Under the bill, all inmates will be supervised for nine months following their release from prison, which should curb the recidivism rate. Those who violate parole on a technicality won't get sent back behind bars, which often happens now, but instead will go to an intermediate revocation facility that includes a treatment component. This will ease prison crowding and save money.
The bill also establishes a $40 million grant program for local law enforcement over the next decade, to help facilitate crime fighting initiatives. And it calls for mental health assessments for anyone convicted of a felony.
Steele estimates he got about 90 percent of what he had hoped for. Following on his bill last year that expanded the type of inmates eligible for community sentencing and GPS monitoring, he has started a long-overdue conversation in the Legislature about corrections that needs to continue in the years ahead.
Other common-sense bills approved lately include one that authorizes the sale of unneeded state properties. Another limits the sale of pseudoephedrine, which is found in cold and allergy medications but also is used to make methamphetamine. Another rejected pay raises for statewide elected officials and judges.
Sometimes, the men and women at NE 23 and Lincoln get it right.