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Administration of the Nevada Department of Corrections

NRS 209.101 to 209.141 – Overview of The Administration of the Nevada Department of Corrections

The Nevada Department of Corrections is run by the State Board of Commissioners. The State Board of Commissioners is made up of three people according to Article 5, Section 21 of the Nevada State Constitution:

  • Governor of Nevada – The current Governor of Nevada is Steve Sisolak. As a result, he automatically became the President of the Board of the Department of Corrections.
  • Secretary of State of Nevada – The current Secretary of State is Barbara Cegavske.
  • Attorney General of Nevada – The current Attorney General this year is Aaron Ford.

The Governor and Secretary of State are the minimum needed for the Department of Corrections to transact business. The Governor holds the top position, while the Secretary of State is charged to keep full records of all of the proceedings and transactions that the Board makes.

The Board’s Power and Duties

The Board has complete power over everything that has anything to do with the Department – the labor, grounds, buildings, and more. It’s their duty to:

  1. Purchase everything for the facility or institution in their jurisdiction including all the supplies for the commissary;
  2. Control how many officers and employees the Department has;
  3. Set the rules and regulations that the Board and Department must follow for conducting everyday business; and,
  4. Set a maximum on the number of prisoners allowed to be incarcerated by any private institutions or facilities.

The Department Director

The Director of the Department, who is also the Fiscal Officer and Chief Administrative Officer, is appointed by the Governor and responsible to the Board. The Director of Nevada’s Department of Corrections currently is James Dzurenda.

 

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Qualifications

They must be well-trained, highly experienced, and have a high aptitude in the field of corrections.

Conditions of Employment

They will be paid an annual salary fixed by law. In 2019, the salary was hovering around $143,000 per year. They cannot, however, hold any other job while working as the Director. Part of this is because statewide travel is required.

Duties

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The Director has many duties, some of which include:

  1. Administrating the Department of Corrections under the Board’s direction;
  2. Overseeing the administration of each facility and institution in Nevada;
  3. Receiving, retaining, and releasing offenders to and from the state prison;
  4. Making sure the prisoners are adequately supervised, treated, cared for, secured, and disciplined;
  5. Making sure to swear anyone in as a correctional officer before giving them any of the following duties:
  • Watching over, supervising, disciplining, transporting, securing, or keeping any offender safe;
  • Keeping staff safe and secure; and
  • Keeping any facility or institution safe and secure.

This way, the person with these duties has the authority, as noted in NRS 289.220, to chase down and apprehend escapees, escort and transport prisoners, exercise control over prisoners, and more.

  1. Establishing and enforcing regulations as the Board approves them;
  2. Enforcing any laws set in place to govern the administration of the Department and the care, custody, and training of the prisoners;
  3. Doing what it takes to keep the staff and prisoners in the facilities and institutions of the Department safe and healthy;
  4. Doing what it takes to keep the employees of the school district that’s operating the “Program of Education for Incarcerated Persons” (NRS chapter 388H) safe and healthy;
  5. Placing copies of regulations and laws around the facility or institution  that relate to correspondence between the prisoners and others;
  6. Making it possible for each facility and institution to hold religious services for their prisoners; and
  7. Making appropriate religious materials available to prisoners.

Staff Training

The Director can choose to implement a training program in each facility and institution to train the correctional staff as he pleases.

The Director and Delegation

A manager, warden, deputy director, or any other employee of the Department can exercise any of the Director’s power, functions, or duties in his name as he so chooses. When he vests this authority on someone, the official act they perform in his name or his authority is legally considered an official act of the Director.

List of Released Prisoners

The Department Director must turn a complete list of each freed prisoner and discharged parolee into each county clerk by the fifth day of every month. Each month’s list must include the name of each prisoner and parolee that were released or discharged the previous month and the case number for each offense attached to each released or discharged person.

Government Agency/Private Organization Agreements

As long as the Board approves, the Director has the authority to enter into any agreement with a private organization or another government agency to fulfill these statutes.

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