Problems within state prisons have the attention of state lawmakers.
The chairman of the legislature’s Judiciary Committee, Sen. Les Seiler of Hastings, says the inmate incident that sent nine Lincoln Correctional Center staff members to the hospital disturbs him.
“Well, if it was one incident it wouldn’t bother me that much, but we have a hole surge now of incidents and we have to get on top of that,” Seiler tells Nebraska Radio Network.
Earlier, an inmate at the Lincoln Correctional Center assaulted a staff member, choking him until being restrained by other staff at the prison. An inmate punched a guard at the Nebraska State Penitentiary in early August, prompting it to be locked down. In the news released about that assault, NDCS stated there have been multiple reports that indicate general unrest among the prison population accompanied by threats of physical violence toward the staff. Just days before, the state prison had been locked down when inmates from a general population housing unit refused to return to their cells after eating dinner.
Seiler says state prisons are overcrowded and understaffed.
“I hate to say this, that’s almost a politician’s excuse,” Seiler says. “I think it runs deeper than that. I think we’ve got to at least look for something deeper than that.”
Seiler expresses confidence in state Corrections Director Scott Frakes and says the Unicameral needs to help him with whatever he needs to address the recent rash of violent behavior.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:50]