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JRI Years: 2007, 2019



In 2007, Nevada’s prison population was projected to grow 61 percent by 2017. High failure rates among people on probation contributed to the growth in prison admissions. Community-based behavioral health treatment was often unavailable or inaccessible for people in the criminal justice system. From 2007 to 2008, the CSG Justice Center worked with Nevada state leaders to develop data-driven policy options to address these issues.


Signed into law in 2007, Nevada’s Justice Reinvestment legislation, Assembly Bill 508 and Assembly Bill 510, increased incentives for people in prison who successfully complete vocational, educational, and substance use treatment programs prior to release. The legislation also increased incentives for people on probation and parole supervision to comply with supervision and expanded eligibility for alternatives to incarceration, resulting in policy and practice changes implemented across agencies.1


Nevada successfully achieved its goal of reducing the prison population, seeing a 3 percent decline from 2007 to 2012.2 The state reinvested $6.3 million in the 2007–2009 biennium to support implementation of the legislation and invest in practices supported by research to reduce recidivism.

For more information, see Justice Reinvestment in Nevada.

JRI-Driven Policies and Practices

  • Expand good-time/earned-time prison credits/reentry leave
  • Authorize/develop/modify graduated responses or matrices for violations
  • Require evidence-based practices
  • Improve behavioral health interventions



In 2018, state leaders, including then-Governor Brian Sandoval, charged the Advisory Commission on the Administration of Justice (ACAJ) with examining the state’s justice system and developing policy recommendations that would ensure resources were directed to the most effective public safety strategies.3 With technical assistance from the Crime and Justice Institute, the ACAJ analyzed the state’s sentencing and community supervision data, assessed policies and practices governing the justice system, and evaluated best practices used in other states. The ACAJ found that, over the prior decade, Nevada’s prison population had grown, and the state was spending more money on incarceration, leaving less for recidivism-reduction measures.4


Nevada’s JRI legislation—Assembly Bill 236—was created based on the recommendations of the ACAJ and was signed into law on June 14, 2019.5 The bill addressed the growing prison population by restructuring drug sentencing, lowering sentence lengths, encouraging diversion to treatment programs, increasing the felony threshold for theft from $650 to $1,200, and tailoring penalties for burglary to the seriousness of the offense instead of a one-size-fits-all penalty scheme.6 To increase successful supervision on probation and parole, AB236 established appropriate supervision periods based on behavior, required the use of a risk and needs assessment to determine the intensity of supervision, established graduated sanctions, and limited the amount of incarceration time that could be imposed for a revocation due to technical violations.7 In addition, AB236 elevated the collection and analysis of data to better understand the effectiveness of practices throughout the system.8 State agencies implemented multiple policy and practice changes to achieve these goals.


Nevada’s policy changes, designed to significantly slow growth in the state’s prison, did just that—the population declined 25 percent from 2018 to 2022.9 Additionally, Nevada instituted innovative programs at the intersection of the justice system and behavioral health, including specialized trainings for community supervision officers and Virtual Crisis Care, a rural crisis response model developed through a public-private partnership, to support police officers responding to individuals in crisis.10

For more information, see Nevada Justice Reinvestment.

JRI-Driven Policies and Practices

  • Reclassify/redefine drug offenses
  • Reclassify/redefine property offenses
  • Reclassify/redefine offense class or offense level
  • Establish/expand presumptive probation for some offenses
  • Revise sentencing enhancements
  • Authorize or expand risk-reduction sentencing or incentive sentences
  • Revise parole hearings/decision/eligibility standards
  • Establish/expand presumptive parole for qualifying cases
  • Revise policies concerning parole commutations
  • Establish/expand geriatric or medical parole
  • Establish/expand earned discharge (probation/parole)
  • Authorize/develop/modify graduated responses or matrices for violations
  • Cap revocation time
  • Require/improve risk-needs assessment
  • Require evidence-based practices
  • Reform/establish specialty courts or diversion programs
  • Reduce probation terms or active supervision period
  • Evaluate quality of prison/community-based programs
  • Improve behavioral health interventions
  • Require fiscal impact statements
  • Require data collection/performance measures
  • Establish/extend oversight council
  • Require Crisis Intervention Team trainings to law enforcement officers
  • Establish/improve quality assurance/continuous policy improvement policies or practices
  • Train justice system stakeholders on topics related to implementing legislation
  • Invest in Batterer Intervention Programs (BIPs)
  • Establish crisis intervention/stabilization units for mental health diversion

Other JRI-Funded Projects

In Nevada, in partnership with the CSG Justice Center, the state committed to a system-level approach to better data across their criminal justice system and received intensive short-term technical assistance as a Founding State in the Justice Counts initiative.

The Crime and Justice Institute (CJI) began working with Nevada state leaders in the spring of 2021 to assess the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on implementation of the state’s JRI legislation (AB 236, 2019) and its criminal justice system more generally. At the request of state leaders, CJI conducted a qualitative and quantitative assessment, examining data from various state agencies and speaking to a diverse group of system stakeholders. CJI’s 2022 report, “COVID-19 and Criminal Justice in Nevada: Learning from a Crisis” includes 12 recommendations intended to elevate the polices implemented during the pandemic, reduce the density of prison and jail environments, and optimize cooperation, coordination, and transparency among Nevada’s justice system agencies.

1 The Council of State Governments Justice Center, 2023, Justice Reinvestment in Nevada, New York, NY: The Council of State Governments Justice Center, retrieved May 18, 2023 from

2 The Council of State Governments Justice Center, 2023, Justice Reinvestment in Nevada, New York: The Council of State Governments Justice Center, retrieved May 18, 2023 from

3 Nevada Advisory Commission on the Administration of Justice, 2020, Practitioner Guide to AB 236, Nevada: Advisory Commission on the Administration of Justice, retrieved May 19, 2023 from’s%20Guide%204.20.pdf.

4 Ibid.

5 Ibid.

6 Ibid., 9, 6, 17, 7, 6.

7 Ibid., 30, 33, 30, 32.

8 Ibid, 40.

9 Nevada Department of Sentencing Policy, Month End NDOC Offender Count, Nevada: Department of Sentencing Policy retrieved May 16, 2023 from[…]IiwidCI6ImU0YTM0MGU2LWI4OWUtNGU2OC04ZWFhLTE1NDRkMjcwMzk4MCJ9.

10 “New CJI Trainings Offer Tools to Support People on Community Supervision with Physical and Behavioral Health Needs,” Crime and Justice Institute News, July 15, 2022,; “Nevada Introduces Telehealth Pilot Program to Address Gaps in Rural Crisis Response,” Crime and Justice Institute News, July 8, 2022,

Photo by Amadscientist and licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

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