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Focusing on Nebraska's Young Violent Offenders

NCJ Number
Corrections Today Volume: 64 Issue: 6 Dated: October 2002 Pages: 78-80
Robert P. Houston; Kurt Jordan
Susan L. Clayton M.S.
Date Published
October 2002
3 pages
This article briefly describes the Nebraska Correctional Youth Facility, a maximum-security facility housing young violent offenders convicted as adults. Programs tailored to meet the needs and challenges of teenage inmates in NCYF are presented and discussed.
Opened in 1998, the Nebraska Correctional Youth Facility (NCYF) is a maximum-security institution for young offenders who have been convicted and sentenced as adults. The NCYF addresses the behaviors of young violent inmates in a setting separating them from those older and more-clever multiple offenders. The NCYF is unique in its designing of programs specifically tailored to youthful offender needs and issues, such as recreational, mental health, medical, educational, and alternatives to violence programs. A structured educational and work environment is created by the staff and respected by the inmate population. Personalized plans in the areas of school/work, programmatic, mental health, and substance requirements are tailored to the background of each inmate with follow-up checks built in. Project HEART, an educational program matches dogs that are not adoptable due to behavioral issues with inmates who agree to train, feed, shelter, groom, and control them. In addition to education, recreation is an area of focus for the NCYF. The facility’s size allows inmates to participate in individual activities, as well as form leagues and teams thereby developing leadership skills. Mental health programs have been developed to meet the cognitive and emotional needs of the specific age group including group and individual counseling, crisis intervention, psychiatric referrals, and community referrals. Inmates participate in a review of their mental health programming and programming recommendations are initiated in the reception phase of an inmate’s case management. The opportunities offered through the multifaceted programs available to NCYF inmates distinguishes it from other facilities housing youthful violent offenders.