Nebraska prisons department suspends workers - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Nebraska prisons department suspends workers

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LINCOLN, NE (AP) -

Workers with the Nebraska Department of Corrections have been suspended following the on-going sentencing scandal.

Internal emails showed officials knew sentences were being calculated incorrectly for hundreds of prisoners and didn't correct the problem.

Nearly 600 sentences had to be recalculated after the problem was discovered earlier this summer.

Thursday, Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman weighed in on the problem.

"I want every department corrections employee to understand that no one is above the law. When the Nebraska Supreme Court hands down a decision I expect every employee and state agency to comply with the law," Gov. Heineman said.

Most of the sentences that had to be extended were for inmates still in prison, but dozens of prisoners had to be tracked down after being released early.Governor Heineman also said he believes in complete transparency and will release all findings to the public.

One State Senator in Norfolk is speaking out about the issue.

Senator Jim Scheer says this problem lies in the hands of a few prison personnel who blatantly avoided the law.

The Nebraska prison department announced Wednesday they have suspended some department workers facing discipline, but didn't specify who or how many.As for the prisoners who still have time on their sentence, Scheer believes they should return to finish their remaining time behind bars.

Jim Scheer-Norfolk State Senator said, "Those that still have several years left, unfortunately are being re incarcerated. Those folks did not, if we are going to be honest with ourselves, didn't fulfill the terms of their punishment."

This is just one of several issues facing Nebraska's prison system.

Scheer says when he left the legislature this spring, lawmakers were focusing on reducing the overcrowding issue at Nebraska's prisons through rehabilitation programs, and discussed using a facility in Hastings for inmates who need psychiatric help.

With a minimum of 17 new state lawmakers set to be elected in November, Scheer doesn't know if that will be the focus when the legislature returns next year


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