By Gilbert Paliotta
I’ll start from where things went bad for me…. In 1998, Ely State
Prison Administration housed me in a cell with a known “Gang Enforcer”
(that’s how he was listed in their files) who was recently transferred
to this prison from another one due to his numerous assaults and
batteries on other inmates. A week before they housed me with this guy,
he had been released from the “hole” (punitive segregation) for
cracking open the head of his last cellmate with a metal hotpot and
ripping his eyeball out of its socket.
Administration moved me
in the cell with this guy; and, to save you from the gory details, a
fight ensued and he lost his life.
Did I mention that he was over
six feet tall and a solid two hundred pounds and that I am only five
nine and one seventy? That up until 1998 I was labeled as a “ model
inmate” (nothing to brag about but it’s better than being labeled a
“Gang Enforcer”)? That ESP administration had prior knowledge revealed
by the sheriff’s office that this guy was ordered to “hit” (kill) his
last cellmate and yet they continued to cell me up with this guy?
I was found guilty of murdering my cellmate even though it was
clearly self-defense. In my prison disciplinary hearing I remained
silent because I was facing criminal charges by the State of Nevada, but
the disciplinary committee simply found me “guilty” without allowing me
to defend against allegations, sentenced me to the maximum penalty in
punitive segregation and illegally placed me on “high risk potential”
(HRP) status, the most extreme and restrictive status an inmate can
possibly be placed on, even worse than death row, not an accusation but a
The warden at the time (McDaniel) left me on the
HRP status until 2005, long after my punitive segregation sentence had
expired, ignoring my repeated attempts to be taken off said status and
sent back to the general population. He stated he would not take me off
HRP status until he considered me “no longer a threat to staff and
In 2005, Warden McDaniels finally removed me from HRP
status but did not send me back to the general population. He told me
to give him six months. It’s now 2012 and I’m still not back in general population.
They keep me on “administrative segregation” under the guise of
“safety security” reasons, which is a contradiction or the warden would
not have taken me off HRP in 2005.
During this time I filed a
Civil Rights complaint (or rather I tried to) regarding the prison
holding me hostage all of these years in segregation, it was
dismissed. Had I had some help, that would not have happened. I had
them dead to rights on that lawsuit.
Since they continue to
keep me segregated when they have released other inmates who have been
found guilty of murder of another inmate back to general population, I
am beginning the steps of filing another separate complaint. This one
will be from the date my prior lawsuit was dismissed.
And it gets worse…Physical abuse as retaliation
Administration didn’t like that I filed a lawsuit against them. In
2008, the guards assaulted me while I was handcuffed and had leg
restraints on. Two days later, they assaulted me again while I was
handcuffed and restrained. Of course, they twisted it up saying it was
the other way around but how does a person attack two guards while he’s
in full restraints?
In 2009-10 I was engaged to be married and
was receiving visits every three months from my fiancée’ who traveled
all the way from England.
Again, administration disrupted my
life as I knew it. That lawsuit! After one of my visits with my (now)
ex-fiancee, they said they found a pair of panties on prison grounds and
that she gave them to me. This is major. I was strip searched three
times before and after visits by five different guards and at no time
was a pair of panties or any contraband for that matter ever found in my
possession or on my person.
During my disciplinary hearing (they
charged me with possession of contraband’ for these alleged panties I
allegedly received from my fiancée). I requested numerous witnesses, who
all told me that they would testify on my behalf, and the video
surveillance from the visiting room on the date of my fiancée’s visit to
be introduced as evidence. The sergeant and lieutenant who handled this
disciplinary hearing flat out refused to call any of the witnesses (all
of whom were ESP staff) and refused to introduce the video
They found me guilty of “possession
of contraband”, sentenced me to a year punitive segregation and took my
visiting privileges for one year.
I now have a civil action pending in federal court that is at the summary judgment phase.
In the process I lost my fiancée because she’s terrified
to come back, thinking next time they will do something else worse to
My family members are hesitant to visit me for those same reasons.
Allow me to back pedal in time.
Eleven days after my last visit with my ex-fiancée (Michele), a pair
of panties was again found on prison grounds!! The sergeant sent guards
to my cell, strip-searched me and tore my cell apart, breaking items of
my property in the process.
this, I was nowhere near where the pair of panties was found nor was I
even outside. In fact, I had not even gone outside my cell since they
lied about the first pair!
All of this is documented in the lawsuit and can be proven.
Also, during my disciplinary hearing (which is recorded) the
lieutenant even stated, “No one is accusing you of being in possession
of contraband.” He still found me guilty.
I’m waiting to see what the repercussions are going to be for filing this lawsuit I have now in federal court.
Maybe I just don’t care no more. After losing my fiancée I silently
pray someone puts me out of my misery because I am in the process of
writing a separate civil action in state court challenging the prison
administrations lack of institutional protection of the laws in
regards to religious practices: not allowing inmates to freely
practice their religion.
I’ve been through the riots; I’ve
fought administration both physically and on paper. It is impossible to
do this alone. All I have is a rubber band and a paper clip.
read these so-called prisoner support groups articles about how they
fight for us, stand with us , etc. I find that to be carrots on a stick.
To be honest, I don’t think they even exist. What “help” or “support”
have they given to us? Nobody I know has benefited from their services.
I am not accusing you of anything, I don’t know you.
It’s just that I’m so fed up with of this. Losing someone you genuinely love because of the actions of someone else is crushing.
Have you lost a loved one or had an engagement called off? I sincerely
hope that you haven’t nor ever have to experience that, but, if you
have, multiply that by a dozen, topped off with the loss of seeing your
family members as well.
Michele and I overcame major obstacles,
living in different countries, me in prison, us being different
nationalities and personalities among other things. Now imagine all of
that being destroyed because ESP administration wanted to destroy the
last bit of happiness I had in life.
I try to better myself each
everyday both mentally and physically by reading everything I possibly
can and maintaining a workout routine. I share whatever knowledge I have
with anyone that asks but I’m limited. I cannot reach beyond these
prison walls without support.
No one thinks they will ever be
in such a position as I am in, but if it can happen to me, if can happen
to someone you love. Please support prisoners in their fight for
justice and fairness.
Gilbert Paliotta #46244
P.O. Box 1989,
Ely, NV 89301