Lawmakers advance bill to address Nebraska's prison problems

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LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Lawmakers have advanced a package of bills designed to address Nebraska's overcrowded prison system.

The measures that advanced Thursday would look at ways to address the system's chronic understaffing, high recidivism rates and call for officials to prepare for an accelerated review process to handle an impending deadline to significantly reduce the prison population.

The Nebraska Department of Correctional Services reports that its prisons are filled to roughly 160 percent capacity. Lawmakers imposed a July 1, 2020, deadline to lower that total to 140 percent of capacity, and state officials will have to consider paroling all eligible inmates if the population does not decrease.

No one spoke in opposition to the measure, and it advanced 37-1 to the second of three required votes.