Dear Senator,

As a member of the Judiciary committee and being responsible for oversight of the Neb. Dept. of Correctional Services I wanted to bring 2 issues to your attention. First, NDCS is miscalculating their overcrowding, concealing the true severity of the crisis. Second, NDCS and the Parole Board have made no serious attempt to plan for the impending declaration of an overcrowding emergency.

The overcrowding in NDCS is currently cited at 155%. This number comes from the NDCS Quarterly Datasheet but it is grossly miscalculated. It combines the men’s, women’s, and youth facilities in one statistic even though beds in one are not fungible, or interchangeable, with beds in another. You can not take someone from an overcrowded men’s facility and put them in York. As the women’s and youth facilities are less crowded, they mask the true severity of the overcrowding in the men’s facilities. NDCS also completely removes all of the state inmates who are in the County Jail Program from their calculations, as if they don’t exist at all. The true level of overcrowding in the men’s facilities is 165%. All the supporting data and calculations for the true number are available at unlockthemind.com/forum/topic/is-ndcs-being-transparent-about-the-true-overcrowding-in-its-systems

Even with NDCS’s miscalculated number, Director Fraces admits that an overcrowding emergency will inevitably be declared next year. Unfortunately, neither NDCS nor the Parole Board have made even the most basic attempt to plan for it. For instance, once an emergency is declared the Parole Board is supposed to implement accelerated parole until the population reaches 125%. However, for as long as NDCS has been reporting the data, there have never been enough parole eligible men to bring the population in compliance with the statute. Neither NDCS nor the Parole Board have even considered if they could comply with the law let alone make a plan to. A full analysis of their failure to plan is at unlockthemind.com/forum/topic/ndcs-and-the-parole-board-have-no-plan-for-how-to-handle-an-overcrowding-emergency

Please consider these facts when you next have an oversight hearing for NDCS.

Thank you for your time and attention,