Lawmakers on Thursday approved shifting nearly $500,000 within the Parole and Probation budget to try to catch up on production of the Presentence Investigation Reports that judges use to determine a convicted defendant’s sentence.
Public Safety Director Jim Wright told the Interim Finance Committee a variety of events over the past few years have left that staff unable to keep up with the demands.
Holding five P&P officer positions vacant will free up enough cash this fiscal year to hire 21 PSI writers, Wright said.
The current backlog, he said, is about 1,200 reports.
He admitted it’s a temporary fix designed to stay within P&P’s existing budget. He said he might be back in June to ask for more money to continue the program until the 2015 Legislature opens.
By then, Wright said, he and his staff should have a much better handle on what’s needed to get the job done.
“We need to whittle the backlog back down and see how many (report writers) we’re really going to need in the future,” he said.
Assemblywoman Maggie Carlton, D-Las Vegas, said making sure defense lawyers had the PSI well in advance of sentencing was “a great idea.”
“But there were just not the resources at the time.”