Nevada Dept. of Corrections: Provide disiplinary hearings within 30 days
My Son Aaron Jenkins was placed in Administrative Segregation after witnessing a fight at a conservation camp. He would not describe what he had seen to the officers in fear of retaliation from other inmates. We all know prisons have their own justice system between inmates. since he was not willing to "snitch" he was removed from the camp along with the two people who were fighting and placed in segregation at Ely State Prison in Nevada, a maximum security facility. He is also being threatened with charges, like battery and or assault on an inmate. He was advised that if he tells them what he saw then he will be sent back to camp. This was 60 days ago. He is allowed out of his single man cell for 10 minutes every three days to shower. I have visited him twice since he has been there and his personality has drastically changed. He was advised by some prison official when he got there that he would have a hearing within 30 days. That has not happened. Then it was 45. Still hasn't happened. When researching the NDOC policies it is stated that an inmate SHOULD have a hearing and be formally charged with a violation within 30 days. The problem is the word SHOULD. There is NO maximum time in which an inmate has to wait for one either. Here's a little background...
My son was adjudicated in Juvenile court at 16 and certified an adult and tried as an adult for a crime in which he was present. He has no prior record and was in fact a well rounded individual with amazing talent and is very intelligent. He was always an honor roll student in school and was very athletic. Long story short, instead of risking prison time, Aaron took a plea deal that would keep him out of prison. He was given 5 years probation with a 3-8 year suspended sentence. Great right? No not really since I felt in my heart and so did he that he would of been found innocent if it was taken to trial BUT the risk wasn't worth it. Aaron was doing quite well after he was given probation he graduated HS early and started going to college locally, he also had gotten a seasonal job. After a while the teenager in him started coming out a little. He broke curfew a few too many times and his probation was revoked. The judge remanded him to the NDOC to serve out his sentence. Terrifying. Aaron was doing well in there. He was doing so well in fact that he was given the opportunity to go to Conservation camp..YAY!!!! Well that lasted 6 days. On his 6th day at camp two inmates got into a fight. The two inmates told the guard they were horse playing and nobody was injured. They asked my son what happened and he said he didn't know. They basically told him that if he didn't say what happened that he will be taken in and charged with battery and or assault on an inmate along with the other guys. Well again, that's not happening. he wasn't going to put himself in danger later, so away he went. When I found out where he was, I went the next monday to go see him. When I got there, I was shocked. In the short time that he was there, his hair was matted and his skin was very dry. He was only allowed to use lye soap to shower with. This made his skin itchy and dry, the pigment in his skin was gone. He had lost some weight but was still positive. We had a great visit and laughed a lot. He was sure that he was going to get his hearing any day and that he would soon be back at camp or at the very least out of the hole he was in. He understood why he was there and wasn't mad about it. 40 days later he is still there, still no hearing. I decide to go see him again. March 11th. When aaron walked through the door, I did not recognize my boy. I could instantly see that the happy, spiritial, positive person he was, was gone. He was telling me he no longer has faith in God and was questioning why this all has happened to him and wondered if he has been effected by segregation so much in only two months, how is it effecting other who have been in there for months and years? He said its no wonder why people go crazy and that he is on the verge himself. He has lost even more weight, hair is still matted and he is not allowd to shave. Only thing that has changed is now he can use non lye soap. He is a completly different person.
My want is for there to be a set time process that makes it illegal for an inmate not to have a diciplinary hearing within 30 days of being locked into administrative segregation. I feel that if a case hasn't been built within that time frame the charge or write up should be dropped. Human beings guilty of a crime or not should have basic human rights. It is not humane to let someone sit in a cell without knowing when they will have their day in court or have their basic needs met. After being treated so poorly for so long it will cause more disciplinary problems. Inmate reform starts when prison reform starts.
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