Overcrowded Prisons Request $5 Million

By: The Associated Press Email
By: The Associated Press Email

An effort to cut costs and ease prison overcrowding by paroling more Nebraska inmates is falling short, thanks to a surge of new inmates and offenders who are serving longer sentences.

Prison officials tell The Associated Press that the department is requesting $5.1 million from lawmakers to hire new staff and reopen a housing unit at the Omaha Correctional Center that closed last year.

The number of parolees has surged from nearly 850 in fiscal year 2010 to more than 1,300 in fiscal year 2012. But the number of new prisoners has grown as well and a Department of Correctional Services researcher says inmates are also serving longer sentences.

Omaha Sen. Brad Ashford says the increase is due to more incarcerated sex offenders and inmates sentenced for gun-related crimes.

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