(Neb)-Corrections Still Struggling With Hiring, Retention
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Nebraska corrections director Scott Frakes told the Unicameral's Appropriations Committee at a budget hearing Monday that his department is still struggling to hire and retain prison employees, but he insisted the situation has improved.
Frakes said annual turnover rates for the entire corrections system has fallen from 32% to 26% over the last 4 months, but he wants to see an even lower rate.
His testimony came in the aftermath of last Thursday's prisoner uprising that left two inmates dead at the Tecumseh State Correctional Institution, which has more than 50 job vacancies.
Corrections officials have said the prison was adequately staffed at the time, but union officials say prison workers are frequently asked to work overtime because of employee turnover and unfilled jobs, which drains their morale.
In contrast to cuts proposed for other agencies, the Appropriations Committee's preliminary budget for corrections adds 165 new corrections positions over the next 2 years, including 135 in protective services. Some senators have said that's not enough, and that the prisons also need more money for programs for inmates.
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