Nebraska's prohibition law went into effect on May 1, 1917, outlawing the manufacturing and sale of liquor. Soon after Nebraska jails began filling with liquor law violators. William H. Lee was sentenced to 6 months to 2 years in the Nebraska State Prison for bootlegging in Hitchcock County in December 1919. "Bootlegging" is the illegal business of transporting alcoholic beverages. According to his official file, prison authorities granted Lee a furlough to visit his terminally ill wife. He returned to prison and was released July 4, 1921.