OMAHA, NE – An Omaha City Council vote could pave the way for a violent offender registry. The council added that to its new legislative agenda Tuesday. The resolution would ask lawmakers to introduce a bill allowing police to track violent offenders up to six months after they are released from prison.
“We know where their addresses are, keep them in touch with probation officers so they are less likely to reoffend,” Omaha Lobbyist Jack Cheloha said.
In August, just days after his release from prison, authorities say convicted felon Nikko Jenkins and his family members went on a violent murder spree in Omaha, killing four people, including Omaha mother, Andrea Kruger.
“Absolutely I think that's one of the reason, and the reasons why the city has taken these steps today,” Cheloha said.
Another resolution passed would add support for a bill aiming to keep prison inmates convicted of violent crimes from automatically getting “good time” for early release. Cheloha said it puts safety issues at the forefront of the city council’s legislative priorities.
“When a policy is changed, they're directly impacted--their families, their kids, congregations, people in church, neighborhoods, even family members,” said Willie Barney with Omaha 360 who hosted its own prison reform summit Tuesday.
A full room of community players talked through the issues and ideas to solve prison overcrowding, incarceration, and the state’s “good time” laws.
“If it’s been something that's been proven to be successful in other communities we really need to take a close look at it,” Barney said.
The group plans to make their own push to legislators in January. The changes could lay groundwork for law enforcement and community organizations who point offenders toward the right path.
“If we don’t' have jobs, if we don't have housing, if we don't have support services, we're going to have issues,” Barney said.