In 1977, inmates at the Nevada State Prison filed a Section 1983 class action suit in the District of Nevada, against officials of the Nevada State Prisons. Plaintiffs alleged violations of the First, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments. In addition to overcrowding, plaintiffs ...
read more >
In 1977, inmates at the Nevada State Prison filed a Section 1983 class action suit in the District of Nevada, against officials of the Nevada State Prisons. Plaintiffs alleged violations of the First, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments. In addition to overcrowding, plaintiffs complained of inadequate educational, vocational, work, and recreational opportunities; living conditions; and medical and psychiatric care. Plaintiffs had counsel from Washoe Legal Services and the ACLU National Prison Project.
In April 1983, the parties submitted a stipulated settlement agreement that required defendants to address each of the issues above and implemented plans to expand the capacity of the facility to alleviate the overcrowding. The agreement also required an independent auditor to submit three reports over a 16 month period. At the auditor's discretion, the period for compliance could be extended an additional twelve months requiring two additional reports. Following a July 1983 hearing, the District Court (Judge Edward Reed) approved the stipulated settlement agreement in an August 1983 order.
Allen F. Breed was named as the independent auditor and submitted five progress reports over the next two years. By the fifth progress report Mr. Breed had found defendants in full or partial compliance with all but 5 of the requirements in the stipulated settlement agreements. Mr. Breed was also named as the independent auditor in Taylor v. Wolff (PC-NV-006), a similar case involving the civil rights of prisoners in the Nevada State Prison system. Counsel from Washoe Legal Services and the ACLU National Prison Project represented plaintiffs in both matters.
Litigation was renewed in 1987 under the same docket number but new case name, Phillips v. Bryan. Plaintiffs, inmates at the Nevada State Prison, moved the court to hold the defendants in contempt for not complying with the 1983 settlement agreement. In May 1988, the parties agreed to a revised stipulated settlement agreement that renewed much of the 1983 agreement and provided for two independent monitors to ensure defendants' compliance. Jerry J. Enomoto and Patrick D. McManus were named as the independent monitors.
On February 6, 2006, an inmate filed a motion to restore and appoint federal monitors and alleged numerous violations of the stipulated settlement agreement. In particular the plaintiff alleged overcrowding (two men in a single cell), incorrect medical diets, and extreme temperatures during summer months. The case was then assigned to Judge Edward C. Reed, Jr and Robert A. McQuaid, Jr who issued an order striking the motion because the case had been closed since April 7, 1995. On February 14, 2006, an inmate sent a handwritten letter asking whether the stipulated settlement was still in effect. A few months later an inmate from the original case (who joined the prison advocacy group Nevada CURE after release) requested the docket to determine the validity of the agreement.Eoghan Keenan - 06/10/2005