Scott Frakes

Nebraska Department of Corrections Director Scott Frakes

LINCOLN — The Nebraska Department of Correctional Services has extended its $2,500 hiring bonus for new employees at the Tecumseh State Prison or the Nebraska State Penitentiary in Lincoln.

Corrections Director Scott Frakes announced Tuesday that the bonus will be offered to people hired at the two prisons through Jan. 2. Originally, it had been offered to the first 100 people hired from Oct. 2 through Nov. 17.

The hiring bonus was one of two pay initiatives aimed at bringing down overtime hours and employee turnover at two of the state’s most troubled prisons.

Frakes said Tuesday that 50 employees were hired during the first bonus period. The bonus will be paid out quarterly over their first year of service.

“The hiring bonus has been well-received,” he said.

The other initiative is a form of longevity pay for employees at the Tecumseh facility, he said. It provides merit pay increases to employees based on their years of service at Tecumseh and on satisfactory job performance.

In announcing the initiatives, Frakes said he wanted to bring turnover for protective services employees to below 20 percent and to fill at least two-thirds of the vacancies at the prison.

Protective services positions include corrections officers, corporals and sergeants, plus unit caseworkers.

Staffing problems have been an ongoing challenge for Nebraska’s overcrowded prison system.

In September, the inspector general of the state correctional system called the levels of overtime and turnover a significant crisis with broad impact.

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Martha Stoddard keeps legislators honest from The World-Herald's Lincoln bureau, where she covers news from the State Capitol. Follow her on Twitter @StoddardOWH. Phone: 402-473-9583.

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