Nebraska

Office of the Inspector General of the Nebraska Correctional System (OIG)

Budget

Approximately $200,000

  • The OIG’s budget is an allocation of the Office of Public Counsel’s budget. It covers the Inspector General’s salary, the Assistance Inspector General’s salary, and office equipment needs.

Staffing

2 staff members

  • OIG staff consists of the Inspector General and one Assistant Inspector General.

State Prison Profile

Nebraska has 9 state prison facilities subject to OIG oversight and incarcerates approximately 5,500 people in state prisons. The state prison system is run by the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services (NDCS).

Authority

Nebraska State Statutes, Sections 47-901 to 47-920

  • Structure: The OIG is a subdivision of the Nebraska Office of Public Counsel (Nebraska Ombudsman), which is a legislative office. The Public Counsel appoints the Inspector General, subject to Legislative Council and Judiciary Committee approval (47-904)
  • Authorized Activities: OIG is responsible for investigating possible misconduct, violations of statutes, rules, or regulations, incidents of death or injury, and complaints made against NDCS. OIG can choose to publish reports on completed investigations, which must include recommendations for further action. The Director of NDCS has the opportunity to review reports and request changes, but these requests are not binding. (47-905)
  • Information Access: The IG may speak confidentially with NDCS staff or people who are incarcerated. Nebraska state law gives the OIG the power to subpoena any persons or records during its investigations. The OIG may request and access facility data, the information system, and surveillance footage. (47-910 & 47-911)

Activities

The OIG is tasked with investigating complaints about NDCS and making recommendations to the Director of NDCS.

  • Facility Visits: The Inspector General makes regular visits to the various prisons they oversee. These visits can be announced or unannounced, but they are typically announced and on an as-needed basis.
  • Complaints Investigation: The OIG receives complaints primarily from incarcerated people, staff, and family members of incarcerated people. The OIG is not required to investigate every complaint received. The OIG must determine whether the office will conduct a full investigation within 14 days of receiving the complaint.
  • Data Collection: The OIG also collects data on population information, use of restrictive housing, assaults, overcrowding, staffing challenges (e.g. overtime, turnover), prevalence of contraband, deaths, escapes, and programming.

Reports

Annual Reports given to the Legislature and Governor; Reports on systemic issues and major incidents; all available here.

Organizational History

In 2013, a violent incident involving a man released directly from solitary confinement into the community prompted a legislative investigation of NDCS, which revealed a number of concerning issues in Nebraska prisons. Partly in response to that investigation, OIG was formed in 2015 to increase oversight of NDCS.