Nebraska will receive some help as it struggles with prison overcrowding.
The chairman of the legislature’s Judiciary Committee, Sen. Brad Ashford of Omaha, says the Council of State Governments will become a resource as Nebraska takes a hard look at who it locks up.
“We get it. We understand the system is broken and it’s really broken at the back end with people who are offenders, who have evidence of mental illness, who have violent behaviors,” Ashford tells Nebraska Radio Network affiliate KLIN. “We have to have a system in place to address those issues.”
Ashford says the council can help the legislature work through the questions that arise when tackling such a tough issue.
“How do we address re-entry effectively in the state so that we can increase public safety and reduce violence; reduce the prison population, generally, to avoid the necessity of building a new prison?”
Ashford says building a new prison is not the answer.
“We have to get to the underlying issues of the system itself, not just building new prisons. That’s just cosmetic in many ways and doesn’t address the underlying concerns and problems that we have in the system.”
Jane Monnich, KLIN, contributed to this story.