Facility welcomes all UCMJ violators

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. James M. Hodgman
  • 55th Wing Public Affairs
For servicemembers who violate the Uniformed Code of Military Justice there's a place to take a short vacation from it all.

This place can house up to 15 people and offers wonderful views from barred windows. Every guest starts with a 72-hour stay in one of three private rooms in the form of segregation cells.

Those who check in have no amenities, are escorted everywhere they go and life as they know it will change.

The place is Offutt's confinement facility, located adjacent to the parade grounds off Lincoln Highway.

The jail is the oldest operational corrections facility in the Air Force and the oldest west of the Mississippi River. It still has the original iron beds inmates slept on in 1894 when it was built.

For Staff Sgt. Andrew Blascyk, one of the eight guards assigned to the 55th Security Forces Squadron who works in the facility, corrections work offers a chance to broaden his career while helping others.

"I love my job," Sergeant Blascyk said. "I think corrections is an interesting area to work in and (we) help rehabilitate people who've made mistakes."

Sergeant Blascyk said he applied for confinement duty as soon as he heard there were openings.

"I wanted the job," he said. "It's an interesting part of the security forces career field and not many bases have a confinement facility.

"I thought working here would be a great chance to gain some experience in a different part of the career field," he said.

Sergeant Blascyk has been a confinement guard since July 2009. Before that he worked in many other areas of security forces from an entry controller to a patrolman.

His days start at 4:45 a.m. with guard change over. During this time, when most people are still sleeping, he obtains important information from the off-going shift and learns vital details about the inmates such as medications they're taking and what appointments they have for the day.

During changeover, guards also conduct an accountability check of all inmates, keys, books, the facility's automated external defibrillator and much more.

At 6 a.m., the day begins for any inmates confined here as guards like Sergeant Blascyk wake them up, perform inspections of their personal areas and ensure the inmates perform their daily details.

Confinement guards are also responsible for ensuring inmates are escorted to the King Dining Facility for breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as all mandatory appointments.

"Most people think we're here to hold people for doing something wrong and we're actually here to help them and make them responsible individuals again," he said. "We're here to help more than punish."

Tech Sgt. Raymond C. Kubiaczyk, the NCO in charge of Offutt's confinement facility for the 55th SFS, has witnessed several people walk through the doors only to change for the better.

"A lot of the people that come in here are here for a few months, and when they arrive they might be disgruntled because they feel they didn't deserve the punishment they've received," Sergeant Kubiaczyk said.

By the time any inmate leaves, they understand they did something wrong, he added.
Seeing that change is a special thing, Sergeant Kubiaczyk said.

After people have had time to sit and think, they realize they did deserve something for their actions, he said.

"You can see their attitude change," he said. "They think they're bad when they get here, but when that door slams on the segregation cell about 90 percent of them start crying. You can see the change in them from that point on and it's rewarding when you see them realize that they've changed."

For inmates, life at Offutt's confinement facility is very restricted. Every inmate is monitored by certified guards 24 hours a day, either by direct supervision or via cameras. Inmates are allowed to have one 15-minute phone call a day and can only have visitors on Sundays or holidays.

During what confinement officials here call 'free time,' inmates can watch television, movies, read books or listen to portable music players. However, this free time is only offered after 5 p.m. and only available to inmates who follow the rules.

According to Sergeant Kubiaczyk, every time an inmate leaves the confinement facility he or she must be searched upon returning. Also, inmates are subject to random searches without notice.

The searches are conducted to ensure inmates don't have items like weapons, drugs or anything that wasn't in the facility before, Sergeant Blascyk said.

These random checks ensure the safety of all inmates, as well as his guards, Sergeant Kubiaczyk said.

Since 2000, more than 120 servicemembers have called Offutt's confinement facility home at one point or another. In 2010, nine Airmen were jailed there from periods of time ranging from a few days to six months.

The jail has housed thieves, rapists and even murderers.

So, for anyone who is willing to break a few laws for a short getaway, a home complete with lock and key awaits.