LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A lockdown and search at Nebraska's largest prison has unearthed a variety of drugs, homemade weapons and other contraband.

Prison officials revealed Wednesday some of the items found during last week's lockdown at the Nebraska State Penitentiary.

The list includes the synthetic drug K2, which officials say has helped fuel a recent increase in assaults. Prison staff members also discovered makeshift tattoo machines, syringes, lighters and a cellphone hidden inside a tablet computer.

State Penitentiary Lockdown Eased

Sep 10, 2019

(Lincoln, NE)  --  The Nebraska State Penitentiary is moving away from a lockdown.  State Department of Correctional Services director Scott Frakes said inmates were given a little more freedom after the status change on Friday, but that outside visits were being canceled at least through the weekend.  Frakes said the penitentiary went into lockdown last Wednesday so that organized and intensive searches could be conducted.  He said no single incident spurred the action, but that there were a number of recent assaults and contraband discoveries that prompted it.

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Searches for weapons, drugs and other contraband have been undertaken during a lockdown at the Nebraska State Penitentiary in Lincoln.

Officials say the lockdown that began Wednesday morning was needed because of the increase in assaults on staffers and among inmates, as well as an increase in the use of synthetic marijuana, or K2.

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A Nebraska prisons watchdog has issued a warning about "alarming" conditions driven by staffing shortages and record overtime at the Nebraska State Penitentiary in Lincoln.

Doug Koebernick, the inspector general for corrections, issued the report to lawmakers this week. Koebernick also identified contraband cellphones and the use of synthetic drugs as major security concerns.

Nebraska's prison system has faced a litany of problems in recent years, including persistent overcrowding and struggles to hire and retain employees.

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Prison visitors and inmates who are caught with cellphones inside a state prison could face a misdemeanor charge under a bill advanced by Nebraska lawmakers.

Lawmakers gave the measure first-round approval Wednesday as part of an omnibus prisons package.

The bill is designed to help state corrections officials, who confiscated more than 250 contraband phones last year. Nebraska corrections director Scott Frakes told a legislative committee in January that it's a major problem in the state prisons.

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska state officials are pushing back against allegations that prisoners aren't receiving proper health care and mental health treatment due to deliberate indifference by the corrections department.

The Nebraska attorney general's office argued in a court filing Tuesday that the Department of Correctional Services provides excellent access to health care and has invested millions in new facilities and employees in recent years.

The Nebraska Department of Corrections is working to recruit and retain employees with financial incentives.  Corrections officials announced yesterday that three-thousand-dollar bonuses will be given to the first 100 new employees that stay at least one year at the Tecumseh State Prison, Lincoln Correctional Center, the Diagnostic and Evaluation Center or the State Penitentiary.  Current prison workers will get bonuses ranging from 50-dollars to 400-dollars for recruiting a new employee, and supervisors can get up to a 400-dollar bonus if a staff member they oversee stays at least one year

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska prison and parole officials say they're forging ahead with state-mandated plans to reduce overcrowding in the correctional system, but some lawmakers worry the agencies will miss a looming deadline, forcing them to take more drastic action.

The Department of Correctional Services and Board of Parole highlighted the steps they've taken in a report this month to the Legislature but offered few specifics on their progress so far.

(Lincoln, NE)  --  Nebraska Corrections Director Scott Frakes is explaining why he didn't disclose a report on a 2015 riot at the Tecumseh State Prison.  Frakes sent a letter to state lawmakers on Friday saying that he withheld the report out of concern that its revelations about organized gangs at the prison could jeopardize the safety of staff, inmates and the public.  Two prisoners died in the riot, which caused more than two-million-dollars in damage to the prison. 

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Lawmakers are racing to pass legislation before the session ends that would address Nebraska's prison overcrowding and a looming deadline to reduce the inmate population.

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska lawmakers have advanced a bill that would give prisoners a chance to get a state identification card or renew their driver's license before their release.

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Some Nebraska lawmakers say they're concerned the state corrections department will fail to meet a July 2020 deadline

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — The Legislature's special oversight committee on Nebraska's justice system has recommended that the state begin to plan for a prison overcrowding emergency that could lead to paroling a large number of inmates.

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska's prison system is facing a staffing crisis that it may not be able to overcome amid a statewide nursing shortage and the state's relatively low wages.

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — The state corrections director says transforming Nebraska's prisons must begin by expanding and improving lower-security facilities.

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A man who was sentenced to death in Maryland but later exonerated by DNA evidence is urging Nebraska lawmakers to adopt statewide standards for the use of law enforcement photo lineups.

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A new report says Nebraska is overusing solitary confinement on juveniles and warns that policies on how it is enforced vary widely throughout the state.

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The Nebraska Court of Appeals has upheld the conviction of an inmate accused of attacking a prison caseworker with the worker's own pepper spray — despite the prison's destruction of both the spray and surveillance video of the attack before trial.

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A Nebraska advocacy group has called on the state prison system to bulk up its inmate educational programs to better prepare inmates for jobs and prevent further crimes.

TECUMSEH, Neb. (AP) — The Nebraska Attorney General's Office and the Johnson County Attorney say charges have been filed against five inmates in connection with a May riot at the prison in Tecumseh that left two inmates dead.

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska lawmakers who investigated the state prison system last week say they saw so many problems that they may have to continue direct oversight of the department for years.

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska's corrections director is facing criticism for spending more than $54,000 on foreign-made lethal injection drugs in May that the state still hasn't received.

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska prison officials say they're still working to comply with the recommendations of a report that evaluated what went wrong during a May riot that left two inmates dead.

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A former guard at Tecumseh State Correctional Institution accused of trying to smuggle drugs to inmates has been sentenced to 18 months of probation.

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A 74-year-old inmate at the Nebraska State Penitentiary in Lincoln has died.

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The Nebraska Supreme Court has denied the legal requests of two men ordered back to prison last year after being wrongly released because state officials had miscalculated their sentences.

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A legislative staffer who helped investigate Nebraska's corrections department will now serve as an official state watchdog for the agency.

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — An envelope filled with cornstarch forced a Nebraska prison to close its entrance for nearly two hours while authorities investigated the suspicious item.

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nearly three months after a deadly Nebraska prison riot, corrections officers and caseworkers are still working mandatory 12-hour emergency shifts.

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The Nebraska Department of Correctional Services says that of 390 prisoners who have or will be released between June 10 and Aug. 31, more than two dozen had miscalculated release dates.