Nevada’s prison population had been on the rise for almost 30 years from 1980-2007. In 2013, however, the prison population dropped briefly until 2016 when it suddenly spiked to the highest it has ever been. Nevada’s high incarceration rate could be largely due to the enforcement of its Truth-in-Sentencing legislation.
Despite the trend of increasing incarceration rates, recent statistics indicate that the prison population has declined significantly since mid-2017. Starting in April of 2017, former Governor Brian Sandoval (R) signed a plethora of prison reform bills into law. These reforms include:
In March of 2019, Nevada lawmakers passed legislation that reduces penalties or fines for non-violent crimes and offers more alternative options for those offenders such as community-based programs and rehabilitation. The bill also implements more speciality court programs and reduces the amount of time that an individual stays on probation.
These laws offer alternatives to imprisonment, provide opportunities to earn sentence reductions, establish an authority to monitor and ensure fair sentencing, protect inmates from abusive disciplinary treatment, allow inmates to maintain an external support network, vote in elections, and seal their conviction records so that they can move on from their criminal past and be productive, law-abiding members of society.
Nevada made great progress in recent years with reforming injustice in the criminal system. By attacking the problem of high incarceration rates and re-focusing its efforts on the rehabilitation and reintegration of offenders into society, Nevada is implementing a program that will benefit society and the state.
Identification of legislation should not be considered an endorsement of support of, or opposition to, such bills.