Dept. of Corrections ends inmate driving program

Posted By:  KLKN Newsroom

The Nebraska Department of Corrections announced Friday the inmate driver program has officially ended.  On the night of June 25th, Joyce Meeks of Lincoln was killed when a van driven by  Community Corrections inmate, Jeremy Dobbe,  hit her vehicle near 18th & Van Dorn.  Dobbe was authorized driver in the inmate driver program.  Dobbe had two previous DUI convictions in Nebraska and was serving time for meth possession.  

Director Robert Houston shared the following remarks with members of the media: 

“First and foremost, I wish to express my sincere condolences to the family of Joyce Meeks.  I can only imagine the devastating impact this tragedy has had on her family and certainly wish for them to know they have been in my thoughts. 

I was out of the country when this accident occurred, arriving home in the early hours of July 3rd.  I am as concerned as you with getting answers to the specifics of the events that occurred on June 25, 2013.  Our department has provided the information that we have and can be shared at this time.  Of course, we must consider the current LPD investigation as well as any pending litigation that may ensue.     

On Friday, June 28, 2013, NDCS suspended the Inmate Van Driver Program to review the program and determine next steps.  Upon my return and consultation with my staff, I have determined that we will no longer sustain the Inmate Van Driver Program.  Inmates who are assigned to work detail jobs will be transported by department staff.   Changes may be made to the work detail schedules, but those details will be worked out over the coming weeks. 

The primary mission of our department is public safety.  Reentry is a key element to public safety as the majority of inmates will return to their communities within three years of admission.  Discontinuing the Inmate Van Driver Program will have no adverse effect on reentry. 

This program has been in operation successfully since 1985.  Our department's record low recidivism rate and millions of safe miles driven does not stop bad things from happening.”