Bill to change to Good Time Law announced - News, Weather and Sports for Lincoln, NE;

Bill to change to Good Time Law announced

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Posted By: Camila Orti

Governor Dave Heineman supports another proposal to change the Good Time Law.

It's being referred to as the "Earned Time" Law, and it's one of several proposals dealing with this topic you'll hear about this legislative session.

"Violent criminals like Nikko Jenkins should have to earn their good time instead of automatically receiving it," Heineman said.

Alongside Atty. Gen. Jon Bruning and Omaha Sen. Scott Lautenbaugh, Heineman announced in a news conference Monday that he wants the most violent inmates, like those charged with murder, sexual assault and robbery to have to earn their reduction time, not automatically receive it as they do now.

"That needs to change, and it needs to change during this legislative session," Heineman said.

Sen. Lautenbaugh is sponsoring the proposal.

Bruning says the motivation is public safety, especially in light of the Nikko Jenkins case. Jenkins is accused of killing four Nebraskans just weeks after being released from prison.

"This measure is the next best step in our effort to protect Nebraskans," Bruning said.

The state's current "good time'' system generally gives inmates one day of credit for every day served, effectively cutting their sentences in half. If the proposed legislation passes, it would require inmates to follow an individualized program to earn sentence reduction, an idea that Sen. Ernie Chambers says won't work.

"To have individual accounting of each individual inmate's good time shows how lacking in connection to reality the governor and his ilk are, that will never work and it's not going to get through the legislature," Chambers said.

He added the proposal would worsen the state prisons' capacity problem, and would be costly.

The Nebraska Department of Correctional Services Director Mike Kenney issued this statement in support of the legislation:

"I fully support the move to requiring the state's most violent offenders to earn their good time as it is important for these offenders to take affirmative steps toward returning to the community."

Bruning mentioned 31 states already have similar "Earned Time" regulations.

Heineman says he'll talk about the proposal in more detail on Wednesday in his State of the State Address.

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