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Nebraska committee urges for prison overcrowding preparation

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — The Legislature's special oversight committee on Nebraska's justice system has recommended that the state begin to plan for a prison overcrowding emergency that could lead to paroling a large number of inmates.

The Nebraska prison population will be considered overcrowded if it exceeds 140 percent of capacity on or after July 1, 2020, though the governor is authorized to declare an overcrowding emergency before that date.

The committee says the average daily population of the state's prison exceeded 155 percent as of Oct. 20. Prisons designed to hold about 3,400 inmates held an average of about 5,300 inmates this year.

State law requires the parole board to consider all parole-eligible inmates for release in an overcrowding emergency. Inmates who are a significant risk or appear to be unlikely to follow parole conditions wouldn't be considered.

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