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Nebraska Department of Correctional Services Classification and Crowding Project Report

This report and research brief provide an examination of the causes and contributors of prison crowding in the State of Nebraska. Several recommendations are provided to the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services and the Nebraska State Legislature.

Published onFeb 01, 2024
Nebraska Department of Correctional Services Classification and Crowding Project Report
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Abstract

In response to growing concerns among stakeholders and policy makers regarding crowding in Nebraska correctional facilities, the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services (NDCS) partnered with the Nebraska Center for Justice Research (NCJR) to examine causes and solutions. The evaluation was meant to provide recommended changes needed to ease growth and help maintain safety within the facilities. Findings revealed a growing crowding issue in facilities, and that expanding bed space in existing facilities only provides a temporary relief and effectively increases the prison population over time. Further, as crowding persists, mixed custody housing units are used and contribute to higher rates of serious and violent misconducts. Finally, ‘short timers’ or those with less than a year to serve, receive little rehabilitative programming and may be a population in need of alternative housing. In light of these findings, NCJR recommends limiting new prison construction only as ‘infrastructure replacement’ and strategically moving lower risk short timers to be housed in jails/alternate locations.

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