Bill Demands Plan To Release Hundreds of Overcrowded Prisoners

LINCOLN – State Sen. Dan Watermeier says the state Legislature’s Judiciary Committee has advanced a bill that would require a plan for the potential release of hundreds of prisoners due to an overcrowding emergency.

Current law says that, If the inmate population is over 144 percent of design capacity in 2020, a correctional system overcrowding emergency exists.

Watermeier: “This will require the Board of Parole to immediately consider committed offenders who are eligible for parole and order the release of such offenders, unless the board determines that the offender will not conform to the conditions of parole, will have a very significant affect on institutional discipline or has a very substantial risk of committing a violent act.”

The bill would require the Department of Correctional Services and state Board of Parole to develop a plan to implement accelerated parole while ensuring public safety.

Watermeier said amendments of the bill would also allow prisoners to leave a facility to participate in community-based substance abuse or rehabilitative programming or treatment. Inmates with a terminal illness could be granted medical parole.

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