LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Two inmates at High Desert State Prison died by suicide within 24 hours, according to documentation from the Clark County Coroner’s office. The 8 News Now Investigators have learned that the warden informed employees of changes inside the prison four days later, and the medical director of the Nevada Department of Corrections advised staff he was resigning five days later. 

David Thompson, 38, died by hanging on Sept. 7. He was serving time for robbery with use of a deadly weapon, according to Nevada Department of Corrections records. His sentence would have been completed in 2028.

Deryl Dent, 32, died by hanging on Sept. 8. He was serving time for attempted battery and battery causing substantial bodily harm, according to NDOC records. His sentence would have been completed in 2023. 

Dent’s death marks the seventh death at the prison so far in 2022, according to the coroner’s office. Records reveal that five inmates died by suicide, four of them due to hanging and one due to ligature strangulation.

One inmate died of a condition due to heart disease, and another died of a drug overdose, specifically from methamphetamine and fentanyl, according to the coroner’s office.

In a memo to staff obtained by the 8 News Now Investigators, Warden Calvin Johnson listed restrictive housing changes and security updates. They include daily group tours conducted every day by prison leaders and staff (including medical), tours by the deputy director, health and welfare count training for all staff, and supervisory oversight to ensure 30-minute irregular checks in restrictive housing.

An internal memo states, “The officer must observe every offender every 30 minutes to determine health and welfare and log into the 30 Minute Rounds logbook.” The warden also added health and welfare counts three times a day in addition to regular counts. “If any offender in restrictive housing does not come out of their cell for three consecutive days, on the third day the offender will be removed for a mental health evaluation and the cell will be searched,” the memo stated. 

The following day, Dr. Michael Minev, the NDOC Medical Director informed employees that he would be resigning effective September 30. An NDOC spokesperson confirmed his resignation to the 8 News Now Investigators.  Dr. Minev has been employed with NDOC since Oct. 1, 2018, with an annual salary of approximately $218,000, according to the department.

A statement was released Wednesday by Teri Vance, deputy public information officer for NDOC: “Unfortunately, there were two suicides last week at High Desert State Prison. As a Department, we are concerned by this and our staff is reviewing the circumstances surrounding these deaths. We are also working to develop an assessment and intervention plan for that unit.”