“The only way the agency can go is better”

LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) – There is a new head of the Nevada Department of Corrections, who has been rehired as head of NDOC as Nevada’s prison system remains under intense scrutiny. The former director resigned after a high-profile escape from prison. On Monday, FOX5 sat down for a one-on-one interview with James Dzurenda about how he plans to turn things around.

Back in September, convicted murderer Porfirio Duarte-Herrera walked out of the South Desert Correctional Center near Indy Springs. It was several days before the Department of Corrections even knew he was gone. He was finally arrested about a week later while fleeing on a Las Vegas bus with an out-of-state ticket. In the end, NDOC chief Charles Daniels lost his job. Governor Lombardo has chosen a familiar face to replace him. Dzurenda, former director of the Nevada Department of Corrections from 2016 to 2019, has been reappointed.

“The only way the agency can go is better,” Dzurenda told FOX5. Durenda explained the escape of one inmate, placing a life-sized dummy in his bed and using battery acid to break out of his cell, something that should never have happened.

“First, it’s hard to believe, but second to me, they didn’t follow basic training… You’re trained on your first day as a correctional officer, when you’re looking for a living, breathing body. do your math,” Durenda said.

Even if the corrections officers’ training had failed, Dzurenda said, the prison itself should have prevented the escape, but fencing was a mistake.

“You’ve got a structure built into the side of a mountain, the water that goes down there is going to run under the bars,” Dzurenda said. Dzurenda said the issues are being addressed now so the escape never happens again.

“Now it’s just emphasis and retraining of employees. It’s just a piece, and it’s really about reviewing the procedures to relearn the basic training,” said Dzurenda.

After taking the job and analyzing what the department needs, Durenda sees the biggest issue as staffing.

“Rural facilities like Ely and Lovelock are 45 to 50 percent vacant right now…I don’t know how they’re going to run these facilities like they do, so my staffing is a big deal,” he said. Dzurenda. explained.

Dzurenda revealed that there is money to be made to hire and they are now starting a big recruiting push using private companies.

“What they’re going to do is they’re going to find those companies that are going out of business or going out of business, and they’re going to target those employees to try and attract them to come to Nevada,” Dzurenda said.

Dzurenda also wants to allow more people into prisons to work with families of criminals, volunteers and even successful ex-prisoners to prepare them to re-enter society, as 90 percent of the population will one day be released.

“If we don’t do it right, then when they go into the community, you’re going to see a lot of sacrifice, so what I’m doing has to work … I know how to get it out there. and I’ll get it there.” Durenda promised.

Dzurenda’s biggest goal is to bring Nevada prisons up to national accreditation standards.

Dzurenda is also behind a bill before the legislature that would bring tablets that are not connected to the Internet to all inmates to call guards for help, monitor mental health and even access the law library, something you already know. you will find in it. most prisons across America.

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