State settles Ely prison lawsuit |

State settles Ely prison lawsuit

The Board of Examiners on Tuesday agreed to a deal settling the ACLU’s lawsuit over prison medical treatment at the Ely prison.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed the class action suit in 2008 charging grossly inadequate medical care at Ely State Prison was putting the prison’s 1,000 inmates at serious risk. The suit followed a medical report commissioned by the ACLU to investigate conditions in Ely. Dr. William Noel said in that report medical treatment conditions at Ely amounted to “a pattern of gross medical abuse.”

Director of Corrections Howard Skolnik said the ACLU agreed to settle the case after an independent expert examined the medical conditions at Ely and recommended some changes.

The board consisting of the governor, attorney general and secretary of state voted Tuesday to pay $350,000 to cover a portion of the ACLU’s legal expenses in the case. Skolnik said none of the money would go to inmates in the prison.

He said the deal must still be accepted by the court and Ely Prison will have to maintain compliance with the terms of the deal for two years before the case will be finally dismissed.

In addition, the board approved a $4.5 million contract to implement the Nevada Business Portal. The Legislature approved the plan to create a one-stop-shop for businesses moving to Nevada to streamline the process of getting all of the necessary state and local licenses and approvals in one place. The portal project is being managed by Secretary of State Ross Miller’s office.

Finally, the board approved $1.58 million in funding to cover salary shortages in the Department of Corrections from the 2010 fiscal year, which ended June 30. That is money spent before the department’s correctional staff joined other state workers in taking furloughs.