The current COVID-19 crisis is at the forefront of many Nevada citizens’ minds as individuals practice social distancing, wearing safety gear, and working remotely. One demographic that might be overlooked at this time are individuals who are currently incarcerated. As this public health crisis has developed, it quickly became clear to those involved in the prison systems in Nevada that measures desperately needed to be taken to avoid the spread of the Coronavirus in these populations. While detention centers, jails and prisons have implemented precautions including health screenings, tracking of symptoms, increased sanitation measures and isolation rooms, inmates continue to test positive for COVID-19.
This is a result of jails and prisons generally housing a large number of inmates (most of which share close quarters living spaces) and limited medical staff. However, all incarcerated individuals and detention center employees still maintain a right to life and adequate medical care. As a result, prisons across Nevada have begun to implement a variety of progressive changes to release non-violent inmates with underlying health conditions in order to do their part in slowing the spread of COVID-19 and “flatten the curve.”
This does not mean that all Nevada jails and prisons are opening their doors for anyone to leave as they please, but instead demonstrates that there is a recognized responsibility on behalf of law makers and law enforcement within the criminal justice system to protect the employees and inmates in their custody. During the onset of this crisis, numerous Nevada criminal defense attorneys began to make appeals to local government officials and the Courts on behalf of the rights of inmates in detention centers.