Magazine article American Jails

Inmates Fight Graffiti

Magazine article American Jails

Inmates Fight Graffiti

Article excerpt

With a population numbering nearly two million, the Las Vegas valley has many of the social, cultural, and criminal aspects of any large urban environment. Although the Las Vegas "Strip" is certainly unique to Nevada, the rest of the community is not that dissimilar to others of comparable size. The people of Southern Nevada value their community environment and the effective crime control measures that keep them safe. With some effort, inmate labor can be used to positively influence both.

Located in downtown Las Vegas, the Clark County Detention Center is the largest jail in the State. The facility is operated and managed by the Detention Services Division of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. With an average daily population well in excess of 3,000, it is currently recognized by the Bureau of Justice Statistics as one of the 50 largest jail jurisdictions in the United States.

The facility manages a total inmate workforce of approximately 350 convicted and sentenced individuals. In addition to work assignments in housing, kitchen, laundry, booking, and commissary areas, inmates are assigned to work outside the jail in the Las Vegas community conducting graffiti abatement and landscape maintenance. Historically, the objective of the outside work crews has been to provide eligible inmates with an employment skill to reduce the rate of recidivism. The general public has also benefitted from the labor provided by inmates who work in our community parks and recreational areas.

In an effort to improve their overall effect on the community, representatives from the Patrol and Detention Services Divisions of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department discussed new methods to combat the graffiti problem. Recognized as our most costly property crime (with an estimated annual cost in excess of $3 million), graffiti prevention, investigation, prosecution, and abatement weighed heavily in our discussions. …

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