Senators: Lawsuit could prompt Nebraska prison crowding fix

In this March 2, 2017, file photo, inmates burn objects in a courtyard behind razor wire at the Tecumseh State Correctional Institution in Tecumseh. The ACLU is suing the state of Nebraska in federal court over its treatment of prisoners. Nebraska's prisons hold an average of 5,278 inmates in facilities that were designed to hold 3,275, more than 160 percent of the system's total design capacity, according to the most recent statistics available. 

NATI HARNIK, Associated Press file photo

While reading in the Sept. 7 New York Times about problems with inmates at the Oregon State Hospital, of the “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” infamy, I was struck by the parallels to Nebraska’s failures, year after year, to solve our own prison management’s shortcomings.

Nebraska’s Gov. Pete Ricketts has been struggling for almost four years to tame the bureaucratic beast, with very little success.

But in Oregon, the penal-hospital facility has finally been brought under control after hiring a new superintendent, Greg Roberts, who previously had similar successes in several other institutions in other states.

The Times quoted Roberts: “Very often when you find serious problems, the problem is one of three things: Leadership, leadership or leadership.”

Bob Copperstone, Wahoo

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