FAQs

FAQs

Q: What happens after sentencing?

Q: What happens after sentencing?
Q: What happens after sentencing?

Once an individual has been sentenced to the Department of Correctional Services, they are sent to either the Reception and Treatment Center or the Nebraska Correctional Center for Women. They will then be assigned an institutional number and will be fingerprinted, photographed, and given medical and dental examinations.

During the initial evaluation period, staff put together a Classification Study for each individual. Classification is a systematic process of identifying an individual's characteristics, history and needs. It then matches them with the appropriate custody level, supervision requirements and programming recommendations. That process is used to determine which correctional institution they are assigned to. The individual's institutional placement will most likely change several times during their sentence as he/she demonstrates progress and nears release.

NDCS policies provide for classification reviews at least once a year for each individual. Reviews will also be held if the person receives a promotion or demotion in custody level, a change in program or work assignment, or a transfer to another correctional facility. A review held after the individual's initial classification is called a "reclassification."  These reviews may result in a change in custody, assignment or facility,

Q: How are incarcerated individuals determined eligible for work/education release?

Q: How are incarcerated individuals determined eligible for work/education release?
Q: How are incarcerated individuals determined eligible for work/education release?

In general, incarcerated individuals who meet the following criteria may submit an application to be transferred one of the two community corrections centers for work release or education release.

  • Be within 18 months of their tentative release date
  • Be within 18 months of their set parole hearing
  • Have a medical examination within the past six months
  • Have demonstrated a level of responsibility that provides reasonable assurance that they will comply with the policies, rules and regulations of community corrections; including consideration of their:
    • Institutional adjustment
    • Discipline record

Incarcerated individuals at community corrections centers eventually are eligible to apply for passes where they can be at a pre-approved location(s) for a set amount of time with a pre-approved, detailed itinerary. Over time, these passes can increase in length, where the incarcerated individual may have 24 hour passes or longer. For passes that are 24-hours or longer, victims registered with NDCS Victim/Witness Notification Program will receive notice.  They will also receive notice when the incarcerated individual is first transferred to the community correctional center. 

For more questions, concerns and safety planning, contact Sarah Balcom, NDCS Victim Services Coordinator at 402-219-3591 or sarah.balcom@nebraska.gov

Q: What is good time?

Q: What is good time?
Q: What is good time?

Nebraska has six different laws that provide oversight and direction on the release of every individual incarcerated within NDCS. “Good Time” laws begin to be applied at the beginning of an individual's sentence. There are two types of good time: restorable (can earn it back) and non-restorable (cannot earn it back).  There are different situations where an individual may lose good time as a consequence to that behavior or actions.

As an individual earns good time, their tentative release date (TRD) will move forward. If the offender loses good time, their TRD will move further out.

Q: What are my rights in the parole process?

Q: What are my rights in the parole process?
Q: What are my rights in the parole process?

As the crime victim of the incarcerated individual, you have the right:

  • To be notified of the individual’s parole hearing date
  • To be present at the individual’s parole hearing
  • To provide testimony, in person and/or written, opposing the parole
  • To be notified of parole hearing result

NDCS SERVES Team is able to assist victims in preparing for an upcoming parole hearing. For most victims, this is an extremely difficult process and the team will be here to help each victim through it.  Here are a few ways that the SERVES Team can assist victims with parole hearings:

  • Explain what to expect at a parole hearing
  • Provide explanations of how to prepare your testimony for the parole hearing
  • Talk through requests you can ask of the parole board for consideration
  • Remain with you for the duration of the parole hearing
  • Explain what took place during the parole hearing
  • Create a safety plan with you if the individual is granted parole
  • Connect you with resources including the parole services victim advocate, if the incarcerated individual is paroled

When an incarcerated individual has a Parole Eligibility Date (PED), it is not a guarantee that they will be granted a parole hearing by the Board of Parole.  If the Parole Board sets an individual for a parole hearing, it is also not a guarantee that the they will be paroled.

If you need to register with NDCS Victim/Witness Notification Program so that you can receive notices and updates, click here

Please contact Sarah Balcom, NDCS Victim Services Coordinator, for assistance with parole hearings, at 402-219-3591 or sarah.balcom@nebraska.gov

Q: What is the process to obtain restitution?

Q: What is the process to obtain restitution?
Q: What is the process to obtain restitution?

Restitution can only be collected by the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services with a court order from the judge. 

Q. Restitution was ordered by the court, but my perpetrator was sentenced to prison. What happens now?

A. The Court of the county where restitution was ordered will submit that order to NDCS. NDCS will then work with the incarcerated individual to collect restitution.

Q. How is restitution collected?

A. For those individuals who are ordered to pay restitution, NDCS will collect the funds as provided in the order and the Nebraska Administrative Code. Restitution will be deducted from accounts after child support payments have been paid, but before other payments and fees are deducted. If a specific amount is not indicated in the order, NDCS will collect 20% of all wages or other compensation received for employment deposited in the incarcerated individual’s institutional account.

Q. How much money will I receive?

A. Monies you received will depend on the income of the incarcerated individual and whether or not the incarcerated individual has the ability or opportunity to work. Income varies greatly from incarcerated individual to incarcerated individual and can include income from institution work (minimum pay $1.21/day) and work in the community through work release while at Community Corrections Center. NDCS will determine on a regular basis if funds are available to be collected. However, no restitution will be collected if by doing so the balance in an incarcerated individual’s institutional account would fall below $10.

Q. Who will be sending the money?

A. All restitution funds collected by NDCS will be sent to the District Court Clerk for of the Court that issued the original restitution court order. The District Court Clerk will distribute the funds to the victim through a check. Once all restitution has been paid, the District Court Clerk will notify NDCS to stop collecting restitution from that incarcerated individual. In order to ensure you receive any restitution, always make sure the District Court Clerk has your updated contact information. The contact information for the District Court Clerks can be found here.

Q. When will I receive the money?

A. Each county has a different policy. However, the recommendation given to the District Court Clerks is for restitution to be sent on a monthly basis and only when the monthly amount to be paid is at a minimum $10.

Q. Will I get restitution if the criminal case is being appealed?

A. Current state statute and recent case law support the District Court holding all funds paid by the defendant until the appeal process is complete. This is because if the criminal conviction is reversed by an appeals court, the State is obliged to refund all fees, court costs, and restitution paid to the State by the defendant. The length of time for an appeal depends on the complexity of the criminal case, but the approximate time for them to be finalized is within 6-12 months.

Q. Who do I contact if I have any questions about restitution collection by NDCS?

A. If you do not know the case number or the county where the original order was issued, then you may contact Sarah Balcom, NDCS Staff Advocacy & Victim Services Coordinator by email at sarah.balcom@nebraska.gov or by phone at 402-219-3519. Sarah can help you locate the case number and county where the order was issued, but will not be able to answer specific questions about how much money you will receive or when you can expect to receive it.

If you know the case number and the county where the original order was issued, then you may contact the District Court Clerk from that county. Also always make sure the District Court Clerk has your updated contact information. The contact information for the District Court Clerks https://supremecourt.nebraska.gov/courts/district-court/court-contacts 

Q: What should I do if I am receiving unwanted contact from the offender?

Q: What should I do if I am receiving unwanted contact from the offender?
Q: What should I do if I am receiving unwanted contact from the offender?

NDCS is committed to keeping people safe, including victims of crime.  If you are receiving unwanted calls, emails or letters from your offender, please contact Sarah Balcom, NDCS Staff Advocacy & Victim Services Coordinator, by email at sarah.balcom@nebraska.gov or by phone at 402-219-3591.

Q: Can I tour the facility where the incarcerated individual is located?

Q: Can I tour the facility where the incarcerated individual is located?
Q: Can I tour the facility where the incarcerated individual is located?

For some victims and survivors, seeing firsthand where individuals are incarcerated helps them to understand what "time in prison" is really like. Consistent with security needs, the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services will arrange tours of our correctional facilities upon request. Please contact Sarah Balcom, NDCS Staff Advocacy & Victim Services Coordinator, by email at sarah.balcom@nebraska.gov or by phone at 402-219-3591 to arrange a tour.