Nebraska pretrial system has a failing grade

Nebraska pretrial system has a failing grade

Kearney, Neb (KGFW) – No one likes to receive an “F” when they are going through school. At the state level that remains true. However, that is the place we find ourselves in concerning the Nebraska judicial system. Specifically the Pretrial justice system.

An organization called the Pretrial Justice Institute recently gave the State of Nebraska a failing grade calling our pre-trial system “unfair, unsafe, a waste of money and a major contributor to mass incarceration”

Chris Rodgers the chair of the institute and Douglas county commissioner says there is an odd practice going on:

“A lot of times in the past, this decision has been made solely on money instead of an objective decision to measure a person’s risk, so you can have dangerous people that have money get out, and people that don’t have money and a risk stay in”

Things are looking up, however. LB259, which was passed this year and goes into effect in 2019 will help those charged with nonviolent crimes to pay installments or trade payments for community service for their fines and bail. This bill hopes to avoid putting those people in jail, especially since they are considered not dangerous.

“Three days in jail can matter to somebody who’s really making it day to day, and one day off work can trigger a whole other amount of circumstances. And them sitting there because they can’t make bail instead of being a safety risk can trigger a whole lot of things”

The pre-trial system nationwide is in trouble. One third of all the states got a failing grade and the nation as a whole received a “D”

Rodgers says counties should not have to wait another two years to reform their pretrial practices. He says he’s been working with the Nebraska Supreme Court to see if they will join the Pretrial Justice Institute’s “3DaysCount” campaign.

More and more people on both a state and national level are looking into how their justice system is running. More and more the public is finding out that a failing grade has been normal in their communities. Now falls on state legislation to solve the problem