Nebraska has 4,500 prison inmates serving time in 10 facilities. Some with harden criminals who have to do time together for years.
Every cell and housing unit is searched frequently.
Channel Six Fact Finders received a rare look at a cell shakedown. Prison officers are trained to search every inch of a seven foot by ten foot cell. During one search the officers discover bleach in a bottle of baby powder. That can lead to disciplinary action against an inmate.
Over the years searches at the Omaha correctional center usually turn up items stolen from other inmates or fire hazards like altered batteries. It doesn't just take discovery of a homemade knife to make the prison yard safer.
Lee Marshall is a life sentenced 34 years ago for murder. He sees surprise cell searches as necessary to reduce prison violence.
Marshall said, "There are a lot of thieves in here and if some of my stuff is stolen then a cell search might find it. Otherwise I got to look for it and maybe get in a fight."
Inmates caught with contraband in their cells can face action ranging from a verbal reprimand to solitary confinement depending on the seriousness of what's discovered. Inmates can appeal disciplinary action through the administration or even to court.
Viewers with disabilities can get assistance accessing this station's FCC Public Inspection File by contacting the station with the information listed below. Questions or concerns relating to the accessibility of the FCC's online public file system should be directed to the FCC at 888-225-5322, 888-835-5322 (TTY), or email@example.com.