Low-level parole violations clog Nevada prisons, derail parolee progress. Can reforms help?
Aaron Evans from the Nevada Division of Probation and Parole said his agency wanted to avoid revoking probation and parole agreements when someone commits a technical violation by instead applying graduated sanctions that include increased reporting, drug testing and counseling. Once those options are exhausted, he said the division will seek to add the authority to impose “flash incarcerations” when someone is out of compliance with their parole terms.
Evans said flash incarcerations are detentions that last from 48 hours to 10 days but avoid sending someone back to prison. Evans assured members that flash incarcerations are intended to help severe technical violators to moderate to higher-level risk offenders stay on a stable reentry path.
“It’s not like we’re going to be [using] flash incarcerations every time we catch somebody drinking a beer … we’re taking them to jail. That’s not what we’re looking for; this is replacing that first temporary revocation,” Evans said.
Evans and other commission members affirmed that flash incarceration could be used in place of the first temporary revocation — which comes with a recommended sentence of 30 days. That sanction, which stemmed from the 2019 reforms, intended to prevent parolees and probationers from losing their jobs and housing on account of long periods of incarceration.
“What AB236 came up with was these temporary revocations, so rather than fully revoking somebody’s supervision, it’s just a brief amount of time that you serve, rather than having your full supervision revoked,” Gonzalez said.
AB236 recommends that violations such as failing a drug or alcohol test, not paying a fine, being unemployed or failing to provide residential updates be excluded from temporary revocations but that policies should ensure swift and certain sanctions against technical violators.
Flash incarcerations would be significantly shorter than the temporary revocation envisioned in the 2019 reform law, but lawmakers would need to grant probation and parole officers the authority to apply the sanction.
Jennifer Lanterman, a professor of criminal justice at UNR, said flash incarcerations are also known to reduce compliance issues, especially for individuals with substance abuse disorders.
“Often when people are having compliance issues, particularly if they are living with substance use disorder, home is sometimes the source of the problem,” Lanterman said.