State Penitentiary On Lockdown For 'Highest Level Possible' Contraband Search

Contraband found at the Nebraska State Penitentiary recently: methamphetamine and several handmade weapons. (Provided: Department of Correctional Services)
September 4, 2019 - 3:13pm

The Nebraska State Penitentiary is on lockdown as staff conduct searches for contraband. 

Department of Corrections Director Scott Frakes said in a statement Wednesday there’s been a recent uptick in contraband like drugs, weapons and cell phones.

The statement says the state prison in Lincoln has been on lockdown since Wednesday morning. 

Lockdown is described as "a significant and unusual action taken to restore order and ensure the safety of everyone inside a facility. All inmates are confined to their cells, and are under direct escort any time they are outside of their cells." 

Prison staff describe finding cell phones, methamphetamine, synthetic marijuana, and several homemade weapons. Frakes says the lockdown is necessary because of recent assaults, including a staff member who went to the hospital with injuries.

The lockdown also means visitation is cancelled – and there’s no indication of when the lockdown will be lifted.

“We will ramp up searches over the next several days to the highest level possible," Frakes said in the statement. "Basically, anything that can be moved, disassembled, or crawled into will be inspected." 

The Department of Corrections declined an interview for this story.

The statement says the search will require considerable use of personnel. But the State Penitentiary has a "troubling" staffing problem, according to a report from the Inspector General of Corrections two weeks ago. Visitation hours during the Labor Day holiday were also canceled because of staffing shortages. 

The lockdown search this week will include staff members from other facilities and the Corrections Emergency Response Team.



blog comments powered by Disqus