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      Lawmakers Advance Prison Reform Bills

      With Nebraska's prisons at more than 150 percent of their capacity as of the end of February, lawmakers are considering bills to deal with those high numbers.

      On Wednesday lawmakers advanced a bill designed to address overcrowding in the state's prison system by increasing funding for vocational training, mental health and substance abuse services.

      Another bill advanced by lawmakers would allow for the study of a facility in Hastings designed to serve mentally ill inmates as well as to provide drug and alcohol treatment.

      Both bills face two more votes in the Legislature.

      Supporters of the proposed changes say providing more services to inmates can help reduce recidivism and lead to a drop in the state's prison population.

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