Nebraska’s issues with prison overcrowding continue as the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services released its latest budget request earlier this month. The prison system is seeking 195 new employees, a 15 percent increase in spending (to $239.9 million) and expansion of a program that houses state prison inmates in county jails. This is the latest update to a still incomplete prison-system master plan that would help ease overcrowding.
The first phase of the $16.5 expansion project at the Greene County Detention Center was officially completed and began accepting inmates last month, about five months after the jail held its official ribbon-cutting ceremony. Although the construction has been behind schedule, the facility was built under budget, according to project manager Dave Tierney.
The Stevenson Unit Chapel Fund Association intends to solicit donations and grants to help build a chapel for all faiths at the Clarence N. Stevenson Unit of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) in Cuero.
Utah recently became the 25th state to embark on a corrections and sentencing reform campaign aimed improving rehabilitation and reducing recidivism and prison construction. Governor Gary Herbert announced the state’s Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice (CCJJ) will continue work with The Pew Charitable Trusts to increase public safety and limit expected growth in the state’s prison budget.
Thanks to a group of Iowa State University landscape architecture students, and Assistant Professor of landscape architecture, Julie Stevens, Iowa Correctional Institute for Women (ICIW) staff members no longer have to take their work stress home.
The Arkansas Department of Corrections (ADC) recently experienced the highest one-year increase in inmate population, 17.7 percent, in the department’s history after introducing new parole enforcement guidelines meant to cut back on repeat violators, reported KUAR News. As such, ADC officials are considering new strategies for reentry programs and housing due to the inmate population increase.
St. Louis-based Parsons Brinckerhoff was recently awarded a contract to design a replacement facility for the Fulton State Mental Hospital, the first public mental institution west of the Mississippi River. Today, it houses the state’s only maximum-security psychiatric facility, the Biggs Forensic Center.
Hidalgo County Commissioners have approved schematic designs for a new multimillion-dollar courthouse that could be completed as early as 2020. Though the approval did not give the project an official green light, or provide funding, it will allow the design process to move forward.
The lack of specialized housing for inmates with severe mental illness in the soon to be completed Orleans Parish Prison (OPP) is the latest point of contention for the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office (OPSO) and the city’s mayor. Though the new 433,000-square foot prison will improve significantly on New Orleans’ hurricane-ravaged correctional facilities, it currently does not include a unit for inmates living with acute and sub-acute mental illness. This has prompted Sheriff Marlin Gusman to propose construction of another new correctional facility.