Republican senator on older inmates in prison: “Let my people go.”

let my people go
State Sen. Joe Hardy.
let my people go
State Sen. Joe Hardy.

Legislation sponsored by Republican state Sen. Joe Hardy to transfer older inmates from the Nevada Department of Corrections to residential confinement received its first hearing Monday in front of the Assembly Judiciary Committee.

Presenting Senate Bill 252, Hardy briefly touched on the high costs and time constraints that come from housing inmates who are in their 60s.

“Old people can’t run as fast as young people,” joked Hardy, 69. “They are less prone to crime. There is less recidivism.”

If passed, the bill would apply to offenders 65 and older who haven’t committed a crime of violence against a child, a sex crime or vehicular homicide. The person would also have to have served more than half their prison sentence.

The original language was for inmates 60 and older. At the request of Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro, Hardy increased the age.  

The bill comes as the Legislature is considering several proposals to make changes to Nevada’s criminal justice system and address the state’s rising incarceration rates. The Crime and Justice Institute, which studied Nevada’s prison population, presented 25 policy recommendations to reduce the state’s incarceration rates including how to address the geriatice parole process. SB 252 is separate from those recommendations.

The bill passed the Senate 19-2 on April 19 and now has to make its way through the Assembly. Similar legislation was passed in 2017, but was ultimately vetoed by former Gov. Brian Sandoval who said the bill “has a noble goal, but it poses risks that are not justified by the purported benefits of changing the law.”

Michael Lyle
Michael Lyle (MJ to some) has been a journalist in Las Vegas for eight years.  He started his career at View Neighborhood News, the community edition of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. During his seven years with the R-J, he won several first place awards from the Nevada Press Association and was named its 2011 Journalist of Merit. He left the paper in 2017 and spent a year as a freelance journalist accumulating bylines anywhere from The Washington Post to Desert Companion. While he covers a range of topics from homelessness to the criminal justice system, he gravitates toward stories about race relations and LGBTQ issues. Born and mostly raised in Las Vegas, Lyle graduated from UNLV with a degree in Journalism and Media Studies. He is currently working on his master's in Communications through an online program at Syracuse University. In his spare time, Lyle cooks through Ina Garten recipes in hopes of one day becoming the successor to the Barefoot Contessa throne. When he isn’t cooking (or eating), he also enjoys reading, running and re-watching episodes of “Parks and Recreation.” He is also in the process of learning kickboxing.


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