A state senator says the legislature must address the needs of the Department of Correctional Services in wake of another disturbance at a state prison.
Nine staff members had to seek medical treatment after being attacked by inmates at the Lincoln Correctional Center.
Sen. Colby Coash of Lincoln says he’s very concerned for corrections officers.
“Their job seems to be getting increasingly dangerous,” Coash tells Nebraska Radio Network. “These assaults don’t seem to be isolated to one particular corrections facility. They’re happening all over. LCC is just the last, but it was the state penitentiary right before that. To me, this points to a systematic issue and not just a problem that is relegated to one particular institution.”
The Lincoln Correction Center is in Coash’s legislative district.
The Nebraska Department of Correctional Services reports about a dozen inmates attacked nine staff members, correctional officers and caseworkers, after refusing to return to their housing units. The nine staff members have returned home after being treated and released at local hospitals.
The violent outbreak at LCC comes on the heels of other disturbances at state prisons this month. Earlier, an inmate at LCC choked a staff member before being subdued. Numerous housing units had to be locked down at the Nebraska State Penitentiary after an inmate punched a guard and had to be restrained. Two other officers got hurt in the scuffle. The state prison had already been under lock down when inmates refused to return to their cells after dinner.
Coash says the legislature might need to look at pay of correctional officers.
“I think that the pay that is being given to these corrections officers is not commensurate to the value that they bring,” Coash says. “They are putting their lives on the line as evidence by the assaults just yesterday and I don’t think the state is recognizing the value of that work that they do.”