by RILEY SNYDER
The use of solitary confinement in Nevada prisons could come under closer scrutiny if a senate bill regulating use of the practice passes the state legislature.
Senate Bill 107 would limit the use of solitary confinement on Nevada inmates, removing the ability to use isolation as a punishment and limiting the amount of time spent in solitary confinement. According to Nevada Department of Corrections information, Nevada has more than 300 inmates in ‘maximum’ custody, which is about two percent of the state’s prison population.
Nevada correctional facilities use three kinds of solitary confinement: administrative, disciplinary and protective. Inmates can request to be placed in solitary confinement and can also be isolated from other prisoners if they pose a risk to themselves or others or fail to follow prison rules.
The Senate Committee on the Judiciary heard testimony on SB 107 Wednesday morning, finishing a hearing that originated two weeks ago. The bill would also place children under the same protection from solitary confinement, but Department of Corrections representatives said that children are not placed in solitary confinement now.
NDOC Deputy Director Eldon K. McDaniel testified against the bill, saying regulations on solitary confinement would “tie our hands” in dealing with solitary confinement.
“We know this is a complex issue,” McDaniel said. “[But this bill] would not allow for normal operations.”
Several people and organizations testified in favor of the bill during the previous hearing, including the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada.
“The use of this practice must be carefully regulated and monitored in order to ensure positive, rather than deleterious, effects on those involved in the corrective system,” said PLAN intern Maddi Eckert in a written testimony.
Sen. Tick Segerblom, the chair of the committee, said the department appears to be already following all of the requirements set forth in the bill.
“As I read it ,basically, you’re doing everything the bill requires,” Segerblom said.