BEATRICE – With a booming prison population, Nebraska’s District Probation Offices and Reporting Centers are undertaking program efforts to turn felony offenders into productive citizens.
Chief Southeast District Probation Officer, Jeremy Behrends says the ball got rolling with passage of LB 605 by the Legislature, and a presumption of probation for drug offenders.
:30 “reduce recividism”
Behrends feels LB 605 came about partly because of the recognition that probation can work in rehabilitating offenders.
Gage County Board member John Hill says some may minimize the effect of probation, but he says it can work.
:05 “does not fix the problem”
Martin Metschke has been the director of the Probation Reporting Center in Beatrice for the past year. Nebraska reporting centers were formed in 2005, but the Beatrice Center has been in operation for just a year-and-a-half.
:28 “post-release supervision”
One of the newest efforts at the reporting center in Beatrice involves behavioral therapy for offenders with chronic mental health needs.
:34 “people come in”
Metschke says another new effort is a trauma resolution group, which recognizes the level of stress and chronic conditions as a factor for involvement in crime.
Research has shown that persons with more traumatic events in their lives, tend to more often end up in the criminal justice system.
:24 “traumatic events”
So far, the four-week group sessions have involved two small groups of female offenders. But the reporting center will offer its’ first group of ten male offenders going through the program, beginning in early May. The costs of the program are covered by Nebraska State Probation.