Nevada Appeal at 150: July 15, 1959: New maximum security cellblock at prison replaces old dungeon

New maximum security cellblock at prison replaces old dungeon

From July 15, 1959:

New, modern, sanitary solitary cells in the recently constructed maximum security cell block have replaced the dank, dungeon-like holes at the Nevada State Prison.

Although the new cells are a big improvement over the holes in punishing unruly prisoners, they are definitely not designed to give “all the comforts of home.”

And warden Jack Fogliani will not have any trouble with prisoners clamoring at the gates to be let into the new solitary confinement cells.

But as he pointed out, there is always a good reason for prisoners to be placed in one of the solitary cells, and it is not because they are behaving themselves.

There are 18 of the new solitary cells, located on the first floor of the 69-unit maximum security block. Half of them have been pressed into service, although the rest of the block is not ready for use.

All of the nine men now occupying the solitary cells were placed there for disciplinary action. One of them would have been a free man, if he had spent his next-to-last day in prison quietly.

For the rest of his stay in solitary, he will see daylight seldom — only when a peep-hole is opened by guards for a check or when the door is opened to give him his restricted diet — and he will sleep on a metal tray bed with no springs, mattress, or other bedding and will have maybe 36 square feet to walk around in.

But he will have a toilet that is flushed automatically and which is controlled from outside so he cannot plug it. This was a facility missing from the holes, instead a bucket was used.

This continues the Appeal’s review of news stories and headlines during its Sesquicentennial year.


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