For information about other incidents since January 2009, CLICK HERE
Nebraska Corrections Director Robert Houston announced that he is ending a 28-year-old policy that allowed inmates to drive other inmates to work release job sites. The policy came under scrutiny after a recent crash that killed a Lincoln woman.
Joyce Meeks died June 25 after a prison van driven by 35-year-old Jeremy Dobbe crossed the center line at 18th & Van Dorn in Lincoln. Dobbe, who was injured in the crash, had been authorized since April to drive work release inmates to and from their jobs.
On Friday, Houston offered his condolences to the Meeks family. He said, “I can only imagine the devastating impact this tragedy has had on her family and certainly wish for them to know they have been in my thoughts.” He said his department has provided information to the Lincoln Police Department which is investigating the tragedy.
Houston said the program operated successfully since 1985. It was part of the department’s mission to have inmates reenter society and the inmates as drivers policy was part of it. However, Houston said the public’s safety is the primary mission, so the program will end.
He said discontinuing the Inmate Van Driver Program will have no adverse effect on inmate reentry to society. Department staff will be in charge of transporting inmates who are assigned work detail jobs.
He also released a list of 16 incidents involving inmate drivers over the past three and a half years. We have attached that information to this story.