Nebraska lawmaker introduces prison reform plan

The Washington Times

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) – A Nebraska lawmaker has introduced a plan designed to reduce recidivism and ease overcrowding in the state prison system.

Sen. Brad Ashford of Omaha introduced a bill Wednesday that would encourage the use of supervised release for inmates. Judges would impose supervised release at their discretion, and the measure would expand the use of electronic ankle monitoring.

Ashford says no inmate should leave prison without a clear path to integrate back into society.

Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman told lawmakers in his State of the State speech that he’s open to working with lawmakers on prison reforms. Ashford’s bill would also reform “good time” credit for offenders who are segregated, allowing them to receive access to programming but not to “good time.”

“The public safety of our citizens should be priority No. 1 and that should start with violent criminals being required to earn ‘good time,’” Heineman said.

Ashford’s bill would also make it so that offenders whose actions lead to them being segregated would no longer receive “good time” credit, meaning they wouldn’t be earning time off of their sentences for good behavior.

Ashford’s bill would also create a Nebraska Center for Justice Research to reduce recidivism and increase public safety. The bill intends to appropriate $1 million per year to the center.

Ashford, who had a victory with a juvenile justice overhaul last year, is determined to see changes for the adult prison system as well.

“I can’t leave here without this being accomplished,” Ashford said.

The bill is LB907