An investigation of the state prison system prompted by the release of serial killer Nikko Jenkins finds fault not only in how Nebraska runs its prisons, but even with the data on which the department relies.
A report by the Legislative Performance Audit Committee found while state law clearly identifies inmates who should be civilly committed as dangerous sex offenders, it lacks guidance on the civil commitment of mentally ill or dangerous inmates.
And, says committee chairman John Harms, a state senator from Scottsbluff, the electronic data used by the Department of Correctional Services isn’t reliable.
“It all boils down to one thing and that is you just don’t have the management,” Harms tells Nebraska Radio Network.
Harms says it will be up to the new legislature to determine why.
“Is it because we’ve just had too much growth, we haven’t budgeted enough money? Those issues will eventually become clearer as they continue to pursue and dig out of this issue,” according to Harms.
The early release of Nikko Jenkins from prison and his convictions in four murders in Omaha shortly after his release last year prompted the Unicameral to closely review the Department of Correctional Services. Many have questioned why the state didn’t move to have Jenkins civilly committed.
Harms says the legislature that convenes in January will be responsible to deal with the problems disclosed in the committee’s findings.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]