Northern Nevada jails controlling virus infections despite ACLU concerns

Despite ACLU fears that failure to let numerous inmates out of prisons and jails will kill thousands, northern Nevada institutions seem to have the situation well in hand.

Wesley Juhl of the Nevada ACLU in Las Vegas cited a study by that organization saying the state could suffer 1,500 more deaths, “if jail populations are not dramatically and immediately reduced.”

But the Nevada prison system, Washoe County’s Parr Boulevard Jail and the Carson City Sheriff’s Department had zero inmate infections as of Thursday.

Carson Sheriff Ken Furlong said his facility is still virus free.

“Doing great there,” he said in a text.

Furlong’s jail in the past has had an average daily population of almost 200. But he said that’s down to just about 100 now. Furlong said the crime rate has fallen substantially amid the pandemic.

Washoe Sheriff’s spokesman Bob Harmon said three staff have tested positive at Parr Boulevard — two sworn deputies and one civilian employee.

“No inmates have tested positive to date,” he said.

The jail that serves Reno, Sparks and Washoe County as well as detainees from more than a dozen other law enforcement agencies. In normal times, it averages just under 1,100 inmates. But Parr too has seen the crime rate drop. Harmon said the current population is about 780.

The Nevada prison system, which had 12,227 inmates in institutions across the state as of Thursday midday, also reports no inmate positives at this point.

“This is thanks to a lot of proactive, enforced protocols NDOC implemented to keep staff and offenders safe,” said spokesman Scott Kelley.

He said seven staff have tested positive for the coronavirus.

All three operations have instituted strict protocols to prevent the spread of the virus including a ban on in-person visitation.

The prison system consists of seven institutions, nine conservation camps and two transitional housing facilities.

The situation may, however, be different in southern Nevada where the Metropolitan Police Department operates a large jail facility. In addition, southern Nevada has been much harder hit by the virus than the northern and rural parts of the state.


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