LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A new report says long prison sentences and mandatory minimums are major contributors to Nebraska’s chronic prison overcrowding, but lawmakers still disagree over how to fix the problem.
The report by the Crime and Justice Institute was requested by Nebraska lawmakers, Gov. Pete Ricketts and the courts to try to identify ways to reduce the state’s inmate population without compromising public safety.
The report says Nebraska’s prison population increased 21% over the last decade, likely because of tough-on-crime policies. The institute also says low-level, non-violent felony sentences are often imposed consecutively, resulting in longer prison terms. Sen. Suzanne Geist, of Lincoln, says she's concerned that the report could lead to policies that jeopardize public safety.