Rally for Criminal Justice Reform Planned at Las Vegas City Hall on Wednesday, Aug. 19

Photo by Timon Studler

Justice & Equality and other speakers to speak for change in transitional housing

 Housing is a big concern for many people, but there are few options for those granted parole or sentenced to probation. With antiquated city ordinances, transitional housing is almost impossible to find. The Rally for Criminal Justice Reform to bring awareness and change about housing will be held at the steps of City Hall in Las Vegas on Wednesday, Aug. 19, beginning at 11 a.m.


After the rally, participants will speak in the Council Chambers of City Hall. Their goal is to request a change in the city ordinance that any transitional housing for those on parole or probation must be at least 1,500 feet from any school, church, park, or daycare with 15 or more children. 


“The ordinances were probably enacted years ago and have not been revised since then. This has an adverse effect on the population since there is zero housing available for parolees in Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, and Henderson,” says John Johnson, Executive Director of Justice & Equality. “These three cities all have the same ordinance and have no transitional housing licensing in their jurisdiction. 


The prisons are overcrowded, including a percentage of prisoners granted parole. However, without a verified address as required by the state of Nevada, most people granted parole must serve their full prison term. Organizations such as Autumn House, operated by the nonprofit Empowerment Through Education and Training, work to find transitional housing for those on parole and probation, but contend with restrictive laws that do not allow for transitional housing for residents on parole or probation. 


Speakers include K. Ryan Helmick, Attorney-at-Law, The Defenders; Carmen Glegg, Nevada Cure; Judge Richard Scotti, Nevada 8th Judicial District; Minister Stretch Sanders, New Era Las Vegas; Vera Moore, True Beginnings; and Ozzie Fumo, candidate for Nevada Supreme Court Justice. 


“The criminal justice system, specifically in regards to the success of an inmate upon their release from jail or prison, needs to be better than it currently is,” says Helmick. “We must give them the tools while incarcerated necessary to succeed in life. We must treat them like human beings and not animals or just another number. We must make sure that the divisions that handle these concerns are fully staffed and fully funded. Many people who are released from prison are no better than when they came in and sadly are sometimes worse. Then they are released from prison with jail clothes, no money, no identification, no social security card—all the things necessary to get a stable job and housing. Yet we expect them to succeed? It can be a vicious cycle, and we have a duty as fellow human beings to stop the cycle, which in turn provides for a better society to live in.”

The attorneys at The Defenders is led by Attorney K. Ryan Helmick, recipient of the National Trial Lawyers Top 40 Under 40, “10 Best Award in Client Satisfaction” by The American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys, and honored by Avvo with the Clients Choice Award. The Defenders are available 24/7 to start the process for clients who need advice from a criminal attorney. The Defenders serve Las Vegas and surrounding areas, including Henderson, North Las Vegas, and Clark County. For more information, call 702.333.3333 or visit thedefenders.net

Founded in 2016, E.T.E. was established to help improve the lives of those who may not have the resources to provide for themselves or their families. Autumn House, a division of E.T.E., works to provide housing for inmates who have been approved for parole but don’t have approved housing and remain in custody. Justice & Equality, an affiliate of E.T.E, advocates for the disenfranchised. For more information, visit empowermentnowlv.org. 

Las Vegas City Hall is located at 495 S. Main St. The rally will begin at 11 a.m. on the steps of City Hall on Wednesday, Aug. 19. For more information on the rally, visit empowermentnowlv.org.

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