STOP THE NEW PRISON CAMPAIGN

 

The Issue: When the Unicameral convenes in January, our state senators will

decide whether to spend $230 million to construct a new prison.

              

History:  Nebraska’s prison system has been at 140% of capacity for more than decade,

making it the second-most overcrowded prison system in the country. For more

information about incarceration trends in Nebraska:

https://www.vera.org/downloads/pdfdownloads/state-incarceration-trends-nebraska.pdf

 

Why the Side With Love Social Justice Team supports criminal justice reform, as an alternative to building a new prison:

 

1.   Building a new prison doesn’t address the significant racial disparity in incarcerations. African Americans make up approximately 5% of Nebraska's population, but disproportionately 28% of the incarcerated population.  (Source: The University of Nebraska at Omaha’s Center for Public Affairs Research)

2.   U.S. violent and property crime rates have plunged since the 1990’s, and in most states, incarceration numbers and rates are declining. Based on the 2020 census data, Nebraska is one of only four states with an increase in its incarceration rate over the past decade. (Source: The Marshall Project).

3.   Recent polling shows 80% of Nebraskans agree we are wasting too much money on locking up people who should be receiving mental health treatment and addictions services.

4.   In red and blue states and at the federal level, bipartisan criminal justice reform solutions have worked! These approaches all share a  focus on better outcomes through a combination of alternatives to mass incarceration: diversion, programming, reentry  and sensible sentencing reform have worked!  These approaches address the significant racial disparities in our prison system.

 

How YOU can support the Stop The New Prison Campaign:

We want to ensure our tax dollars are invested in smart criminal justice reform, not a new prison. It is important we contact our state senators and the members of the Unicameral’s Appropriations Committee to make our views known before the committee votes to appropriate $230 million for a new prison and sends the budget to the full legislature for debate.

 

1.      Call or write a note or postcard or email to your state legislator to register your opposition to the construction of a new prison and ask what they’re doing to support smart criminal justice reform.  To find who your senator is now since redistricting, go to:  https://nebraskalegislature.gov/senators/senator_find.php

2.      Contact the senators on the Appropriations Committee (Senators Stinner, Wishart, Clements, Dorn, Erdman, Hilkemann, Kolternam, McDonnell and Vargas) and encourage them to oppose construction of a new prison and support smart criminal justice reform.  Lookup here for contact information for all Nebraska State Senators’: https://nebraskalegislature.gov/senators/senator_list.php

3.      Let fellow Nebraskans know you oppose construction of a new prison and encourage their support for the Stop the New Prison Campaign.  One of the best ways to inform people and garner support is to email or call your friends and ask them to contact 3 of their friends.

 

How you can learn more about the Stop The New Prison Campaign:

1.      Go to: https://www.aclunebraska.org/en/stop-new-prison-plan#learn

2.      Go the transcript of the Appropriations Hearing 2/18/2021 on LB 383, pgs 88-139: https://www.nebraskalegislature.gov/FloorDocs/107/PDF/Transcripts/Appropriations/2021-02-18.pdf

3.      Go to League of Women Voters website: https://lwvnebraska.org/previously-blocked-prison-data-presentations-released-by-judicial-branch/

4. Read the Nebraska ACLU’s new report “Nebraska’s Statehouse-to-Prison Pipeline: Reviewing 5 Years of Criminal Justice Legislation in Nebraska" https://www.aclunebraska.org/sites/default/files/statehouse_to_prison_report_final.pdf

Others supporting the Stop The New Prison Campaign: Nebraska ACLU, League of Women Voters of Nebraska, Nebraskans for Prison Reform, Heartland Family Services, Black Leaders Movement, Reentry Alliance of Nebraska, Nebraska Appleseed, RISE, Black and Pink, among others

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