Nebraska prisons are full.
Actually, Nebraska prisons are more than full. They are overcrowded.
Sen. Brad Ashford of Omaha, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, says his committee will be reviewing state policy to see if it can ease prison overcrowding.
He calls it a real problem.
“So, either we’re going to have to add some additional space, not necessarily build a prison, but there are some space requests made by Corrections and so that will have to be considered,” Ashford tells Nebraska Radio Network.
The governor’s office has been notified that the prison population has exceeded 140% of its stated capacity. The Nebraska Department of Corrections Services has requested additional space. The Appropriations Committee will be reviewing that request.
Meanwhile, Ashford says the Judiciary Committee will review the overall issue. The committee will be working with the Parole Board to determine if more inmates can be released, though Ashford says the Parole Board has been releasing “at a relatively frequent clip.” Since the prisons remain overcapacity that indicates something in the system isn’t working.
Two aspects will get the Judiciary Committees full attention. One is how the state handles drug and alcohol offenses. Two, is how judges use probation to keep offenders from going to prison in the first place.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:40]