Nebraska Corrections Department reorganizes management team

LINCOLN — Nebraska’s troubled prison system is shaking up its management team, The World-Herald has learned.

In an internal memo to employees on Tuesday, State Corrections Director Scott Frakes announced a reorganization crafted to improve communications and operations and better utilize talents of top management.

Frakes said the recent resignation of two top administrators, executive management offficer Jeff Wooten and Jeff Beaty, director of planning, research and accreditation, allowed the changes without increasing personnel numbers.

The changes, recommended by a consultant with the Association of State Correctional Administrators, create the new positions of chief of operations and chief of staff.

Diane Sabatka-Rine was promoted to the operations job after previously serving as deputy director of prisons. Now she will head up all prison operations, Frakes said in his memo.

Dawn-Renee Smith, the agency’s communications head, will now serve as chief of staff.

The Corrections Department has struggled with overcrowded prisons, attacks on staff and high employee turnover, and faces a federal lawsuit over alleged civil rights violations.

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