Prisons director Cox resigns

Gov. Brian Sandoval said he asked the director of the Nevada Department of Corrections to resign in part because a report about shootings in the state’s prisons was late.

Sandoval said he was insistent that the report done by the Association of State Correctional Administrators be presented at a Tuesday meeting of the Board of Prison Commissioners, which he’s part of. He said he found out Monday that the report was not ready, which led to Director Greg Cox’s resignation.

“You know I was pretty firm with the expectation that we’d have a report today, and we don’t,” said Sandoval, noting that the $20,000 study was supposed to be completed within 30-60 days, but was still not ready 120 days after it was approved.

The corrections department faces multiple lawsuits over prison shootings in the past few years, including one at High Desert State Prison that left inmate Carlos Manuel Perez Jr. dead on Nov. 12. Plaintiffs say Perez was handcuffed when he was shot and killed, and accused prison guards of creating a “gladiator-like scenario” by letting inmates fight before firing into the fray.

It wasn’t widely known that Perez died from gunfire until four months afterward.

“There are issues. That’s why we asked for this report,” Sandoval said Tuesday. “I want to make sure that our Department of Corrections is following the best practices that are current nationally.”

Association Director George Camp apologized for the delayed study. He said his association completed a first draft of the report Aug. 9, but has been going back and forth with Nevada officials since then, and said the final draft still needed some minor clerical and math edits.

Camp said a final report will be ready on Monday, although corrections officials say some parts will likely be considered confidential because they detail security tactics. It’s unclear when the report will be widely released to the public; the prison commissioner board will not be meeting again until December. The governor said he plans a national search to replace Cox. Longtime Department of Corrections employee E.K. McDaniel is leading the agency in the interim.


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