Sisolak signs legislation to study juvenile detention

Nevada Department of Corrections photo
Nevada Department of Corrections photo

Gov. Steve Sisolak signed Assembly Bill 449 on Wednesday, which authorizes an interim legislative study to look at juvenile detention in Nevada.

In 2018, the ACLU brought concerns to the Legislative Committee on Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice that the state was ill-equipped to house youth offenders, who are currently placed in adult facilities. Holly Welborn, the policy director for the ACLU of Nevada, said this interim study builds on the information the group presented.   

The committee, Welborn added, will look at the costs and feasibility of removing young offenders from adult facilities to put them in separate, juvenile accommodations. Additionally, it will look at their access to programs and education as well as review any incidents of physical or sexual assault.

According to Brooke Santina, a spokeswoman with the Nevada Department of Corrections, there are 13 boys at the Lovelock Correctional Center and two girls are housed out of state. Welborn added there might be an additional two juvenile girls housed at the Clark County Detention Center, however Santina couldn’t confirm that.

The number of juveniles also fluctuates because those who start their sentences as teenagers will be moved from juvenile housing once they age out. There are currently only 20 beds in the unit, which means when it is at capacity, boys have had to be housed in the infirmary — in previous years the population has been as high as 23.

Because of the Prison Rape Elimination Act, NDOC also has to follow strict standards to make sure youth offenders never engage adults, which can result in juveniles to be housed in segregation.

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.


  1. I was there! Age 17 @ LCC. Then Prison Warden Jackie Crawford put us in Unit 1A, there had to be 30+ Kids in there, some as young as 14, most of us were 15-18. We had the yard, it was all good, back in the 90s they never worried about Prison Rape Elimination Acts. Nevada was eager to try all kids as adults back in the late 90s. More so than now, alot of those kids grew up but remain in prison. We were all taught to be “convicts” I may go back too if my health care costs get too crazy, nevada health Care straightened up after Cavanaugh died in ESP. I was there for that as well.


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