A Nebraska prisons watchdog has issued a warning about “alarming” conditions driven by staffing shortages and record overtime at the Nebraska State Penitentiary in Lincoln.
Doug Koebernick, the inspector general for corrections, issued the report to lawmakers this week. Koebernick also identified contraband cellphones and the use of synthetic drugs as major security concerns.
Nebraska’s prison system has faced a litany of problems in recent years, including persistent overcrowding and struggles to hire and retain employees.
Koebernick says the problems appear to be most severe at the Lincoln prison. A different prison near Tecumseh in southeast Nebraska was the site of inmate uprisings in 2015 and 2017, and in each instance two prisoners died.