- Increase reentry success rate by 15%, equating to a 15% reduction in recidivism.
- 30% increase in GED completion during incarceration
- 15% increase in GED proctors
- 50% Increase college coursework enrollment
- 50% increase utilization of tablet programming
- 25% increase in participation in Vocational and Life Skills (VLS) programming
- 100% of incarcerated individuals will be enrolled in Medicaid or informed how to access healthcare benefits
- 100% of incarcerated individuals will have a state identification and birth certificate prior to discharge
- 90% of released individuals will be gainfully employed within 30 days of parole placement
- NDCS will develop a systemic approach to reentry through the creation of a statewide Nebraska Reentry Council. The statewide reentry council will be comprised of public, private, and service provider entities. The Nebraska Reentry Council will expand partnerships to connect previously incarcerated individuals to community reintegration enterprises throughout the state.
Wellbeing & Equity Innovations
Wellbeing & Equity Innovations (WEI) is working alongside Nebraska Department of Correctional Services as a part of the TRANSFORM Nebraska platform and the adoption of WEI's 5-Key Model for Reentry and Well-Being Development. This includes partnering with the cutting edge and data driven work NDCS is doing to integrate peer specialists in the delivery and support of reentry programming beginning on day one of incarceration.
Governor Jim Pillen was sworn in as Nebraska’s 41st Governor on January 5, 2023.
He enters office with the goal of protecting, training, and keeping our kids in Nebraska, cutting taxes, growing agriculture, and defending our commonsense, conservative values.
Governor Pillen grew up on a farm in Platte County, Nebraska and raised pigs with his father, Dale. He graduated from Lakeview High School.
He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Animal Science from UNL, and married Suzanne Shreve. Governor Pillen then earned a doctor of veterinary medicine from Kansas State. In 1983, he returned to Nebraska and opened a small animal practice and swine consulting practice.
Governor Pillen and his father, Dale, partnered together, raising 60 sows and 1,200 market hogs on a dirt lot on their home farm. In 1993, Jim started Pillen Family Farms. In 2003, he added DNA Genetics. In 2010, his two oldest children, Sarah and Brock, joined the business.
Pillen Family Farms and DNA Genetics are now a multigenerational family-run business, composed of over 1,100 team members. The family business operates by some basic core beliefs—do what is right, do the best you can, and treat others the way you want to be treated.
Jim and wife, Suzanne, have four children, Sarah, Brock, Polly and Izic, and seven grandchildren, William, Halle, Eloise, Henry, Harrison, Ava, and Thomas.
Lieutenant Governor Joe Kelly was sworn in as Nebraska’s 42nd Lieutenant Governor on January 5, 2023.
Born and raised in Lexington, he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from University of Nebraska in 1978 and a Juris Doctor from the University of Nebraska College of Law in 1981. Lieutenant Governor Kelly served as a criminal prosecutor in the Lancaster County Attorney's Office from 1981 to 1985.
From 1986 through 1990 he was an associate with Berniger, Berg, and Diver in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He returned to his career as a prosecutor with the Lancaster County Attorney's Office in 1990 and was subsequently elected County Attorney in 2010 and again in 2014.
In 2018, President Trump appointed him as the United States Attorney for Nebraska where he served until February 2021. Lieutenant Governor Kelly most recently served as the Criminal Bureau Chief for the Nebraska Attorney General. He and his wife of more than 30 years, Susan, have two children, Shannon and Tom. The Kellys live in Lincoln, where they attend St. Peter Catholic Church.
In April 2023, Governor Jim Pillen appointed Rob Jeffreys director of the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services (NDCS). Director Jeffreys brings more than 28 years of correctional experience to his role at NDCS, where he oversees an agency with approximately 5,500 incarcerated individuals, leads a workforce of 2,300 team members, and serves as a member of Governor Pillen’s cabinet.
Prior to becoming director of NDCS, Mr. Jeffreys led transformational criminal justice reform as the director of the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) from 2019-2023. At IDOC, he created a dedicated reentry division, reduced the department’s restrictive housing population by 40 percent, and restructured and streamlined population reduction mechanisms that resulted in the state 's lowest population level since 1991. He also held several executive level positions with the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections (ODRC), including chief of staff, regional director, bureau chief of classification, and warden.
Mr. Jeffreys is a nationally recognized criminal justice expert with a wealth of experience in national and international corrections incentives recognized by federal, state, and local correction agencies and criminal justice entities. As a consultant and trainer for the U.S. Department of Justice, the Crime and Justice Institute, and The Moss Group, he has provided policy, program development, and specialized training to aid agencies in meeting their targeted goals and advancing their mission. Mr. Jeffreys is a champion of using research and data to drive decision-making, improve outcomes, and increase efficiency and effectiveness.
He was elected to serve as the President of the Correctional Leaders Association and is chairman of its Racial Disparity Committee. He also serves on the Department of Justice (DOJ) steering committees, including the National Institute of Corrections’ Restrictive Housing and the Bureau of Justice Assistance/The Moss Group’s Improving Institutional Corrections Academy Training committees.
Mr. Jeffreys holds a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in criminal justice with a concentration in Correctional Administration from Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia.
As director of the CSG Justice Center, Megan Quattlebaum leads a staff of more than 140 who work across an array of specialties that span the criminal justice continuum to develop research-driven strategies to increase public safety and strengthen communities. Before joining the organization, Megan most recently served as a research scholar in law and the program director of the Justice Collaboratory at the Yale Law School, where she taught as well as developed and oversaw research projects and led the organization’s work on behalf of the National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice. She was also the Senior Liman Fellow in Residence for the Arthur Liman Center for Public Interest Law and served as a lecturer in law at Columbia Law School. Additionally, she has served as a practicing criminal and civil defense attorney with Zuckerman Spaeder LLP in New York and an Arthur Liman Public Interest Fellow and attorney at the Neighborhood Legal Services Association in Pittsburgh. She also clerked for the Hon. Julio M. Fuentes of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. She received her BA from Sarah Lawrence College and her JD from the Yale Law School.
Kempf began his career in 1995 as a correctional officer at Pocatello Women's Correctional Center in the State of Idaho. He went on to serve in a variety of positions including parole officer, investigator, section supervisor, district manager, warden, chief of prisons and deputy director. The Idaho Board of Correction appointed Kempf director of the department in December 2014.
As director, Kempf was responsible for the entirety of IDOC's operations including its 10 prisons, four community re-entry centers and seven probation and parole districts. The department has an annual budget of $220 million and employs nearly 2,000 corrections professionals. They are responsible for the incarceration and community supervision of 22,000 felony offenders.
Under Kempf's leadership, the Department of Correction experienced reform in almost every area. Projects like Justice Reinvestment, Justice Program Assessment and Restrictive Housing Reform continue to have many positive effects on the system and elevated IDOC as one of the best corrections agencies in the country.
In 2006, Kempf was appointed to the Interstate Commission for Adult Offender Supervision. The commission is the national organization that oversees the transfer and relocation of felony offenders across state lines. During Kempf's six years as Idaho's representative, his peers twice elected him to leadership positions. He first served as treasurer and later as vice president of the organization.
Kempf was an active member of the Correctional Leaders Association (CLA). Kempf served as Chairman of the Program and Training Committee and Treasurer of the Western States CLA.
In December 2016 Kempf was chosen as the Executive Director of the Correctional Leaders Association (CLA). CLA members are the CEO of Corrections for the United States.
The Governor of the State of Idaho, C.L. Butch Otter, named December 16th "Kevin Kempf" day in Idaho for his tireless work and dedication to public safety.
Dr. Amy Doty is the Acting Director of Southeast Community College’s prison education program, UPWARD (Unlocking Potential With Academic Resources and Development), and is dedicated to increasing successful reentry and reintegration in Nebraska through the transformative power of educational access, intentional support for pre and post-release individuals, and collaboration with community partners and the Department of Corrections.
Dr. Carrie Pettus founded and leads a national equity-centered translational research nonprofit, comprised of a multidisciplinary team committed to assisting legal/justice system and community partners with transforming their systems using researcher-practitioner partnerships. Wellbeing & Equity Innovations, Inc (WEI) team members work with service providers, advocates, businesses, policymakers, and legal/justice system organizations to develop capacity to implement, evaluate, and improve the adoption of evidence-based programs. WEI helps partners innovate and reimagine their work by combining rigorous research-to-practice feedback loops, technical assistance, and delivery of evidence-informed practices and strategies.
Dr. Pettus' intervention and implementation science research and policy reform work facilitates racial, behavioral health, and economic equity throughout the criminal justice and legal systems, from an individual's first contact with law enforcement to their release from incarceration. Dr. Pettus has spent her research career working with community partners to develop, implement, and research interventions to reduce community violence, enhance positive social support, respond to trauma experiences among justice-involved adults, treat substance use and mental health disorders, and generate overall wellbeing for those impacted by justice involvement. Dr. Pettus has two violence interruption and gun violence diversion researcher-practitioner projects in two states in collaboration with prosecutors and community-based organizations. As a social worker in field settings for ten years before joining academia, Dr. Pettus conducts all of her research in partnership with legal/justice system stakeholders and community service providers. This blend of prior field-based practitioner experience and community-engaged scholarship has allowed Pettus to understand the depth and nuance of complications that can occur with applied, real-world research and implementation in community settings. Prior to founded WEI, Dr. Pettus led research centers on transforming criminal legal/justice systems in departments of social work at Florida State University and Washington University in St. Louis.
Dawn-Renee Smith has served as a deputy director since 2018. In this role, she provides oversight to the rehabilitative services division, which is focused on preparing individuals for release and includes the areas of classification and transportation, volunteers, non-clinical programming, education, vocational and life skills, reentry services, correctional industries and research.
Under Smith’s leadership, the rehabilitative services division has implemented innovative ways to reach the population with programming, education and reentry services, including digital learning and interactive resources.
Smith started her career with NDCS in 2005 as a caseworker at Tecumseh State Correctional Institution (TSCI). Since then, she has managed the agency’s legislative and communications divisions and served as the administrator for reentry services. Prior to being named deputy director, Smith served as chief of staff, providing oversight of research, communications, legislation and policy development and accreditation.
Smith earned a bachelor’s degree from Texas Tech University and has extensive experience in human services, with an emphasis in behavioral health, grant writing and fundraising.