Letters to the editor for Friday, Jan. 10, 2014
Inmate deaths not a cause for concern
I read in the paper on Dec. 19 an article expressing concern because 33 Nevada prison inmates have died so far this year. I would suggest this number should not be considered problematic. There are over 14,000 inmates in the Nevada Department of Corrections, the size of a small town, with “residents” of all ages. A certain number of deaths can be expected from a population of this size. Other things unique to prisons add to the total.
There are inmates suffering from self-destructive mental disorders that are frequently the cause of their incarceration. Suicide is a problem, caused in no small part from depression because inmates have to live here. There are many inmates suffering from problems caused by poor lifestyle choices. A sizable portion of the population has Hepatitis C, both from drug abuse and from sharing tattoo needles. Hepatitis, bronchitis, AIDS, syphilis, tuberculosis, every kind of cancer, MRSA, all can be found here.
The inmates are packed into much denser housing than the residents of most towns of this size, so disease spreads more readily here. There is a higher incidence of violence due in part because of the high-density housing, but also because of the type of “residents” who live here and despite the best efforts of staff to prevent it.
I have worked in this “town” for a long time. I am in no way speaking in any official capacity, and my observations are strictly my own, but I hope I have given you some insight.