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North Las Vegas Inmates Released | Crime

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North Las Vegas Inmates Released

NORTH LAS VEGAS, Nev. - The North Las Vegas Detention Center is slowly dwindling. Two dorms closed this year. Two more closed last year. This week, 21 corrections officers were laid off and 87 inmates were released early. The inmates released were convicted of minor, non-violent offenses.

"The purpose of a jail is to make sure that crime and public safety are dealt with. If you have people committing crime within the city, they need to be dealt with," North Las Vegas Municipal Court Judge Sean Hoeffgen said.

Hoeffgen signed off on the inmates' release. He says not just anybody was let out.

"They were asking (for) 115, 120 to be released. Only 87 were released," he said. "Typically, we were looking for people that don't have a case with domestic violence or temporary protection orders (or) if there was a DUI case."

"They had to serve maybe two, three weeks in jail – maybe, for example, driving without a license or driving with bad registration. Usually, those people are incarcerated, because they haven't paid their fines or they picked up a new ticket," he said.

A majority of those released served most of their sentence. Others were transferred to different jails because of holds or warrants. A few were put in the custody of immigration. Now that the damage is done, the controversy is just beginning.

"The jail's not my responsibility. My responsibility is what happens within the court. The decision regarding overtime, the decision regarding letting them out - those decisions were already made by council," Hoeffgen said.

Judge Hoeffgen says public safety is at risk because of the politics and budget troubles that plague North Las Vegas. He says he helped decide who got released, but he says the decisions that led to this point are the responsibility of the city council and the chief of police, who he says is in charge of the jail.

North Las Vegas Mayor Shari Buck predicts the situation will get worse. "We're in for a world of trouble, not only with the jail, PD, fire department - this is the philosophy of this city council which I totally disagree with," she said.

North Las Vegas Police declined to comment and referred questions to city administration. Judge Hoeffgen says there are currently no plans to release more inmates.