Gov. Pete Ricketts defends the Department of Correctional Services and its director in wake of criticism leveled during a legislative hearing.
Ricketts backs the strategic plan unveiled by Corrections Director Scott Frakes.
“We all know that we have issues in the Department of Corrections and we didn’t get to be here overnight and it’s not going to change overnight, but what Director Frakes put out was the first step in the plan for how we address that,” Ricketts tells reporters during an event in Lincoln.
Frakes came to a meeting at the Capitol with a special legislative committee last week expecting to review his strategic plan with lawmakers. Lawmakers, upset the plan had been delivered only the day before, put off discussing it and, instead, leveled criticism at Frakes on a number of issues, ranging from a critical state audit to a report on the riot at the Tecumseh prison.
Any discussion about the strategic plan has been postponed.
In the strategic plan, Frakes proposed spending $26.2 million to build a separate unit for female prisoners with 160 beds. More bed space and programming services would be offered at the community corrections facility in Lincoln under the plan.
Ricketts doesn’t agree with legislators who call the plan shallow.
“Well, we don’t expect this to be the last step of things we do. We expect this to be the first step,” Ricketts says.
Members of the special committee criticized the plan and questioned Frakes ability to lead the department in a different direction.
Ricketts remains confident in Frakes.
“He is doing a fantastic job,” Ricketts says of Frakes. “He is working to change the culture in Corrections. Culture change doesn’t happen quickly.”
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]