LINCOLN, Nebraska – The state’s prison watchdog stated that there is still a great deal of opportunity for improvement, despite the fact that the state was able to address a staffing shortfall that had reached an emergency level the previous year.
This year, those obligations will fall into the lap of a new director as a result of the annual report, which sets out critical flaws with the correctional system. Scott Frakes is scheduled to depart effective October 7, so the new director will take over on that date. Diane Sabatka-Rine, who is currently employed by NDCS, has been given the role of acting director by Governor Ricketts.
According to Koebernick, he has high hopes for the incoming leadership and is primarily seeking for someone who is experienced, has new ideas, and is open to hearing them out.
Koebernick expressed his hope that the new leader will be someone who would “go out there and listen to the population, engage with them.”
According to Koebernick, the incoming head will have an easier time resolving some of the most pressing issues facing the agency if they do this. One of the most urgent problems is that there is not nearly enough staff working in mental health at facilities where they are badly needed.
According to Koebernick, “when you have people with mental problems, I mean, you have to have therapy around them.” You are in need of treatment, programming, and other similar activities.
According to the survey, there are roughly 60 open positions in the field of behavioral health, with 31 open positions for behavioral health practitioners, 12 for psychologists, and four for psychiatrists.
Koebernick is quoted as saying, “When you don’t have staff to accomplish those things, you’re going to have more people acting out, which will lead to greater violence.”
Since these positions were not affected by the historic raises that the Correctional Officers Union was able to secure for their members the previous year, Koebernick stated that additional steps need to be taken in order to get those staff members in place, beginning with retaining the ones that they already have.
“Koebernick urged to engage with those staff members and find out why some of them are departing.” “What are the terms of their agreement? That would be an extremely helpful move to make right from the bat.”
The study of the inspector general also highlighted the need for improved programming, since the report found that hundreds of inmates were not receiving therapies for substance addiction, violence reduction, domestic violence, or sex offenders, despite these treatments having been suggested.
According to Koebernick, “There is a lot of programming going on, but whether it’s effective and whether it’s following evidence-based methods is an open question.” “That’s a question we have,” the speaker said.
The department’s programs will undergo a comprehensive evaluation, and the legislature has provided funding to pay for it to be done by an outside organization. It is one of the numerous studies that NDCS is currently awaiting the results of at this time.
“I think that the studies that I’ve talked about with the classification, the program evaluations, plus all of our offices work, and the work that they already do in the in the system, really should provide a good roadmap for the new director, he can realize he or she they can realize what the challenges are before them, what needs to be addressed,” Koebernick said. “I think that the studies that I’ve talked about with the classification, the program evaluations, plus all of our offices work, and the