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LETTER: State prison officials should be ashamed of prisoner treatment

Your recent article, “Inmates burned fighting wildfire,” exposed the Nevada Department of Correction’s unconscionably inhumane and barbaric treatment of prisoners. Women prisoners sent to fight fires were provided worn-out boots inadequate to protect their feet from suffering second-degree burns with extensive blisters. Yet corrections staff dismissed their distress until the next day when the burned women were finally taken to the infirmary despite having had their boots melt, requiring their socks and adherent skin to be cut off with scissors.

Four of them sustained such severe foot burns they were transported to the UMC Burn Unit, where staff had to cut away dead skin and tissue, a procedure that causes excruciating pain. The prisoners were “not given any medication to reduce the pain because they are incarcerated people” and “NDOC does not allow for incarcerated people to receive such medication.”

Does incarceration deprive people of their humanity to the point they lose the basic right not to be treated like animals? How can our medical care providers and institutions allow their sworn duty to care for their patients and do no harm be so shamefully compromised by the dictates of a government agency?

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