Cost saving measures for state prison system

Posted by: KLKN Newsroom

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) _ A consultant that worked with top Nebraska officials for more than a year says the state can avoid building a new prison with cheaper solutions while maintaining public safety.

The Council of State Governments Justice Center presented its final report to senators on Wednesday.

The report suggests spending $33 million over five years to expand probation, parole and community-based services and building a statewide database to reduce sentencing disparities in different parts of Nebraska.

Marc Pelka, the group’s program director, says that expense would alleviate the need for a new prison, projected to cost more than $261 million.

Nebraska’s prison system reached 159 percent of its design capacity last month, with 5,221 inmates. Sen. Les Seiler, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, says overcrowding needs to be addressed this year.