Behind the Scenes of Criminal Justice

Behind the Scenes of Criminal Justice

Corporal McKen

Tool Control Corporal Stark

Unit Caseworker Sara Scdoris

Corporal finds leadership opportunities at the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services

Working in criminal justice with the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services (NDCS) is an exciting and unique career opportunity. People who work for the agency describe their experience as being part of a big family.

Corporal McKen is a sergeant in the Nebraska National Guard, who brings a diverse skill set to his position at the Omaha Correctional Center (OCC).

 "My favorite place to work is lead yard corporal," he said. "I enjoy working as a team and I enjoy being tested and challenged in many different ways, both mentally and physically."

Before beginning his career at NDCS, McKen was a store coordinator. He knew he wanted more than just a job. He wanted something more fulfilling.

“I applied to NDCS because I needed a career. I want to be somebody.”

Shortly after working for NDCS, McKen was promoted from officer to corporal – a decision that was based on his work ethic and leadership.

"Being firm, fair and consistent has helped me be successful, and it will shape a person's career in this field.”

McKen believes his honesty and the leadership skills he has acquired through the years at NDCS have also been part of his success.

"Corrections has made me a very strong person."

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From limousines to criminal justice, one corporal never looks back

Nearly 12 years ago, Corporal Stark turned in one set of keys for another. Currently the tool control corporal at the Lincoln Correctional Center (LCC), Stark says he has never looked back since his days as a limousine driver.

Stark originally made the move from the limousine business to the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services (NDCS) for the good health benefits and full-time pay. He said he was always interested in criminal justice, having majored in it while at college. More than a decade later, he said he still likes his career choice.

Stark started out as an officer and then promoted to corporal. He is now in charge of monitoring all tools across LCC. “I keep track of and maintain inventory for every part of the facility.”

The position has been a good fit for him.

“No matter what the position, there is always something more to learn. Every day is different. I'm in a new area focusing on finding tools and keeping people safe."

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Unit Caseworker feels her work makes a difference to incarcerated men and women

Unit Caseworker Sara Scdoris began her career with the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services (NDCS) seven years ago at the Nebraska State Penitentiary as a caseworker. Scdoris has a degree in criminal justice and wanted to pursue work in that field, which led her to NDCS. After one year at the penitentiary, she moved over to the Community Corrections Center – Lincoln.

“Everything you do will affect someone else,” said Scdoris. She advises other staff to be patient, learn how to listen and show respect.

Scdoris’ favorite thing about her job is that she enjoys all the different staff she gets to work with each day. She especially enjoys being classified in a relief caseworker position because it gives her a chance to move around and do different tasks. Scdoris explained that she feels like she gets to help the incarcerated population in little bits each day by going that extra mile helping with the small things and doing tasks in a timely manner.

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There are more than 150 job classifications at NDCS. Criminal Justice positions include:

- Officer

- Corporal

- Drug Detection Canine Handler

- Sergeant

- Lieutenant

- Captain

- Major

- Associate Warden

- Deputy Warden

- Warden

- Investigator

- Unit Caseworker

- Unit Case Manager

- Unit Manager

- Unit Administrator

- Training Specialist

- Social Work Director

- Behavioral Health Assistant Administrator

- Certified Master Social Work Supervisor

- Certified Master Social Worker-

- Clinical Program Manager

*Paid Officer Internships Available*

*Unpaid Social Work Internships Available*

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