Hard Time: Come on Vacation, Leave on Probation

This episode of Hard Time takes you out West to Sin City. Las Vegas is known by the slogan “What Happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas.”  But ask anyone at the Clark County Detention Center (CCDC); Vegas’ main jail, and they’ll tell you it’s really “Come on Vacation, Leave on Probation.” In a city where vice and crime drive an ever churning system, Clark County Detention Center is a never-ending revolving door of repeat offenders, hardened criminals and often unlucky transplants pushing the legal limits of a good time who have now landed themselves in the tightly controlled world of jail. Survival here means figuring out how to serve time in a world where no one knows their fate and anything can happen. It’s here that first timers and hardened convicts alike realize there are consequences for their actions.

Every jail has a beginning, and in Vegas it all starts in booking and intake, the front door where fresh arrestees come through 24/7.  On any given day there are roughly 3,500 inmates awaiting their fate in the jail and nearly 80,000 people come through the booking room each year. From minor offenders to violent criminals, they all come through booking and it’s mixture that can be deadly if left unchecked. Tonight, inmates are getting riled up and with roughly 80 inmates in the holding cells and just 15 officers keeping the peace, the numbers are against them.  Officers fan out to the different tanks and lock it all down.

Brothers Joe and Zach McIver are in with two friends after a night that got out of hand. For throwing a hammer through the window of a department store, they’re facing felony charges. But what is worse for them, is having to break the news to their parents and eventually separating as they move deeper into the heart of the jail to await their trial and whatever unknown trouble life at CCDC may hold.

There are two main housing units for inmates with extended stays at CCDC. Split into two towers, the North side houses high security inmates, housed in individual cells while the South side holds low to medium security inmates, serving out their time in an open dorm. Life on the South side brings more freedom but it can also mean more trouble. In unit 2P, a fight erupts. The aggressor, Layzim Dawson, is a convict who lives by the code of the prisons—but there are strict rules at CCDC and for his attack he faces the jail’s disciplinary court and serves 20 days on lock down in the isolation unit.

In the holding tanks, first timer Hannah Uron is in on a DUI and possession of cocaine. She’s new to Vegas and still fresh from a night of partying as she describes the allure of the city and it’s temptations. But after hours of waiting in the tanks, she begins to break down just before her bondsman posts bail and to her relief she’s let back out into the city. Most are not so lucky.


Tune in to Hard Times: Come on Vacation, Stay on Probation tonight, August 28th at 9P et/pt.


  1. David giles
    February 23, 2013, 6:39 am

    Hannah would luv to chat 😉