History of Legislation
LB 907 created a committee to research sentencing practices and prison reform.
LB 173 revises sentences for certain felony classes from mandatory minimum sentences to minimum sentences. It also exempts convictions for Class III and IV felonies (the lowest-level felony classes, for offenses such as low-level property offenses and drug possession; Class IV felonies carry the presumption of a probation sentence) from the “habitual criminal” enhancement (which carries a 10-year minimum sentence). The change from a mandatory minimum to a minimum sentence means that such sentences would be eligible for good-time credits and parole consideration.
LB 268 was proposed by a broad coalition of bipartisan supporters and successfully abolished the death penalty.
LB 605 addressed chronic prison overcrowding in the state prison system, including: raising property thresholds for several theft offenses to account for inflation and requiring that misdemeanor sentences be served in a county jail except when served concurrently with felony sentences. LB 605 revised sentencing procedures for certain low level felony offenses to authorize expanded use of probation and established options for responding to probation violations, including increments of 3-30 day jail sentences.
Nebraska Dept. of Correctional Services Budget: $158.2 million
State Expenses: $163.3 million
Avg Annual Cost per inmate: $35,950
State Population: 1.882 million people
State Incarceration Population: 5,372 people
You can do several things to work toward reforming your state’s sentencing laws – go to our get involved page to find out how.
March 8, 2017
Originally seen in US News Nebraska is a step closer to eliminating mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenders under a compromise bill advanced by the state Legislature. Senators voted 25-22 on Wednesday to advance an amended bill after it became clear a proposal to eliminate mandatory minimum penalties for a variety of low-level felonies did not… Read more »
March 8, 2017
Originally seen in York-News Times A handful of state senators implored their absent colleagues on Tuesday to participate in debate on a bill that would eliminate mandatory minimum penalties for some felonies and that they say could help fix the state’s prison overcrowding problem. Supporters of the bill sponsored by Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha… Read more »
March 7, 2017
Originally seen in Corrections One. LINCOLN, Neb. — Nebraska lawmakers have two options to lessen the impact of mandatory minimum sentences under a pair of bills presented to a legislative committee Wednesday. Mandatory minimum sentences remove incentives for inmates to behave and can endanger prison guards and other inmates, said Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha…. Read more »
March 7, 2017
Originally seen in ACLU Nebraska. Janet Vashon is a 46-year-old woman who was recently experiencing homelessness. These painful life circumstances prompted her to seek charity through panhandling to help her cover her most basic needs. While peacefully asking for help in Lincoln she was arrested, handcuffed, and jailed for this activity by Lincoln Police. Her… Read more »