LINCOLN — The state prison system has looked to a private prison in Ohio to fill a job running two facilities in Lincoln.

On Thursday, the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services announced the hiring of Taggart Boyd as warden of the Diagnostic and Evaluation Center and Lincoln Correctional Center, two adjacent facilities in west Lincoln.

Boyd, who begins his duties Dec. 29, is deputy warden at the North Central Correctional Complex, a minimum-medium security men’s prison in Marion, Ohio, that was converted from state to private management in 2011.

In an attempt to save money and close a budget gap in Ohio’s overcrowded prison system, Ohio Gov. John Kasich put five state prisons up for sale. Only one was sold (to a private prison company), but others, including the Marion prison, were converted to private management.

A Nebraska corrections spokeswoman, Dawn-Renee Smith, said this state has no interest in taking similar steps to privatize its prison system, a move that has been controversial in other states.

State Corrections Director Scott Frakes, in a press release, said that Boyd’s experience in security and programming is “an excellent fit” for his new job.

“The new perspective based on his Ohio experiences will benefit the entire agency,” Frakes said.

Boyd began his corrections career in 1998 with the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction as a correctional officer at the Marion prison. He has held a variety of positions since then, including case manager, inspector of institutional services and associate warden.

The previous warden at the Nebraska prisons, Fred Britten, died in July.

Private prisons typically pay lower wages for staff, and under former President Barack Obama, the federal government stopped using for-profit prisons, deeming them less safe. But that order was reversed in February after President Donald Trump took office.

paul.hammel@owh.com, 402-473-9584

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Reporter - Regional/state issues

Paul covers state government and affiliated issues. He specializes in tax and transportation issues, following the governor and the state prison system. Follow him on Twitter @PaulHammelOWH. Phone: 402-473-9584.

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