Governor Heineman Calls for Changes to "Good Time" Law

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Monday morning Governor Heineman made a case for why the "Good Time" law needs to be changed. Along side him were Senator Lautenbaugh and Attorney General Bruning.

"This is a critical component for the entire idea that we're going to make the prison system better," said Bruning.

As of now, the "Good Time" law automatically reduces every criminal's sentence by half. Due to bad behavior an inmate can lose some of that reduction.

Governor Heineman's new proposal would work in reverse. Inmates who commit what are considered violent crimes would keep their full sentence. With good behavior and positive participation in recovery programs, violent crime inmates could have time taken off of their sentence during month by month reviews. Non-violent criminals would still be kept in a similar "good time" program.

Bruning said that the new legislation, if passed, would effect roughly half of new inmates. The new law would not be retroactive. But as prisons are already over capacity, this could create new problems with prison populations and funding. Governor Heineman said those are problems they plan to discuss.

"All those issues will be discussed in the coming months. And I'll have more to say at the State of the State."

Senator Lautenbaugh said he expects there to be a few pieces of legislation to change the Good Time Law, but as far as support for a possible change?

"At least two or three proposals addressing this particular topic, I have no way of knowing where this will go in the greater legislature," said Lautenbaugh.

At least one senator, the author the original good time law, is expected to fight any changes.