If predictions are correct, the population of Washoe County will nearly double in the next decade. As the population increases so will the need to house additional inmates, resulting in a potential need to double the capacity of the Washoe County Jail.

An extraordinary  number of inmates are addicted to drugs, alcohol or are mentally ill. Those diagnosed with a mental illness frequently are not compliant with their medications and often self medicate with drugs or alcohol in order to gain control over their lives. This can ultimately lead to homelessness or a life of crime to support their addictions. These lifestyles almost always lead to police involvement and incarceration.

Currently, we are fueling the cycle of recidivism and incarceration rates by warehousing inmates and making little to no attempt to implement intervention strategies. Officers require proper training to effectively handle these cases.

If order to reduce crime and inmate population, we need to redefine our current structural system and develop one that implements programs addressing the root of the problem. My plan is to create C-A-P (Community Action Partnerships), to provide services for incarcerated inmates, along with non incarcerated alcohol and drug addicted individuals, that help them gain control of their lives and reintegrate back into society.

We CANNOT arrest our way out of these problems. We CAN change lives by reinventing the way we run our jails and how we oversee our inmates. Together, we must “Forge a New Path and aggressively address the underlying causes of crime before incarceration. We must also replace the ineffective strategies that have been used over the past 20 years with ones that work.

We need to double down on programs that provide wrap around services for this population, such as Drug Courts and Mental Health Courts, along with specialized programs such as Crossroads On Campus, Crossroads Off Campus, Sober 24, TADS (Temporary Assistance for Displaced Seniors) and MOST (Mobile Outreach Safety Team), in order to stem the tide and close the revolving door of recidivism. Programs like these prove to be effective and are making a significant difference in the community right now.  

We will combine innovative ideas from staff within the Sheriff’s office, in conjunction with the diversified, bright minds of our community to create C-A-P (Community Action Partnerships). As a community, we will find solutions to the pressing issues facing the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office that will change the structural system of incarceration in Nevada.