Nebraska Department of Correctional Services (NDCS)
The Lincoln Correctional Center (LCC) is one of 10 NDCS facilities. Opened in 1979, LCC has a unique and challenging physical design consisting of five, two-level housing units that create a pentagon-style perimeter. From the area connecting the housing units is a small, cramped, dark, poorly ventilated 16-cell segregation unit (aptly named The Control Unit – commonly referred to as “The Dungeon”). There is little to no programming space—which may have met corrections standards in the late 1970’s but is definitely contrary to our mission to transform restrictive housing in our agency today. Although originally designed as a general population unit, several years ago in direct response to the agency’s need for additional restrictive housing space.
Close The Control Unit by reducing the LCC restrictive housing population.
The management team saw closing The Control Unit as an obvious win, as it would allow for the staffing of the entire unit to be redeployed to other areas of the facility. However, there was concern that some staff would see this as a loss, due to there being 16 less restrictive housing cells to house violent individuals. The reduction of the facility restrictive housing population took several months of planning. Staff were issued change-in-duty assignments and on April 17, 2017, the LCC Management Team announced that The Control Unit was officially closed.
Repurposing an antiquated segregation unit to a much-needed program and secured storage area.
While The Control Unit has had to temporarily reopen on two separate occasions—following incidents where the need for immediate restrictive housing exceeded our reduced capacity—closing The Control Unit is symbolic of NDCS’ commitment to restrictive housing reform.