Inmate At Private Nevada Prison Pregnant, Guard Placed On Leave
(July 31: Evening Update) -- The state has stepped up its monitoring of the privately run Southern Nevada Women's Correctional Center in North Las Vegas after an inmate became pregnant and named a guard as the father.
Howard Skolnik, assistant director of the Nevada Department of Corrections, says Corrections Corporation of America (CCA)has placed the guard on administrative leave.
He adds that prison officials are investigating to see whether criminal charges should be filed. It's a felony for a guard to have sexual relations with an inmate even if it's consensual.
The state was told of the case last week by CCA, which has a contract with the state to run the prison. The inmate has been transferred to the prison system's regional medical center in Carson City, where she'll probably have the child.
The woman, who wasn't named, had been at the prison in North Las Vegas since February 2001, serving a term of two to ten years for robbery.
The state attorney general's office is examining the contract with CCA to determine if any provision has been violated and what penalties could be imposed against the private company.
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(July 30) -- The Southern Nevada Women's Correctional Facility in North Las Vegas is home to more than 300 prisoners. But the pregnancy of one woman is raising questions about the entire prison system. The man who fathered the child is believed to be a prison guard. Critics say that is just an example of the poor job being done by the company hired to run prisons in Nevada.
"She will have a reminder of this incident for the remainder of her life, says Attorney Scott Olifant. He is talking about his client: a 20-something-year-old inmate at the Southern Nevada Women's Correctional facility. She is four months pregnant, allegedly by a prison guard, who Olifant says used his authority and took advantage of his client.
"They do not have to raise a baton or make any threat to intimidate an inmate," says Olifant.
"Sexual relations with an inmate is a felony in Nevada, says Howard Skolnik with the Department of Corrections. Skolnik says the accusations surfaced after an investigation by the private company hired to run the prison, The Corrections Corporation of America.
The company's response to the sexual act is now under investigation.
"If they had known about it and tried to cover it up that's a whole different deal and we would take a whole different set of actions," says Skolnik.
"This doesn't surprise me at all," says Gary peck with the American Civil Liberties Union.
Peck says he is against private companies operating jails or prisons because their bottom line is money.
"The less they spend on training, the less they spend on staffing, the less the spend on anything you associate with a properly run correctional facility," says Peck.
The inmate has been relocated to the prison in Carson City for protection against retaliation. Meanwhile, the inmate's attorney plans to file a civil rights lawsuit against Corrections Corporation of America.
The company has refused comment.
The woman has served about a year of her ten year prison sentence for multiple felonies. She plans to have the baby, but obviously won't be able to raise the child until her prison sentence is up.
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