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Governor Heineman and Attorney General Bruning Provide an Update on Department of Correctional Services

Press Release

Location: Lincoln, NE

Today, Gov. Dave Heineman and Attorney General Jon Bruning provided an update regarding the review of mandatory minimum sentences issued since 1995.

"The Department of Correctional Services, the Attorney General and I have had several conversations on the most judicious way to handle the early release of inmates from Nebraska's correctional system," said Gov. Heineman. "The State of Nebraska is pursuing a balanced legal strategy, thanks to the leadership of Attorney General Bruning and his legal team."

"We are moving forward with public safety at the forefront, including the safety of law enforcement officers," said Bruning. "We requested orders and arrest warrants for a number of inmates who were released erroneously in the counties where they were sentenced. Every judge presented with this request signed an order and issued an arrest warrant."

All mandatory minimum sentences imposed since 1995 have been reviewed on an individual case-by-case basis. This was necessary because the Legislature changed the law in 1995, so that good time does not apply until a mandatory minimum sentence has been served.

As of today, 567 current inmates had their sentence recalculated. None of these inmates were released early.

The Department of Correctional Services released 306 inmates early. Of the 306, 257 individuals have been back in his or her community longer than his or her recalculated release date. According to Anderson vs. Houston, 277 Neb. 907 (2009) any individual who was released early, and who has not committed a crime since their release is entitled to be credited with the time served in the community toward their release date. Therefore, these 257 individuals have completed their sentence requirement and will not be returned to incarceration. Three inmates are deceased, and five were discharged successfully from parole.

Of the remaining individuals, some are already in the custody of the Department of Correctional Services, some qualify for the re-entry furlough program one is in the process of being paroled, and 20-25 will be returned to the corrections system.

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