NORTH LAS VEGAS (FOX5) – North Las Vegas announced plans to reopen its jail after closing it down seven years ago. The city closed its jail doors after it fell on hard times after the Great Recession, hoping to save money.
City officials told FOX5 the move didn’t end up saving the city much money, but now it’s hoping to make some big improvements for citizens and law enforcement with this opening. The jail is expected to be fully operational by July 2020.
"It's a sign of health,” said Gina Gavan, Chief Innovation Officer for the city of North Las Vegas. “It's a sign of saying we're here. We're not closing our doors. And we're reopening doors to different kinds of services and opportunities that residents pay for."
Services that like a police force not bogged down shuttling inmates to the Las Vegas Detention Center. The city estimates officers lose about two hours every time they bring a suspect out of their jurisdiction for booking. The city believes reopening the jail will increase police presence by about 10 percent.
"And so that time that we can gain, increases the ability for us to be available for the citizens at risk,” said Gavan.
The city will have to make several upgrades to the facility. The city estimated the cost at $1.25 million.
The city hired outside help to get the jail back up and running. It hired James Dzurenda, former corrections officer turned jail consultant. In addition to making sure the jail is compliant, Dzurenda is recommending programs to prevent inmates from re-offending.
“If we do a better job in the jail system, with treatment upon day one, they're actually going to be more successful in the community,” said Dzurenda. "We're not doing it for the offender, we're doing it for our families in the community. And once they see that it reduces crime and reduces victimization and their families are safer, then this is for them."
The city released the news that it would be ending its contract with the city of Las Vegas at a city hall meeting in August.
“Being able to make sure our cops are equipped with the right kinds of tools and resources and spend more times on the streets, that makes a difference,” said Gavan. “And that's the way we'll be able to change the way people think about North Las Vegas."