- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 25, 2018

TECUMSEH, Neb. (AP) - A Nebraska agency has ordered state prison management to work with the guards’ union to transition a southeast prison from 12-hour to eight-hour shifts.

The Nebraska Commission of Industrial Relations ruled this month for the Tecumseh State Correctional Institution to make the shift change, the Lincoln Journal Star reported .

Correctional Services Department Director Scott Frakes implemented the 12-hour shifts at the prison as an emergency measure after an inmate riot in 2015.

The prison still hasn’t returned to eight-hour shifts despite negotiations and agreements with the union, the Nebraska Association of Public Employees Local 61.

Prison management will now have to sort out a plan with the union to transition back to shorter shifts in a safe and timely manner.

“Maintaining the safety of our teammates is my top goal and will be a priority in the upcoming discussions,” Frakes said.

The lack of adequate staffing has been a chronic issue at the maximum security facility, said Commissioner David Partsch. But low staff cannot justify the department’s refusal to implement the shift change after reaching an agreement.

The commission didn’t order the prison to immediately make the transition.

“The safety of the employees and inmates must be of paramount concern, and the commission is not positioned to be able to second-guess Director Frakes’ safety determinations on the effects of eight-hour shifts versus 12-hour shifts,” Partsch said.

Department spokeswoman Dawn-Renee Smith said there currently aren’t details on how or when the transition will take place.


Information from: Lincoln Journal Star, http://www.journalstar.com

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