Lawmakers Debate Good Time Law ConcerningFurloughs

Leah Uko

LINCOLN (KPTM)- For months therehas been debate about reforming good time release and furlough rules forprisoners. Now, big names inOmaha are weighing in. They met at apublic hearing Wednesday in Lincoln.

"It gave him hope. That if he could change, he would be ableto have a life." Mary Waltermeyer married her husband when they found out hisparole date was set. The two met andfell in love when he illustrated her children's book. The thought oftaking away good time release Waltermeyer says is unbearable.

"It doesn't reward when you do well. There's something wrongwith that--that's not the way it was intended."

Omaha StateSenator Ernie Chambers wasted no time taking his stance on why all inmatesshould be granted good time early release if they earn it.

"And we talk about building another prison. The city is notgoing to come up with any money to do it. So I'm looking beyond."

That's because this would cost more than 2 million dollars.

"This is not about a pride of authorship. This is aboutrefining what you started with years ago that has good purpose," Omaha MayorJim Suttle said.

Suttle, along withOmaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer and others argued that making violentoffenders serve their entire sentences would reduce crime.

No immediateaction was taken on the bill, keeping Mary on edge about her and her husband'sfuture.

"They control their life. If they do good work, good thingswill happen. If they mess up they will pay for it. My children learned that."

After all of the talks finished what they all agreed on isthat this proposal needs revising before it can be deeply considered. And thismay or may not be before the Omaha mayoral election.