- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 24, 2017

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) - Gov. Brian Sandoval wants to avoid building a new prison to reduce overcrowding in Nevada’s correctional system by speeding up the process for releasing as many as 400 inmates eligible for parole.

The plans outlined in Sandoval’s budget were discussed during a briefing last week, The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported (https://bit.ly/2j5QRmU).

They come as the state’s inmate population is expected to increase by 900 over the next two years, up from an average of about 13,300 inmates this year.

Sandoval’s budget includes proposals to increase the number of staff supervising parolees and to put $1.1 million toward creating a state-funded house arrest program. Sandoval also wants to add case worker positions at prisons to expedite the release of inmates eligible for parole.

Delays in the parole process have been a concern for Sandoval, who expressed frustration at the pace of inmate releases during a November meeting of the Nevada Board of Prison Commissioners.

Records from the board meeting indicate Nevada has the fewest parole releases to the community per-inmate population in the country.

Department of Corrections Director James Dzurenda said at the meeting that Nevada’s prisons were over capacity with 13,742 inmates. To deal with overcrowding, the department has converted large areas of prisons that were created for other purposes into housing space for inmates.

Sandoval’s proposals to reduce overcrowding also include a backup plan that designates about $12 million to temporarily house some Nevada inmates out of state while the parole efforts get up to speed, said Mike Willden, Sandoval’s chief of staff.

“Our goal is to not construct a new prison,” Willden said.

Nevada lawmakers will review Sandoval’s budget proposals at a Jan. 31 meeting, a week before the 2017 legislative session kicks off Feb. 6.

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

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