Nebraska State Penitentiary, Lincoln, Nebraska
Late November, 2019

David Gills, locked up at Nebraska State Penitentiary, sent a letter out in late November to numerous contacts containing a petition with 31 pages of prisoner signatures. 780 signed in total, or 58% of the penitentiary population of 1,346.

The petition went to the Journal Star, ACLU of Nebraska, the state ombudsman, inspector general for Corrections, Department of Correctional Services Director Scott Frakes, the Nebraska Parole Board, the state attorney general’s office and the Omaha World-Herald.

The complaints listed on the petition concerned “inconsistent and wayward actions” of the prison administration and claimed the administration was putting the prison on “modified lockdown”, thereby cancelling prisoner meetings and classes, and restricting their access to the prison law library, the courts, and their attorneys.

Additionally, the petition protested against lack of access to showers, the yard, and recreational time, as well as the small portion size, low nutrition value, and poor quality of the sack breakfast served each day

Poor conditions at the prison seem partially a response to a staffing emergency officially declared at the State Penitentiary by the Nebraska Department of Corrections when workers were switched from 8-hour to 12-hour days on Oct. 28.

The Nebraska ombudsman met with some of the prisoners to discuss the petition. Carl Eskridge of the ombudsman office told the press that the 780 signatures are the most he can remember on a single petition.

Citations:

Prisoners petition for assistance with conditions at Nebraska penitentiary“, Lincoln Journal-Star, December 3, 2019.

Inmate petition outlines ‘concerning’ conditions at Nebraska State Penitentiary“, 1011Now.com, December 3, 2019.

Nearly 800 Nebraska inmates sign petition panning conditions“, Associated Press, December 3, 2019.

Header Photo Source: 1011now
Article published: December 5, 2019