Please call the Legislative Hotline and tell them you support SB 201 – Ombudsman for NDOC

To One and All:

Starting on Monday, please call the legislative hotline and tell them that you support SB 201. For every call received it will be distributed to the members of the Legislature and one phone call will count for 20 constituents votes.

This is the Ombudsman bill that will benefit the inmates as well as the taxpayers. It will give the inmates a voice and at the same time it will reduce the lawsuits that are being filed by inmates, thereby, saving the taxpayers money.

Here is the phone 1-800-992-0973. In the Las Vegas area. 486-2626

Thank you,
Tonja Brown

SENATE BILL NO. 201–SENATORS PARKS, LESLIE; BREEDEN,
COPENING, DENIS, HORSFORD, KIHUEN AND MANENDO

FEBRUARY 28, 2011
____________

JOINT SPONSORS: ASSEMBLYMEN MUNFORD, ANDERSON;
ATKINSON, BOBZIEN, CARLTON, CARRILLO AND HOGAN
____________

Referred to Committee on Judiciary

SUMMARY—Revises provisions relating
institutions. (BDR 16-827)

FISCAL NOTE: Effect on Local Government: No.
Effect on the State: Yes.

EXPLANATION – Matter in bolded italics is new; matter between brackets [omitted material] is material to be omitted.

AN ACT relating to correctional institutions; establishing an Ombudsman for Offenders to receive and process complaints by offenders and certain other persons;
establishing the powers and duties of the Ombudsman;
requiring the Ombudsman to adopt regulations relating to the processing of such complaints; requiring the Ombudsman to make certain reports to the Department of Corrections, the Legislature and the Advisory Commission on the Administration of Justice; requiring the Director of the Department to adopt regulations which comply with certain standards; and providing other matters properly relating thereto.

Legislative Counsel’s Digest:
Section 7 of this bill creates the Office of the Ombudsman for Offenders within
the Office of the Attorney General.

Section 8 of this bill grants the Attorney General the power to appoint and
remove the Ombudsman for Offenders.

Section 9 of this bill sets forth the powers of the Ombudsman.

Sections 10 and 11 of this bill specify the accounting and use of money
collected by the Ombudsman.

Section 12 of this bill directs the Ombudsman to establish regulations
governing the receipt, processing and reporting of complaints from Legislators,
offenders and family members of offenders and from the Ombudsman.

Sections 13 and 17 of this bill specify the responsibilities of the Ombudsman
concerning the processing and reporting of complaints and actions taken in
response to the complaints.

Section 14 of this bill requires the Ombudsman to notify certain persons of the
Ombudsman’s decision regarding the processing of a complaint.

Section 15 of this bill makes confidential certain information relating to
complaints, reports and recommendations.

Section 16 of this bill requires the Ombudsman to prepare and submit a
biennial report for the Department of Corrections, the Legislature and the Advisory
Commission on the Administration of Justice.

Section 18 of this bill prohibits the penalizing of an offender for certain acts
relating to complaints and prohibits the hindrance of the Ombudsman in performing
the duties of office.

Section 19 of this bill provides that the authority of the Ombudsman is not
exclusive of other available remedies.
Existing law requires the Director of the Department to protect the health and
safety of the staff and offenders in the institutions and facilities of the Department.

(NRS 209.131) Section 20 of this bill requires the Director to establish regulations which comply with the standards set by the National Commission on Correctional Health Care to govern staff training in medical emergency response and reporting.

Existing law also requires the Director to establish standards for the personal
hygiene of offenders and for the medical and dental services at correctional
institutions and facilities. (NRS 209.381) Section 21 of this bill requires those
standards to comply with standards set by the National Commission on
Correctional Health Care.

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEVADA, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEMBLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

Section 1. Chapter 209 of NRS is hereby amended by adding
thereto the provisions set forth as sections 2 to 19, inclusive, of this
act.

Sec. 2. As used in sections 2 to 19, inclusive, of this act,
unless the context otherwise requires, the words and terms defined
in sections 3 to 6, inclusive, of this act have the meanings ascribed
to them in those sections.

Sec. 3. “Administrative act” includes an action, omission,
decision, recommendation, practice or other procedure of the
Department.

Sec. 4. “Complainant” means a Legislator, an offender or a family member of an offender who files a complaint as described in section 12 of this act.

Sec. 5. “Official” means the Director, a deputy director, manager, warden or employee of the Department.

Sec. 6. “Ombudsman” means the Ombudsman for Offenders.


Sec. 7. The Office of the Ombudsman for Offenders is
hereby created within the Office of the Attorney General.

Sec. 8. 1. The Attorney General shall appoint the
Ombudsman. The Ombudsman is in the unclassified service of the
State. The person appointed:
(a) Must be knowledgeable in the field of corrections; and
(b) Must be independent of the Department.
2. The Attorney General may remove the Ombudsman from
office for inefficiency, neglect of duty or malfeasance in office.

Sec. 9. The Ombudsman may:
1. Employ such staff as is necessary to carry out the duties and functions of his or her office, in accordance with the personnel practices and procedures established within the Attorney General’s Office. The Ombudsman has sole discretion to employ and remove any member of his or her staff.
2. Purchase necessary equipment.
3. Lease or make other suitable arrangements for office space, but any lease which extends beyond the term of 1 year must be reviewed and approved by a majority of the members of the State Board of Examiners.
4. Perform such other functions and make such other arrangements as may be necessary to carry out the duties and functions of his or her office.
Sec. 10. 1. All money collected by the Ombudsman must be deposited with the State Treasurer for credit to the Account for the Ombudsman for Offenders, which is hereby created.

2. Money in the Account may be used:
(a) To defray the costs of maintaining the Office of the
Ombudsman; or
(b) For any other purpose authorized by the Legislature.
3. All claims against the Account must be paid as other
claims against the State are paid.

Sec. 11. All gifts and grants of money which the
Ombudsman is authorized to accept must be deposited with the
State Treasurer for credit to the Account for the Ombudsman for
Offenders.

Sec. 12. The Ombudsman shall, by regulation, establish procedures for receiving, processing and reporting complaints from a Legislator, an offender or a family member of an offender and for processing and reporting allegations personally known to the Ombudsman concerning:
1. An administrative act which is alleged to be contrary to law
or a policy of the Department; or

2. Significant issues relating to the health or safety of
offenders and other matters for which there is no effective
administrative remedy.

Sec. 13. 1. The Ombudsman shall advise a complainant to pursue all administrative remedies that are available to the complainant. The Ombudsman may request and shall receive from the Department a progress report concerning the administrative processing of a complaint. After the Department has taken administrative action on a complaint, the Ombudsman may process and report a complaint on the request of a complainant or
on his or her own initiative.

2. The Ombudsman is not required to process or report a complaint brought before the Ombudsman. A person is not entitled as a right to have his or her complaint processed or reported by the Ombudsman.

Sec. 14. After the Ombudsman receives a complaint from a Legislator, an offender or a family member of an offender as described in section 12 of this act and decides to process the complaint, the Ombudsman shall notify the complainant, the offender or offenders affected and the Department. If the
Ombudsman declines to process the complaint, the Ombudsman shall notify the complainant in writing and inform the offender or offenders affected of the reasons for the Ombudsman’s decision.

Sec. 15. 1. Correspondence between the Ombudsman and an offender is confidential and must be processed as privileged correspondence in the same manner as letters between offenders and courts, attorneys or public officials.

2. The Ombudsman shall keep confidential all matters relating to a complaint and the identities of the complainants or persons from whom information is acquired, except so far as disclosures may be necessary to enable the Ombudsman to perform the duties of the office and to support any
recommendations resulting from the processing of a complaint.

3. A report prepared and recommendations made by the Ombudsman and submitted pursuant to section 16 of this act are exempt from disclosure under chapter 239 of NRS.

Sec. 16. 1. For each regular session of the Legislature, the Ombudsman shall prepare a report on:
(a) The conduct of the Office of the Ombudsman for
Offenders;
(b) Complaints processed by the Ombudsman; and
(c) Findings resulting from those complaints if the
Ombudsman finds:
(1) A matter that should be considered by the Department;

(2) An administrative act that should be modified or cancelled;
(3) A statute or regulation that should be altered;
(4) An administrative act for which justification is necessary;
(5) Significant issues relating to the health or safety of offenders; or
(6) Any other significant concerns as set forth by regulation.

2. The report must be submitted not later than September 1 of each even-numbered year to the Department and the Director of the Legislative Counsel Bureau for distribution to the Legislature and the Advisory Commission on the Administration of Justice.

3. Subject to section 17 of this act, the Legislature may forward all or part of a report prepared and submitted pursuant to this section to the complainant or the offender or offenders affected.

Sec. 17. 1. Before publishing a finding or recommendation that expressly or by implication criticizes a person or the Department, the Ombudsman must consult with that person or the Department.

2. When publishing a finding adverse to the Department or any person, the Ombudsman shall include in that publication a statement of reasonable length made to the Ombudsman by the Department or person in defense or mitigation of the action, if that statement is provided within a reasonable period of time as specified by regulation.

3. The Ombudsman may request to be notified by the Department, within a specified period of time, of any action taken on a recommendation.

4. The Ombudsman shall notify a complainant of actions relating to the complaint taken by the Office of the Ombudsman and the Department.

Sec. 18. 1. An offender must not be penalized in any way by an official or the Department for filing a complaint, complaining to a Legislator or cooperating with the Ombudsman in researching a complaint.
2. A person or the Department shall not:
(a) Hinder the lawful actions of the Ombudsman or employees
of the Office of the Ombudsman; or
(b) Willfully refuse to comply with lawful demands of the
Office.

Sec. 19. The authority granted the Ombudsman pursuant to sections 2 to 19, inclusive, of this act:
1. Is in addition to the authority granted under:


(a) The provisions of any other act or rule under which the remedy or right of appeal or objection is provided for a person; or (b) Any procedure provided for the inquiry into or investigation of any other matter.

2. Shall not be:
(a) Construed to limit or affect the remedy or right of appeal or
objection; or
(b) Deemed part of an exclusionary process.
Sec. 20. NRS 209.131 is hereby amended to read as follows:
209.131 The Director shall:
1. Administer the Department under the direction of the Board.
2. Supervise the administration of all institutions and facilities
of the Department.
3. Receive, retain and release, in accordance with law,
offenders sentenced to imprisonment in the state prison.

4. Be responsible for the supervision, custody, treatment, care,
security and discipline of all offenders under his or her jurisdiction.

5. Ensure that any person employed by the Department whose
primary responsibilities are:
(a) The supervision, custody, security, discipline, safety and
transportation of an offender;
(b) The security and safety of the staff; and
(c) The security and safety of an institution or facility of the
Department, is a correctional officer who has the powers of a peace officer
pursuant to subsection 1 of NRS 289.220.

6. Establish regulations with the approval of the Board and enforce all laws governing the administration of the Department and the custody, care and training of offenders.

7. Take proper measures to protect the health and safety of the staff and offenders in the institutions and facilities of the Department [.] , including, without limitation, establishing regulations, with the approval of the Board, which comply with standards set by the National Commission on Correctional Health Care to govern staff training in medical emergency response and
reporting.

8. Cause to be placed from time to time in conspicuous places about each institution and facility copies of laws and regulations relating to visits and correspondence between offenders and others.

9. Provide for the holding of religious services in the institutions and facilities and make available to the offenders copies of appropriate religious materials.


Sec. 21. NRS 209.381 is hereby amended to read as follows:
209.381 1. Each offender in an institution or facility of the Department must be provided a healthful diet and appropriate, sanitary housing.

2. The Director with the approval of the Board shall establish standards which comply with standards set by the National Commission on Correctional Health Care for personal hygiene of offenders and for the medical and dental services of each institution or facility.

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