Nebraska

NEBRASKA INTRODUCES BILL TO LIMIT YOUTH SOLITARY (2018)

On January 5, 2018, Nebraska Senator Pansing-Brooks introduced legislation that would limit the use of isolation in all juvenile facilities. LB 870 would prohibit isolation as punishment. Under the bill, isolation, if used, must end as soon as the youth no longer poses a substantial and immediate risk of harm. The bill includes a three hour time limit on isolation and requires that youth in room confinement to have equal access to educational programming and family contact. Although LB 870 did not move forward in 2018, sponsors intend to reintroduce the bill in 2019.

NEBRASKA FACING FEDERAL LAWSUIT FOR SOLITARY & OTHER ABUSES (2017)

In August 2017, the ACLU of Nebraska, the ACLU National Prison Project, Nebraska Appleseed, the National Association of the Deaf, and several law firms sued the Nebraska Department of Corrections (NDOC), claiming that the NDOC subjects youth, adults, and those with disabilities to dangerous conditions. This includes putting children in extended isolation and five point restraints at the Nebraska Correctional Youth Facility (NCYF).

FIRST REPORT UNDER NEW LAW SHOWS SOLITARY STILL BEING USED (2017)

Nebraska LB 845 (2016) requires facilities to record and report data on the use of solitary. The first report from the Office Inspector General of Nebraska Child Welfare shows that isolation is still used at high rates.

NEBRASKA PASSES LAW REQUIRING DATA ON YOUTH SOLITARY (2016)

In January 2016, the ACLU of Nebraska’s report, “Growing Up Locked Down,” found that juveniles are kept in isolation for up to 90 days in some facilities, while other facilities don’t even know how often or how long juveniles are deprived of contact with other people.  In response to the report, Nebraska passed legislation that went into effect on July 21, 2016. The law requires all facilities that house youth to gather and report detailed data on all instances of room confinement that exceed one hour. Facilities must submit quarterly reports to the Legislature and the Inspector General of Child Welfare must review this data and prepare annual reports to the legislature.