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After more than a year without visitation, families remain hesitant to visit inmates because of restrictions

Inmates in the yard of a correctional facility.
May 9th, 2021 - 2:00am
The department reopened visitation for inmates on May 1, with significant safety restrictions in place, including limits on the age of visitors, number of allowed visitors per inmate and physical contact between inmates and visitors. Those restrictions have left some Nevadans feeling reluctant to visit their incarcerated loved ones.

Senator governing fate of death penalty bill points to governor’s office, but recently expressed support for abolition

April 29th, 2021 - 9:00am
“The lingering question about AB395 is whether the governor is going to be supportive, and so I know that he’s expressed publicly some concerns about it,” Scheible said in an interview on Wednesday. “If the sponsor can work with him to address those concerns and bring me an amendment, that would be an important step in the process, otherwise I’m still evaluating it.”

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After 14-month suspension, Department of Corrections announces phased return of visitation at prisons

Looking down at inmates in the yard at Northern Nevada Correctional Center
April 29th, 2021 - 2:00am
The Nevada Department of Corrections (NDOC) on Wednesday announced a phased approach for reopening visitation for inmates, beginning on May 1 with COVID-19 safety restrictions in place and then dependent on vaccination levels at individual facilities.

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As the state’s economy continues its recovery, The Nevada Independent will track the most important economic indicators across the state on this page, including unemployment numbers, gaming revenue and housing prices.

After more than a year, prisons director announces plans to reopen visitation May 1

April 20th, 2021 - 5:18pm
Nevada Department of Corrections (NDOC) Director Charles Daniels announced Tuesday that the department is planning to reopen visitation for inmates starting on May 1. The department originally suspended visitation on March 7, 2020, when there were growing concerns that COVID-19 could be spread to the state’s prison population.

Attorney general warns against scammers selling fake COVID-19 vaccination cards

April 19th, 2021 - 3:56pm
Attorney General Aaron Ford warned Nevadans Monday about scammers selling fraudulent COVID-19 vaccination cards and said “awareness” is the first line of defense against those scams.

Senate advances criminal justice reform bills, including limits on police use of force, hate crimes reporting

State Senators Dallas Harris, right, and Melanie Scheible arrive at the Legislature on Friday, July 31, 2020 during the first day of the 32nd Special Session of the Legislature in Carson City.
April 15th, 2021 - 2:00am
Members of the state Senate voted Wednesday to advance a trio of criminal justice reform bills sponsored by Sen. Dallas Harris (D-Las Vegas) that would add more limits on police use of deadly force, require additional recordkeeping on hate crimes and place rate caps on calls made to and from inmates.

Nevada Assembly votes to abolish death penalty in historic move; bill’s future uncertain in Senate

April 13th, 2021 - 2:11pm
The bill faces a more uncertain climate in the Senate, where Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro (D-Las Vegas), who is a prosecutor, would not commit on Tuesday to giving the bill a hearing.

Lawyers argue before Nevada Supreme Court over close Clark County Commission race

The front of the Nevada Supreme Court Building
April 7th, 2021 - 5:31pm
The state Supreme Court heard oral arguments Wednesday morning in a months-long case over an exceptionally close Clark County Commission race, with lawyers arguing whether discrepancies in the voting process met the definition of an election being “prevented.”

Police, prosecutors oppose proposed bill changing asset forfeiture for low-level drug crimes

Trooper Brian Eby traffic stop
April 5th, 2021 - 4:20pm
Law enforcement agencies do this through a process called civil asset forfeiture, in which police take possession of ill-gotten money or property that may have been involved in a crime. The idea is to thwart criminal organizations and help fund police activity, but a broad range of interest groups have expressed concern in past years that the system easily leads to abuse and the inappropriate taking of property from people not directly involved with criminal activity.

Tracking traffic stop data, ‘bias indicators’ for officers lauded by criminal justice reform groups, but questioned by law enforcement unions

April 1st, 2021 - 2:00am
Many of the same arguments from 2003 reappeared on Wednesday during a Senate Judiciary committee hearing on SB236, a bill introduced by Sen. Dallas Harris (D-Las Vegas) that would re-start data collection and analysis on traffic stops, and require police departments to implement a system of tracking “bias indicators” for individual officers.

Nevada lawmakers discuss abolishing death penalty for first time since ill-fated 2017 effort

The Northern Nevada Correctional Center in Carson City, Nevada
March 31st, 2021 - 5:07pm
Two major variables for the bill’s future are whether a death penalty ban can survive in the Senate, where two prosecutors hold key leadership positions at the head of the entire Senate and the Senate Judiciary Committee and have the power to kill the bill, and whether Gov. Steve Sisolak would sign such a bill if it makes it to his desk.

Bill would further limit solitary confinement, require transparency about how often practice is used

March 27th, 2021 - 2:00am
“An empty cell is definitely a place where you learn to live without love,” DePalma told lawmakers during a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Friday. “And no one should have to be that way. I don’t care who you are. It would be more humane to put a bullet in someone’s head, it really would.”

Charges of campaign fund theft, falsified documents filed against former Democratic assemblyman

March 19th, 2021 - 1:15pm
The charges, made Wednesday in Las Vegas Justice Court by the attorney general’s office, formalize allegations of theft and false residency statements made by Assefa — an Ethiopian-born immigrant who resigned from the Legislature in January, citing a “mistaken” understanding of residency requirements for holding legislative office.

Proponents of decriminalizing traffic tickets in Nevada hope that fifth try is the charm

A police officer stands at the scene of a traffic accident.
March 19th, 2021 - 2:00am
While Nevada is one of just 13 states to categorize a traffic ticket as a criminal issue, efforts to downgrade it have failed in sessions dating back to at least 2013 and in spite of an interim study on the topic.

Bill allowing businesses to prohibit firearms on property, banning ‘ghost’ guns sparks passionate testimony

March 17th, 2021 - 12:22pm
Per the bill (and an amendment making minor changes presented Wednesday by Jauregui), the legislation would explicitly authorize a “covered premise” to prohibit most individuals from possessing a firearm on its property without the written consent of the owner. A covered premise means any private business where a large number of people gather — including casinos, churches, shopping malls, stadiums, movie theaters or golf courses.

Attorney general bill seeks investigations of police practices that look beyond individual ‘bad apples’

March 17th, 2021 - 2:00am
The investigations “will allow us to effectively determine whether claims of misconduct were one-off instances, isolated, by individual officers, or whether they are symptoms of larger deficiencies with an agency's customs, training and culture,” Ford said.

Bill banning police ticket or arrest quotas embraced by unions, civil liberty groups

March 11th, 2021 - 2:45pm
Even though quotas for tickets or arrests aren’t written down in official policy, representatives of police unions told lawmakers that many agencies still operate under a cultural assumption that the more tickets issued or more arrests made, the better.

Wide range of supporters push for minimum wage for Nevada prisoners

Looking down at inmates in the yard at Northern Nevada Correctional Center
March 11th, 2021 - 11:28am
Jackson was part of a large group — which included other former inmates and their family members, prisoners’ rights advocates and several Republican senators — who voiced support this week for a new bill that would require NDOC to pay inmate workers a salary equal to the state’s minimum wage.

Lawmakers begin tackling complex issue of jury trials for misdemeanor domestic violence cases

March 11th, 2021 - 2:00am
That’s why lawmakers in the Assembly Judiciary Committee spent several hours Wednesday hearing AB42, a measure sponsored by the City of Henderson and intended to implement the court’s 2019 decision by creating a framework for the novel phenomenon of holding jury trials in municipal court.

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