Housing unit flooded at Nebraska State Penitentiary, inmates relocated

Visits have been canceled indefinitely
A water leak has prompted the relocation of almost 140 inmates from a housing unit at the Nebraska State Penitentiary.
Published: Nov. 10, 2022 at 12:47 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 11, 2022 at 8:04 AM CST
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - A water leak has prompted the relocation of almost 140 inmates from a housing unit at the Nebraska State Penitentiary. The majority of the inmates were moved into the gymnasium overnight. Plans are underway to move those individuals to more permanent housing, while assessment continues into what prompted the leak and identifying necessary repairs.

According the the Nebraska Dept. of Correctional Services, the leak was initially detected late Wednesday afternoon. It caused the flooding of a lower level mechanical room. Water also covered the floor of the affected housing unit. Due to the impact on electrical, water and other systems, the penitentiary campus was placed on modified operations. Portable toilets were brought in and bottled water distributed to the population. Visits have been canceled indefinitely.

Thursday, the process has begun to restore water and other systems. NDCS officials will continue to work with facility staff to transport impacted inmates. While that process is underway, the facility will remain on modified operations.

10/11 NOW Spoke with Traci Burner, the daughter of an inmate at the State Penitentiary. She said her father, who has been at NSP for three years, was finally able to contact his family on Friday to talk to them about the leak.

Traci said her dad is usually able to call her mother every day. When her mom didn’t hear from him for longer than usual, Traci went online and found out about the flooding at NSP, and that 134 inmates had to be relocated. Traci said her dad is one of those inmates.

Traci said, according to her dad, after the leak, inmates were not allowed to go to their rooms to get hygiene products and other personal items. They’ve been transferred to the Reception and Treatment Center, but Traci’s dad said they weren’t prepared.

“He’s been up there for a couple of years,” Traci said. “I’ve never heard him say, this is the worst conditions that he’s ever had to deal with up there. He doesn’t really complain about anything that’s went on. You know, they’ve had situations it’s happened before and you can’t prevent a water leak for sure.”

NDCS said the inmates affected are medium and maximum-security inmates who are seniors and those who require medical accommodations. They said they’re working to address the inmates’ needs and return their personal property to them.

Those inmates moved to a unit that was supposed to house a different group of maximum-security inmates soon. That move had to be delayed due to the incident.

Going forward, NDCS will need to bring cleaning crews to do repairs and building inspections before the housing unit can be used again.

Traci said she was planning on driving from Illinois this weekend to visit her dad, but now the visitation program for inmates will be closed throughout the weekend as a result of the flooding.