Gov. Dave Heineman accuses a special legislative committee of attempting to rewrite history in its report on the prison sentence miscalculation scandal.
The committee concluded in a report released Monday Gov. Heineman set the tone that led to the prison sentencing miscalculations, because he refused to consider building a new prison to relieve overcrowding.
Committee chairman Sen. Steve Lathrop, a Democrat from Omaha, asserted during a news conference pressure from Heineman to keep the prison population down and avoid building a new prison led to problems within Corrections.
Heineman, a Republican, points out work is underway to reform the state prison system.
“And then you’ve got the Lathrop report, which is really a partisan shot in my opinion,” Heineman tells Kevin Thomas, host of Drive Time Lincoln on Nebraska Radio Network affiliate KLIN. “He’s trying to rewrite history in the sense that he says, you know a report came out in 2006 (that) we ought to build a new prison.”
The 2006 study forecast the population in Nebraska prisons would exceed 140% of their designed capacity. It projected the need for more prison space.
Lathrop contended that by deciding not to consider prison construction, the governor placed pressure on state Corrections officials to push for controversial programs.
The senator claimed he didn’t see that report.
That’s not true, says Heineman, who says he shared the report with Judiciary Committee Chairman, Sen. Brad Ashford of Omaha, and made it available to members of the Unicameral.
“For Sen. Lathrop to say he never saw the report, that is totally inaccurate and he’s not being honest with everyone,” according to Heineman.
Heineman says no one in state government wanted to spend $260 million to build a new prison.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]