The seven-member panel formed on Thursday will continue to examine problems in the corrections department but will also look at other services, such as parole and probation. Lawmakers voted 28-11 in favor of the measure.
Sen. Bob Krist of Omaha says he introduced the proposal because of ongoing problems in the corrections department, including recent inmate deaths.
Opponents say they the department already has sufficient oversight and criticized a previous committee’s decision to hire former state Sen. Steve Lathrop as its attorney. Lathrop, who developed an expertise in prisons, was known for his intense questioning of prison administrators.
Sen. Laura Ebke of Crete, the chairwoman of the Judiciary Committee, is expected to lead the committee.