Chairperson Sen. Lathrop and Judiciary Committee Board Members
District #12, Room 1103 State Capitol
PO Box 94604
Lincoln, NE 68509

February 18, 2020 

RE: LB1004

Dear Senator Lathrop and Judiciary Committee Board Members,

My name is Jasmine L. Harris. I am the Director of Public Policy & Advocacy for RISE. We are a non-profit that works with people who are currently and formerly incarcerated. We run a six-month program that focuses on employment readiness, character development and entrepreneurship. We serve people incarcerated at seven of the Nebraska Correctional Facilities with this program and offer reentry case management services as people return home. 

RISE would like to be on record in support of LB1004 and ask that committee members vote to advance this bill to general file. As we all know, the Nebraska Department of Corrections is facing an overcrowding crisis. LB1004 provides for a solution that will extend parole to individuals that may not have been eligible before. Because we see first hand the impacts of incarceration on people, RISE supports this legislation to offer an alternative for people to complete their sentences under supervision in the community where they can rebuild their lives, families and careers. 

Building new prison facilities is costly and detrimental and will not solve the problems that we face in our criminal justice system. Parole alone is not the answer, but combining this effort with innovative processes like allowing low-risk level parolees to check in remotely may not only help decrease the workload of parole officers, but it will help relieve the hyper-vigilance that we have over people who have learned from their choices and choose to live everyday better than what they did before.  This hyper-vigilance results in dictating a person’s every step that will eventually trip them up and cause them to violate parole on technical violations and not a serious new offense; therefore contributing to high recidivism rates. 

Let’s create smart reforms that will help decrease our prison population. Please, vote LB1004 to general file. 

Jasmine L. Harris, MPH, CHES
Director of Public Policy & Advocacy, RISE