Bill could force Nebraska to parole more inmates

By  | 

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) -- Nebraska could start paroling more inmates this year to relieve prison overcrowding under a bill lawmakers will consider in the 2018 session.

Sen. Bob Krist of Omaha introduced the bill Wednesday that would declare an overcrowding emergency if the state prison population is more than 140 percent of the system's design capacity on July 1.

Declaring an emergency would force the state parole board to immediately consider all inmates who are incarcerated but eligible for parole. Board members could still decide case by case whether to parole inmates.

Lawmakers have already established a 2020 deadline in state law for reducing the prison population to 140 percent or less, so the new proposal would force state officials to work faster. Nebraska's prisons currently hold roughly 5,229 inmates in facilities that were designed for 3,275, placing them at 160 percent of their total design capacity.