Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval is pursuing creative solutions to a potential prison overcrowding challenge that could see capacity exceeded by 700 inmates by the end of the next budget without prompt action, reports the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “Our goal is to not construct a new prison,” says Mike Willden, Sandoval’s chief of staff. Prison construction is not cheap, and it has to be paid with state general funds. In 2007, the Legislature approved $300 million for prison construction projects.
Sandoval’s solution rests primarily with the Division of Parole and Probation and the Parole Commission, which will be given new resources to speed up parole for as many as 300 to 400 eligible inmates. Accountability measures will be established to ensure the goal can be met, Willden said. Sandoval’s budget expects to see the state’s inmate population increase by 902 over the next two years,with an average inmate population of 14,006 in fiscal year 2018 and 14,247 in fiscal 2019. This year the average population is 13,345. The pace of paroles in Nevada is a concern for Sandoval, who questioned the reasons for delays. Nevada has the fewest parole releases to the community per-inmate population in the U.S.