No criminal charges will be filed against Corrections officials who miscalculated prison sentences, leading to the early release of hundreds of inmates even as the Attorney General believes Corrections has put the problem behind it.
Attorney General Jon Bruning found incompetence, but not criminal intent on the part of officials at the Department of Correctional Services. He says the investigation reviewed everything, including the findings of a special legislative committee, which Bruning says at times got badly diverted.
“I thought the whole subpoena of the governor was odd and unnecessary,” Bruning says. “Here in Nebraska, we can walk down the hall and talk to each other and try to solve these problems. I thought it was an unnecessary piece of theater.”
The Department of Correctional Services ignored two state Supreme Court rulings, releasing 200 inmates early and setting early release dates for 550 others. The governor’s office and Corrections officials reported 306 inmates were released prematurely by the department. Many inmates received credit for time served in the community without incident. No inmates remain at large.
The Omaha World Herald broke the story in a special investigative piece, which launched a number of investigations, including that of a special legislative committee which held numerous hearings at the Capitol.
The law firm Jackson Lewis did a review of the steps that led to the sentence miscalculations. Gov. Dave Heineman instructed the Nebraska State Patrol to investigate the possibility of criminal conduct. A new Corrections Director has vowed to clean up the mess.
Bruning believes it has been cleaned up.
“I think we’re basically there,” Bruning says. “Do I think there’s something else they might find? Boy, I hope not.”
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]