Getting to the Heart of Crowded Nebraska Prisons

In Nebraska, as in many places, the prison system is getting crowded. Legislators are attempting to get to the heart of the matter and come up with solutions.

Some point to incidents by furloughed or discharged inmates that have drawn publicity as well as incorrect release dates that have done likewise. One Senator and the state Governor point to a law that allows a prisoner a parole hearing after one half of their minimum sentence is served. They say that inmates should need to earn time off, not be given it. Others maintain that to change this law accordingly would only increase the prison population, not reduce it.

Prisons were at 137% capacity in 2008. By July of 2013, it was at 151%. As of last month, the prison population is now at 157% capacity. This state of affairs is likely what led to the recent incidents with released prisoners.

Legislators enacted LB907 this year, a bill designed to increase the effectiveness of the “good-time law”. It provides programs to aid prisoners being released in entering society once more and seeks to help ensure lower rates of recidivism.