Gov. Pete Ricketts says fixing problems in Nebraska’s
prison system ranks among his highest priorities as his administration prepares a new two-year budget.
Ricketts said Tuesday that he expects to make “continued investments” in the Department of Correctional Services to address long-term problems in the agency.
The prison system has struggled with persistent staffing shortages, high employee turnover rates and a spate of incidents including a deadly riot in Tecumseh last year and the June escape of two convicted sex offenders from a Lincoln facility.
Nebraska faces a projected $352 million shortfall in the next two-year budget cycle, forcing Ricketts and lawmakers to balance the budget amid competing requests for state funding. Ricketts says the state needs to ensure that corrections officers, inmates and the public are kept safe.