Committee Places Blame for Corrections Mess Right Where It Belongs: In the Lap of the Governor

Gov. Dave Heineman is primarily responsible for the Nebraska Department of Corrections mess, according to the Legislature’s Department of Correctional Services Special Investigative Committee.

“The things that happen in the Department of Corrections are right at the doorstep of the governor, and anybody in the military knows that the top dog is the commander,” said State Sen. Ernie Chambers after the committee released its report today.

Lincoln Journal Star on the Investigation

The investigative committee recommends firings: The panel said that the state should terminate the employment of record administrator Kyle Poppert, department psychologist Mark Weilage and assistant director Larry Wayne for the roles they played in the mismanagement of sentence calculations and Nikko Jenkins’ release without treatment.

Jenkins was released after he told prison officials he feared he would commit murder if he was let out. So they let him out, and four people in Omaha died.

The panel also recommends the firing Department of Correctional Services Director Mike Kenney.

Read the Committee Report

The investigative committee said that the passage of laws that increased penalties for many crimes brought more inmates into the corrections system. But the overcrowding problem was created by how the corrections department dealt with the influx, the panel said.

Nebraskans Unafraid congratulates the committee, chaired by State Sen. Steve Lathrop, for doing its job and not buying into the politically driven avoidance of responsibility that we have seen from the governor and others.

Members of the committee in addition to Lathrop and Chambers are Sens. Paul Schumacher of Columbus, Kate Bolz of Lincoln, Heath Mello and Bob Krist of Omaha and Les Seiler of Hastings.

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