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Save the life of Nevada prisoner Marritte Funches

October 24, 2008

by Mary Ratcliff

Marritte Funches
Marritte Funches is a very special friend of the Bay View newspaper, which he used for years to educate and encourage fellow prisoners at Ely State Prison in Nevada. One of the most effective organizers I’ve ever known, he once raised an enormous $2,000 donation for the Bay View when we were going through some hard times.

So we owe Marritte (pronounced like “merit”) – more importantly, we greatly respect this brave comrade and refuse to be silent while the Nevada “prisoncrats” endanger his life through deliberate medical neglect of his severe kidney disease in retaliation against him for educating and organizing his fellow prisoners.

According to the ACLU National Prison Project, “The level of medical care provided at Ely is as horrific as any we have ever seen at any of the prison systems that we track across the country.” Marritte writes, “Numerous individuals had killed themselves and elected to accept lethal injection rather than continue to suffer the horrendous medical care at ESP. … Unless I find a way to force these people to get me the medical care I need, I will continue to suffer this excruciating pain, locked in this cell 24/7, until my kidneys completely fail and they can give a toast to their greed: another troublemaker dead.”

Sparked by a Bay View email blast, the power of the people pushed prison officials to move Marritte to a prison accessible by the only doctor in Nevada who can treat his condition. But as of his latest letter sent Oct. 16, he still had not seen the doctor.

His first priority now is to find legal assistance. So if you know a lawyer licensed to practice in Nevada who might take his case, contact Mary at the Bay View right away – call (415) 671-0789 or email I have a packet of evidence for the attorney.

And can anyone visit Marritte? It’s important for prison officials to know that someone is watching, yet he has no family in Nevada. Calls and letters to the state prisons director will help too. Here’s Marritte’s current address – he’d love to hear from you – and contact info for the director. Marritte thanks everyone who has written and called the director already.

• Marritte Funches, #37050, P.O. Box 607, Carson City NV 89702

• Director of Prisons Howard Skolnik, P.O. Box 7011, 5500 Snyder Ave., Carson City NV 89701, (775) 887-3216

Marritte is a jailhouse teacher. Before he was moved, he wrote: “We’re not allowed to participate in any school programs. There are kids here who can’t do basic math or even read, just languishing in their cells, all of us locked down 23 hours a day.

“I have a 16-year-old brother across the unit that I’m trying to keep from going crazy or killing himself. He wants to learn math and spelling, but the school will not even send him a book. So I’ve been doing my best to help the young brotha, along with several others, by organizing a study group – except I’m giving them a lot more than math and spelling, and the prisoncrats don’t like that.”

He’s already set up a study group since he was transferred to Carson City and wants to “create a comprehensive correspondence class that these young people can join and obtain the tools to forever change their lives.”

Marritte had depended on the Bay View for his study groups and last month wrote the following tribute. It’s letters expressing thoughts like this – and they come nearly every day – that make us determined to find a way to raise the money to continue printing the Bay View as a monthly paper. (It costs $4,000 just to print and distribute each edition of the paper.)

“I send this word with a warrior’s salute to you all on that end. I’ve just read your letter detailing the disappointing news about the temporary shutdown of the Bay View.

“There have been many times when the only thing keeping me from lashing out, unleashing the beast raging in my chest from all of the myopia, the dehumanization, sadism, ignorance and barbarism surrounding me was the Bay View, reminding me that I was not in this struggle alone, that I could endure and that the best and most effective way to remove those in the way of righteousness and justice is to organize and educate our people inside these prison graveyards.

“The Bay View has been an inspiration not only to me but to all of the brothas – and our brown brothas and even some of the white brothas that I was able to pass it on to – everyone looking for something of substance to bring some light to this darkness and understanding for the reasons why – the corrupt courts, prisons, parole boards, government etc. They could read your paper and not only be informed on the truth, they could get a smile, renewed hope, something positive every time.

“I’d often find myself telling the young comrades they need to stop looking for wifey at the club and take a peak at Wanda’s Picks, go to some of the many movies she reviews, the Black Panther Party gallery displays, the Lil Bobby Hutton picnics, poetry festivals etc. and find a good woman. Or I might find myself looking at the back page wondering if I might see my daughter in the crowd at one of the POCC [Prisoners of Conscience Committee] rallies or at a conference listening to or Fred Hampton Jr. speak.

“The Bay View means a great deal, not only to me but to a lotta brothas and sistas in these pens. And not only in a spiritual, emotional or inspirational sense, but in a practical sense. The info you provide in contacts for people getting out, people trying to figure out what they can do to fight these subhuman conditions – I’ve seen these things come to good use for a lotta people, including myself.

“And that’s why I say this is only a momentary shutdown. The Bay View means too much to too many people for us to let it die out. This needs to be part of yours and Mr. Ratcliff’s legacy that you’ll be able to pass down and see it continue on. And in spite of my own dire situation, I am prepared to do all I can to help you get the Bay View back up and running. … We must not surrender what little Black owned and controlled media we have.”

I hope that among us we can find a way to give Marritte some help – and to end the practice of caging people and to demolish the prison industrial complex. Thank you for whatever you can do.

Mary Ratcliff, Bay View editor, can be reached at SF Bay View, 4917 Third St., San Francisco CA 94124, (415) 671-0789,

7 thoughts on “Save the life of Nevada prisoner Marritte Funches

  1. Mitch MacKay

    I’ve been in contact w/Marritte and have requested some background legal info about arrest and trial that I may analyze the criteria – which usually begets expected malfeasance provable by legal transcription. Meanwhile I’ll contact Howard Skolnik again for medical expediency as they are obviously stalling. -MJM, affiliate of HFP.

  2. mesha Monge-Irizarry

    What is the point of torturing Comrade Marritte with the excrutiating, debilitating pain of kidney disease without proper treatment ?
    Does barbaric, Dark Age, inhumane treatment deter crime ?

    I would say it encourages it in its full horror by the Criminals OF the prison Industrial Complex.

    This is truly sickening… May “Hope” and “change” fulfill its prophecy in our correctional system

    All my respect and gratitude to Comrade Marritte

  3. Alexis@wearealldoingtime

    This is why every should be at the Federal Court to support Judge Henderson on Friday,Nov.21 at 9;00 to rally to end murder by Medical Neglect of Prisoners~~what happens here,will have a domino effect across the nation~`Be there with your signs~~this opportunity may not come up again for another 10 years~`in the meantime,more deaths are occuring,due to medical neglect and other abuses~~Spread the word,if you care~~Prisons should not be torture chambers,for sick guards to get off on,by harming prisoners,this harsh evil guards belong in hell,& those who know & allow it to continue~~Silence is Deadly ~~~~~~~~~~

  4. The Green Hornet News Editor

    Howdy folks,

    The article is a real good story about abuse that happens here in the Great State Of Nevada when it comes to people that it watches over. I hope people of the bay area and the world can each make one hone call or e-mail the power that be in Carson City Nevada. Call it the power of one. It’s a awesome thing.

    I’m sure most or your readers are aware what happened in the City of The Angels of a night where the Angels were sleeping. It was when Rodney King was beaten. Well hold on to you pants and any thing that you can hold onto. Well, here in the Nevada Department of Corrections (Corruptions) is a little know job that people don’t know about unless you are being watched or investigated. The head of the Inspector General’s Office is lead by Patrick J. Conmay. That’s right,the supervisor of the Rodney King Beaters. Here is the link that you all may be interested.

    Good old Patrick retired from LAPD and arrived in Nevada and was in Reno when he saw an ad in the paper and got the job as the IG. Well, here’s the problem. His POST expired but did not tell anyone. So for several years he was a “fake” cop going after corrections officers with a gun and badge until recently he had to take POST and become certified.

    Is not life grand.

  5. The Green Hornet News Editor

    Howdy again,

    I’m here to clarify the medical department when it comes to the Nevada Department of Corrections.

    There has always been a problem when it comes to treatment and heath of the prisoners and is not equal. The following is an example.

    When it comes to health care in reference the “Tooth” care. For a male inmate the tooth is pulled. For a female inmate the tooth is drilled and filled. That is a face up to a few years ago since I have been out I do not know if this still happens.

    If you know anyone in the NDOC ask if it still happens.

  6. The Green Hornet News Editor

    Hello SFBAYVIEW,

    The following is coming from the Nevada Appeal. A wannabe fro Carson City. There are some BIG problems concerning one person. I know the Republic Of California has it’s own problems but someone needs your help. Just read the following.

    potato2 wrote:

    We need help. Please call the governor’s office today and ask him to make Bill Donat give back Rickey Egberto’s cane so Egberto can walk and so he can stop the hunger strike. I believe this is the seventh day of the hunger strike. There is no reason for someone to die over a cane!

    Please call 702-486-3000 and ask for the governor’s office. The name is Rickey Egberto #20632 and he is at Nevada State Prison, was beaten by guards, hospitalized, and now he is on a hunger strike and his cane that he needs to walk has been taken away.
    12/3/2008 8:46 AM PST on
    Recommended (1)

    potato2 wrote:
    They are doing something for him: They are making sure he buys no food from the canteen by restricting his canteen privileges. A doctor took care of that himself. Yes, these doctors would have made great concentration camp doctors. They are more interested in killing a patient than in helping him. They are denying him the use of a CANE that would help him walk, after their officers beat him unconscious. Oh yes, they are doing something for him.

    12/3/2008 3:05 PM PST on
    Recommended (1)

  7. The Green Hornet News Editor

    (The following was to the LAS Vegas Review Journal to a reporter. Lets see what happens.)

    Good morning,

    My name is W “M” C. I was a Nevada Corrections Officer for almost 16 years until I “retired” from the NDOC. Since my retirement I have read several things on what is happening in the NDOC. I came across a incident that the Review Journal needs to take a look at.

    Inmate Rickey Egberto appears to be on a hunger strike. The strike is over being denied the use of a cane or walker for mobility, even after NDOC’s own doctors prescribed it. NDOC is unwilling to give an inch, and apparently would prefer to watch Inmate Egberto die of starvation than to let him use a cane.

    There is a story that needs to be told. In fact sir, it’s being told over the internet and spreading like wildfire. I think the paper you work needs to investigate what is happening in the NDOC.

    Warden Bill Donat of Nevada State Prison has decreed that Inmate Egberto will not use his prescribed cane or walker for mobility. The warden has no right to do this. It’s a medical order.

    It is my humble opinion that Inmate Egberto will pass away and be another number in the NDOC. Two years ago the ACLU retained Dr. William Noel to examine prisoners at a Nevada prison. He wrote, “The medical care at Ely State Prison amounts to the grossest possible medical malpractice, and the most shocking and callous disregard for human life and human suffering that I have ever encountered in the medical profession in my thirty-five years in the profession.”
    Nevada’s isolation and the good ole’ boy system is responsible for literal murder.

    It is time the RJ needs to stand up do what is right.



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