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March 5, 2015

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Early parole bill revived, approved after lawmaker switches vote

Updated Monday, May 30, 2011 | 8:35 p.m.

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Sen. John Lee, D-North Las Vegas

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CARSON CITY – Sen. John Lee, D-North Las Vegas, provided the key vote in defeating a bill Monday to allow a felon to complete educational courses in order to apply earlier for parole.

But hours later, Lee changed his mind after initially joining with Republicans 11-10 to kill the bill. The Senate then voted 11-10 to approve Assembly Bill 136.

“I should have studied it closer,” Lee said, adding that he talked with representatives from the state attorney general’s office and learned the bill doesn't allow prison inmates out early.

The bill permits a prisoner to apply to the state Board of Parole Commissioners earlier.

But Sen. Michael Roberson, R-Las Vegas, said the public, victims and even the judge wouldn't know how long a convicted person would serve with the proposed educational credits. Sen. Don Gustavson, R-Sparks, said inmates, when they are released, often commit new crimes. "It’s bad policy," he said of the bill.

Sen. David Parks, D-Las Vegas, said the state has a significant budget problem and Nevada spends more money per-capita on prison programs than most other states. Inmates in Nevada also serve longer sentences than in many other states, he argued.

Sen. Mike Schneider, D-Las Vegas, said the Legislature several sessions ago enhanced criminal sentences. “We were tough on crime” and Nevada has a higher incarceration rate than other states, he said.

"We are paying dearly for this," he said.

Sen. Valerie Wiener, D-Las Vegas, said the bill wouldn't permit the educational credits to be applied to a person who used a gun in a crime, who committed a sexual offense or is a habitual prisoner.

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  1. Education is the key to a healthy society yet the Republicans seem to spend all their time trying to gum up the works. Educated people commit less crime that's an old fact. There is a large number of people in the country that feel people should just fen for themselves and if they screw up or are born in bad neighborhoods or in poor homes then they just kind of get what they get. Snooty, arrogant greedy conservative misers want nothing to do with community services and welfare services. Even if the welfare system was perfect and only those who accurately fit the requirements for the program the Republican right wing conservatives would still whine about it. They have got to understand that helping each other and building a healthy base of blue collar workers will ultimately make make corporate America and the overall health of the United States much stronger and enduring. We cannot turn our backs on those who are in need because without help, we are leaving an integral part of our country sick and unprotected. People that only like to help themselves actually help no one.

  2. The sole purpose of the background check is to protect an organizations assets from criminals. I gusess it won't be too long before criminals will be a protected class. :(

  3. These type of bills wind up costing taxpayers tons of money plus providing worthless jobs for liberal social workers, Waste of time. Want to save money, back in the old days buy them a one way ticket to their hometown, and say see ya, serious felons keep them LOCKED UP

  4. I don't have a problem with inmates becoming educated so they can do something productive when they get out but who is going to pay for this?

    The state does not even have money to fund the public schools so how are they going to pay for the education of inmates?

  5. The article gave us all the reasons this isn't a bright idea.
    What do we have to give up to pay for this waste of money?

  6. It has been a while since I have visited or worked at a prison. BUT, I certainly hope that costs are being CUT by utilizing technology (and therefore supervisors can monitor an inmate using such technology, to see if it is used appropriately or criminally). By eliminating the need to purchase textbooks, you cut costs and reduce incidences where texts were made into weapons against personnel. The down side is that there are only so many careers that are totally reliant upon 'booksmarts' or rote learning. If an inmate was to learn a new career, that person would also need practical work experience. It is extremely challenging to find business partners who are willing to train inmates.

    So when you look at the BIG PICTURE, it is real hard to see where the taxpayer investment will be a prudent one and actually pay off in a positive outcome.

  7. So this grand idea is to make the criminals smarter? Doesn't sound like a good idea to me.