Lincoln County Sheriff's Department. Photo from department website.

This is the second in a two-part series covering the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department as it works to accomplish its mission and vision.  View Part I here.

By Gina Smith
March 05, 2012

One of the major tasks given to the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department is the management of the county’s detention center.

Each county is required by Nevada Revised Statutes to have a jail. Ours is a 120 bed facility and houses 90 to 100 prisoners at any given time. The jail holds 5 to 35 inmates from our county. The remainder are from Clark County.

Our neighbor’s inmates serve time of less than a year for misdemeanor to gross misdemeanor crimes. These crimes can include anything from petty theft, disorderly conduct, public intoxication, trespassing or reckless driving including driving under the influence (DUI). The offenses Lincoln County are serving for vary from traffic crimes to severe felonies.

Inmates are given the opportunity to rehabilitate themselves through education and attending groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotic Anonymous. Lincoln County Sheriff Kerry Lee said 8-10 prisoners graduate every month with their GED.

“The detention center is a huge plus for the county,” Lee said. “Financially, a huge plus for the county.” Lee said the money the sheriff’s department receives to run the facility is being earned. The staff is challenged to manage a large group of prisoners and control fights or conflicts that happen due to gangs, personality or race issues. But with the dedicated and talented staff, these issues are kept at bay and handled in a professional and efficient manner, according to Lee.

Other agencies, like the Nevada Department of Corrections, help out on a county level. For example, individuals from other counties with felonies are housed in the state prison also located in Pioche. These two groups mainly work together through the honor camps that are run in Pioche as well.

Honor camps are groups of state inmates that are given the opportunity to work in the community for a period of time each week. This is considered a major asset to the county. The honor camps help the county in search and rescue, tracking a recently lost elderly man, helping in disasters such as the recent flood in Caliente, firefighting, fuel reduction projects or shoveling snow.

With tax payer dollars paying for the detention center, the goal, according to Lee, is to get the prisoner to become working and productive – to learn a trade and be a contributing member of society society.

Lee invites county residents to tour the jail.