During a Monday morning news conference Governor Dave Heineman and Attorney General Jon Bruning announced new legislation requiring inmates convicted of the most violent crimes to earn a reduction in a prison sentence rather than receive it automatically.

Instead of “good time” credit, Heineman and Bruning are offering the idea of “earned time” credit.

“It is time to eliminate automatic ‘good time’ credit for the most violent inmates,” said Heineman. “The safety of our citizens should be priority number one and that starts with violent criminals being required to earn any reduction in their sentence, rather than automatically receiving it.”

The legislation will be introduced during the 2014 Legislative Session by State Senator Scott Lautenbaugh of Omaha.

“The current ‘good time’ law has been in place for over two decades without serious change,” Lautenbaugh says. “Given the recent high profile criminal events in the past year, I believe Nebraskans want and expect the Legislature to change the current ‘good time’ law.” 

Under current law, inmates sentenced by the judicial system to serve terms with the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services automatically have their sentenced reduced by half for their term of incarceration.

The “earned time” proposal requires inmates convicted of the most violent crimes to earn a reduction in their sentence. The proposed legislation would apply to inmates who commit murder, manslaughter, first degree assault, kidnapping, sexual assault, robbery, escape, assault of an officer, assault by a confined person, use of a deadly weapon to commit a felony, and similar offenses committed after the bill would become law.