July 12, 2018

Ricketts Campaign Responds To Krist Attacks On Correctional Services

Lincoln, NE - The Nebraska Department of Correctional Services (NDCS) has made tremendous strides under Governor Ricketts' leadership. In response to Bob Krist's attacks on the Department, the Pete Ricketts for Governor campaign released the following statement from campaign Director of Communications Matthew Trail:

"Bob Krist’s campaign for governor is sputtering, so he continues his desperate attacks. The Nebraska Department of Correctional Services has made great strides under the Ricketts administration. Krist has no credibility on corrections issues when his own 2018 bills, LB 675 and LB 676, would free hundreds of unrehabilitated offenders into Nebraska communities today."

Working with the Legislature and the courts, the Ricketts administration has led a transformation of the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services.

* Governor Ricketts' budgets have called for more than $87 million in additional operating funds and over $111 million in new capital construction for Nebraska's prisons.

* Over the last four years, NDCS has expanded inmate programming to combat recidivism, including new programs like Defy Ventures and Thinking for a Change, a five-fold expansion of the Violence Reduction Program, and additional substance abuse treatment capacity.

* Governor Ricketts has allocated additional funds for NDCS employee retention initiatives, including compensation increases, the introduction of "supervisory sergeants," and retention bonuses.

* With the incorporation of new processes and technology, including automated sentence calculation and new parole and validated classification tools, NDCS is working to operate more efficiently.

Bob Krist has long been complimentary of the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services' progress under Governor Ricketts.

* "Krist suggests Corrections Director Scott Frakes is the right man for the job, but hasn’t been on the job long enough." (Charlie Brogan, "Cause Of Deadly Prison Riot Identified," KFOR

* "State Sen. Bob Krist of Omaha, who has been involved with the three-branch effort, said he thinks the governor is engaged and understands the importance of sticking to the plan to complete the reforms. Krist disagreed with those who say the governor needs to declare an emergency now, saying there is still time for the changes to reduce overcrowding. Krist also called the corrections director a valuable member of the steering committee that helps guide the work for the reform effort." (Joe Duggan, "Ricketts remains confident in Frakes and Nebraska’s prison reform plan," Omaha World Herald

* "Judiciary Committee Chair, Sen. Laura Ebke, joined with Bob Krist in expressing their confidence that Director Scott Frakes was on the right path towards reforming the Nebraska Department of Corrections. 'I still have faith that Director Frakes has set a course and he still needs, in his estimation and in mine, some time to make those changes, but time’s getting short,' Krist told the Nebraska Radio Network." (Brent Martin, "Latest incident at the Tecumseh prison shakes state lawmakers," Nebraska Radio Network

* "'We need a culture change here. He’s been part of a positive culture in another state,' said State Sen. Bob Krist of Omaha, a leading senator on corrections issues. 'I believe we got the right guy.'" (Martha Stoddard, "'We Need a Culture Change': Senator applauds Ricketts' pick to lead troubled Corrections Department," Omaha World Herald

Bob Krist's corrections policies would put offenders on Nebraska streets before they've completed the steps required for parole.

* In 2018, Krist introduced two bills, LB 675 and LB 676, which would mandate the release of more than 400 inmates denied parole and move the 140-percent capacity deadline from July 2020 to July 2018, forcing the immediate parole consideration of all eligible inmates this month, even those who have not completed mandatory rehabilitation programming.

* In a Judiciary Committee hearing, Krist himself acknowledged that his proposal was "almost insane."

* "About 60 percent of inmates who are parole eligible are serving time for a violent crime, Frakes said. Roughly half have previously served time behind bars, raising questions about whether they’ll reoffend, and one-third have previously had their parole revoked or rescinded." (Grant Schulte, "Some senators doubt Nebraska will meet prison overcrowding goal," Associated Press

Paid for by Pete Ricketts for Governor

Reach the writer at 402-473-7228 or jyoung@journalstar.com

On Twitter @LJSLegislature.

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