Clark County is in the southeast corner of Nevada, encompassing the Las Vegas metropolitan area. The county is in the process of comprehensive criminal justice reform, which includes the implementation of an Initial Appearance Court to reduce the overall number of pretrial defendants housed in its county jail. As a result, the county has already seen an increase in the number of defendants who were booked on felony probable cause charges released within 24 hours from 36% to 38%.
To build on past efforts, Clark County was awarded $700,000 from the Safety and Justice Challenge in 2018 to implement strategies that address the main drivers of the local jail population in the area, including unfair and ineffective bail practices that take a particularly heavy toll on people of color, low-income communities, and people with mental health and substance abuse issues. Since July 2018, an average of 129 individuals remained in custody for more than seven days on a bail less than $5,001.
To continue safely reducing the jail population, the county plans to implement key strategies aimed at addressing system inefficiencies and disparities, as well as improving case processing for pretrial defendants. Strategies will touch all points of the system, ranging from release for non-violent offenders, to case review by a prosecutor at the time of booking. These policy-driven strategies will reduce jail bed usage while ensuring the county advances its commitment to having the ‘right’ inmates remain in custody while ensuring access to critically needed services for all.