The head of the state Parole Board said Friday the next governor is going to face major changes in the make up of the seven-member board.
Connie Bisbee told the Commission on the Administration of Justice with one exception, the current membership including herself have between nine and 16 years experience.
“Between now and two and a half years from now, everybody else will be retiring,” she said adding she’s gone in the near future.
New members, she said, “do not grant (parole) at the rate that experienced commissioners do,” she said.
And a reduction in that rate would keep more inmates in an already overcrowded prison system. She said if that grant rate falls, it means more inmate beds and, if it falls far enough, “you’re talking about a new prison.”
In the defense of the current board, she said they have a recidivism rate that’s among the lowest in the nation, proving they aren’t letting a lot of criminals who will commit new crimes out of prison. She said more than 52 percent of inmates are granted parole at their hearings.
She said that because of those retirements, Gov. Brian Sandoval’s successor will have to appoint a new board.
“The next governor will have a huge task.”
Bisbee also pointed out the number of inmates isn’t within the control of the prison system, parole and probation or the parole board.
She said she believes more communication with the judiciary is needed.
“When 70 percent of new commits are brand new people committing brand new crimes, we can’t control that,” she said. “We need to communicate with the judiciary.”
She said that means programs to support inmates as they’re released from prison so they can be successful.
“We all know it makes more sense to put money into supervision than incarceration,” Bisbee said.