Denial of prison visits challenged |

Denial of prison visits challenged

RENO (AP) – A former prison nurse who rekindled a romance with an old boyfriend behind bars claims prison officials are violating their rights by denying them visits.

Helen “Kitty” Dakin said she quit her job as a prison nurse when she married inmate Keith Hoover last August at the Ely State Prison, but has not been allowed to visit him.

Correction officials said prison policy prohibits former staff from visitation because of security concerns. The couple has filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Reno, claiming violation of their constitutional rights. “This is not right. It’s a bad nightmare,” said Kitty Hoover, 62. “We haven’t done anything wrong. There’s no security issues here.”

Fritz Schlottman, spokesman for the corrections department, said it’s a safety issue.

“Former staff tend to know the ins and outs of a facility, they know who’s on duty, where to find keys,” he said.

Keith Hoover was 32 years old with a felony record when he and a friend, wearing caps that said “Police,” stopped two girls near Reno High School in July 2000.

The men ordered the victims out of their car and made them get down on their knees. Then Hoover and his friend robbing the girls of $400, authorities said.

Hoover pleaded guilty in November 2000 to robbery charges and was sentenced to 30 years in prison, with parole possible after 10 years.

Kitty Hoover said she makes no excuses for Keith Hoover’s crimes.

“Keith was not in trouble when I knew him in 1985. It happened after that,” she said of her husband. “He knows it was stupid. He has matured a lot since then. He’s a lot calmer.

“He had a hatred for the world after losing his mom,” she said. “Now, he’s very in tune with me.”

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