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Fox 42 News

The number of COVID-19 cases is on the rise in Nebraska.  Officials reported 10-thousand-348 cases and 123 deaths statewide as of last night.  Douglas County has seen the most cases in the state with more than 23-hundred.  Hall and Dakota counties have each reported more than 14-hundred coronavirus cases.

Nebraska is continuing to see an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases. The total number of cases in Nebraska was 83-hundred-15 as of last night.  Ninety-eight COVID-19 related deaths have been reported in Nebraska during the pandemic. Two more deaths have been confirmed in Douglas County. The Douglas County Health Department announced yesterday that a woman in her 50s and a man in his 80s died from the virus.  Twenty coronavirus-related deaths have been reported in Douglas County, which also leads the state with more than 15-hundred cases.

Lincoln Journal Star

Visitors to Nebraska prisons will have to answer questions about their possible exposure to the new coronavirus as part of an effort to keep staff and inmates from getting infected. The Department of Correctional Services says visitors will still be allowed, as long as they are deemed a low risk. But Director Scott Frakes warned that the policy could change quickly. Visitors, volunteers, contractors and others will be asked to confirm that they are symptom-free, verify if they have had contact with anyone diagnosed with COVID-19 and if they have traveled recently by plane.

State authorities say yet another state prison employee has been arrested on suspicion of unauthorized communication with a prisoner, a felony under state law. A news release from the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services says 26-year-old Ashlee Yeackley, a food service worker at the Nebraska State Penitentiary in Lincoln, was arrested Wednesday and taken to the Lancaster County Jail. Officials say Yeackley has been employed by the department since February 2019. The release says she'll be suspended from her job.

Corrections Department Director calls for new prison

Feb 19, 2020

Nebraska's corrections department director is calling on lawmakers to consider building a new prison.  Corrections Director Scott Frakes unveiled a plan yesterday to issue a request for information to identify options for the "construction, maintenance and creation of new prison capacity." Frakes says the request for information is a first step for several options including a public-private partnership in building a new facility.  Nebraska's prisons are dealing with inmate capacity and under-staffing issues.

 

Corrections Facility inmate missing

Feb 14, 2020

Authorities in Omaha are searching for an inmate from the Community Corrections Center who they say has gone missing. Officials say Dustin Lankster removed the monitor he was wearing while out on a pass for seeking employment. He is described as a 38-year old six-foot white male with one brown eye and one blue eye. Anyone with information on Lankster's whereabouts is asked to contact local authorities.

A key state lawmaker says Nebraska’s severe prison overcrowding is only going to get worse over the next few years if state officials don’t take more aggressive steps to address the problem. Sen. Steve Lathrop, of Omaha, told a legislative committee Wednesday that the state’s prison population is projected to grow so fast that it will outpace the new beds that corrections officials are adding to try to ease pressure on their facilities. Lathrop made the remarks as he proposed a new, $52 million Omaha community corrections facility to members of the Legislature’s Appropriations Committee.

Inmates at a Lincoln prison damaged a housing unit during a Christmas Eve disturbance after staff confiscated food and homemade alcohol. A Nebraska Department of Corrections spokeswoman said about 14 inmates at the Diagnostic and Evaluation Center broke furniture, cracked a window and disabled surveillance cameras. The Lincoln Journal Star reports that the incident began about 7 p.m. Tuesday and that some inmates returned to their cells as directed at the start. Prison staff locked down the facility and called in an emergency response team to resolve the incident.

The Nebraska corrections department is asking more than 600 inmates to step forward if they’d like to serve out the remainder of their sentences in their home states.