by Monte McCoin
Assembly Bill 303, introduced by Assemblywoman Daniele Monroe-Moreno, a former prison guard, would have granted the Nevada Department of Corrections a five-year period to renovate existing prison facilities before eliminating the state’s relationship with for-profit prison firms. The bill progressed through the Nevada legislature with a 38-3 vote in the Assembly on May 24, 2017 before being sent to the state Senate Judiciary Committee, then the full Senate.
According to news reports, the bill was struck down on June 8, 2017 when Governor Brian Sandoval issued a veto. Sandoval explained his reasoning in a statement, saying: “Where AB 303 goes too far, however, is by limiting the discretion of the Director of the Department of Corrections by prohibiting the use of private prisons, starting in 2022. Between now and 2022, much can happen, and there is no way to predict whether private prisons may need to play a critical part in Nevada’s future prison needs.”
Some lawmakers don’t like the idea of for-profit incarceration on principle, while civil rights advocates have raised concerns that private prison companies are not subject to public records laws on the federal level and in some states.
“There’s really no oversight over that if we’re not able to request that information through [the Freedom of Information Act],” said Holly Welborn, policy director for the ACLU of Nevada. “There’s no way to hold them accountable.”
On October 10, 2017, the Nevada Board of Examiners approved a $9.2 million, two-year contract with private prison operator CoreCivic, formerly known as CCA, to transfer 200 state prisoners to the company’s Saguaro Correctional Center in Arizona.
Sources: www.muckrock.com, www.thenevadaindependent.com, www.lasvegassun.com, www.reviewjournal.com
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