NORTH CAROLINA – The state prison system is in some “dark days as an agency” according to state prison officials.
- On average, two staff members are being assaulted a day by inmates.
- The Division of Prisons decided to close three prisons in the state.
- At least 800 prisoners will be moved to other facilities as a result of the closings.
According to Prison Commissioner, Todd Ishee, “We are at the point that everyday two staff are being victimized by assault from an inmate.”
The State Senate’s select committee on prison safety has been working on several solutions to the ongoing assaults, job vacancies, and other state prison issues.
The Exectuive Branch of Divisions of Prisons decided the best course of action was to close, at least temporarily, three prisons across the state.
“This is not something we wanted to do. This is not budget driven but it is something we thought we had to do to help make our facilities safer”, said Ishee.
Ishee also noted that moves such as this are not good for the inmates and also not good for workers.
These closings will force nearly 800 prisoners to be relocated in the near future.
Ardis Watkins, State Employees Association of North Carolina, says, “The more people you shove in there, the more problems you are going to have in the facilities you have left operating.”
According to prison officials, employees normally work 12 hour days and have 14 days off per month. However, recently employees have seven days or less off per month.
State leaders say there are no easy solutions, but these employees deserve better pay and safer conditions.