LINCOLN, Neb. – The ACLU of Nebraska is in strong support of LB151, the Prosecutorial Transparency Act.
The bill would create uniform information transparency requirements for prosecutors’ offices around the state, including reporting of defendant demographics and how prosecutors process, charge and resolve criminal cases. For example, reporting would include whether a prosecutor offered diversion to a defendant or the rationale for when a prosecutor decides to dismiss a case.
The bill’s introduction follows new research showing continued significant racial disparities among incarcerated Nebraskans, figures that are even higher than racial disparities in arrest rates.
ACLU of Nebraska Government Liaison Spike Eickholt said the bill would fill a critical information gap by providing Nebraskans with a clear picture of prosecutors’ decisions and their impact.
“After a year of historic marches calling for accountability, transparency and justice, we’re grateful to see leaders working to address the disparate impact of our laws and policies on Nebraskans of color,” Eickholt said. “This bill would finally align our prosecutors’ offices with our state’s proud tradition of open government and ensure accountability to the people our prosecutors serve.”
Prosecutors are among the most powerful actors in the criminal legal system. The ACLU of Nebraska supports prosecutorial reform that prioritizes transparency, accountability and diversion to reduce our reliance on mass incarceration and protect people from the harms caused by involvement in the criminal legal system.