- Associated Press - Sunday, March 20, 2016

LAS VEGAS (AP) - Nevada Corrections Department officials say a transitional housing facility in Las Vegas is helping parolees who can’t yet afford life on the outside while also saving taxpayers money.

Per-person daily housing costs are estimated at about $43 less than prison at the 400-bed Casa Grande Transitional Housing Facility, where 41 former prisoners are staying, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported (https://bit.ly/1VrvzQH).

State officials adapted the site for people who couldn’t afford parole after a Review-Journal report showed a cost to taxpayers of $4 million annually to incarcerate those individuals.

Parolees need a state-approved release plan that includes a place for them to stay.

The parole backlog averaged 365 inmates in 2014.

Of the 99 people to enter the program as of March, 42 found places to live and 20 have full-time jobs.

April 2015 statistics showed 16 percent of parole-eligible inmates had refused release, contrary to some who contended the backlog was due to prisoners willing to serve their entire sentence to avoid parole restrictions.

The plan is to eventually house 100 people at a time at the dorm-like facility.

Casa Grande helped 35-year-old Jason Lujan and 49-year-old Morris Amburgy. Both are from out of state and both would have had to wait out their entire sentences at the expense of taxpayers if not for the transitional housing facility.

Lujan says the facility has helped him get temporary labor jobs while he searches for stable employment. He’s also using program training to get certified to operate a fork lift.

“If you want it to work, it will work,” Lujan said. “What you put into it is what you’re going to get out.”

Amburgy entered the program in October as one of the first to take part. He said his recent open-heart surgery has kept him at the facility, but otherwise he’d have moved out.

“These guys have been really cool to me,” Amburgy said. “If it wasn’t for this program, I’d be on the streets.”


Information from: Las Vegas Review-Journal, https://www.lvrj.com

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