Special committee releases final report on Nebraska Corrections

 Posted By: Camila Orti


After six months of hearings and investigative work, a committee of lawmakers has released their findings on the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services.

The 62-page report looks into issues within the department, including the release of killer Nikko Jenkins, prison overcrowding and the illegal miscalculation of hundreds of inmate sentences. The committee, made up of seven senators, met to discuss their final thoughts at a news conference Monday morning. The group was initially established this past summer to examine Jenkins’ incarceration and release.

“Almost every one of the problems that we looked at, besides Jenkins, go back to overcrowding,” Committee chair Sen. Steve Lathrop said.

In the report, the senators detail how they believe overcrowding drove policy decisions, a problem they say starts with the governor.

“Who elected not to pursue the capital construction to create the additional bed space,” Lathrop said.

In response, Gov. Dave Heineman emailed us this statement:

“If Senator Lathrop believed a new prison was warranted, he has had 8 years to work with his colleagues in the legislature to introduce a bill… to say there is a lack of leadership on my part on that issue is a diversion tactic and hypocritical.”

As for the Nikko Jenkins case, the report says his release was a “complete failure” by the department, starting with a lack of mental health treatment.

“We need to start by correcting the lack of treatment facilities that we have and the treatments that we have inside the correctional institution,” Sen. Les Seiler said.

The committee also calls for the firing of three corrections employees, plus other reforms they hope to tackle with legislation next session.

Of course, none of the recommendations made in the report can be enforced. The senators say they just hope they’ll be taken into consideration by the next administration.

Channel 8 reached out to the Dept. of Corrections for comment, but did not get a response.

To see the full report, click here.