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      Legislature Approves Bill to Address Prison Overcrowding

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      A measure aimed at tackling prison overcrowding in Nebraska has been passed by the Legislature.

      Lawmakers gave final approval on Thursday to the bill.

      The bill lays out a plan to reduce the inmate population by providing more services to those behind bars and diverting nonviolent offenders from the Department of Corrections. The bill would have the state work on solutions with the Council of State Governments, a national organization that has worked with other states on prison reforms.

      Nebraska's state prisons are currently overcrowded and came in at 155 percent of capacity as of March 31.

      Lawmakers also gave final approval to a bill for a study to determine whether to build a facility in Hastings for mentally ill inmates. The facility would provide drug and alcohol treatment as well.

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