GOP and Terry (HRC rating: 0%) Willie Horton-style ads (see below) are blaming Ashford for Jenkins' early "good time" release, but prison officials ignored several infractions by Jenkins when they decided to set him free. In fact, Nebraska's lame-duck GOP governor, Dave Heineman is currently embroiled in a huge scandal exposed by the Omaha World-Herald involving "miscalculations" in which the Nebraska Department of Corrections released hundreds of felons too early from Nebraska prisons, currently at about 156% of capacity.
The Omaha World-Herald has endorsed Brad Ashford and has excoriated ads supporting Terry (@LeeTerryNE) which have exploited Jenkin's killings:
- Ashford traveled the country to study successful juvenile justice programs and then did the heavy lifting last year to pass juvenile justice reforms. Those well-crafted reforms could do more than any good-time change to protect Nebraskans from a future Nikko Jenkins, who entered the child welfare and juvenile justice systems at an early age.
- Terry’s fellow Republicans are the majority in the officially nonpartisan Legislature and have been for a long time. Gov. Dave Heineman, who has held office for nearly 10 years, is a Republican. If the good-time law needed changing, why didn’t they act sooner? At best, this is a bipartisan failure.
- Heineman in 2014 did advocate requiring inmates to earn their extra time off with good behavior. However, in 2011, his Corrections Department supported a bill to award additional good time to cut criminals’ sentences faster and ease prison crowding. Heineman signed it into law.
- Jenkins, while imprisoned, begged for mental health help. He threatened to harm people when released. Prison administrators did little to try to keep from releasing him.