LINCOLN — A recent ”no-holds-barred” search of a troubled state prison didn’t include searching every housing unit there, a new state report said Monday.

On Sept. 4, State Corrections Director Scott Frakes ordered a “no-holds-barred” approach to dealing with an increase in assaults on staff and incidents involving smuggled drugs at the Nebraska State Penitentiary by ordering a lockdown to allow “intensive” searches of the state’s largest prison.

But that search didn’t include every housing unit in the 1,300-bed facility and included only a partial search of one housing unit, according to an annual report, released Monday, by the Legislature’s inspector general for corrections.

A corrections spokeswoman said Monday that the agency would not “provide specific details on areas searched, when they are searched, how they are searched or why” for “good security management.” That is basically the same response given to The World-Herald a week ago when the newspaper asked about reports that the entire penitentiary had not been searched.

The search, according to the department, turned up some homemade weapons, tattoo equipment and drugs, including the synthetic marijuana, K2, though there were no specifics given about how much was found.

Doug Koebernick, the inspector general, expressed confusion in his report.

“It is difficult to comprehend how not searching entire housing units is a strategy that leads to a more safe and secure facility for staff, inmates and ultimately the public,” Koebernick wrote.

A leading state senator on corrections issues, Steve Lathrop of Omaha, also said Monday he didn’t understand, if contraband was the problem, why every housing unit was not searched. “We don’t know what might have been found.”

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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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