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Prison guards try to incite riots to keep their jobs

August 11, 2009
Nevada State Prison, which still looks like this, is one of the nation’s oldest prisons, dating from 1862.
Nevada State Prison, which still looks like this, is one of the nation’s oldest prisons, dating from 1862.

Editor’s note: The Bay View has been hearing from prisoners around the country that guards, fearing the loss of their jobs, are enraged by budget cuts and plans to release prisoners and close prisons. In some cases they are intensifying their harassment and torture of prisoners and in others they are trying to incite them to riot. That may be a factor in the Chino State Prison “race riot” and fire on Sunday, Aug. 9, just outside Los Angeles that injured more than 250 prisoners, destroyed one dorm and made most of the others uninhabitable. The Nevada prisons are generally considered some of the worst in the country. Here’s what’s happening there:

by Raymond Watison

Prisoners at Nevada State Prison are pleading for help. We truly believe that the administration is intentionally inflaming conflict. Not only are tensions between inmates rising, but those between correctional officers and inmates are at an all-time high.

Most importantly, we are starting to become angry because of an ugly rumor that is circulating in this institution. Word is we are deliberately being used for political gain due to the budget cuts.

We are starting to believe that we are, against our own will, being pushed to the edge so that the administration can make their case for more funds.

I have no choice but to reach out with this letter because other attempts to find assistance have been spoiled by what we call abuse of authority. The prison administration is abusing the disciplinary system that is designed for the safety and security of inmates’ rights.

The administration is trying to quiet our questions about their aggressive behavior. Not only the correctional officers but the administrators too are participants.

There is a grievance complaint system in place that we can no longer trust. This administration has given correctional officers the authority to either approve or deny inmate rights by doing away with the grievance procedure and to punish us for exercising our rights.

This is causing correctional officers to become very aggressive toward inmates. They refuse to obey their own rules and regulations without fear of consequences from any of the administrators.

We here at Nevada State Prison, like so many other prisoners around the globe, learn among ourselves that we are brothers in a never ending struggle. Seeking not to cause violence, we are trying hard to remain brothers because we recognize the administration’s motives in pushing us to cause destruction.

Nevada Director of Corrections Howard Skolnik
Nevada Director of Corrections Howard Skolnik
So I ask – no, I beg – you to intervene. You are our only hope. Is there any help for a widow’s son?

How you can help

Nevada State Prison is in Carson City, the state capital. Call, email, fax or write a letter today to Nevada Corrections Director Howard Skolnik, Nevada Department of Corrections, P.O. Box 7011, Carson City, NV 89702, phone (775) 887-3216, fax (775) 887-3253, email He has responded before to pressure, and he will again.

Calls directly to the prison may also help. Call Warden Gregory Smith at (775) 882-8588.

Send our brother some love and light: Raymond Watison, 1031835, Nevada State Prison, P.O. Box 607, Carson City NV 89702.

10 thoughts on “Prison guards try to incite riots to keep their jobs

  1. BlackJackBetty

    The Director of the Prison Project of the ACLU said that Nevada’s Ely State Prison was the worst she had ever seen in terms of lack of medical care, and she has seen prisons all over the country, including the deep south. Nevada is a backward state, a banana republic. Ignorance and lawlessness run rampant.

    I am happy to hear that Mr.Skolnik has responded to pressure. I personally have not seen it. He seems to break the law with impunity along with his wardens who are like some kind of stereotype of corruption.

    Thanks, Raymond, for your commentary. I hope we can help you. Keep writing.

    See for more news on the absolute corruption in Nevada’s prison system.

  2. Is there still nothing being done?

    Reminds me of a Swedish film called Kopps (2003) where the policestation is threatened with shutting down because of low crime rates in the village… and the policemen realize they have to create more crime in order to stay in their job…

    Only, that was a comedy…
    Some serious managing of the staff needs to be done here, in order to secure “the safety of staff and prisoners”…

  3. BATO

    in re article guards incite riot
    i would plug that prison management—
    especially at rank and file level
    of the prison toten-hiarchy,
    is a management style that breaks all moral legal boudaries
    and utilizes the power strategem of code of silence and guard unity/staff safety first/ to protect itself and direct the institutional inherent violence back upon itself. This manipulation is not anything new used but a variation of the same thing used wherever you have large hostile population numbers that out-number your own. Think divide and conquer and then think again: what would you do if you were working in a powder-geg industry always boiling ? Control the boling temperature and when it blows
    make sure your side knows its coming
    and get out of the way. Remember pelican bay prison riot feb 22 2002. The guards there set-up the riot outside
    (on B-yard) while(they) stood behind fences and “let it rip”. Later the guards celebrated (that none of them got hurt )and passed out medals to satff for heroism. 16 prisoners were shot, one killed and 32 stabbed etc. oheyo

  4. marilyn bortee

    we need help in san bernardino ca. west valley detention center, its just a matter of time there.that place is ran like the old soth guards treat inmates like dogs. my husband was shot 3 times a month ago with a bullet in his head as we speak 2 in his stomach they had to bring in back twice the night he was shot 3 days later they arrested him in the hospital and took him to west valley .2 weeks after that they put him with other inmates. he has had 3 seizures since then.its been 1month and 2going on 3 weeks has not tallked to an attorney and we would like for him to get a bail but no attorney.the charge doese not fit the crime but like i say they get away with every thing here.sorry for getting off the subject.

  5. john hurbie

    all you inmate loving fools need to realize that your men, sons, etc. broke the law and belong where they are at. perhaps if you mothered more when your child was young he would not be where he is at know.

    1. lucky2010

      ms. john hurbie,after 23 yrs of pelican bay both a and b yard ,7 years in shu, im finally out ! please DONT judge, let alone share your opinion on someones MOTHERING, or upbringing. yes i got what i deserve, maybe i got off lucky,nevertheless DONT!i i wouldnt wish to see you there, just to see what your made of. need a diaper?

  6. marilyn bortee

    john hurbie please stop sending me negative messages,you are only making yourself look more like the fool you are.and i am not this mans mother.if you have a son you dont no what the future holds for him.

  7. lz

    I have a son at pelican bay state prison, he has been there and just recently went to court, on charges the prison brought against him, which he was given 18mo, and gived cridit time served, he should have been released, but then given a bail and sent back to pelican bay, and now what he has been cridit for, they are bringing same charges against him again but this time through the administration at pelican bay, which they want to give him 1year, he was sent to pelican bay on a violation, to do 1yr on a drunk in public, that was in may 2007, here it’s oct 2009 and still not released, where is justice? child molesters, rapist, murders, those who have no heart for others i can see the prisons are needed, but there are many who honestly should not be in our prisons, our whole system need reform, especially those prison officals, who milk it for there meal ticket,

  8. E. Martin

    Nevada State Prisons guards are trying to create a hostile environment and eventually a prison riot for obvious reasons of job security. One of the guards was removed at one time(Lazzarino)for theft and disrespecting property. Not sure why he is back doing the same thing again now in Unit 9? The industries respond better to outside parties especially if you write a letter or call.

    If you want to do something are not sure where to go with a complaint for a loved one.
    email,write or call:

    Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto
    Office of the Attorney General
    100 North Carson Street
    Carson City, Nevada 89701
    Fax: (775) 684-1108

    Nevada Department of Corrections
    Attn: Director Howard Skolnik,
    P.O. Box 7011, Carson City, NV 89702,
    phone (775) 887-3216, fax (775) 887-3253,

    Nevada State Prison
    Att: Warden – Greg Smith
    P.O. Box 607
    Carson City, Nevada 89702
    Phone: 775-882-8588

  9. bassackwards

    I agree that NDOC is extremely corrupt and every time you try to do what's right you get shot down because Nevada decides on it. It is a group of golfing buddies that are at the hearing. Hmmm? The administration is on a power trip and nothing seems to even make them worry. It is going to take a major accident (exactly what they want) to get things to change. They use excuses like "for safety" but it is only to get the solutions they want. If it was a safety issue it should at least feel safe. Once they have enough bloodshed then more politicians will listen…


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