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Safety and Security Improvements Prompt Changes for Several Prison Facilities 

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RALEIGH: The NC Division of Prisons today announced mission changes at several facilities to address safety, security and operational needs.

The changes, which could take up to a year to complete, include converting Lanesboro Correctional Institution in Polkton (Anson County) into a facility for female inmates and renaming it Anson Correctional Institution. The facility currently houses male inmates classified for close custody, the highest level of supervision within state prisons. The Lanesboro minimum unit will continue to house minimum custody male inmates at the former Brown Creek unit, which is adjacent to the Lanesboro property.

Two female facilities, Southern Correctional Institution in Troy (Montgomery County) and Eastern Correctional Institution in Maury (Greene County), will become facilities for close custody male inmates.

“We are converting the facilities to enhance safety and security and improve management of close custody male inmates who require greater supervision by moving them into smaller facilities and smaller housing units,” Director of Prisons Kenneth Lassiter said. “We will continue to review security procedures and work with existing resources to ensure that these facilities are safe for both the inmates and state employees who work there.”

Converting the facilities will enhance management of the close custody male population by moving them into smaller facilities and smaller housing units. The changes will also reduce the inmate population at N.C. Correctional Institution for Women, which consistently operates above its capacity causing safety issues and stresses on the facility’s infrastructure.

Some staff will remain at their current facilities while others may move to a new facility if they want to continue to work in either a male or female facility. Department leaders will accommodate as many employee requests to continue to work in a facility of their choice as possible. The impacted employees will receive gender-specific training if they will be working with inmates of a different gender than before.

“Our priority is making prisons safer and more secure and we believe these changes will help accomplish that,” said Judge Reuben Young, Interim Chief Deputy Secretary of Adult Correction and Juvenile Justice. “We also believe that the changes will help us be more successful at recruiting and retaining staff for custody, program, medical and mental health work at Lanesboro. We intend to manage the conversion in a manner that will allow us to retain every employee who wishes to remain employed without any salary reductions.”

The majority of female inmates to be housed at Lanesboro will be in medium custody. The prison’s layout will give management flexibility to house other custody levels in the future and provide for potential growth of the female population, including the possibility of adding a diagnostic (intake) center in the future.

While maintenance and other infrastructure improvements are being made at Lanesboro to prepare it to house female inmates, Neuse Correctional Institution in Wayne County will be converted from a male facility to temporarily house females, and the Department will temporarily re-open the former North Piedmont Correctional Center in Davidson County as a female facility.

Since October, the Department of Public Safety has conducted a comprehensive review of security measures in state corrections facilities and taken steps to increase the safety of prison employees and inmates statewide.

By the Numbers

  • Lanesboro’s female facility capacity will be 1,000 inmates; the capacity for male minimum security (the state’s minimum security designation) inmates will remain 560 inmates.
  • As of March 28, 2018, there were approximately 3,000 female offenders housed in state prisons and 34,300 male offenders.
  • The current female capacity for the two facilities being converted to male is: 448 at Southern Correctional Institution and 476 at Eastern Correctional Institution.
  • After conversion, Southern Correctional Institution close custody capacity will be 448 inmates, plus 36 restrictive housing beds. A separate housing area that currently houses 220 minimum custody male inmates will remain, bringing the total number of beds to 704.
  • Eastern Correctional Institution will be close custody, with a capacity of 476 male inmates.