ACLU Report Blasts Inmate Care At Nevada Prison

The American Civil Liberties Union released a report claiming a pattern of "gross medical abuse" at Nevada's maximum-security Ely State Prison and called for a meeting with the state's governor and prison director.

The ACLU's letter to Gov. Jim Gibbons said the report concludes at least one convict "has already died an unnecessary, slow and agonizing death" and more such deaths and unnecessary suffering is
likely without prompt health care changes at the prison.

Nevada Prison Director Howard Skolnik said the report by Dr. William Noel will be reviewed by the prison system's medical director - but until that's done "there's no need for a meeting at this time regarding an issue that I do not think exists."

Skolnik noted that despite Nevada's current budget crisis, caused by slumping tax revenues, the prison's medical program is exempt from any proposed cuts and he's not going to ask for additional funding "for a problem that I don't believe exists as it's described."

Amy Fettig, staff counsel for the ACLU National Prison Project, said its report was sent to Gibbons after ACLU representatives discussed the problem with Skolnik "for several months."