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Nevada prisons paid $12.5M in overtime last fiscal year

Updated August 24, 2017 - 4:26 pm

CARSON CITY — A state lawmaker said Thursday that overtime costs being incurred by the Nevada Department of Corrections reached $12.5 million last fiscal year and are unsustainable.

Sen. Ben Kieckhefer, R-Reno, asked about the issue at the Legislature’s Interim Finance Committee meeting.

John Borrowman, deputy director of support services for the agency, said a loss of officers and medical needs of inmates requiring hospital transport are among reasons why the overtime was so high in fiscal 2016-17.

The parole hearing for O.J. Simpson in July required 563 hours of overtime by officers, Borrowman said.

Executions also contribute to high amounts of overtime hours, he said. The department is preparing for its first execution in more than a decade as death row inmate Scott Dozier has opted to give up his appeals and be put to death. Borrowman said another execution may be in the offing as another death row inmate is close to exhausting his court appeals.

While the Legislature added a 5 percent pay hike for state correctional officers in the just concluded 2017 session, local governments are recruiting officers and can pay far more, Borrowman said.

The department also faces overcrowding, which means housing inmates in areas not designed for such uses, he said. The areas require more intensive supervision. The alternative is to house some inmates out of state, an option the Legislature approved in the past session if necessary.

Contact Sean Whaley at swhaley@reviewjournal.com or 775-461-3820. Follow @seanw801 on Twitter.

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