Letter: How Parole, Probation Division really works

I would like to take this opportunity to give the public at large a clearer, more fact-based view of the manner in which the Nevada Division of Parole and Probation REALLY operates. There are also some glaring errors in the article printed this week regarding legislator Barbara Buckley's disgruntled constituent.

First of all, Richard Wyett is the chairman of the Parole Board, not the Division of Parole and Probation. We are two separate entities. Secondly, it is a normal, routine procedure that the victim was directed to file a civil case with the court. This is the remedy prescribed by the current law which enables victims to recover restitution after the offender's parole or probation term has expired.

The same set of laws, enacted by the citizens of this state, also limit terms of probation and parole. We can not legally keep an offender on probation or parole after his term has expired. If the public desires a change in this law, by all means, let's vote on it. Remember, the Division of Parole and Probation can only legally act within the boundaries of the laws in effect.

Another issue I would like to raise is that, judging by the number of complaints we hear about this process, perhaps the public wishes to create a "debtor's prison." At present, we can not punish someone for being poor. We can only punish people for crimes. Let me state for the record that I am not, and would never presume to be, belittling or insulting the victims. They deserve their day in court as well as punishment of the offender and compensation for their injury.

However, sometimes collecting what is owed is an impossibility due to an offender's physical or mental limitations. The Division works with the offenders to make sure they stay employed so restitution can be obtained. Sometimes the victim is not pleased with the amounts collected and will demand immediate incarceration. Then they realize that if the offender is in prison, they have no means to make restitution payments. Victims need to realize that there are only two choices - let us work with the offender to make him employable and thereby able to repay his victim or forfeit the restitution and have the offender imprisoned. You can't have it both ways - it is a physical impossibility.

And one more note concerning Buckley's comments: She is a "legislator", one who "legislates" or passes laws that affect her constituents. State agencies can only enforce the laws she has helped enact. So before going about publicly bashing government agencies, first get the facts straight and secondly consider going to the source and voicing these concerns. Working together to better the system is a lot more productive than finger-pointing.


Nevada Division of Parole and Probation

Carson City


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