NDOC Programs in the 21st Century

  • NDOC Director James Dzurenda

Quote - NDOC Director James Dzurenda

“The Statewide Recidivism Reduction (SRR) Grant aims to provide a state-wide culture change in corrections from being punitive to being collaborative and rehabilitative. It focuses on reducing recidivism and decreasing victimization of members of our community. It brings the Nevada Department of Corrections into the 21st century.”


    The State of Nevada Department of Corrections (NDOC) was awarded funding by the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), Office of Justice Programs, Second Chance Act Statewide Adult Recidivism Reduction Strategic Planning Program Grant to support efforts in developing a comprehensive, data-driven strategic plan with measurable benchmarks. Nevada’s planning and capacity building began with Governor Sandoval’s Executive Order (E.O.) 2011-25 to establish the Statewide Re-Entry Task Force. This task force included key stakeholders and policy makers statewide whom have a direct impact on the reentry process. The E.O. developed a collaborative decision-making body with a detailed planning process and structure ensuring clear expectations from all team members. Through the Re-Entry Task Force and the Steering Committee developed from the Task Force, Nevada worked to develop a data-driven approach for recidivism reduction through goal-setting; identifying valid and reliable data; target populations; and programming initiatives. By assessing current recidivism reduction policies and providing a gap assessment on current programs, Nevada is better positioned to develop a checklist driven policy, with quality reviews, assessments, and plans for corrective action programming. These efforts combined have worked to develop the five-year strategic plan proposal that includes efforts for a comprehensive sustainability plan.

    Nevada utilized the technical assistance provided by the Second Chance Grant and the National Governor’s Association Center for Best Practices, to adopt best practices and philosophies into Nevada’s Statewide Five Year Re-entry Strategic Plan. This plan has support from the Governor, the Legislature, Executive Departments, and community organizations that have a role in re-entry. The strategic plan works to improve the process by which individuals are prepared for release; develops re-entry initiatives that focus on building social relationship and improving access to community-based services and supports; raises the profile of re-entry programs to focus on public safety and not solely a correction issues; and provided support mechanisms for employment, housing, as well as mental and physical health.

    Nevada’s strategic plan provides a road map for opportunities; education and wrap-around support to the individual reducing the chances of returning to prison. The NDOC will be the lead working with social service and justice partners to annually review and update the strategic plan. Partners will include state, local, and direct service providers from across the state to focus on resources for individuals released from prison to: 1) provide a continuum of care for individuals as they transition from prison-based treatment programs to community-based programs; 2) assist the individuals in obtaining gainful employment; 3) develop a state-wide, cross-discipline, evidence-based model to target individuals who are at the highest risk of recidivating; and 4) provide regular review of performance measures and evaluation to allow for corrective actions.

    NDOC incorporated data sets and information from intake, to post release, and will evaluate the location of offenders by region, socio-economic status, and need for services. Data sets will include ethnic, geographical, socio-economic, offenses, substance abuse history, and other key data traits to ensure that longitudinal data is maintained and is consistent to identify which populations and sub-populations respond to specific strategies. The additional data sets include evaluating the Bureau of Justice Studies (BJS) data collection results. This will ensure continued data-driven evaluations to support evidence-based practices and to make adjustments as required.


      The mission of the Nevada Statewide Adult Recidivism Reduction Strategic Plan is to provide strategic guidance to measure the benchmarks of public programming working to empower transitioning citizens to the community, through re-entry, self-sufficiency and public safety strategies.




        Nevada will engage public, private, non-profit, faith-based and community partners, as well as citizens in Nevada for input on decision-making, planning, and integrate cross-agency efforts.


        Nevada will make timely decisions that are cost-effective and efficient. Nevada will work to produce the highest level of public safety and greatest community benefit.


        Nevada will use evidence-based practices (current, accurate, valid and reliable data) to prioritize and enhance the value of actions.


        Nevada will work with research institutions, other states, and national organizations to foster creativity to meet challenges and identify opportunities for improvements.


        Nevada will exhibit honest and straightforward values with all citizens, state partners, agencies and national organizations.

          Public Benefits

          Nevada’s Strategic Plan will provide benefits directly to the community:  

          ● Public safety will increase as criminal incentive decreases;

          ● Saving the taxpayers money from Fees caused by recidivism for police, county jail, public defenders, district attorney, courts and transportation with guards to these areas;

          ● Reduced cost through a reduction in recidivism rates (example: average of $24,000 per year for the cost of incarceration pre inmate – 29% current recidivism rate); and

          ● Grow state and federal resources by increasing the tax-paying potential of the community.

            Guiding Principles

            ● A structured re-entry program, with appropriate services, is a legitimate community safety strategy;  

            ● People can change if given the opportunity and resources;

            ● People must be held accountable;

            ● Change and innovation are positive and necessary;

            ● Targeting those offenders most at-risk will have the most impact;

            ● Targeting multiple criminogenic risk/need areas will lead to the best outcome;

            ● Case management is the heart of the work - it must be targeted and individualized;

            ● Re-entry is a community issue- crucially important to local government;

            ● Neighborhood and victim representatives will have a voice in the re-entry process;

            ● Systems integration and collaboration is necessary for sustained success in connecting transitioning offenders to necessary support and services;

            ● Programs and practices must adhere to evidence-based approaches;

            ● Information systems must support the work through shared data between agencies and organizations;

            ● Every person matters and deserves the opportunity to succeed.