State Ombudsman's office calls out Department of Corrections - News, Weather and Sports for Lincoln, NE; KLKNTV.com

State Ombudsman's office calls out Department of Corrections

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By: Jenn Schanz
jschanz@klkntv.com

It's a name that's now notorious throughout Nebraska.

Nikko Jenkins, the 27–year–old accused of murdering four people in Omaha just weeks after being released from prison.

Now, the state's Ombudsman's office says the prison system dropped the ball when it comes to Jenkins' mental healthcare and rehabilitating.

According to the report, Jenkins spent extended periods of time in segregation from general inmates.

It says during Jenkins' 97 months in custody with the D.O.C., 58 of them were spent in a segregation cell.

Dr. Howard Zonana is a professor of Psychiatry at Yale University, and a member of the American Psychiatric Association, that's cited in the report.

"There is an obligation for correctional facilities to monitor people in segregation. Especially those with mental illnesses," he says.

According to the report, as Jenkins' release date neared, some doctors suggested he take part in group therapy with other inmates, but the according to the report, the D.O.C. said he was too dangerous and he didn't get to do that.

"You don't see treatment in any mental health facilities that put people in isolation."

Attorney General Jon Bruning was asked about the Jenkins case in a legislative conference Tuesday. 

"Nikko Jenkins is the one of the worst most notorious criminals in our state's history. What he did is absolutely sickening. Whatever penalty he gets is hardly going to be severe enough," he says.

But the Ombudsman's office isn't the only one that thinks Jenkins' time in custody was mismanaged.

The husband of one of Jenkins' alleged victims has filed a state tort claim against the state of Nebraska for $7.5 million, citing the state's failure to treat and diagnose Jenkins before his release.

The report says Jenkins' case ought to be a resource for those seeking insights into how justice systems can work, and sometimes, how they can fail.

The Department of Corrections says it disagrees factually with the report. 

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