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Department of Corrections

NRS Chapter 209 – Overview of the Nevada Department of Corrections

When a defendant is convicted of a crime and sentenced to serve a period of time in prison, the defendant will be placed under the purview of the Nevada Department of Corrections. They are responsible for the management and oversight of inmates who are incarcerated and the reintegration of freed prisoners back into society. The statutes establishing the Department’s authority can be found in Chapter 209 of the Nevada Revised Statutes.

Definitions You Need Know

  1. Facility – any place of confinement that the Department of Corrections operates for the training, custody, or care of criminals or felons except an institution.
  2. Institution – a prison with a secure perimeter that can hold up to 125 criminals or felons at one time.

Prisoner’s Personal Property Fund

This fund is a trust fund. Any wages the prisoner makes, gifts he gets, belongings he comes to prison with, or inheritance he receives go directly to his personal account in this fund.

The prisoners can make withdrawals for their personal needs and pay government bills or other things applicable by law such as child support.

Each prisoner will receive the balance of his or her trust fund at the end of their prison-time with interest minus any bank charges. If a prisoner thinks he was shorted, or if his property was lost or damaged, he has the right to file an administrative claim to recover compensation.

Prisoner Transport

There are many places a prisoner might need transport to, and many rules surround that transportation. Places the law allows for transportation to are:

  1. To the appropriate facility or institution;
  2. To a court appearance;
  3. To small claims court;
  4. Interstate temporarily;
  5. To another facility, prison, agency, or country;
  6. To an institution in another state;
  7. Of minors to a Juvenile State Facility;
  8. Of a person for safekeeping;
  9. To psychiatric care; or
  10. To medical facilities.

Custody

There are specific rules and requirements concerning those in the custody of the state:

  1. The Department will add the prisoner’s new information to the Central Repository for Nevada Records of Criminal History. (NRS 179A.075 – 179A.160)
  2. The possession – and receiving – of certain publications is punishable.
  3. Prisoners are tested for alcohol levels.
  4. There are drug tests.

Care of Inmates

The Department of Corrections makes sure that their prisoners have:

  1. A healthy and balanced diet;
  2. Appropriate and clean housing;
  3. Medical services;
  4. Dental services; and
  5. Testing for human immunodeficiency virus.

Education

The prisoners receive access to English as a Second Language, Literacy, general education, and vocational training programs. The Board of State Prison Commissioners has also made other rehabilitation programs available. Textbooks, as budget allows, will be made available to the prisoners.

Treating Alcoholics and Addicts

Some prisons have programs set up to treat alcoholics and addicts. The statutes exclude any prisoner on death row or one serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole from the program. Those eligible for the following program are also ineligible for this one.

Treatment for Those Imprisoned for DUIs

This program is not just counseling alone. It includes education and rehabilitation. The prisoner also gets the opportunity to get out there in the workforce and make money. The money can then be used to support his family and to make restitution to the family he hurt with his DUI.

If he does well and meets statutory requirements, he may be released to residential confinement (house arrest). For this to be the case, he must demonstrate the following:

  1. A desire and ability to hold a job;
  2. A desire and ability to join a program for rehabilitating and educating addicts and alcoholics; and
  3. An ability to pay any restitution owed to the victims of the crime and refund the Department of Corrections for all or part of the costs of his prison-time.

Diversion Program

If a Probationer breaks probation, they can be admitted to the Diversion Program. Each Prison only has the responsibility of furnishing fifty beds in this program. Those in the Diversion Program receive treatment for any alcohol or drug abuse issues they might have or any mental illnesses they might be experiencing.

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The Probationers may have to do community service to pay off their debt to the state that accumulated while they were in the Prison, for they must pay for all or part of their supervision and treatment.

Credits on Imprisonment Terms

Different lengths of time may be subtracted from an offender’s prison term. Some of the deciding factors of these “subtractions” are:

  1. The date of sentencing;
  2. Good behavior; and
  3. Training or programs completed.

These “subtractions,” known as credits, can be forfeited for different reasons.

Prisoner Employment

Some prisons offer conservation camps in conjunction with the State Forester Fire Warden. Also, Prison Directors are required to operate programs for prisoner employment. There are programs for employment in:

  1. Services;
  2. Private employment; and
  3. License plate production.

Prisoner Restitution to Victims

A paroled offender has the option of being housed by the Department of Corrections. In such a case, his earnings will be distributed between the victims (for restitution), the Department (to pay for his care), and himself.

If a prisoner, who qualifies, has been moved to a center for housing, his wages will be divided the same. The one exception is that the Department will deposit his portion of the earnings into the Prisoner’s Personal Property Fund.

Reentry Programs

Prisoners who are eligible according to set statutory regulations and left up to the Director’s discretion will be put under the custody of the Division of Parole and Probation. In these circumstances, they can work outside the prison and slowly be introduced back into society. They’ll be provided transitional housing, judicial and correctional programs, grants, and other services. However, offenders can lose their role in the program and have to be returned to prison if they violate specific terms and conditions.

Prisoner’s Release and Escape

A prisoner can be given a temporary furlough from prison for family emergencies and other purposes as the Director of the prison appropriates. These are not releases.

When the prisoner is released, the Director will provide the prisoner with up to $100 and a Department photo ID card. He may also provide him with clothing and funds for transportation to his place of residence or another place of his choosing within the continental US.

When he is released or escapes, the Director must inform his victims.

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