State of Nebraska
BOARD OF PAROLE
Update on Parole Administration’s Transition to
Nebraska Board of Parole
July 1, 2017, marked the one year anniversary of the Division of Parole Supervision being placed under the Nebraska Board of Parole’s authority, Parole having historically been a program within the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services. This change was a result of the passage of LB 598 in 2015 and is attributed to the work of many, including the Council of State Governments, the Legislature, and Criminal Justice stakeholders across the state. LB 605 was also passed in 2015 which paved the way for major changes in Parole. Another bill, LB 1094, was passed in 2016 which clarified some of the language in LB 605, in particular the provisions relating to custodial sanctions.
As part of the transition, the new Mission and Vision Statement for the agency are as follows:
It is the mission of the Nebraska Board of Parole and the Division of Parole Supervision to continue its research, understanding and implementation of evidence-based approaches as it pertains to the release of clients who have appropriately been prepared for community supervision. The Board and the Division of Parole Supervision are dedicated to maintaining public safety, reducing recidivism and addressing the need of victims, while integrating clients into society through a balance of best practice supervision and treatment strategies.
The Nebraska Board of Parole and Division of Parole Supervision are committed to serving and protecting the public. The Board will strive to make informed and appropriate parole decisions by giving due consideration to and utilizing the resources of the Division of Parole Supervision, including innovative case management, for the successful re-entry of clients back into the community to become productive and responsible citizens.
Significant strides have been made in implementing provisions contained in the legislation during the first year under the Board’s authority, including changes required due to the transition to a new agency. These include:
- Implementation of the Strong-R, a risk and needs assessment tool, for offenders paroled by the Board which assesses risk of reoffending and criminogenic needs as well as a Quality Assurance process to ensure fidelity to the instrument;
- Implementation of Payport, a website feature which allows clients to pay programming fees online—the Division also assumed accountability regarding collection of fees;
- Development of new and existing policies into Protocols;
- Implementation of EPICS (Effective Practices in Community Supervision), a case management model that is based on effective intervention and use of core correctional practices;
- New Drug Testing Service/Process;
- Incentive/Sanctions Matrix and implementation of Behavior Management System (BMS) to track—the agency is in the process of contracting with counties regarding custodial sanctions with a target date of August 1, 2017, for implementation;
- Streamlined processes relating to placement investigations and travel permits and elimination of certain reports in which information was documented elsewhere;
- Programmer for Parole Information Management System (PIMS) which has allowed us to make needed changes within the system and to focus on data driven case management;
- Reorganization of Parole to meet the needs of the new agency;
- Town Hall meetings across the state to address pay issues and Parole Officer structure;
- New office location for the Lincoln Regional Parole Office and Parole Administration staff in Heritage Square, 421 South 9th Street Ste. 220, Box 25, Lincoln, NE 68508;
- In process of adding additional services statewide and meeting with providers; and
- Nearing finalization of Memorandum of Understanding between the agency and the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska to allow clients to parole there.
Development of the agency’s own training program, another provision of the legislation, has been a priority this past year, which includes preservice and inservice training for Parole staff. In addition to training that was conducted earlier this year on the EPICS model for case management, ongoing training is being provided on EPICS case management. There has also been training for Parole staff on Evidence-Based Practices in Community Supervision and Motivational Interviewing. The most recent training conducted for staff has been the new Behavior Management System to track response to non-compliance with conditions of supervision.
Parole staff successfully completed Certification Lean Six Sigma – White Belt, Governor Rickett’s Training Initiative. All State government employees were required to be White Belt certified by the first of the year. This training introduced State employees to this process improvement methodology. By the work that has been done and continues to be done, we are working toward a more effective, more efficient, more customer-focused way of doing business.
The transition from the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services to the Board could not be accomplished without staff from both agencies working together and therefore appreciation is extended to everyone who has been and continues to be involved in this process. Although much has been accomplished this past year, there is still much to do. As Julie Micek, LIMHP, Director of the Division of Parole Supervision, shared some months ago in a presentation of the 2017 Strategic Plan, with change comes endless possibilities.