Crawford is out as prison director |

Crawford is out as prison director

Geoff Dornan

CARSON CITY – Jackie Crawford has been replaced as Nevada’s director of corrections by her former deputy director, Glen Whorton.

Crawford has been under investigation by the Governor’s Office for the past two weeks, accused of arbitrarily granting good-time credits to more than 170 inmates, resulting in their early release from the prison system.

Crawford has the ability to award inmates up to 30 days good time credits for “meritorious” acts or conduct. She defended her actions saying she relies on her wardens and other staff to make recommendations on behalf of inmates.

The Governor’s internal audit division issued a report saying of the 176 inmates on the list, 98 were released up to 30 days before they were supposed to be. Of those 98, the report says, “we could not find any documentation supporting meritorious acts performed by the early released inmates.”

One of those released was James Yach, who served 8 years of a 20-year sentence for driving under the influence causing death. His sentence was reduced 62 days for work he supposedly performed in 1996, 1997, 1999 and 2000. Crawford said an audit of his work record showed he had earned the credits.

But auditors said no audit documentation was available and no appeal had been filed by Yach within the 60 days after the alleged work was performed. Therefore, auditors concluded, he wasn’t entitled to get the work credits.

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They also cited two female inmates who each had their sentences reduced 3.5 months for “meritorious service.” They said no evidence of that meritorious service could be found.

Gov. Kenny Guinn’s office said Crawford was put on medical leave until the end of the year because of ongoing back problems.

Whorton, 57, retired in January after 28 years with the department. He was deputy director when he left. He will earn $115,770 annually.

Ed Flagg, head of the correctional officers association, said Whorton was a good choice by Guinn because of his knowledge of the Nevada Department of Corrections. He described Whorton as knowledgeable and fair and said the staff would be pleased to work with him.