Inmates say Jean escapee feared COVID-19 in prison

Stacy Conti-Salway (Nevada Dept. of Corrections photo)
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Stacy Conti-Salway (Nevada Dept. of Corrections photo)

The Nevada Department of Corrections is not commenting on the escape of an inmate Tuesday night from the Jean Conservation Camp, a minimum-security facility south of Las Vegas. 

JCC officials confirmed the escape of inmate Stacy Conti-Salway.

“She was deathly afraid of the coronavirus so she went over the wall,” inmate Leslie Williams said Tuesday in a call to the Current

“She’s not the only one,” inmate Mitzi Hendrix said Wednesday. “Girls are talking about jumping the fence. There is no social distancing in prison.” 

Only 27 inmates have escaped or walked away from Nevada prisons since 1975, according to a Department of Corrections website.  Two of the inmates listed escaped this month. The third, Conti-Salway, was not listed on the website Wednesday morning.  

Unlike some other states, Nevada has not released non-violent offenders from prisons as COVID-19 spreads across the country.  Governor Steve Sisolak has declined to comment.  

On Tuesday, a Department of Corrections spokesperson said the governor and his newly-appointed prisons director Charles Daniels, are “coming up with a plan.”  

Conti-Salway was sentenced in 2017 to five to 20 years for aggregate crimes, according to prison records. 

She was convicted for her involvement in a violent robbery in 2016, and sentenced to three to ten years, according to the Nevada Appeal.

Williams was told Wednesday morning, after notifying the Current of Conti-Salway’s escape, that she was being transferred from JCC to Florence McClure, a higher-security facility.  She was transported to FMC, evaluated by a doctor, and returned to JCC, where she will be “encamped” without the previously required physical test.  

Williams, who earlier this month complained that physical endurance tests are adding to the sentences of inmates who can’t pass them, is sentenced to 15 to 38 months for her first offense — selling or giving away a controlled substance.  She was awaiting transfer to Casa Grande, a Las Vegas halfway house.

Prison officials did not respond to inquiries about transferring inmates during the COVID-19 pandemic. Visitation to Nevada prisons has been halted during the outbreak.

Note: This story was updated with information about Williams’ return to JCC.

Dana Gentry
Reporter | Dana Gentry is a native Las Vegan and award-winning investigative journalist. She is a graduate of Bishop Gorman High School and holds a Bachelor's degree in Communications from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Gentry began her career in broadcasting as an intern at Channel 8, KLAS-TV. She later became a reporter at Channel 8, working with Las Vegas TV news legends Bob Stoldal and the late Ned Day. Gentry left her reporting job in 1985 to focus on motherhood. She returned to TV news in 2001 to launch "Face to Face with Jon Ralston" and the weekly business programs In Business Las Vegas and Vegas Inc, which she co-anchored with Jeff Gillan. Dana is the mother of four adult children, three cats, three dogs and a cockatoo.