A prison sentence is one of the most common punishments a person can receive in Nevada. It could be as brief as a few months or as long as the rest of the person’s life, depending on the severity of the person’s offense. Other penalties are usually involved, but the incarceration itself is the main focus.
People may have some questions regarding the state’s prison system. For example, people may be curious about how female detainees are held. Do women offenders share facilities with male prisoners? Let’s look at it in more detail.
Differentiating between Jail and Prison
Before that, however, let’s clear some points regarding incarceration, specifically the difference between ‘jail’ and ‘prison’. Most people use interchangeably, thinking that they refer to the same thing. While this may work in some contexts, it cannot be applied to their legal definitions.
A jail is simply a temporary holding facility where a recent arrested person is held. Defendants who are awaiting trial and are either unable or unwilling to post bail are also incarcerated in jail. Misdemeanor offenders also spend time in jail as punishment. County officials administer and handle jail centers.
A prison is a holding facility for people convicted of and serving time for felonies. There is nothing temporary about staying in prison, unless there is a need to move an inmate to another prison. Prisons also have increasing levels of security compared to jails, as most of their inmates are dangerous criminals. Nevada handles the management and maintenance of prisons through a duly-selected Board; it banned the use of private correctional facilities in May 2019.
How are Female Inmates Incarcerated?
Jails and prisons in Nevada handle prisoner types differently.
As a general rule, all jails in the state can hold both male and female detainees. However, they usually have separate facilities housed within the same general area, depending on the size of the facility. This is applied to minimize co-mingling between detainees. There may still be some shared utilities between detainees; for example, both sides can use the same recreation center or canteen to some extent.
Prisons, on the other hand, have always been single-gender. Historically, prisons were designed primarily for male offenders. This still rings true to this day, in part because the state’s criminal demographic is still overwhelmingly male. It would be economically impractical to provide mixed-use prison facilities when only 10% of imprisoned individuals are female. Nevada currently has at least two prisons built specifically for female detainees.
Prisons and Trans-Women
The Nevada Department of Corrections endeavors to maintain equality for all the detainees in the state. In the case of trans-women, the NDOC maintains a non-conforming gender review committee that studies a future detainee’s situation and determines whether or not they can stay in a woman’s correctional center. The committee also determines what other benefits a trans-woman detainee can receive, like particular types of clothing, availability of hormone therapy, or personal prison space.
No matter where they are held, trans-women detainees can expect extensive medical assistance while incarcerated. They receive a management plan which covers physical, physiological, and mental well-being while in prison. They also have an annual appointment with a medical provider who assesses their treatment and provides alterations to their health plan as needed.
Nevada aims to provide proper prison facilities to all its detainees. Ask your local Las Vegas lawyer about other prisoner rights that you can have if you are arrested in Las Vegas.