The Board of Examiners on Tuesday voted to approve more than $609,000 to cover costs of issuing inmates photo identification cards when they’re released.
The IDs were mandated by SB268, approved by the 2017 Legislature. But prison officials say they don’t have the staff to handle investigating and issuing hundreds of IDs a year.
The problem, according to prison officials, is the legislation prohibits issuing any inmate ID until and unless they first verify the legal name and date of birth of the offender by ordering certified copies of the individual’s birth certificate, Social Security card and other documents as required by Nevada DMV. At present, the department issues ID cards to outgoing offenders using the name and birth date on their judgment of conviction without having to verify the information.
Prison officials say to do that work, they will need a dozen more correctional caseworkers. But the work programs approved Tuesday seek five full time and two temporary positions
Under the new law, prison officials say they must “bear the burden of investigating the inmate’s true identity and applying for verification of the identification prior to the inmate release.” If they can’t do so, they say they have to confiscate the inmate ID card, leaving that person without picture identification.
“Inmates may, in many cases, not want their true identity known because they are aware that they have outstanding warrants for crimes committed in other states,” according to prison officials. Others may owe back child support or restitution. Women, according to the report to the board, are a special issue because they may have changed their last name through one or more marriages. Each case, the report estimates, could take a couple of hours to resolve and, in difficult cases, up to six hours of work.
The department processes and releases about 6,000 inmates each year.
The board decision Tuesday must be approved by the legislative Interim Fiance Committee that meets in December.
In addition, the board approved spending $346,077 to help Clark County and the Las Vegas Strip prepare for any potential violence or attacks during the upcoming New Year’s celebration.
Division of Emergency Management Director Caleb Cage told the board the original amount requested was just $122,000 but that, he said, was before the Oct. 1 attack that left 58 concert goers dead and more than 500 wounded or injured.
He said of the 42 million who visit Las Vegas each year, more than 400,000 of them come for the New Year’s celebration.
He said the money will provide 358 soldiers from the National Guard who will be stationed at 22 locations from the Airport to the Strip. Referring to Clark County’s emergency management director John Steinbeck, Gov. Brian Sandoval said, “I told him whatever he needs, he gets.”