State board recommends transitional housing for inmates

The first step toward using lease-purchase to build and open a transitional housing facility for inmates nearing the end of their prison sentences was taken Tuesday by the Nevada Board of Examiners.

Casa Grande would provide beds for 200 inmates who would live in the residential complex while working in regular jobs in the Las Vegas area. They would receive counseling, educational programs and other assistance to prepare them for return to society. If successful, prisons director Jackie Crawford said, Casa Grande would be expanded to 400 beds.

The first step in the process is to approve the state purchase of the property and for the state to lease the property back to a developer who will build Casa Grande. Then the state would move in and, much like a homeowner, make a mortgage payment every month.

With Attorney General Brian Sandoval absent, it required both Gov. Kenny Guinn and Secretary of State Dean Heller to support the lease proposal. Heller, however, had opposed the lease-purchase idea when used to finance the Conservation and Natural Resources building now under construction on Roop Street. Heller argued it was committing the state to a long-term debt without going through the full bonding process.

He voted for the plan Tuesday, saying "I decided the good outweighed the bad in this case."


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