ELKO — A third inmate at Elko County Jail has filed a federal lawsuit against the jail and sheriff, this one claiming that his outgoing mail is being opened by jail staff, he has not received medical tests that he requested, and that the jail is not following Prison Rape Elimination Act guidelines.
Wade A. Knight, 30, seeks compensatory damages of $1.8 million and punitive damages of $1.8 million for offenses that jail officials said did not occur.
Knight filed a request form in March asking why his mail is being opened before it is sent out of the facility.
Jail staff responded “Because we monitor all incoming and out going mail.”
Knight also filed multiple requests for TB and Hepatitis C tests, as well tests for any other diseases he may have contracted from getting tattoos in prison, but he did not express any symptoms. He also asked to see a doctor “about medication I take on the streets.” He was eventually prescribed pills for high blood pressure.
Knight also claims the jail is not following the Prison Rape Elimination Act. The law provides grants and sets deductions for violations involving sexual assault, however Knight did not claim he was assaulted. Instead, he complained about being strip-searched during his booking, and the lack of privacy getting in and out of showers.
Jail officials said “Jails are not required to follow PREA,” and undressing is part of the booking process.
Knight was most recently arrested for allegedly shoplifting items from Walmart in February, and knocking a store employee to the ground as he fled.
Two other lawsuits have been filed by inmates in the past five months.
Tony A. Pressler, 38, claims the jail is in violation of PREA because there are no shower curtains. He also says two teeth were extracted without his permission and he has not received dental implants.
Inmate Joseph C. Sustacha, 28, claims he has been refused a jury trial, that he was sexually assaulted by a cellmate, and that he is receiving inadequate legal representation and medical care.
Sustacha has been in jail for more than a year and is awaiting a competency hearing after being arrested on charges of lewdness and statutory seduction.