- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 6, 2016

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - A new report says nearly half of all Nebraska prison inmates released in the last months of 2015 left without any parole or other supervision.

State Sen. Heath Mello, D-Omaha, and state Sen. Bob Krist, R-Omaha, called the statistic “unacceptable” and a threat to public safety Tuesday. They said officials with the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services and Nebraska Board of Parole need to further explain why about 47 percent of inmates left prison without parole supervision in the last quarter of 2015.

In response, Jeff Beaty of the Corrections Department and state parole board chairwoman Rosalyn Cotton also said they’re not happy with the figure. They said agency and parole changes should decrease the number of inmates who leave prison without supervision.

“We’re not satisfied where we are now,” said Beaty, the agency’s director of planning, research and accreditation. “Our goal is to get those numbers down.”

The report said that the Council of State Governments is working with the department and the board to reduce the number of these inmates and to review Nebraska’s prison rehabilitation programs.

Meanwhile, Krist said he is growing impatient. The senator called on the Corrections and the Board of Parole to quit studying problems and begin taking action to correct them.

“I don’t see a lot of changes going on,” Krist said.

More than 250 inmates were discharged from state prisons without supervision during the months of October, November and December, either by a parole officer or through supervised release.

Beaty said that more than half of those inmates weren’t eligible for parole either because they had been placed on parole previously but violated the conditions of the release or because their sentences didn’t allow it.

The Corrections Department report comes after Nebraska lawmakers passed a prison reform bill last year required the department to submit an annual report on the number of inmates who leave prison without going through parole or supervised release. The bill, which has the goal to better prepare inmates for re-entry into society and to reduce repeat crimes, took effect Aug. 30.

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