Today, the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services (NDCS) provided the Legislature with an update on the progress of the Capital Facilities Master Plan (Master Plan), which is still being developed and is currently in draft form as it is expected to be completed this summer.
Today, the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services (NDCS) provided the Legislature with an update on the progress of the Capital Facilities Master Plan (Master Plan), which is still being developed and is currently in draft form as it is expected to be completed this summer. The Master Plan study was funded by the Legislature in 2013 to look at possible long-term solutions to NDCS capacity. The update on the draft Master Plan was provided in response to inquiries from Legislators and media regarding the timing of the process and the fact that it won’t be complete until after the current session ends.
State law requires a capital facilities plan be prepared prior to submitting a capital construction project. NDCS is not suggesting construction is the only option, or even the best option. We have a responsibility to plan for future needs. The original timeline from 2013 indicated the Master Plan would be ready to provide options to the Governor and other lawmakers in advance of the upcoming biennium budget submission.
The Master Plan will project future prison admissions, custody levels and lengths of stay, among other things, and compare them to Nebraska’s existing correctional facilities to determine the best way to address capacity issues. The proposed Program Statements listed in the update are in line with the potential solutions listed in the original request (Need Statement) to the Legislature.
The proposed Program Statements are additions to existing facilities and seek to expand capacity and infrastructure at those facilities. It is premature to estimate the cost of these additions at this time, as the Program Statements will identify specifications and projected costs. Any estimates at this time would be speculation.
While the Master Plan process has received significant attention, NDCS continues to work with other stakeholders to examine other criminal justice reforms which will reduce the need for prison expansion. NDCS looks forward to working with the Council of State Governments to explore ways to impact the prison population and the criminal justice system. Master Plan recommendations will be considered in conjunction with any from the anticipated study by the Council of State Governments.