Water Restored in State Prison, But Blackout Raises New Concerns | Regional government


The state penitentiary was built in 1869 and has undergone several renovations, but correctional officials argued that it was no longer cost-effective to modernize the facility with an average population of nearly 1,300 inmates.

“There are limits to the amount of work that can be accomplished at any one time in a fully occupied prison,” Strimple said. “The problem has never been the money, it is a reflection of an aging infrastructure.”

The prison’s water supply system has faced many problems for years, including five water pipe breaks between December 2017 and September 2018, according to an independent watchdog that oversees the prison service.

In September 2018, a water pipe ruptured in two areas for consecutive days, according to a report from the Nebraska Corrections Inspector General’s Office. Inspector General Doug Koebernick wrote in the report that it “looks like this will be a regular problem due to the aging infrastructure at the facility.”

Nebraska State Penitentiary without running water due to plumbing problem, Inspector General says

James Davis III, a deputy state ombudsman for Nebraska Corrections, said Thursday he was investigating the case after receiving complaints from inmates and their families.

McKinney said he remains opposed to building a new prison and would prefer prison officials to focus on upgrading the existing state prison. He said building another larger facility didn’t make sense, given the chronic staff shortage within the correctional service.

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