Governor Ricketts’ talks criminal justice reform, defends new vaccine plan
This event was previously live-streamed and has since ended.
LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) — Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts says he will be holding a different press conference this morning, focusing on criminal justice rather than COVID-19 in Nebraska. We’ll be streaming it live right here.
We’ll be posting live updates below. All times are Central.
Vaccination Priority Groups
The state of Nebraska has several priority groups outline in our vaccine distribution plan. However, recently Gov. Ricketts removed those underlying health conditions from the priority group.
Ricketts says we need to focus on the elderly as age is the “single biggest correlation” with a fatal COVID-19 diagnosis.
“We think this is going to be the most fast, fastest and effective way to be able to get the most people vaccinated especially can remember most of those folks who are over 65, they do have an underlying health condition,” said Ricketts.
When asked whether those with underlying health conditions will be prioritized in later phases, Ricketts says to “stay tuned.”
As for whether this change goes directly against the CDC’s recommendations, Ricketts says the State is focusing on Nebraska-based data reinforced by CDC and White House guidelines.
Criminal Justice Reform
Gov. Ricketts says they are looking to build a new penitentiary as the Nebraska State Penitentiary will be “reaching the end of its useful lifetime by the end of this decade.”
Ricketts says they are looking into criminal justice reform through a data-driven study.
“The three branches of government we working together on a justice reinvestment program. We’re working with the crime and justice center to make an application to the Department of Justice for a grant through the Bureau of Justice administration.”
These new facilities and reform are necessary due to overcrowding in Nebraska’s prison systems. It was asked whether legalizing recreational marijuana would be a better route to reduce prison populations, but Ricketts believes marijuana would “lead to more crime and risk to public safety.”