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Corrections Department Declares Staffing Emergency, Extends Shifts

Nebraska Department of Correctional Services Director Scott R. Frakes

June 28, 2021 (Lincoln, Neb.) – Nebraska Corrections Director Scott Frakes has declared a staffing emergency at the Lincoln Correctional Center (LCC) and the Diagnostic and Evaluation Center (DEC), here in Lincoln.  The process to implement a 12-hour operational pattern in those facilities will begin today.

To gain the greatest efficiencies, the two facilities will operate under a combined roster.  “Normally, each facility operates on its own in terms of where staff are assigned,” explained Frakes. “In order to keep activities as normal as possible, there will be situations where staff members will be asked to work in the opposite facility. In essence, the facilities will coordinate together.”

DEC is the intake facility for all adult males entering the State’s Prison System, and LCC is a maximum custody male facility that includes housing for residential mental health. Construction is underway to connect the two facilities.  The project includes improvements to the reception and treatment spaces, with shared amenities, increased beds and programming space.

Frakes said the decision to move to extended shifts is spurred largely by a slowdown in hiring.

“We are feeling the effects that many other industries and businesses are experiencing currently, nationally and across Nebraska. This is a very tight job market, especially in Lincoln and it is having an impact on our two largest facilities – the Nebraska State Penitentiary (NSP) and LCC/DEC.”

Final details are being developed to the LCC/DEC schedule, which will consist primarily of 12-hour shifts, with some positions remaining eight hours, to provide overlap coverage.

“Strategically, this will serve the populations housed in those facilities in a better way,” said Dir. Frakes

In late 2019, NSP and the Tecumseh State Correctional Institution (TSCI) moved to 12-hour shifts, a schedule they have continued to maintain since. At the same time, NDCS launched a $10,000 hiring bonus for corporals at NSP, TSCI and LCC/DEC. That incentive remains in effect, as does the $10,000 bonus for team members who refer corporals for hire in those facilities.

In addition to providing ongoing financial incentives, in the last six months NDCS has designated two personnel exclusively to recruitment and retention.

“Those individuals work directly with wardens and staff members in the facilities to keep incentive programs front and center and follow up on leads about potential hires,” said Frakes. “Everything that we can bring to bear as an agency to address this issue, we will do.”

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