- Associated Press - Friday, May 1, 2020

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - A federal judge has denied the American Civil Liberties Union’s request that Nebraska prison officials disclose plans for preventing and managing the coronavirus in the state’s prisons.

The Lincoln Journal-Star reports that U.S. District Judge Michael Nelson said the court would not order the disclosure because the information is not relevant to any claim or defense in the pending case. The lawsuit, filed in 2017, argues that Nebraska’s prison overcrowding and staffing shortages are effectively depriving inmates of critical medical care.

Nebraska’s prisons have faced years of scrutiny from lawmakers, and the department has struggled to recruit and retain employees.

No coronavirus cases have been confirmed among inmates, but four staff members have tested positive, three of them at the Nebraska State Penitentiary.

Nebraska Department of Correctional Services director Scott Frakes said earlier this month that he doesn’t plan to release the department’s pandemic plan because doing so could anger inmates and reveal security information that would threaten safety in the prisons.

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