Parks weighs in on Sandoval’s plan to reduce prison overcrowding | NevadaAppeal.com

Parks weighs in on Sandoval’s plan to reduce prison overcrowding

Nevada Appeal Capitol Bureau

The senator who 10 years ago oversaw the effort to reduce Nevada’s inmate population said Thursday he welcomes the governor’s plan to speed the parole process and invest in programs to reduce recidivism.

The proposed budget says changes are needed because Nevada’s system is at capacity and will need up to 700 more inmate beds over the coming biennium.

Sen. David Parks, D-Las Vegas, said he fully supports the governor’s plan to beef up the parole process to get the estimated 400 parole-eligible inmates stuck inside because they don’t have housing, jobs and other resources.

“In 2007, we took similar steps and saved the Nevada taxpayers more than $1.2 billion in operating and construction costs,” he said.

But he was less enthused about the part of Gov. Brian Sandoval’s plan to move more than 200 inmates to out-of-state facilities.

“The private prison system is plagued with poor oversight and unsafe conditions for both staff and inmates,” he said.

Instead, he called for more community control, addiction and mental health treatment and other services to relieve the burden on the prison system.

Parks was in the Assembly in 2007 when he chaired the Select Committee on prison overcrowding. The reforms passed that year saved Nevada an estimated $38 million in operating costs and $1.2 billion in new prison construction, according to the PEW Center.