“We have got to address this with compensation as the first step towards success.”
Staffing Crisis Continues in Nebraska Prisons
Lincoln, Neb. (KLKN)-Tensions are high, as staffing shortages continue to get worse in Nebraska. The President of the Nebraska Fraternal Order of Police 88 explained that prisons continue to lose more employees, causing a more dangerous environment for all involved.
“We’re already down too many staff. Between LCC and DEC we are down well over 130 staff, that was the last number I received. We have got to address this with compensation as the first step towards success,” said Michael Chipman President of Nebraska FOP88.
Because of the shortage, prison staff is having to work a lot of overtime, causing a strain on families.
“It’s like really hard. We have a nine-year-old and a two-year-old, and they want that time with their dad. Saturdays he is working from 7 am to 11 pm almost every Saturday, so there is almost a whole weekend sometimes where our sons don’t get to see their dad,” said a wife of a prison employee.
Working all that overtime can also be physically and mentally exhausting.
“There is a lot more violence these guys are having to go through and they are exhausted while having to go through all of this. It shows how dangerous this work environment is,” said Chipman.
The shortage is also causing some services to be suspended for inmates.
“Those inside are saying they are not getting showers like they used to. They are not getting access to a law library like they are supposed to. They are not getting access to programming or anything like they are supposed to. Medication is coming slower as well,” said Senator Terrell McKinney.
“It is just getting more and more dangerous because we are not able to offer the full services. Some services include making sure they get more time in the outside yard, which makes them more volatile and more dangerous to deal with,” said Chipman.
Finding a way to gain and retain staff, is the only way to fix these issues.
“We were having staffing shortages prior to 2020, so you can’t equate it to the pandemic and try to compare the staffing crisis in our prisons to the staffing crisis at Mcdonalds. It’s just not the same,” said Senator McKinney.
You are being encouraged to use your voice to help find solutions.
“I would encourage those in the community to speak out. Reach out to the governor’s office and their state senator to push them to work towards solutions and not beat around the bush on this issue,” said Senator McKinney.
On Wednesday, there is a judiciary hearing set to review staffing at the Department of Correctional Services and work on solutions to the staffing shortage.