Inmate taken to hospital after several fights at Nebraska State Penitentiary

September 24, 2018

There were “several separate altercations” Saturday at the Nebraska State Penitentiary, state corrections officials said in a statement about noontime.

A spokeswoman described the altercations as “fights.”

The Lincoln facility is secured and in “modified operations,” said the spokeswoman, Dawn-Renee Smith.

One inmate was taken by ambulance to a hospital with serious injuries, the statement said. The injuries weren’t thought to be life-threatening. The inmate wasn’t named; officials said the inmate’s emergency contact has been notified.

According to corrections officials: “Inmates initially refused to return to two living units, but eventually complied with staff directives.”

As of Saturday afternoon, officials said living units that weren’t affected were returning to normal operations. The two housing units involved in the disturbance will remain on “modified operations” through the weekend.

The State Corrections Department defines modified operations as: “actions taken to more closely control movement of inmates within a facility due to safety and security needs. May include confinement in cells of a portion of the inmate population, cancellation of program/work activities, and direct escort of certain inmates as necessary.”

Concerns about housing practices and staffing at the penitentiary have risen in recent months. So much so that the Legislature’s inspector general for corrections, Doug Koebernick, is working on a special report focusing only on problems voiced by staff and inmates at the medium-maximum security facility.

Tecumseh State Prison, which has been considered the most troublesome in the state’s overcrowded prison system, had a disturbance Friday in which inmates in solitary confinement started small fires.

No one was injured, and the fires were quickly extinguished, Smith said.

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