Nebraska Prisons Boss, State Fire Marshal Stepping Down

Scott Frakes

     Nebraska Dept of Correctional Services Director Scott Frakes and State Fire Marshal Chris Cantrell both say they’re stepping down next month.

      Frakes’ resignation after 7 years is effective Oct 7 while Cantrell’s last day on the post he’s held since 2018 will be Oct 14. Neither man has said why they’re leaving or what their future plans are.

    In accepting both resignations, Governor Pete Ricketts thanked Frakes and Cantrell for their excellent service to the State of Nebraska. 

       Frakes had spent well over 30 years in corrections, mostly in Washington state, when he was handpicked by Ricketts shortly after he became governor to turn around a troubled state prison system

Chris Cantrell

     The Corrections Dept was reeling from multiple problems at the time, including prison overcrowding, high turnover of corrections staff, and the mistaken, early release of some inmates due to inaccurately calculated sentences.

      The agency had more rocky times under Frakes including 2 riots at the Tecumseh prison and staffing shortages that put all its facilities on emergency scheduling rules – still in effect at 2 facilities – but some things have turned around. 

       A prison expansion project is nearing completion in Lincoln, there’s a proposed $270-million dollar 1,500 bed prison to replacing the aging State Penitentiary, and corrections staffers have got significant pay raises and bonuses. 

        The 64-year old Frakes said in a press release that he’s proud of the many accomplishments the agency has achieved during his tenure,” adding that seeing them come to fruition to benefit staff and inmates has been enormously satisfying.