The Governer knows, the ACLU knows, the media have published reports and articles about it – there are huge groups of people who are fully aware of the serious and ongoing human rights violations, Constitutional violations, etc., yet nothing changes. NOTHING. How can so many people know and be able to do nothing? Meanwhile, so many people are suffering intensely behind bars in Nevada. What can I do? What can anyone do?
I cannot fathom the grotesque carnival of horror that the man I love is being subjected to on a daily basis. Not only the emotional and mental strain of it, but the physical pain, too: he is not ablet to sleep because of the pain in his injured knee, and he cannot eat because the “food” makes him sick and is notoriously “not fit for human consumption.” And now the prison has the power to add time to his sentence to force him to stay there even longer, simply because he cannot get a job – because they will not allow him to have one? It’s a Catch-22 of the worst and most horrific magnitude.
There is so much more to this story, and I will write more later. For now, I need to try to un-kink my brain and try to wrap it around this nightmare so I can figure out what to do next to effect some sort of change – something far greater people than I have tried and failed to do so far. But that doesn’t mean that I am going to give up. Because I’m not. I don’t know how I’m going to do this, but I AM going to do this. I hope you’ll help me; there’s power in numbers…