New Lincoln prison, treatment facility emphasizes safety

6 News is On Your Side with how two old prisons and some new construction are creating a state-of-the-art facility that benefits inmates and workers.
Published: May. 18, 2022 at 7:52 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (WOWT) - Working in the corrections system can be tough on employees just as it is for inmates.

That’s why a new facility in Lincoln is so important.

6 News is On Your Side with how two old prisons and some new construction are creating a state-of-the-art facility that benefits inmates and workers.

“This is our most volatile population that is going to come in here.”

Taggart Boyd is the warden of the new reception and treatment center, merging the Lincoln Correctional Center with the Diagnostic and Evaluation Center.

Nearly 400 additional beds will be filled in the next few weeks. The goal here is to keep workers safe and increase the probability of success for inmates when they’re released.

“When you look at this facility here, you’ll find the same types of service that you will be able to get in a community medical facility.”

Just some of the amenities here for inmates include spacious living areas, increased programming space, improved security features, and better food service delivery with a state-of-the-art kitchen and culinary training room.

More than 16,000 meals three times a day can be served here but it’s the health facilities that make this different. There’s a medicine dispensing area, and more dental and vision exam rooms with a focus on mental health issues.

6 is On Your Side with a tour of the new reception and treatment center.

“Access to laboratory services, you have access to x-rays, we’ll have access to optometry services and the results can be obtained very quickly. We have multi-disciplinary systems that we provide. Where can you find a psychiatrist, medical doctor, nursing, behavioral psychologist, dentist in one room. There’s nowhere else except here,” said Dr. Harbans Deol, Dept. of Corrections Medical Director.

There’s even consideration here for those who may be so despondent that they see no other way out.

“You’ll see that there’s not much area in here that they can hook a sheet or a towel too so it reduces the likelihood that they would hang themselves,” said Boyd.

An emphasis on family is important here.

There’s a welcome area with video phones and a play area for the kids, rooms are bright and well lit. For staff, there’s a workout center, break area, staff dining room, better sightlines, and with pay scale adjustments, much-needed help.

“200 people from out of state, in fact from 36 different states to come join us here as Department of Corrections teammates,” said Gov. Ricketts.

Adding to the intended goal.

“Safer working conditions leads to increased staffing, which in turn leads to safer prisons,” said Boyd.

But there’s more to come, financing for a 96-bed facility was recently approved by the unicameral.

In all, the legislature approved just over $146 million by expanding bed availability to almost 500 people.

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