LINCOLN, Neb. -- Top officials from all three branches of Nebraska government will look at ways to reduce prison crowding and costs, while maintaining public safety.
Nebraska officials and the Council of State Governments began a formal review Wednesday of the prison system. The study will examine alternatives to incarceration, such as probation and drug courts.
Lawmakers this year established a 19-member working group to look for solutions, led by Gov. Dave Heineman, Speaker of the Legislature Greg Adams and Nebraska Supreme Court Chief Justice Michael Heavican.
“We are looking for innovative and sensible solutions to our prison challenges,” said Gov. Heineman. “I’m pleased that we are beginning the work of this important project. I am hopeful that we can develop cost effective policies that will create a responsible long-term prison strategy and increase public safety.”
Group members will look at what other states have done recently to reduce their prison populations. Nebraska's prisons housed 5,175 people as of May 31, placing the system at 158 percent of its operating capacity.