Ricketts says replacing state pen should be just a start for Nebraska prison reform

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – Gov. Pete Ricketts said now is the time for prison reform in Nebraska.

With only two days until Gov.-elect Jim Pillen is sworn in, Channel 8 sat down with Ricketts on Tuesday to talk about his time in office.

He gave his thoughts on the state’s next steps to prison reform.

“We need to replace the Nebraska State Penitentiary,” Ricketts said. “The site of the facility is over 150 years old, and it was last renovated in the 1980s, so it’s long past its useful lifetime. We’ve seen that with broken pipes that have displaced over 100 inmates. That’s just not good living conditions.”

SEE ALSO: ‘One step at a time’: Ricketts awaits Pillen’s Senate decision

He said these things will be up to Pillen and the Nebraska Legislature to work on.

Ricketts said the funding for these projects is available; they just have to take the first step.

And he said it can’t stop there.

“There are more reforms we can do with regard to how we help people who have gone through the correctional system get rehabilitated and reintegrated back into society,” he said.

He said the state needs to make sure that people on parole and probation have the mental health, housing and drug rehabilitation help they need.

Ricketts said there is already a pilot program in place for these types of aid, and he hopes the evolution of the program will help former prisoners avoid landing back behind bars.

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