Overcrowding leads to offenders’ release
MINDEN – For the third summer in a row, overcrowding at the Douglas County Jail has led to a court order that authorizes the early release of low-level offenders who are not considered a danger to the community.
Douglas County Sheriff’s Lt. Paul Howell said two women were released last week because of a shortage of beds for female inmates.
“One woman was released eight days early on a forgery charge. The other woman was released 20 days before she was due on a probation violation for embezzlement,” Howell said.
He obtained a court order from District Judge Dave Gamble that outlines the terms of early release under Nevada Revised Statutes.
“We’ve been getting more and more crowded as the summer goes along,” Howell said. “We ran into a three- or four-day period when we had more female inmates than beds.”
Howell said the court order is restrictive as to who is eligible for early release.
“It can’t be somebody in custody for a crime of violence or domestic battery,” he said. “The inmate can’t be a danger to anyone and must have served 75 percent of their sentence.”
Howell said the Valley jail has a capacity for 98 inmates.
“But that can be a misnomer,” he said. “It goes by classification. We have 72 beds for males, 16 for females, four for medical segregation and six beds in holding and intake.”
Howell said overcrowding is being felt at jails all over Northern Nevada.
“The U.S. marshal wanted us to house 30 inmates because all the local jails are full,” he said.
Howell said the court order is effective for 30 days, but can be renewed if the overcrowding persists.