State Sued For Prison System Issues

A lawsuit is filed against the Department of Corrections over mistreatment in Nebraska prison system

Nebraska prison system is at 159% capacity.

Photo by Maria Miller

Nebraska prison system is at 159% capacity.

Hope Stratman, Features Editor

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Aug. 16, 2017 — Just after midnight today the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a lawsuit against the Nebraska Deptartment of Corrections.

Nebraska’s state prisons have reached a record 159% capacity, nearly 20% past the limit in which the government can declare it to be in emergency state. Steps have been taken by state officials in the past to alleviate the overcrowding in the prison system, but these changes have not caused a significant decrease in numbers thus far, and overcrowding persists.

After months of threatening a lawsuit, the ACLU decided to sue the state, claiming that the “extreme” overcrowding in Nebraska’s prisons has lead to mistreatment toward inmates. The lawsuit calls for immediate action to improve the treatment of inmates and lessen the overcrowding.

The ACLU alleges that the mistreatment of inmates includes failing to provide for the basic needs of prisoners, such as adequate living space, suitable food, and sufficient health care. The suit is on the behalf of 11 inmates, selected from a pool of inmates with complaints, who claim to have gone without proper physical or mental care during their time in the prison system.

“The ACLU feels like the Department of Corrections isn’t moving fast enough in improving the prison system, so the ACLU sued to motivate the Department of Corrections to take steps more quickly,” Government and Politics teacher Mrs. Mary Meyer said. “Whether or not the ACLU is justified in suing is kind of an opinion question,” Meyer said.

Be sure to keep an eye and an ear open as the lawsuit and the reforms it calls for play out.

Hope Stratman - Features Editor

Hope became a member of The Flightline in August of 2016. She is a senior this year involved in activities including Speech and FBLA. Outside of school, she enjoys lists, photography, and naming inanimate objects. You can email her at [email protected]