Parole rules change under Senate bill |

Parole rules change under Senate bill

Nevada Appeal Capitol Bureau

The Nevada Senate Tuesday passed a bill authors say will eliminate unnecessary parole hearings and reduce the stress on victims of crime.

Sponsor Sen. David Parks, D-Las Vegas, said the problem is that inmates with multiple, consecutive sentences get a parole hearing when they reach the minimum time on each charge.

He said, for example, if a prisoner has a 1-4 year sentence on one conviction followed by a 6-12 year consecutive sentence, he gets his first parole hearing after a year.

Parks said that doesn’t make sense because, even if parole is granted on that first charge, the inmate just moves to the next sentence. He doesn’t get out.

But Parks and supporter Sen. Mark Hutchison, R-Las Vegas, said that causes a lot of emotional distress for the victim and victim’s family members who often think the prisoner is going to get out.

Hutchison said some inmates have four or more consecutive sentences and “come up for repeated parole hearings.”

He said it’s traumatic for victims.

Senate Bill 71 changes the system, according to Parks, so that all minimum sentences must be served before the inmate gets his first parole hearing. In that hypothetical example, he said that means the inmate would serve the year on the first sentence then the six years minimum on the second – seven years – before his first parole hearing.

Parks said it also will relieve the workload on the Parole Board, which has to hold thousands of hearings ever year.

The measure passed unanimously and was forwarded to the Assembly for consideration.