LAS VEGAS (KLAS) – Loved ones of Nevada prison inmates called for better conditions inside state prisons on Tuesday.
The group “Return Strong” met outside the Casa Grande Transitional Housing Center in 110-plus degree heat to send a message about conditions such as temperatures inside the prisons.
“People are saying repeatedly they’re not getting relief. The air conditioning is not working,” said Jodi Hocking, the president of Return Strong.
“Not that it has to be a country club. Nobody is saying that, but food, temperature control and not having people be victims for excessive force of corrections are all some things that should just be a standard expectation,” Hocking said.
Food portions are also a concern.
“I understand that prison is a prison but you should still be treated humanely,” Crystal Voight said. Her fiancé is an inmate at High Desert State Prison located near Indian Springs.
“There are times when I’m talking to him and I don’t even wanna tell him I’m eating because I feel guilty,” Voight said. “I don’t want to bring up the issue of food because I know how bad it is in there.”
Return Strong also demanded answers about the April 15th death of inmate Christian Walker. He died less than 48 hours after officers used force against him.
The Attorney General’s office and the Nevada Department of Public Safety began an investigation at the request of NDOC Director James Dzurenda. In May, four officers were removed from regular duties.
The 8 News Now Investigators reached out to NDOC about Return Strong’s concerns. A spokesperson emailed the following information:
Christian Walker’s death is still under investigation. We are awaiting the findings from the Office of the Attorney General and the Nevada Division of Investigations.
The air conditioning and swamp coolers are functional at every institution. Wardens are sending daily temperature checks.
The NDOC is continuing to work with its food vendor to remedy the portions.
On Tuesday afternoon, Return Strong released balloons outside High Desert State Prison to raise awareness about conditions inside state prisons.
Hocking said that she planned the events on “Mandela Day,” which is aimed at honoring Nelson Mandela. It is also recognized as a call to action to help improve communities.