Nebraska man protests outside Governor's mansion every day for two months, wants changes to NDCS facilities
Feilmann, of Omaha, has been driving to Lincoln almost everyday to protest outside of the Governor's mansion. He's trying to raise awareness on the overcrowding and short staffing issues within the Nebraska prison system.
Just last week, corrections Director Scott Frakes announced a staffing emergency.
Even though the NDCS is now offering 4-day work weeks and bigger bonuses for referrals and new hires, Feilmann says it isn't enough.
"They need to do some emergency steps. The Governor can do some emergency steps to increase pay to recruit enough staff to safely run these facilities then we can do other things to make its safer, more productive, more rehabilitation," Feilmann says.
According to Director Frakes, the state pen was put on lock down at the end of October so the facility could help identify staffing needs. Feilmann and former inmate Ty Sullivan say this isn't fair to the inmates.
"Had nothing to do with the inmates yet the prison was locked down and the inmates were punished because he cant control his staffing," says Sullivan, who spent 16 years at the state penitentiary.
"45 guys have been in solitary confinement for over 200 days, according the inspector generals report information, and there's 10 guys who have been in solitary confinement, 23 hours a day isolation, for 1,000 days. And then you got guys on lock down," Feilmann says.
Wages at the state pen are almost two dollars lower than the Douglas and Sarpy county jails. They say this is unacceptable.
"Their lives are on the line every time they walk in that door, why are they making 20 dollars an hour, why am I making 12 dollars an hour more than them?" Sullivan says.
The two men say issues with the NDCS goes deeper. They've lost educational and rehabilitative programs including some that help inmates re–enter into society. Which in turn takes a toll on families.
"If you want to have a healthy community you have to address the peoples needs in poverty and affected by incarceration," Feilmann says.
Channel 8 reached out the Governor's office for comment, we did not get a response.
There is also a legislative meeting Friday at the capitol to talk about some of these issues.