NRS 209.371 – Nevada Law Regarding Humane Treatment of Offenders

A Texas woman who was incarcerated in a Nevada county jail for failure to pay traffic tickets died in her cell after failure of the Mineral County Jail to provide medical attention.  The 27-year-old woman informed jailers that she was dependent on drugs and suffered seizures as a side-effect of withdrawal.  After requests to be transported to a hospital were ignored, she suffered a seizure and laid unattended for more than six hours.  After she was discovered, she was left overnight without medical attention until state officials arrived to investigate the following morning.

An investigation by state officials concluded that the Mineral County Sheriff’s Office may have committed violations against state laws prohibiting corporal punishment or inhumane treatment of prisoners.  The woman’s family later settled a wrongful death lawsuit against Sheriff Randy Adams for $2 million.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal also reported on a federal lawsuit against the state of Nevada by an ex-inmate who alleged she suffered systemic abuse by prison staff.  Among her claims, she claims that there was rampant misconduct in the form of use of segregation as punishment for minor offenses, sexual abuse, and inhumane conditions, such as denial of required cataract surgery for her eye that caused her to have double vision, headaches, vertigo, and floaters in her vision.  She also alleges that she fractured her shoulder and left wrist while in the showers, and was denied the proper surgery for her shoulder for a year.  Due to this, she is suing for deliberate medical indifference.  A representative from the Nevada ACLU commented on the situation, calling it “absolutely appalling.”

Instances such as these seem to fly in the face of law that prohibits corporal punishment and inhumane treatment of offenders who are incarcerated in Nevada institutions.  An overview and exact statutory language of the law in question can be found below.

The Law Regarding Corporal Punishment and Inhumane Treatment for Incarcerated Individuals in Nevada

Nev. Rev. Stat. § 209.371. Prohibition of Corporal Punishment and Inhumane Treatment

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Nev. Rev. Stat. § 209.371 prohibits the use of corporal punishment and inhumane treatment of offenders.

The exact statutory language reads: Corporal punishment and inhumane treatment of offenders are prohibited.

What is Corporal Punishment under Nevada Law?

In Nevada, corporal punishment is using force to cause pain or discomfort as a punishment for bad behavior.  Corporal punishment includes behavior such as:

  • Physical force, such as hitting, punching, slapping, jabbing, pinching, shoving, or choking;
  • Forcing someone to remain in a position that becomes painful over time;
  • Confinement in an uncomfortable space;
  • Denying access to a bathroom;
  • Force-feeding inedible substances;
  • Withholding access to food or water.

Any type of conduct outlined above is prohibited by Nevada law to be inflicted upon offenders who are incarcerated in a Nevada institution for crimes committed.

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