CARSON CITY — The Nevada Senate’s top Democrat told lawmakers Monday that a new program for low-risk parole violators and drug and alcohol offenders would reduce the state’s prison population and save millions of dollars in taxpayer money.
Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford, D-Las Vegas, told Finance Committee members that SB398 would create a two-year pilot program of “intermediate sanction” centers for low-risk probation violators and for people whose crimes are linked to alcohol or drug addictions.
Life skill and rehabilitative programs would be offered to about 400 participants a year, who would stay an average of six months.
Horsford said the program could save the state more than $34 million over the next five years.
He said that it costs the state about $22,000 a year to incarcerate a prisoner, and a quarter of the new arrivals at Nevada prisons every year are parole violators returning to custody.
The program would use existing facilities and would not require new beds. Horsford added that program participants would not mix with other inmates and that a little more than half of the beds would be concentrated in Southern Nevada.
Drug and alcohol treatment programs for the centers would be provided through the Department of Health and Human Services, which would work with community service providers.