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Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Nebraska Prison Overcrowding Reaches Emergency Capacity

From JournalStar.com:  All told, Nebraska prison cells are holding about 4,480 inmates, 40 percent more than they were designed to — a threshold lawmakers said could make the state legally vulnerable to charges prisoners face “cruel and unusual punishment.”

This concern motivated Nebraska lawmakers to pass a state law in 2003 that says when the 40 percent mark is reached, the governor may declare an emergency and order prisoners be released on parole to reduce capacity.

Gov. Dave Heineman’s response when learning prisons are at more than 140 percent of capacity: “The director (of the Department of Correctional Services), Robert Houston, advises me that the correctional institutions continue to operate safely … as a result, I have determined not to declare a correctional system overcrowding emergency.”

Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

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