The Board of Examiners on Tuesday approved contracts adding two former state employees to provide professional psychological services and administrative support at Lake’s Crossing Center in Sparks.
Health and Human Services Director Mike Willden said the added staff is needed to comply with the agreement resolving the Clark County public defender’s lawsuit against the state.
That suit was filed because of what public defenders say is an unreasonable delay between when a judge orders psychological testing of a defendant and when it actually gets done. He said the goal is to cut the delay time to 21 days this summer, then 14 days in a year with full compliance — seven days — by September 2015.
Willden told the board consisting of the governor, secretary of state and attorney general that Stein Hospital in Southern Nevada should be remodeled and open for business by September 2015, providing more than 40 forensic beds for defendants undergoing mental evaluation.
Until then, the state is relying on the 56 beds at Lake’s Crossing for mentally ill offenders and the 30 beds in an adjacent annex. Once Stein is open, he said, it will no longer be necessary to transport Southern Nevada defendants to the north for evaluation.