LAS VEGAS — Nevada’s failure to adequately prepare for the harmful effects that COVID-19 would inevitably have on our criminal justice system has put thousands of lives — both inside and outside of detention facilities — at risk.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada, the NAACP Las Vegas, and Nevada Attorneys for Criminal Justice again called for swift action to address the spread of COVID-19 in Nevada’s jails and prisons in a letter sent Monday to Gov. Steve Sisolak, as well as sheriffs, district attorneys and other policy makers.

The state has reported 86 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among staff and/or inmates in nine of its state correctional facilities, including 38 cases in High Desert State Prison alone. There have been at least 152 confirmed cases at the Clark County Detention Center, 37 confirmed cases in the Nye County Detention Center, and at least 30 cases in the Pahrump Detention Center.

There may be positive cases in other facilities, but the lack of transparency exhibited by many of our local authorities has made obtaining this information extremely difficult, if not impossible.

ACLU of Nevada Staff Attorney Nikki Levy said:

“Since we sent our first letter to criminal justice leaders four months ago, confirmed cases of COVID-19 have skyrocketed in our communities and in Nevada’s jails and prisons. We warned that we would see an outbreak of COVID-19 in our institutions without swift action, and our recommendations were ignored. Now we’re again calling for the state to take meaningful steps to prevent further harm and injustice, or else we will.”