NDCS Provides Summary on Testimony Provided in Legislative Hearings Today

NDCS Provides Summary on Testimony Provided in Legislative Hearings Today


CONTACT Dawn-Renee Smith, Communications Director

OFFICE 402-479-5713 | dawnrenee.smith@nebraska.gov

January 17, 2018 (Lincoln, Neb.) – Today, Director Scott R. Frakes testified on several legislative bills in front of the Judiciary Committee. The bills mainly concerned the early release of incarcerated individuals in various manners, including medical care, access to community resources and accelerated parole.

A summary of the agency’s position on each bill is listed below. Full testimony on each bill can be found here.

LB672 – Provide for medical release for committed offenders

Agency Position: OPPOSE

  • Current statute already allows for medical parole, which is granted by the Parole Board
  • Parole power exclusively vested in Parole Board
  • Pardons Board has the authority to pardon if an inmate is not parole eligible
  • This proposal would unconstitutionally invest the power to parole in the NDCS Director

LB675 – Change provisions relating to correctional overcrowding emergencies

Agency position: OPPOSE

  • LB605 (2015) designed 2020 as a deadline to allow justice reinvestment to take effect
  • All three branches have been making steady progress with thoughtful investments by adding capacity to our prisons
  • The Parole Board travels to nine correctional facilities every day of the week to conduct parole reviews and hearings
  • Releasing individuals on parole simply because of capacity does not serve public safety
  • Understanding the parole eligible population:
    • Sixty percent are serving a sentence for a violent crime
    • About one half have served prior sentences with NDCS
    • About one third have had their parole revoked or rescinded

LB676 – Allow certain committed persons to participate in substance abuse or rehabilitative treatment, seek residency or employment, and participate in structured programming

Agency Position: NEUTRAL

  • NDCS already has the authority to release inmates for these reasons, subject to approval by Parole Board
  • Proposals that prescribe parole decisions take public safety decisions out of the hands of the parole board
  • Implementation of post-release supervision has reduced the number of low-level, non-violent crimes incarcerated in NDCS facilities
  • Remaining parole eligible population is higher risk (IIA, II, I)

LB692 – Provide for a staffing analysis of the Department of Correctional Services

Agency Position: OPPOSE

  • NDCS developed a protective services staffing model in 2016
  • This analysis was utilized to make requests for additional staff
  • NDCS is currently reviewing medical and behavioral health staffing
  • Any requests will be submitted in the next biennial budget request