As of October 2018, Nebraska has averaged a prison population of 155% greater than its capacity. A significant factor that contributes to this overcrowding is high bond rates. Over half of inmates in county and city jails within Nebraska have not been convicted of the crime they were arrested for, and they don’t have the funds to post the required bond. Thus, they remain within these facilities taking up space regardless of the fact that they have not been proven guilty.
In 2016, Nebraska passed legislation that requires a criminal conviction to seize property, banning civil asset forfeiture. This law protects innocent parties from having their property seized.
In 2019, a mandatory minimum reform was introduced. If passed, this legislation would make inmates eligible for parole earlier and free space in prisons for violent offenders.
Nebraska has significant work to be done to change its criminal justice system. It needs to implement reforms such as establishing community-based programming for low-level offenders, eliminating cash bail, and providing free feminine hygiene products for incarcerated women, among other reforms. These types of reforms would decrease recidivism and incarceration rates, save prison beds for violent offenders, improve public safety, and save taxpayer dollars.
Identification of legislation should not be considered an endorsement of support of, or opposition to, such bills.