A letter was sent at the beginning of January 2010 to the Nevada Department of Corrections about the question that as a captive of the state, Marritte Funches should be housed at ‘Medium’ level custody according to the minimum amount of points he has, yet, the State of Nevada keeps him in a maximum security level prison, on High Risk Potential.
We of course say that Marritte should not be locked up at all! Let alone at the maximum level. We consider this retaliation of those in power against a prisoner who is innocent, and who is striving for a better life of consciousness and dignity, not only for himself but for all those in prisons, and who is in need of medical care, which is made more difficult since he is in a max. prison far away from a medical center.
The letter was endorsed by 25 people.
January 4th, 2010
To the Chief of the Offender Management Division, Classification Section, Nevada Department of Corrections, Mr Rex Reed.
CC: Howard Skolnik, Head of NDOC, Board of Prison Commissioners
The undersigned have a request for a transfer of a prisoner in the State of Nevada, that is appropriate and according to NDOC rules and procedures. The prisoner, Mr Marritte Funches, NDOC #37050, who is serving a life sentence since 1991, and who is currently housed in Ely State Prison, has not had a single act of violence on his record since ten years. His points level is that of Medium custody, yet he is housed in a Maximum facility, even on High Risk Potential (HRP).
We, the undersigned, deem it highly likely that the incarceration at Maximum level of this Medium level inmate is due to prejudices from the warden and staff, and we suspect these are due to the political beliefs of Mr Funches, and to being outspoken against staff abuses, against NDOC’s failure to follow their own procedures, as well as being critical about the lack of medical care in Ely State Prison (an issue that the ACLU has taken up in a class action suit against Ely State Prison). Why do we think this is so? Because there are no other factors that could be used to have Mr Funches remain incarcerated at Maximum level, on Administrative Segregation, on High Risk Potential (HRP). These factors are, of course, never cited by the administration.
The only defense, as we see it, the administration of Ely State Prison can come up with to keep Mr Funches on the status of HRP is his past record. But in the last ten years and counting, Mr Funches has not engaged in any act of violence, to the contrary: he has pursued a pro-active way of peace and education for himself and other prisoners.
We are well aware that the administration wants to shove a prison murder of 2004 in Mr Funches´ shoes, whereas he had no write up for this, because both guards present reported they had Mr Funches in their sight the entire time and he never did anything wrong or suspicious, Mr Funches was found NOT GUILTY at trial in September 2007 on the account of no less than eleven witnesses, including three prosecution witnesses; all testified under oath that Mr Funches did nothing wrong. However, to this date, nothing has changed in the level of security of Mr Funches: he is still being punished with all the restrictions of the HRP classification, which has no justification.
We find this quite unbelievable and very unjust. Mr Funches´ points and conduct qualify him for Medium custody, and he has had no write up for acts of violence in the last ten years, and no major infractions in at least four years. Yet he is still being held there.
In addition, Mr Funches suffers from a painful medical condition affecting his ability to live and function normally. Diagnosed with … a decreased kidney function in 2007. Ely State Prison has no urologist and is not equipped to treat Mr Funches, being confined to a cell 23 to 24 hours a day with no chance to gain relief from his painful condition.
It is clear to us and the casual observer that it is impossible for Mr Funches to be treated fairly while housed at Ely State Prison.
We urge you to look into this situation, and we urge you to take the necessary steps that Mr Funches is reclassified at the appropriate custody level, and transport him to a prison (possibly NNCC) with medical care needed in his case. And if this is not possible, as there is no other maximum security prison in the State of Nevada, we ask that you transfer Mr Funches to a maximum prison in another state where he can be treated fairly and get the medical care he badly needs.
Thanking you in advance for your serious interest in this case,
Signed by Nevadans, other concerned Americans and people from Europe, Australia and Africa (these names can be verified via mails received): …