LINCOLN, Neb. (KMTV) — The Nebraska Department of Correctional Services (NDCS) says it is facing staffing issues and has implemented a number of changes to address concerns over safety and manpower. They say they are currently in a "staffing emergency" situation.
“This is not being initiated by any particular incident at the penitentiary,” explained Director Frakes. “To be clear, being on modified operations is a temporary move that will allow us to implement the necessary staffing adjustments.”
New initiatives are being put into place such as the implementation of 12-hour workdays and offering bigger bonuses for referrals and new hires:
- $10,000 hiring bonus for new corporals hired at NSP, the Tecumseh State Correctional Institution (TSCI), and the Lincoln Correctional Center/Diagnostic and Evaluation Center (LCC/DEC). The bonus was $3,000 previously.
- $10,000 bonus available to teammates who refer additional people for hire at NSP (Nebraska State Penitentiary) and TSCI.
- Teammates employed today at NSP will receive an automatic $500 bonus at the end of the year.
To handle the changes, the Nebraska State Penitentiary was placed on lockdown Wednesday.
“The facility was placed on lockdown* on Wednesday so that senior management of that facility could start the process of developing the new schedule and identifying staffing needs,” said Director Frakes.
The lockdown will remain in place until Tuesday and all inmate visitations will be canceled they say. Visitation is normally canceled on Mondays and Tuesdays.
“We have been monitoring staffing levels at the penitentiary closely for months. Staffing vacancies have led to frequent modifications to operations, impacting facility safety. It is necessary at this time to put the facility on a more manageable and consistent schedule.”
NCDS says 12-hour shifts will begin on Monday. Staff will work four 12-hour shifts and then be off for three days.
Frakes says the facility will return to normal hours after additional staff is hired and trained.
You can find information about careers with the NCDS here: https://www.corrections.nebraska.gov/careers