LINCOLN — State Corrections Director Scott Frakes moved Friday to reassure staff and inmates that conditions will return to normal at the riot-torn Tecumseh State Prison.

In a press release, he shared letters sent this week to the 1,000 inmates at the prison as well as the staff in the wake of last weekend’s riots, which left two inmates dead and two guards injured and caused between $350,000 and $500,000 in damages.

Frakes assured staff that the inmates responsible for the riot and a series of assaults last weekend at Tecumseh and the State Penitentiary in Lincoln will be held accountable and that steps are being taken to fill staff vacancies. Staffing issues, including high turnover and mandatory overtime, have been problems at both facilities.

“We will find solutions to this problem,” Frakes wrote.

He wrote to inmates that the lockdown status at Tecumseh, which has restricted when meals are served, yard time and other activities, could end soon, if inmates behave.

Frakes said he met with a group of inmates at Tecumseh three weeks ago and tried to assure them that “improvements would occur, but that it wouldn’t happen overnight.”

“While this disturbance will slow down the process to improve conditions for inmates at TSCI, we will continue to address issues of idleness and lack of programming,” he wrote.

Frakes, in the press release, said there are “many theories, from many sources, about why” the violent uprising occurred, but that he is not making assumptions or trying to “look for evidence to fit” any theories.

“I have to be sure that as we move forward to review the entire incident, we use accurate information to determine what occurred,” Frakes said in the press release. “I recognize this may seem like a slow process, but the time invested is imperative to addressing and preventing future incidents.”

Contact the writer: 402-473-9584, paul.hammel@owh.com

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