New data reveals trends in Nebraska prison overcrowding

Published: Oct. 20, 2021 at 6:18 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - The Nebraska prison system was designed for a capacity of 3,700 inmates, but currently holds more than 5,300. New data collected by a non-profit revealed more about who makes up the thousands of people in custody of the state.

The Criminal Justice Institute shared nearly 100 pages of presentation they plan to present to Nebraska lawmakers to help them solve the overcrowding crisis.

The numbers show, minority groups are over-represented in the criminal justice system.

According to the data, of the 5,322 inmates 57% are white, 22% are Black, 13% are Hispanic, 6% are Native American and 1% are Asian.

One in five inmates in the Nebraska criminal justice system are black, while one in 20 Nebraskans are Black. Only 6% of the prison population is Native American while 1% of Nebraskan’s are Native American.

The data also showed Native American admissions to prison have gone up 9% in the last 10 years while admissions for every other race are going down.

As for the crimes inmates are serving time for, the top offenses, which make up 24% of the prison population, are drug related including possession of a controlled substance, except marijuana and possession with intent to deliver.

Other top offenses are terroristic threats, possession of a deadly weapon and domestic assault.

The Criminal Justice Institute has also found that 60% of people admitted to an NDCS facility have never served time before.

Lawmakers will be using this data to form policy decisions in the upcoming legislative sessions.

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