by RILEY SNYDER
The way Nevada prisoners serve time could change under a new bill that promises to cut incarceration costs and clear up confusion regarding sentencing.
In a hearing before the Nevada Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, several representatives of the Nevada Department of Corrections testified about Senate Bill 71, which would revise the methods used to govern certain aspects of sentencing and parole.
The bill, introduced by Sen. David Parks (D-7), seeks to modify the current parole and sentencing process. Currently, inmates with more than one sentence have the opportunity to either enroll in consecutive or aggregate sentencing. Inmates serving consecutive sentences and seeking to be paroled must go to separate parole hearings for each sentence, a process that Parks believes is cumbersome and ineffective for law enforcement, victims and inmates.
If passed, Parks said the bill would relieve overworked parole boards and help inmates and victims know the exact minimum of time required inside prisons. The aggregated sentences could also help inmates be paroled faster, he says.
“We certainly know that if you have to be paroled from one sentence before you can start another, inmates will serve longer time in prison,” Parks says.
This isn’t the first time Parks has tried to pass this bill — a similar piece of legislation, Senate Bill 265, was passed out of the Senate last session, but was delayed and not approved by the Assembly Judiciary Committee due to the lateness of the session.
The Senate Judiciary Committee took no action on the new iteration of the bill during their Wednesday session.
Senator Scott Hammond (R-18) said that he was currently neutral on the bill, but supported the general idea behind the legislation.
“It’s not a bad bill,” he says.” I think it gets us closer to the fact that we’ll have truth in sentencing.”
This article was also published in The Nevada Sagebrush on 02.19.2013.