LINCOLN–(KFOR Aug. 17)–Governor Jim Pillen and Nebraska Department of Corrections director Rob Jeffreys on Thursday afternoon announced plans to build a new state prison on the northeastern outskirts of Lincoln’s current city limits.
The state of Nebraska paid $17-million on an option for over 300 acres of land at 112th and Adams and Pillen said the decision was made “internally.” The Nebraska Legislature has not yet been briefed on this location.
Jeffreys told reporters Thursday afternoon the 112th and Adams location was one of 70 sites reviewed, with the current workforce being a factor. Many staff members will be able to segue over to the new facility.
Governor Pillen mentioned that he’s not considering any sentencing reforms to reduce overcrowding in Nebraska’s prison system. He says the state hasn’t talked with homeowners in the area about the proposed new state prison but did add there were conversations with city officials.
“As a result of the many changes over the years, NSP faces challenges in meeting the agency’s core mission of keeping people safe,” said Jeffreys. “The new facility will provide a safer environment for the staff, and it will enhance our ability to provide programs, clinical treatment, education and employment opportunities in a way that facilitates reentry into the community.”
Upon presentation of his budget in January, Gov. Pillen urged lawmakers to fully fund the $350 million facility. Approval was given for $96 million plus $240 million that had been set aside by the Legislature in 2022, without the requisite spending authority. Lawmakers that year did approve a $15 million appropriation for selecting sites and placing options on property, as well as drafting the initial design.
Both Gov. Pillen and Dir. Jeffreys noted that a key factor in choosing the Lincoln site was the proximity to a stable and plentiful workforce.
“Those who work at NSP now will continue their work at the new facility. It’s location on the northeast edge of Lincoln gives it good access to I-80 and Highway 6, which will make it an easy drive from Waverly, Gretna and Omaha,” said Gov. Pillen.
“Additionally, we want to be mindful of the accessibility for family members, who have loved ones inside the facility,” said Dir. Jeffreys. “This will be a convenient location for regular visiting and for volunteers who work with the population.”
Construction of the new facility is slated to begin in the fall of 2024.