Because of new legislation taking effect at the end of August, the Nebraska Department of Corrections Work Ethic Camp in McCook will be able to receive additional inmates.
Currently, the WEC accepts those sentenced to intensive supervised probation, and since 2007, inmates at correctional facilities who meet certain criteria.
Inmates who are eligible are those 10 months away from being paroled, excluding those convicted of a violent offense or sex offenders. Upon successful completion of the six-month program at WEC, which includes classes and road crew work, they are paroled.
Other eligible inmates are those who have violated conditions of their parole, and instead of being sent back to prison, can complete the WEC program.
Barbara Lewien, WEC warden, called this "a good fit" as many of the parole violations are drug- or alcohol-related that can be addressed in the short term residential treatment program offered at WEC.
Under LB247, passed by the Nebraska Legislature this year, the pool of inmates eligible for the WEC is widened, Lewien said. Those who are 18 months to two years away from parole will be allowed at the WEC, and upon successful completion of the program, released to a minimum-security community correctional center in Lincoln or Omaha, where they are able to participate in a work release program.
This allows more inmates to take advantage of the re-entry programs offered at the WEC, such as the welding and machine shop classes at the Center for Applied Science and Technology.
Other topics discussed Tuesday at the Community Involvement meeting included:
|* Workforce Development and the WEC are exploring what kind of training can be offered to the female offenders or inmates.|
* Population at the WEC dipped in July to 94, the first time the population has gone below 100 since November 2008. Lewien said the decrease is due to a large number of people admitted and discharged at the same time.
* Almost 300,000 road crew hours have been donated to communities since 2001. That's about $1.9 million in cost savings to community agencies, with the minimum wage figured at $6.55 per hour.