Guards renew prison criticism; director says they are lying |

Guards renew prison criticism; director says they are lying

Guards at the Nevada State Prison put out a new flier Thursday, renewing criticism of the warden and director.

The fliers were placed on windshields of cars in the parking lot just north of the Capitol shortly before noon saying security lapses have resulted in the institution being locked down on three occasions this month and attacks on two inmates. The second of those inmates, Eugene Ortega, died this week of severe head injuries suffered in a beating in the prison’s showers.

The fliers, bearing the State of Nevada Employees Association logo, charge that the institution was not searched for weapons or contraband after the June 9, June 13 or June 20 lockdowns.

“Although these serious events have taken place, the administration feels safe allowing approximately 180 inmates not to be locked into their cells at night time,” the flier charges.

Director of Corrections Glen Whorton said the allegations are completely false.

“That’s a lie,” he said of the weapons searches. “When there’s a lockdown, the first thing we do is take the opportunity to shake down for weapons. They’re communicating a lie.”

He also charged that the suggestion 180 inmates are being allowed to roam free at night is incorrect.

“They are locked in their tier in the cell house. They are separated by locked bars from the staff and the yard.”

He said the situation is identical to the controls on the entire general population at Northern Nevada Correctional Center in South Carson City.

The flier charges that officers working in the prison are doing their best but that the administration is “tying one hand behind our backs.”

Whorton said that claim has a hollow ring.

“The complaints we’ve received from SNEA is that we’re being too tough,” he said. “We’re trying to get them to do their jobs.”

Whorton’s office staff members said they had received four calls as of Thursday afternoon from people who received the flier.

• Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at or 687-8750.