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Monday, May 2, 2016

Lawmakers advance bill to expand WEC role

Friday, February 27, 2009

Population at the Nebraska Department of Corrections Work Ethic Camp in McCook could increase substantially, under a legislative bill that advanced out of committee last week.

Introduced by Sen. Mark Christensen, LB 274 allows the Director of Correctional Services to assign a felony offender to the WEC. Those convicted of a capital offense or sex offenders are not eligible.

Currently, only the Nebraska Board of Parole determines the placement of inmates, a time consuming process. LB 274 would speed up the process, which will help with prison overcrowding and allow inmates to take advantage of the short-term treatment programs available at the WEC.

Felony offenders are also being placed at the WEC under the direction of District Court judges.

Population at the WEC is currently at 116, with enough room for 200, said Kyle Clapp, WEC case unit manager.

Christensen said Thursday morning at the Government Affairs Legislative conference call at the McCook Area Chamber of Commerce that the bill was approved unanimously in committee and placed on General File.

Speaking in favor of the proposal was Bob Houston of the Nebraska Department of Corrections.

Another bill Christensen has introduced also advanced out of committee to General File and would allow work crews from the WEC to work under proper supervision at school districts, educational service units, community colleges, state colleges, and universities.

WEC work crews had been assisting at area schools until it was discovered that wording in a state statute prohibited it.

Speaking in favor were Weldon Sleight of the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture and Brent McMurtrey of ESU 15.

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The WEC better have an updated way to keep offenders inside of the fence. The past track record shows that some have escaped. Would this be a good thing if a felony offender escaped?? Or is the personnel guarding them not up to standard??

If the state wants to use the "stimulus" funds, let them remodel the WEC to a better security prison.

-- Posted by edbru on Fri, Feb 27, 2009, at 5:12 PM

The facility is not a secure prison. It is considered community a/b. You should do some investigating on CCCL, OCC, and other work release facilities before judging the standard of the staff supervising them at WEC. All WEC escapees have been "Offenders" Offenders are those that are assigned to the WEC by probation services - these are people that would otherwise be in the community while on probation anyhow, and they are definitely felons.

The "Felons" that you are referring to as those "Prisoners" from other state facilities that are sent to the WEC are those that have a clean track record while assigned to the Department of Corrections. They must meet a strict standard set by a test called an LSCMI. Which rates their strengths and weaknesses. Their assignment to WEC is certainly much more strict than that of the Judicial System. These individuals are up for parole within six months of being sent to the WEC, which would make the WEC seem to be a type of a re-entry program for them.

If a "Prisoner" escapes from the WEC he or she faces new felony charges, as well as an extended sentence...simply stated, they have much more to lose that those "Offenders" that just face a violation of probation.

-- Posted by cplcac on Sat, Feb 28, 2009, at 10:11 AM

This is true. But, they do escape and have escaped from that facility. How secure is it????

-- Posted by edbru on Sat, Feb 28, 2009, at 11:35 AM

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