New bills seek to protect Nebraska workers from stabbings, mental illness

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) — New proposals aimed at protecting staff who come face-to-face with dangerous criminals every day will be discussed at the Nebraska State Capitol Friday.

Legislative Bill 265 would require protective vests and safety training for correctional officers moving forward.

Senator Tom Brewer introduced the measure to defend against stabbings.

According to Compassion Prison Project, the average life expectancy of a correctional officer in the United States is 59 years.  That’s about 18 years shorter than the national average.

The nonprofit says violence, stress, PTSD and lack of feeling safe all play into this.

Brewer’s bill would also allow Department of Health and Human Services employees to use justified force, to defend themselves or others.

A second proposal introduced by Senator Wendy DeBoer would require state correctional employees to complete mental health training.

They’d need to invest 10 hours under Legislative Bill 467.

Compassion Prison Project says creating an environment based on trust, collaboration and empowerment is key.

It adds doing so helps officers and inmates feel they’re being treated humanely.

Friday’s hearing is set to begin at 1:30 p.m.  The public is invited to comment in-person.

Just head to Room 1113 at that time.

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