Nebraska’s prison population is more than 150% of capacity and State Sen. Brad Ashford of Omaha says lawmakers need to take a look at mandatory minimum sentences for certain violations and find alternatives to relieve the overcrowding.
Ashford says there will be hearings this fall to look at options for a “laundry list of offenses”. He says there would be no changes in sentencing for those convicted of violent or gun related crimes. He says non-violent offenders in prison for drug or alcohol related offenses would be better served through treatment programs.
Ashford says there is a program in Nebraska that deals with about 300 potential inmates that are rehabilitated by attending drug and alcohol programs successfully. He says expanding these types of programs is more cost effective than placing offenders in prison and the end result is much better as well.
A number of issues will be on the table when lawmakers hold hearings this fall. Senator Ashford says other issues that need addressing include the “good time rule”, furloughs and work release programs.