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Ricketts: Nebraska applying for prison reform study grant

Posted at 10:03 AM, Feb 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-19 13:30:13-05

LINCOLN, Neb. (KMTV) — Gov. Pete Ricketts held a press conference with updates on coronavirus response efforts in Nebraska and criminal justice reform issues currently facing the state.

Ricketts said the state is in the process of applying for a United States Justice Department grant that would provide funding for the Crime and Justice Institute to evaluate Nebraska crime data.

Upon breaking down the data, Ricketts said the state will be able to use it to make informed decisions that could help bring down incarceration rates, inform prison housing needs, inform legislative changes and give people on parole and probation the tools to succeed.

When asked if this would put the push for a new prison on hold, Ricketts said no. He said the state’s penitentiary is aging and needs to be replaced and the legislature has no time to waste. If put on hold, he believes overcrowding could become much more of a problem which could then impact public safety. He does believe the Criminal Justice Institute’s study could help inform the kind of housing provided by a new prison though.

Ricketts said the state’s look at prison reform would include members of all three branches of government as well as task force members from other areas of the state’s criminal justice system.

The application for the grant is expected be completed next week.

In regards to COVID-19 vaccinations, the governor said there has been some lag in supply delivery but those doses are expected by the end of the week. He also said the White House believes production could double as early as next week.

The state will continue to make people ages 65 and older a priority based on mortality rate data.

Watch his remarks below or on our Facebook page.

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