Parole Hearing Overload In Nevada

Because of changes made by the 2007 Legislature, about 1,600 Nevada prison inmates will be eligible for parole hearings in February - more than double the usual monthly total.

David Smith of the state Parole Board says the increase is a direct result of prison reform legislation approved by the Legislature.

Lawmakers agreed in 2007 to increase good-time credits and make other changes to reduce prison overcrowding. Without changes, they
were told it would cost Nevada nearly $2 billion to build new prisons to house the burgeoning inmate population.

AB510 doubled the amount of good time credits inmates can earn for good conduct, substance abuse and behavior courses and educational classes, making the doubled credits retroactive in many cases.

State Corrections Director Howard Skolnik said lawmakers also gave inmates the right to be present at all of their hearings.

That requires video-conferencing equipment - but it will take several
more months to install the gear in all prison camps where most of the inmates eligible for release are housed.