May 11, 2015

CONTACT: Tyler Richard, (402) 476-8091 x104,

Lincoln, Neb - ACLU of Nebraska Executive Director Danielle Conrad released the following statement in response to riots at Tecumseh State Correctional Institution and Nebraska State Penitentiary lock down over the weekend.

"Our first thoughts are to the safety of front line prison staff and those in state custody. We also extend our sympathies to those injured and deceased as a result of these tragic and developing stories. These riots are a painful reminder that Nebraska's prison system is a system in crisis. Our research has clearly documented horrific conditions of confinement rampant throughout our overcrowded prison system that threatens public safety now and into the future. The ACLU has heard concerns from front line staff about these conditions. The ACLU has documented case files of hundreds of inmates who have been denied health care, access to rehabilitation programs, or who have been assaulted, or put into solitary confinement.

For years, Nebraska corrections officials and policy makers have been aware of the inhumane conditions under which thousands of inmates have been living but have failed to invest resources to remedy the situation or enact meaningful criminal justice reforms. A culture of deliberate indifference has flourished. The riots this weekend are an unfortunate but expected result of a system in crisis.

We renew our call to the Nebraska legislature to pass meaningful reforms that are pending this session to slowly remedy the longstanding crisis in Nebraska's prison system. The time for reform is now. Nebraskans must come together to find solutions to make smart reforms and investments in our criminal justice system to enhance safe working conditions for our public servants, safe living conditions for those in custody, and the public safety of all Nebraskans."

Read more about the ACLU's work to reform Nebraska's prisons: