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Overcrowding in prisons concerning to civil rights group

Nebraska residents who are arrested for drug crimes or other offenses have no shortage of things about which to be concerned. One issue facing defendants is the potential that they may be put in a severely overcrowded jail where their basic rights may not be able to be fully met. That is precisely the problem that the American Civil Liberties Union of Nebraska is focused on addressing today.

The executive director of the state's ACLU is said to be considering filing a lawsuit in an effort to force jail reform throughout the state. Reports indicate that the number of people in Nebraska correctional facilities has been increasing and that increase started roughly 20 years ago. At that time, the state begin putting more people convicted of non-violent offenses or drug crimes in jail than it had before. Concerns indicate that without some change, state facilities could be at 140 percent of their intended capacity in just a few years.

The purpose of filing a lawsuit would be to reduce the crowding in jails or prisons. The problems associated with overcrowding extend far beyond just available cell space to available health care or other needed services in correctional facilities. The ACLU wants to see programs that work to help non-violent offenders stay out of jails and get appropriate reformative and eduational help.

Whether or not the ACLU proceeds with a lawsuit or is even successful if it does remains to be seen. In the meantime, however, Nebraska defendants facing criminal charges may want to talk with an attorney to understand their rights.

Source: Lincoln Journal Star, "ACLU of Nebraska at 50 eyes prison lawsuit," Don Walton, Aug. 29, 2016

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