Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts calls for ‘smart’ criminal justice reform in Legislature

Ricketts opposes four “soft on crime” measures that he says would endanger public safety.

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) — Governor Pete Ricketts is calling on the Nebraska Legislature to pass “smart” criminal justice reform bills.

The reforms would allow Nebraska to better manage the prison population and provide modern resources to prepare offenders for life after a prison sentence, Ricketts says.

In Ricketts’ weekly column, he talks about four “soft-on-crime” measures in the legislature. He says Senator Seve Lathrop, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, is holding reasonable policies “hostage” to promote the other four measures.

Ricketts says these four “soft on crime” measures would endanger public safety. The four measures include a policy that limits the use of consecutive sentences, two that would soften sentences for drug-related crimes and one that would end mandatory minimum sentences.

Last year, the Nebraska Criminal Justice Reinvestment Working Group gathered data from the justice system and made 17 recommendations to better protect public safety and manage the prison population, according to Ricketts.

The four soft-on-crime measures mentioned were not included in the 17 recommendations, says Ricketts. He believes that the four measures should be dropped altogether.

Instead, Ricketts says the legislature should focus on the 17 recommendations made by the group. They include measures to improve access to mental health care for those on parole or probation and to provide transitional housing for Nebraskanians recently released from prison.

“Now is the time for action, not antics, on public safety,” Ricketts writes.

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