98°F
weather icon Clear

Nevada Assembly OKs private prison ban; bill heads to Senate

The Nevada Assembly approved a ban on private prisons in Nevada on a party line vote Wednesday evening.

While Nevada does not have for-profit prisons, Assembly Bill 183 would prevent any from opening in the state going forward. The bill would also require the state to end contracts with for-profit facilities for housing Nevada inmates out of state by June 30, 2022.

The bill is part of the broader criminal justice reform considered a priority among Democrats who control both chambers as well as the governor’s mansion this session. It passed by a vote of 29-12, with Democrats in favor and Republicans against.

The bill now heads to the Senate.

The state previously had contracts with a private juvenile detention facility and a private women’s prison. A 2003 state investigation found poor medical care and supervision at the women’s prison, including an inmate who had been impregnated by a guard. The operator of that prison chose not to renew its contract with the state. The private juvenile facility closed in 2015.

Opponents of the bill argue private prisons are able to leverage better prices than their public counterparts and can help address the overcrowding issues currently facing several of the prisons in Nevada.

“While I applaud the efforts of many of my colleagues to overhaul our criminal justice system, I do believe we are shooting ourselves in the foot on prison reform,” Assemblywoman Robin Titus, R-Wellington, told her colleagues on the floor.

“We are reducing the number of options that our state has on the table,” Titus added.

But supporters of the bill said that addressing those issues is the responsibility of the state, and not something that should be passed off to a for-profit industry.

“We can’t let private industry perform a core governmental service. It’s our responsibility to do it,” Assemblywoman Maggie Carlton, D-Las Vegas, said while speaking in favor of the bill on the Assembly floor. “If we really want to address what’s going on with corrections, we need to address our officers, their safety and the vacancy rate and the overtime rate. It’s deplorable on how they’re worked and how hard they work and all the overtime that they do.”

The Assembly also passed Assembly Bill 349 on a unanimous vote. The bill would prohibit police officers from having any sexual conduct with a person they have arrested or detained.

The Senate unanimously passed Senate Bill 430, which adds anxiety and autism spectrum disorders, anorexia, autoimmune disease and opioid addiction/dependence to the list of medical conditions for which people can obtain a registration card exempting them from prosecution for marijuana possession, delivery or production.

Capital reporter Bill Dentzer contributed to this report. Contact Capital Bureau Chief Colton Lochhead at clochhead@reviewjournal.com or 775-461-3820. Follow @ColtonLochhead on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Politics Videos
Media's Double Standard On Incitement And Trump - Video
Over the weekend, an Elizabeth Warren-supporting socialist who opposed gun violence used a rifle to commit a mass murder in Dayton, Ohio. The media has downplayed that aspect of the tragedy.
Project Our Care Tour Kicks Off In Las Vegas
U.S. Rep. Dina Titus joined health care advocates and local residents as part of Protect Our Care’s nationwide bus tour kick off in Las Vegas on Monday, August 5, 2019. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Bernie Sanders talks about guns, response to El Paso shooting
Sen. Bernie Sanders spoke about his response and continued policy ideas about guns and gun control to the Review-Journal after a panel of other topics. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pete Buttigieg On Gun Control And Climate Change - Video
Pete Buttigieg talks about his campaign for the 2020 election and how Nevada is a vision of what the future can be.
Beto O'Rourke speaks in Las Vegas
Presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke spoke to supporters at the East Las Vegas Community Center in Las Vegas, Thursday, Aug. 2, 2019. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former Nevada Senate leader Kelvin Atkinson sentenced to prison
Former Nevada Senate Majority Leader Kelvin Atkinson, who pleaded guilty to misusing campaign funds, was sentenced to 27 months in prison on Thursday, July 18, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Trumps Strength is also a Weakness - Video
One of Donald Trump’s greatest strengths — his ability to shape national narratives — is also a great weakness.
Tax the Rich Bus Tour makes a stop in Las Vegas - Video
The Tax the Rich Bus has stopped in Las Vegas as part of its summer tour. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Assemblywoman Daniele Monroe-Moreno hosts BBQ - Video
Assembly Woman Daniele Monroe-Moreno hosts BBQ to bring the community together to hear about the candidates up for election and for people to gather and have fun.
Democrat Virtual Caucus - Video
Elizabeth Warren visits Las Vegas
Senator Elizabeth Warren made a campaign stop at the East Las Vegas Community Center on Tuesday July 2, 2019. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Aaron Ford Speaks About Bill AB431
AB431 is a bill sponsored by Nevada Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson to restore the right to vote for formerly incarcerated individuals. Attorney General Aaron Ford spoke at the AM&E Church in North Las Vegas about the bill, on Monday, July 1, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Right Take: Biden's Racially Questionable Comments
Joe Biden has uttered racially charged statements for years. Now that he’s the frontrunner for the Democrat presidential nomination, he may finally face prolonged scrutiny for them.
Christopher Rufo Discusses Homelessness In The USA - VIDEO
Christopher Rufo discusses homelessness in the United States and how politicians can work to improve conditions for those with drug addictions.
Clark County 2019 Election Results - Video
The 2019 Elections wrap up in Clark County including an upset in the Boulder City Mayor race.
Olivia Diaz talks about her win in Ward 3 - VIDEO
Las Vegas City Councilwoman-elect Olivia Diaz talks about her election win in Ward 3 and what lies ahead for her.
Greene discusses Read by 3 and Opportunity Scholarships - VIDEO
The Nevada Legislative Session is over and the results are mixed for Nevada students, according to Tom Greene, Senior regional legislative director, Excel in Ed in Action.
Bernie Sanders visits Las Vegas
Sen. Bernie Sanders made a stop at Roy W. Martin middle school on Thursday, during his campaign trail.
THE LATEST
Sisolak signs public records reform bill into law

Gov. Steve Sisolak signed a bill that strengthens Nevada’s public records law, making it easier and cheaper for people to get public records and providing for fines if public agencies willfully flout the law.