Q: Is this about being soft on crime?
A: No. We firmly believe we need prisons. We believe that people need to be held accountable for their actions. Preparing individuals for their moral, ethical, and legal release is not being soft on crime. This preparation is a very practical way of being fiscally responsible for taxpayer dollars, since recidivism rates are reduced when inmates are prepared for their release.
Q: Why should I be concerned whether or not convicts stay out of prison when they are released?
A: If for nothing else, the savings of taxpayer dollars should be a convincing argument. According to the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services, it costs Nebraska taxpayers on average $28,500 per inmate, per year. The savings preparing inmates for their release quickly adds up.
Q: How many people are released from prison in Nebraska?
A: Each year, the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services releases approximately 2200 individuals.
Q. What is the average length of time served by inmates in Nebraska?
A: The average length of time served in Nebraska is 22 months. Ninety-five percent of the inmates in Nebraska prisons will be released. Only a very small percentage of the prison population is sentenced to life without parole or to death.
Q: How many prisons are there in Nebraska?
A: There are 10 State prisons, run by Nebraska Department of Correctional Services. In addition, there are many county jails and other facilities where men and women are incarcerated in our state.
Q: Are there maximum security prisons in Nebraska?
A: There are two maximum security prisons in Nebraska: Nebraska State Penitentiary in Lincoln and Tecumseh State Correctional Institution in Tecumseh. Both of these institutions have sections within their respective institution that are considered maximum security.
Q: What can I do?
A: You can support the work of this ministry in many ways. Donations are always welcome. Volunteers are always needed. Keep us in your prayers. Make sure you tell your local representative that you are interested in prison issues and that you expect him/her to work for better prisons.
Q: I want to volunteer in prison but I’m scared. Is it very dangerous?
A: Statistically you are far more likely to get injured in an accident driving to prison than having something happen to you inside. Having said that, prisons can be dangerous places. We are very fortunate here in Nebraska, in that our prisons are safe, professionally run institutions, where staff take pride in professionalism and safety. In reality, prisons are not like what you see in the movies or on TV. Released and Restored provides excellent volunteer training, fully preparing you to work wisely and safely with us inside the prison facilities. When volunteering in prisons, remember where you are. Always follow directions given by officers and do not break any of the rules set by the institutions and/or the Department.
Q: Can I deduct my donations to Released and Restored on my tax report?
A: We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and our non-profit status is approved by the Internal Revenue Service. When you donate to Released and Restored, you will receive a receipt detailing your donation. Use this to document your donations for tax purposes.
Q: Are you part of the United Methodist Church?
A: Released and Restored is Advance Special #713 of the Nebraska Annual Conference. For those members of the United Methodist Church, your donation through the Conference is considered mission giving. Our founder and executive director, Ruth Karlsson, is a Licensed Local Pastor appointed to Extension Ministry with Released and Restored. The resident bishop and district superintendent in Lincoln are ex-officio members of the board of directors.