At what cost?

I have been following the Judiciary Committee’s advancement of LB 999 introduced by Sen. Brad Ashford of Omaha as well as it being supported by Sen. Les Seiler of Hastings.

If passed, the bill would study the cost of renovating Hastings Regional Center Building 7 into a modern treatment facility for up to 250 incarcerated inmates with mental health issues as well as drug and alcohol problems to reduce the recidivism rate in the release of inmates in Nebraska.

I’m all for the use of abandoned buildings on the state-owned regional center facility; however, my concern is this:

When the regional center was running as a facility for patients with the same issues the state was unable to keep it operational for a variety of reasons as well as not being adequately able to handle the release of patients into the community due to limited resources.

If we are going to study the cost of renovating Building 7 to house that number of inmates, do we also need to look into the options available now as well as the cost of implementing more resources available to inmates when they are released?

I realize this would stimulate population as well as job growth in Hastings, which is always a positive, but I think we as Hastings citizens need to look at this opportunity full spectrum, not just with the positive attributes.

Are we prepared to house this type of inmate here and do we really want to sacrifice the safety of our families so they can modernize an abandoned state property that the state previously could not keep open and at what cost to our community?

Vickie L. Wood

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