Report: 21 policy options to reform Nebraska’s criminal justice system | Crime and Courts | #College. | #Students

Six sites in Douglas, Lancaster and Dodge Counties are being looked at as possible locations for a new Nebraska state prison, the head of state’s prison system announced Friday afternoon.

A group of Nebraska public officials from across the criminal justice system Friday released the results of a months-long probe into the state’s overcrowded prison system.

The final report includes policy changes for state lawmakers to consider this legislative session. The effort, which was facilitated by the nonprofit Crime and Justice Institute and funded by the U.S. Bureau of Justice Assistance and the Pew Charitable Trusts, produced 21 policy options.

Group members agreed that the vast majority of the options were worth further consideration, but the final report also reveals specific changes that prompted disagreement.

“The options are responsive to the data findings, provide an avenue for Nebraska to avoid additional spending over the next decade, and establish the ability to invest a portion of what would have been spent on new prison beds on measures to strengthen public safety and address behavioral health issues across the state,” the report reads.

The Legislature is already teed up to debate the ideas.

Many senators attended a recent briefing where Len Engel, Crime and Justice Institute director of policy and campaigns, presented data findings, and lawmakers asked questions.

And Sen. Steve Lathrop of Omaha, who chairs the Judiciary Committee and co-chairs the working group that issued the report, introduced a bill this week he said included the items in the report — whether they had full agreement or not.

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