OMAHA (KPTM) - City leaders are calling on the state to take more precautions when letting inmates out for a couple of days while serving a sentence.
"I am concerned that a known gang member facing 5 to 8 years in the state penitentiary can be armed in our neighborhoods and can be a block away from our playgrounds instead of serving time in prison," Mayor Jim Suttle said Tuesday at a press conference.
He and others said they weren't given any warning that Jermaine lucas was let free from prison over the weekend. Police shot and killed Lucas Sunday morning. They say he lunged for a gun during a run-in with officers. He was home on a 48-hour furlough from prison.
City leaders said they aren't calling for different laws. They just want more administrative changes and a heads up when violent offenders are let loose.
"What is troubling is that Omaha Police were not notified about the individual so we could be on the lookout and be prepared to diffuse a volatile situation like the one that took place Sunday morning," Suttle said.
To avoid another deadly situation city leaders want the program revised immediately. Suttle criticized State Corrections saying it doesn't make sense that some documented gang members qualify for supervised release.
Suttle, along with Councilmen Ben Gray and Garry Gernandt want stricter guidelines when choosing inmates eligible for furloughs.
They also want a list of the names and they want the state to implement these rules through the chief of police.
But some argue these changes are pointless.
"You can do it right or you can even do it wrong and make it look right—it depends upon the individual," Leela Mickles with Compassion in Action Inc said.
"They're in the community right now. They're working, going to school, reunited with their families. They didn't get any attention. And then one person makes the whole program look like it doesn't work?" Mickles added.
But some state senators agree with the city -that the furlough process needs improvement. They say they're going to review the policy and tighten it up before their upcoming session.
Since the re-visit furlough program started 64 percent of inmates eligible for it have successfully completed it.