Nebraska Lawmakers Promise Reforms on Juvenile Justice System


LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) -- Lawmakers are promising a major push to reduce the number of incarcerated juveniles in Nebraska, and to make sure their cases are handled more consistently throughout the state.

Sens. Brad Ashford of Omaha and Amanda McGill of Lincoln highlighted a series of reform measures Friday that are set for hearings next week. Ashford says the bills seek to address what he describes as "culture of incarceration" in Nebraska.

A report released Wednesday by the Annie E. Casey Foundation found that Nebraska had the nation's third-highest juvenile incarceration rate in 2010. Nebraska was one of only six states where the rate has increased.

Ashford, McGill and other lawmakers have submitted bills that are intended to help treat more juveniles in community-based settings.