Families express frustration and anger over prison problems
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MICHELLE BANDUR INVESTIGATES. MICHELLE: MARCH 2017, FOR THE SECOND TIME IN TWO YEARS SMOKE CAN BE SEEN COMING FROM NEBRASKA’S TECUMSEH STATE CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTION. TWO INMATES KILLED DURING A DISTURBANCE INSIDE THE OVERCROWDED PRISON.>>I’M SO WORRIED ABOUT MY BROTHER. THERE ARE MURDERERS IN THERE. MICHELLE: DAKOTA’S BROTHER IS AN INMATE. WE’RE NOT REVEALING HER LAST NAME TO PROTECT HIS IDENTITY. HE’S SERVING TIME FOR THEFT AND BURGLARY, NON-VIOLENT OFFENSES LIKE THE FORGERY CONVICTION THAT PUT TERRY BERRY IN JAIL. FOUR WEEKS AGO BERRY’S CELLMATE STRANGLED HIM WITH A TOWEL. THE SUSPECTED KILLER PATRICK SCHROEDER WAS SERVING A LIFE SENTENCE FOR MURDER. DAKOTA WORRIES HER BROTHER MAY FACE A SIMILAR THREAT.>>THEY PLACED HIM IN TECUMSEH STATE PENITENTIARY, THE MAXIMUM SECURITY. MY BROTHER DID NOT COMMIT A VIOLENT CRIME. MICHELLE: DAKOTA SAYS CORRECTIONS MOVED HER BROTHER WITHOUT WARNING LAST MONTH FROM THE NEBRASKA STATE PENITENTIARY IN LINCOLN TO RESTRICTIVE HOUSING AT TECUMSEH. THE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS WON’T COMMENT ON PRISONER MOVEMENT OR THEIR SPECIFIC LIVING ARRANGEMENTS. BUT DIRECTOR SCOTT FRAKES HAS SAID DOUBLE-BUNKING IN THE RESTRICTED UNIT IS SAFE. INMATES AS YOU MIGHT IMAGINE DISAGREE. IN A LETTER TO US ONE INMATE IN SEGREGATION SAYS HE SHARES A CELL BUILT FOR ONE PERSON. “THIS CREATES A DANGEROUS ENVIRONMENT, HE WRITES. “IT CREATES A LOT OF STRESS.” ANOTHER SAYS THEY ARE FORCING US HERE IN SEGREGATION TO DOUBLE BUNK DUE TO OVERCROWDING A PRISONER ABRUPTLY MOVED TO TECUMSEH SAID THE MOVE MAKES HIM ANGRY LIKE WE’RE JUST DISCARDED AWAY FROM EVERYTHING AND EVERYONE.>>I’M VERY SCARED FOR HIM SCARED FOR ALL OF THEM. MICHELLE: FEARING RETRIBUTION THIS MOTHER OF AN INMATE ALSO IN RESTRICTIVE HOUSING ASKED US TO HIDE HER IDENTITY.>>INMATES BEING UNHAPPY ABOUT WHAT GOES ON — THE FOOD, THE WAY THEY ARE TREATED, THEIR LIVING CONDITIONS, NOT GETTING PROGRAMMED. ALL OF THAT HAS A PLAY IN IT. MICHELLE: THE MOTHERS OF PRISONERS SAY THEIR SONS DESCRIBE UNSANITARY LIVING CONDITIONS. IT’S PRISON BUT THEY FEEL IT SHOULD STILL BE LIVABLE.>>INMATES ARE DYING FOR SOME REASON OR ANOTHER. WHY ARE THEY DYING? WHY? WHY ARE INMATES KILLING OTHER INMATES?

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