Not-So-Correctional Facility? Warden’s Past Behavior Raises Serious Questions

Prisons are often referred to as “correctional institutions.” As the name implies, the objective is to keep convicted inmates in line and hopefully correct problematic behavior. There are an array of correctional institutions in and around Las Vegas. Here is an overview of prisons operating in Nevada:

  • Ely State Prison – Nevada’s death row
  • High Desert State Prison
  • Lovelock Correctional Center
  • Nevada State Prison (closed)
  • Northern Nevada Correctional Center and Stewart Conservation Camp
  • Northern Nevada Restitution Center
  • Southern Desert Correctional Center
  • Southern Nevada Correctional Center
  • Florence McClure Women’s Correctional Center
  • Warm Springs Correctional Center

And this list only features state prisons, not federal facilities or county jails.

If you are convicted of a crime and ordered to serve time in one of these prisons, you should expect to be treated with a level of basic respect and human decency. You should also expect the leadership at the correctional institution to do their jobs appropriately.

Well, if the past behavior of the Gustavo Mazorra is any indication, they may need to re-name Zephyrhills prison the Zephyrhills Not-So-Correctional Institution.

Tryst with Subordinate That Turned to Tragedy

While Mazorra was serving as Assistant Warden in the Marion Correctional Institution, he engaged in an illicit affair with a young correctional officer. Mazorra’s secretary helped keep the romance quiet, referring to officer by a code name when she called his office.

Just a few days after her last tryst with Mazorra, the young correctional officer was found lifeless in the bathroom floor of her mobile home. She overdosed on antidepressants.

Appearance of Impropriety

The Marion County Sheriff’s Office investigated the death of the young correctional officer and it was quickly decided that Mazorra could not remain at Marion CI.

“There was an appearance of impropriety there,” said Gretl Plessinger, spokeswoman for the Department of Corrections. Mazorra was transferred to Lancaster Correctional Institution in Trenton, where he took a “voluntary demotion” to colonel.

Brushing It Under the Rug

Despite the impropriety, Mazorra’s actions with a subordinate were never treated as an official disciplinary matter. There was no internal investigation, no formal reprimand, and no letter of counseling in Mazorra’s file. There was no suggestion of any missteps in the evaluation that followed seven months later, when Mazorra, shockingly, received a perfect 5 rating in the leadership category that covers professionalism with subordinates.

It is quite troubling that Mazorra’s personnel file does not contain any mention of his relationship with the young correctional officer or the reasons for his transfer to Lancaster.

Failing Upwards

Less than two years after his demotion, Mazorra was bumped back up to assistant warden at Lancaster. Less than three years later, he got the big promotion to lead the Zephyrhills Correctional Institution.

The only critical memo in Mazorra’s file was dated Feb. 4, 2000, when he allowed the postage machine to run out at a Miami-Dade prison, delaying the delivery of outgoing mail.

“Behavior of this type cannot be, and will not be, tolerated,” the memo said.

When asked about his affair with a subordinate, Mazorra declined to go into any detail. He only stated, “I made a stupid mistake. I paid for my mistake. I live it every day.” Yes, he gets to live every day. The young correctional officer does not.

Speak to an Experienced Las Vegas Criminal Defense Lawyer Today

The best way to avoid coming in contact with prison officials like Mazorra is to stand up and fight your criminal charges to avoid conviction. In order to accomplish this objective, you need a top-notch Las Vegas criminal defense attorney. This is why you should contact Nick Wooldridge and the skilled legal team with LV Criminal Defense. They stand ready to help and are eager to advocate on your behalf.